Northern Pacific to Amazon crossing Travel Guide

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On the road from Bagua Grande to Jaén

On the road from Bagua Grande to Jaén


From Chiclayo to Iquitos, the Northern Amazon corridor leads from the Pacific to the heart of the Amazon forests. Most of it on good roads! Well, from Yurimaguas to Iquitos you'll have to take the boat.  But if you are on a tight schedule, the boat trip might not be your best route.  It generally takes three days to get to Iquitos from Yurimaguas, but the trip can take over five days depending on the season, water levels, and amount of time necessary for he boat to take on passengers in each of countless stops along the way.

In Chiclayo you see the typical buzzy lifestyle of the coastal cities. Just a few miles away you can go the beach or to one of the 20 best musea in the world. From Chiclayo travel trough the desert into the mountains, crossing the Porculla mountain pass, the lowest in the entire Andes.

Heading down to the local "metropolis" of Jaén, the landscape remains rather dry and the climate becomes ever warmer. Have cuy (local specialty of guinea pig) and go for a refreshing swim in the Río Huancabamba

It goes back into the mountains via a spectacular canyon to Chachapoyas, home to the spectacular ruins of Kuelap and to the Gocta Falls, third highest fall in the world. Further inland is Tarapoto, where you begin to feel the Amazon way of life. You must go to Yurimaguas to take the boat to Iquitos.  Plan ahead though, because you cannot travel the road to Yurimaguas during the day because of major road construction that will take years to finish.  So one must get on a bus at 4 a.m. in order to go there by road.  Discover the real jungle from Iquitos, a big but pleasant riverlocked city. 

For those coming from or going to Ecuador, look up Jaén and San Ignacio. The border crossing at La Balsa leads you up to tourist destination Vilcabamba and Loja. It sees on avarage one tourist a day. Roads aren't exactly comfortable out there, but do an earnest attempt making that up with landscapes. Don't forget to stop for coffee in San Ignacio. Plus, the guys working at the border crossing in Peru are really nice fellows.

Where to go from Iquitos? It is possible to take boats all the way down to Manaus. Most people just take a plane, to Lima or Cusco. If you choose to go back upstream, remember the boats take a whole lot longer. When you get back to Chachapoyas, you could head to the colonial mountain city of Cajamarca via Celendin.

Note: This is one of the least developped areas of Peru, especially when it comes to tourism. People treat tourists with great interest, especially if they find out you speak good spanish. Hurry to be here before the crowds start arriving. Amazing diversity in landscape, culture and wildlife await you. Another reason to hurry is the encroachment of mining companies in the region: you could be the last to see some of the landscapes in their virgin state.


May 25, 2006 change by joosts (14 points)

February 09, 2008 change by approaching genius (1 point)

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