AMAZON & GUYANA

Nov-Dec 1993


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The highlights of this trip were the trip down the Amazon river from Leticia (Colombia) to Manaus (Brazil) and the overland trip in Guyana's pristine jungle.
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Itinerary

  1. Nov 14: Colombia. Bogota (1$ = 800 pesos). Taxi from airport 4000, hotel 7000.
  2. Nov 15: Bogota
  3. Nov 16: Fly to Leticia ($100). Leticia is a sleepy town on the Amazon river, where Peru, Brazil and Colombia meat. Boat from "fera del Marco" to Benjamin Constant, the town on the other bank, which is already Brazil ($1 = 200 Cr).
    Boats from Leticia to Benjamin Constant are called "recreo" ($2) and leave from
  4. Nov 17: Benjamin Constant. Waiting for a boat to hitch a ride down the river. Staying at ++Hotel Marcia Maria (1.500 Cr). There is absolutely nothing to do in town. The town is very small and can be walked up and down in twenty minutes.
  5. Nov 18: Boat +Avelino Leal to Manaus (450 Cr). Four days of navigation. There is really nothing to see, as the river is too big, except for the three villages where the boat stops. "fera del marco" (bus from Leticia, 15 minutes). Brazilian immigration is 20 minutes walking distance from this site.
    Great church at Orlando Corado.
    Benjamin Constant to Manaus takes less than four days
    Average price from Benjamin Constant to Manaus: $75.
  6. Nov 21: +Manaus.
    Restaurant +Fiorentina.
    Flight to Boa Vista ($138)
    Restaurant +Fiorentina
  7. Nov 22: +Boa Vista.
    From airport to Terminal Integrado take bus Circular I ($0.50).
    From Terminal Integrado tu Rodoviaria take bus JOCQUEI CLUBE.
    To go to Bonfim there's only one bus at 5pm, $4.50, 1 hr, with Uniad Cascavel (from Rodoviaria).
    To go to Santa Elena: 7:30am with Transporte Mundial or vith Uniad Cascavel (both from Rodoviaria)
    Tourist office at Rodoviaria
    Return from Bonfim to Boa Vista: only one bus at 8am with Uniad Cascavel
    Hotel in Bonfim (600 Cr)
  8. Bonfim
    Hotel Frontera (200m before square on road to Boa Vista, $3 for room with bath and fan. Food: only one restaurant in the square.
    One must get the exit stamp in Boa Vista.
    There is no boat at night to go to the Guyana border. If you take the 5pm bus from Boa Vista you'll have to sleep in Bonfim.
    If you need help, the school teacher Tricia Watson speaks english and is very helpful
    To Lethem: walk north on the road to Lethem (make sure you take the short cut, not the truck road); 2 miles to Brazilian police (they don't have exit stamps); walk to the river; boat to other side of the river $0.25; walk up to the Guyana border police; they don't have entry stamp, you must go to the Police Station or the Airport in Lethem; walk to Lethem 2 miles.
  9. Nov 22: Guyana ($1 = 120 $G). Walk to Lethem, no border formalities. In Lethem look for Immigration office to get entry stamp. Sleep in hammock outdoors.
  10. Nov 23: +Lethem. Lethem only has a few basic homes, no hotel and no restaurant (one home has the sign "restaurant" but it is closed). It is connected to the outside world only through two unpaved roads, one that goes to Brazil and one that goes (theoretically) to Georgetown. A trip to Georgetown by truck would take several days. Kajetour falls are in between, but it is much faster to fly to Georgetown and then hitch a ride to Kajetour.
    Everything twice more expensive than in Georgetown.
    Transportation overland to anywhere only by private trucks.
    Samuel Hawker near police station has five trucks. Very nice fellow, may also let you sling your hanwtock in his backyard.
    All trucks leaving town must check with the police, therefore the police knows all trucks that are leaving town. Check with them for first available truck to your destination.
    Cacique is the only real hotel
    The Pizzaria (only restaurant) is not operating anymore. I have been told that Fu, near the church, serves dinners.
    Flight to Georgetown: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and saturday 8am with Guyana Airways $60, 7.000 $G.
    Change money at Shirley's or Hawker's.
    To go to Kajetur from Lethem: Truck to Annai, Saruma, Cupucari. Truck to Mabura (through Icowaw and Frenchman amerindian viallges). After mabura take road that follows the river upstream to Yaya (on the Essequibo) and Chomach (on the Potaro). Boat to Garraway Stram (bridge between these two towns fell, so right now trucks cannot reach Garraway Stream from here). Gorgeous falls in Chomach. From Garraway Stream walk towards Mahdia till you reach Kangaruma junction.
  11. Nov 24: ++Georgetown.
    Town not safe for white people.
    Taxi from airport (100 $G), bus 42 ($1). Bus to Parika (140 $G). Boat to Bartika (500 $G).
    Recommeded hotel: Moderns Hotel ($4.5 room with bath and fan). Without bath but clean: Pink House ($3).
    To Kajetur: From Georgetown take bus #32 to Parica ($l). From pier take speedboat to Bartika (runs all the time, 2 hours, $4) or steamer on monday, thursday, saturday ($l). From Bartika take any truck going to Mahdia (they usually run at night in the days of the steamer, average cost $12, 160 kms, takes 14-16 hours, make sure it has a good cover against rain). Get off at Kangaruma junc- tion (2 miles after Garraway Stream).
    Fastest way overland: From Georgetown to Linden by bus (45 minutes). From Linden to Mabura by bus (unreliable). From Mabura see above.
    Companies that work in the Kajeteur area, such as Danny (Victoria St, Albanystown), have regular trucks that go straight to Garraway Stream and connections with speed-boats that go up to Tukeit.
    Variation on previous one (recommended): from Linden bus to Yaya landing. Take speedboat to Chomach ($6 for 15 people, 2 hours). Direct trucks from Georgetown to Chomach only tuesday to saturday, not sunday or monday. No bus service. From Chomacho take speedboat to Garraway Stream ($4 for 6 people, 2 hours). walk to Kangaruma junction.
    From Kangaruma junction to Kajeteur: walk to Ka ra (1.5 hours). Town has 12 people (6 prostitutes, watch your belongings). First home on the right works as a hotel for workers: food and lodging (i.e., you can sling your hammock). There's a bar and a store. Wait for speedboat to Tukeit (erratic, one/tvo per day)- One bour to first waterfall (Amatok). One hour to second waterfall (Uaratok). At each waterfall tbere's a landing to walk around the falls and take another speed-boat. Then you reach Tukeit from where you can walk up to Kajeteur in about 2 hours (dry season). Hot in the rainy season. Most speedboats will ask for any money (no public service, they're all ffrom the companies that work there). If stuck anywhere in between, ask to sling your hammock at one of the camps along the way. Everybody very friendly. For emergencies, each has ham-radio communications.
    Lots of malaria in all of these places.
    Amerindians paddle up and down the rivers, but many lives are claimed every year by the strong currents. Not recommended. Use speedboats only.
    Everything highly unreliable: one might tell you that a boat is coming at 10am and the boat will show up two days later.
  12. Nov 25: Truck to Mahdia (1500 $G, 12 hours). The road is basically a track that only military truck can try. I get right after the bridge, at the fork for Kangaruma. Walk to Kangaruma (5 kms). Wait for a boat to go to the first landing, from where a truck takes me to the other landing, where I wait for another boat and so on. All rides are free.
  13. Nov 26: Danny's camp. River is growing and it is not advisable to stay there. Boat back to Kangaruma.
  14. Nov 27: Kangaruma. About ten souls, mostly prostitutes.
  15. Nov 28: Boat Kangaruma-Chomacho (2000), then Chomacho-Yaya (1500), then Yaya-Linden (7000). Bus Linden-Georgetown (1000). The bus is overcrowded, there aren't enough buses running.
  16. Nov 29: Fly Georgetown to Barbados
    Only five airlines at Temehri airport: Suriname, Gonin, Guyana, Liat and BWIA.
    Flight to Trinidad: $140 with Guyana Airways or BWIA. At least one a day.
    Flight to Barbados: $140 with Liat. 5 a week.
    Flights to Kajeteur both from Temehri and Ogle airports ($40). At least one a day.

Notes (1993)

Trip difficulty: moderate to strenuous
Season: Sep-May
Length: 20 days
You do not see any wildlife when cruising on the Amazon river. The main attraction are the villages and the trade that goes on among the villages.
General warnings about Guyana (1993): Malaria is widespread. Outside of the main centers, there is virtually no police (and no hospitals). You're on your own. While people are generally very friendly, you're still on your own.

Links
  • Map of Latin America
  • Map of South America
  • Map of Brazil(CIA)
  • Map of Colombia
  • Websites about Guyana
  • TM, ®, Copyright © 1999 Ulysses-Travel all rights reserved.