Colombia, Latin America, Peru

Crossing Borders On a Cargo Ship

Colombia Latin America Peru

Last October, I was in Colombia and so in love with the country that I postponed many times my departure to Peru, my next destination at that time. Time ran out and so I had to leave to enjoy new adventures but low cash and a short schedule made us give up on plane tickets when we found this very peculiar way of crossing borders. I regret nothing.

We flew from Bogotá to Leticia, a tiny town on the Colombian border with Brazil and Peru. This is where we could board the cargo ship. What was meant to be just the most economical means of transportation turned out to be another great adventure. That’s when we found out that river life requires time and patience. In order to reach our pre-planned destination, we would have to catch at least 2 cargo ships until we could arrive in a city with roads that would take us to the most visited cities in Peru.

The first cargo ship took us from Leticia to Iquitos, the city in the Peruvian Amazon. There was no access to roads; only the river or a small airport as a means of transportation. From Iquitos, the second boat took us to Pucallpa, another small Peruvian city. From there, we were finally able to leave for the city on our travel itinerary.

Although the displacement took much longer than a flight would take, we don’t regret a single thing. We spent 9 days sleeping in hammocks in the middle of the Amazon. We went down the river between Peru and Colombia, passing through incredible small villages, watching storms with lightnings and thunder far away in the distance. We saw beautiful skies complete full of stars and the super-moon, pink dolphins, beautiful landscapes. We also enjoyed sharing meals, conversations and our spare time spent with locals.

This whole experience only makes me think of that cliché phrase: “It’s the journey that counts, not the destination”. And what a journey.

Contributed by Julia Oliveira