In this post, I tell you about my adventurous trip along the Amazon river in Brazil, from Tabatinga to Manaus, by ship.
First I thought, it will be a bit boring. Imagine…4 days on a ship along the Amazon river, that moves slowly, and stops quite often in little villages and communities. But if you just do the things and follow your way open-minded, without worrying too much, you will always experience surprises and marvels.
Finally, the time I spend on the ship was not at all boring. It was the opposite. When we reached Manaus, I even didn´t want to leave the ship So my doubts were not fulfilled at all.
I met really awesome people, with whom I spent a great time on the ship; talking, watching the riverside and sunsets together, preparing and drinking mate, eating delicious food together, and so on.
How to get on the ship?
The ship starts Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from the port in Tabatinga. The ship operator is “Sol viages”. You can buy your ticket in advance or on the same day. It´s more secure to get a ticket, if you buy in advance, though. Until one day in advance, you pay 180 Reais, if you get the ticket in the morning on the same day, you´ll pay 200 Reais. The food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) is provided. So you don´t have any other expenses on the ship, unless you want to buy beer or snacks at the kiosk. If you stay in Leticia, you can get a taxi (20.000 COL pesos), mototaxi (8.000 COL pesos) o rikshaw (10.000 COL pesos) to the port. Be there around 3 hours, before the ship starts. The ships start always at 12.00 o´clock. It´s good to be there at around 9 am.
There you put your luggage in a queue. Once boarding time starts, the federal police comes and checks the luggage with drug dogs. If your luggage is fine, you can take it and enter the ship.
Be prepared for the trip
So after entering the ship, you have enough time to prepare and hang your hammock. That´s also, why you should be early on the port. To be one of the first in the queue, enter without a hectic rush the ship and prepare your hammock without stress on a place that you prefer. Helpers are available for hanging the hammocks for you, if you don´t know how to make the knot.
I prefer to put my hammock on the outer side. You can also hang it on the inner side, but be prepared, that it will be maybe a bit more crowded. The Brazilians prefer it more inside. The temperature differences are not high though (a bit warmer inside), and in case of rain, they close the guardrail anyways with a plastic cover. So your things won´t get wet, don´t worry.
Anyways, a sleeping bag or blanket is needed at night, on the inner or outer side, because it´s getting quite chilly. But extra blankets are provided on the ship, if you need one.
If everything is arranged, and you have your place on the ship… then just relax, lay back and let the magic of the ride capture you
Just laying on the hammock, watching the beautiful landscapes that are passing by and letting the things be how they are, that´s life! Enjoy it!
The food is amazing, by the way. They always prepare rice, noodles, beans, meat, sometimes salad or cooked vegetables for lunch and dinner and for breakfast there is bread, butter, a sandwich and always something different, like sweet tapioca, cornflakes, etc. It sounds very basic, but it´s really delicious
On the ship, I was so impressed by the huge size of the Amazon river. It´s not just “a river”, but sometimes it seems like an ocean. There are so many side river arms, lagoons, islands and sometimes, you even cannot see the other side of the river. It´s an amazing experience, to see this with your own eyes. Nature is just fantastic!
We stopped by quite many communities and little villages, where the local people got on or off the ship
Martin, a guy from Argentina, who I also met on the ship, taught me, how to prepare a good fresh mate tea… That´s how unexpected things just happen on a ship, in the middle of the Amazon river, and I love this
After 4 days on the ship, we were going to approach Manaus. On one point, the Amazon river meets Rio Negro, and the frontier is easy to see. That means, the two rivers are clearly divided and don´t mix up!
It´s crazy and fascinating to see that, but kind of scary at the same moment!
Slowly the trees, plants, wilderness and small communities on the riverside got replaced by industrial houses, factories and a big harbour. We reached the urban area of Manaus.
I didn´t know, if I was already ready for a big city. Rather not. The arrival in Manaus made me a bit sad, after spending 2 months in the remote jungle, surrounded by pure nature. It was like a cultural shock, to arrive in Manaus.
But luckily, it turned out, that Manaus was another stop on my journey, with a lot of pleasure, great moments, awesome people and fantastic experiences. I´ll talk about that on my next post about Manaus.
I hope you liked this post about “4 days on a ship along the Amazon river” and it inspired you in many ways!
Thanks for reading!
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