Yurimaguas April 2015

Departed Moyobamba at 10AM April 13th.

Moybamba to Tarapoto: 2 hours. Changed vans in Tarapoto. Used the longest running, most reliable transport service in this area: Tourismo Selva.  Departed Tarapoto around 2PM Arrived Yurimaguas around 6PM.

As usual in these parts; the van (packed to the gills with 19 humans aboard) was halted for a full hour en route, waiting for road maintenance crews to clear rock slide debris.

Checked into a previously unknown hostel in Yuri around 6:30PM. By 7:30 I had all my gear sorted out in the small room, logged onto the new router, and went out to get my bearings and a bite to eat. The power went out just before I left the hostel and partially returned as I walked to the main plaza.  Ate and made it back to the hostel around 11PM.

The following morning I had a pretty good idea of the layout of the small town. I was here last year (it’s in a previous blog post). I fell in love with the market then. This year was no different.

Below: A short walk through one street of the Yuri market area

Is it any wonder at all why I have required myself to take up the practice of fasting every so often?  I’m putting on weight again… just like many folks in this vid. Hard not to pack on a few extra pounds around here…  all this delicious stuff is available, every day, year round, at very affordable prices for all who live here.

For travelers intending to head further East from Yuri… this is where one trades wheels for propellers. No roads between here and Nauta/Iquitos. Only way to proceed is on a boat. Two or three types of boat exist. One type is a large (usually very old) cargo vessel, where passengers hang their hammocks on one or two decks just for that purpose. Cargo vessels are slow because they stop frequently at the small towns that dot the shore and they unload whatever cargo was requisitioned before continuing. It could take three to four days to go from Yuri to Iquitos on a cargo vessel.

The next two types of boat are  mostly for ‘local’ passengers. One of these types has a very small ‘peke-peke’ motor which is really a lawn mower engine with a locally fabricated six to eight foot long shaft at the end of which is a propeller. These rigs are basic, no-nonsense vessels for very local traffic. Most river edge dwellers have a friend or family member who has access to a boat/motor like this.  They do not go very fast and are very slow against the current.  You will sometimes see whole families carrying bananas, plantains, yucca or other stuff to market in these things.

The next type is made for ‘commercial’ travel. These are built of thin sheets of steel. They are flat bottomed and have flared sides that are welded to the bottom that extend upward and outward for about three feet. These vessels are often 50 feet or longer and about seven feet wide maximum. They will often have old school bus bench seats and can carry 40 to 60 people, their luggage or smaller cargo. These boats have two modern (usually Yamaha) outboard motors. Often 100 hp each  engine. These boats are the riverine equivalent of a bus or van service.  This is what I chose to travel to my next destination downriver… Lagunas.

The boat/service I found was called ‘Bravo’. They do travel back and forth between Yurimaguas and Lagunas every day. They depart Yuri at 9AM (buy your ticket the previous day and arrive at the dock early).  The Yuri/Lagunas run goes with the current. It takes 5 hours. The Bravo departs Lagunas and head back (upriver… a longer ride) to Yuri at 6PM.

Next up: Lagunas