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  #1  
Old 15 Jun 2008
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Boat down the amazon

Hi guys just need a bit of infomation about getting passage on
a boat down the amazon from manaus to the coast so we can drive to Rio in our land Rover. I know that there are a lot of posts on shipping a bike down this river but I have not seen many regarding shipping a Land rover. Is there any knid of ferry or do you think we will have to containerise? Does anybody have an idea of costs?

Also I was just reading the FOC website and they are advising against all travel through the border between Columbia and Venezuela and also Ecuador and Venezuala. Is it really that bad? Has anyone done this route from Ecuador to Columbia then Venezuela and onto Manaus? Any advise on raod conditions or good places to stop would be great.

Oh yea as mentioned above we are in a 4x4 and will be travelling this way in August/ September.

Thanks

Jason
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  #2  
Old 15 Jun 2008
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Yes its easy

Hi Jason,
We just travelled up the Amazon from Belen to Manaus, then through Venezuela to Colombia.
The border crossings were fine with no trouble.
We were on the Enart ship "Rondonia" which is a big ugly steel catamaran. It has decent cabins or hammocks, and can easily transport your land rover from Manaus to Belen.
The Enart website is AR Transportes it should answer most of your questions, although it is in Portuguese...
One thing to note is that most foreign bank cards do not work in Venezuelan ATM's...You need to take cash (US is best) to change with the moneychangers. There is a official Bank rate and a "real" rate.The real rate is almost double the official rate, but will change by the time you get there.
The road from the Venezuelan border south to Manaus is heavily potholed except through the Indigenous reservation.
Oh, yes, the price of fuel in Venezuela will make you smile...and Colombia is a really, really, wonderful country.
Cheers
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  #3  
Old 16 Jun 2008
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Jason,

From Manaus to Belém you don´t need a container, just a ferry.
You can try these links in portuguese, ferry companies in that region.

TRANSPORTES BERTOLINI:
Transportes Bertolini Ltda.
Transportes Bertolini Ltda.
Transportes Bertolini Ltda.

SANAVE:
Site do Grupo SANAVE
Site do Grupo SANAVE
Site do Grupo SANAVE

About travelling in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, you can contact Daren, a canadian motorcyclist, (look for DMOTORIDER here in the Horizons - HUBB), he has just ridden from Manaus to Venezuela then Colombia. Now he is in Colombia by motorbike for his second time with no problem!!! Contact him!!!
DMotoRider.com - My Journey Through The Americas - And Inward

Have a nice ride,
Best wishes,

Reginaldo Rohden.
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  #4  
Old 16 Jun 2008
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Jason,

These ferries only carry cars, trucks, etc. No people!!!
You will have to take a boat for you, in case you take a ferry to your Land Rover.

Best wishes,
Reginaldo.
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  #5  
Old 23 Jun 2008
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Thanks guys

Thanks for the info its really set my mind at ease, but I do have a couple more questions. My Portugese is shocking so these might be obviouse but here we go:

Are the prices on these web sites in US dollers or Brazillian Reais?

Would you recomend booking in advance or turning up at the dock side and sorting it there?

And when you say heavilly pot holed..... How long did it take you guys to get from the Venezualan border to Manause?

Thanks again Cameron and Reginaldo, your advice is really invaluable as is Darens blog.

Hope to see you on the road.

Jason
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  #6  
Old 23 Jun 2008
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Jason,

The prices are in brazilian reais.
Rede = hammock
Rede c/ ar = hammock with air conditioned (cabin)
Cama = bed (cabin)
suíte = suite!!!

I´m not sure if you can book, but you can go to the office or docks and buy the tickets some days before your departure.

If a Suzuki V-Strom 1000cc rode there, probably there will be no problem to your Land Rover!!!

Have a nice ride!!!

Best wishes,

Reginaldo.
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Ushuaia - 12.000 km - nov. 06.
Atacama Desert & Uyuni Salar - 8.000 km - oct. 07.
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  #7  
Old 24 Jun 2008
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I took this boat in May 2008 so its all fresh in my mind. I think theres pics on my blog Touring Ted


PM me for a contact in Belem. An Argentinian ex pat who lives there. Obviosly speaks Spanish and portuguese and a little English.

He is a member of a bike club there and will help you wherever he can as well as bringing you into their social group.

I can get details of the boat for you as well as a reliable broker for the ship. You basically turn up at the dockside and theres LOADs of blokes trying to sell you passage. You pay a deposit, the full amount on the day.. You should be able to book and get passage the same week. You pretty much pay cash for your ticket and the ticket for your car/bike then show up and wait 5 hours for the tide to be at the right height and the other cargo to be loaded.

There were cars being ferried in the hold of our ship so it shouldnt be a problem. Make sure you get a cabin to store your stuff as things WILL go missing. If you get a cabin, you also get a private sit down food hall instead of queing for 45 mins for buffet leftovers.

With a bit of notice I can dig up the details of a nice secure biker/traveller friendly hotel (easy to find with secure parking), in a nice part of town in Belem too.

You will need a visa to enter Venezuela, its best to get it in Belem at the consulate while your waiting for your boat.

Its really a 2 day ride/drive from Manaus to the border of Venezuela and fuel isnt an issue unless you have a sub 350km tank.

One thing i cant stress more is GET LOTS VENEZULIAN CURRENCY BEFORE YOU ENTER - CASH MACHINES DO NOT WORK AT ALL OUTSIDE MAJOR CITIES. Either that or have US dollars or Reis to change on the street. (You usually get a better rate than the cash machines as the Venezuelian economy is a yo yo)
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Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 24 Jun 2008 at 22:53.
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  #8  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Hi
just a few comments:
UK citizens don't need a visa to enter Venezuela.
There is an exchange controls in Venezuela. The official rate is 2.15 bolivars for 1 US dollar. On the black market it went up to 6 to 1 at the end of last year but it seems stabilized at 3.3 for 1 dollar right now. You will not been able to change money before entering Venezuela. (only at the border town of Pacaraima in Brasil, but if I were you I would wait in Santa Elena, you go at "Las 4 esquinas" and dozens of changers will offer you). You can use foreign credit cards in almost all ATM's, jusy check on the machine if it works with Visa etc etc . The only problem is that all transactions with credit cards will be calculated at the official rate, so it is cheaper if you travel with cash. rate is better on US dollars than Euros. If you want to change Brazilian Reais, get rid of them in Santa Elena, border town with Brasil, because nobody will change them further on in the country.
cheers
claude
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  #9  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Discuss...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudeNfat View Post
Hi
You can use foreign credit cards in almost all ATM's, jusy check on the machine if it works with Visa etc etc . claude
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...enezuela-34934
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  #10  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Visas - discuss...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudeNfat View Post
Hi

UK citizens don't need a visa to enter Venezuela.
Well you live there Claude, so you should know, and I live next door and I've never needed one, but then again Ted only came through at San Antonio about a month ago.

From the Venezuelan Embassy's website:

"British passport holders do not need a visa to travel to Venezuela as tourists for up to 90 days, if entering and leaving the country by air. A Tourist Entry Card (TEC) valid for 90 days is available from the airlines serving Venezuela at no cost but these cards cannot be extended. If planning to travel to Venezuela by land or sea you should apply for a tourist visa beforehand."

Embassy of Venezuela in the UK

beats me!
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For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda

Last edited by Stretcher Monkey; 26 Jun 2008 at 15:43.
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  #11  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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FORGET what that website says.... You need a tourist visa which the Venezuelian embassy website, the consule (and the locals there) told me that HAD to be obtained BEFORE you enter the country.

At the very official, big and posh Venezuelian border control, I was asked for my 90 day tourist visa which they stamp and keep.

Its not a visa as such that you have to apply weeks in advance with lots of paperwork. You just show up at the Venezuelian consule, fill in a form and have it signed by the consulate. Takes 15 minutes if the consule isnt on his lunch.

Venezuela is very particular about its paperwork and its all very modern and all on computer. You will get a seperate big stamp in your passport just for your bike too.

The police in Venezuela WILL frequently stop you and ask for ALL your paperwork and they know exactly what you should and shouldnt have.. They can and were easily tricked with any old kind of insurance document but everything else has to be in order. There are police checkpoints before and after every large town and highway.. It was bloody anoying and really pissed me off about Venezuela. The Police attitude stinks too. We often had guns pointed at us and our bags pulled apart. (nothing every stolen though and no bribes asked for)

It was soo nice to get to Colombia and happy smiling friendly military.

BTW, I have a British Passport.

Maybe I could of got in without but maybe I couldnt...
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  #12  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Ted,ted,ted...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
FORGET what that website says.... You need a tourist visa which the Venezuelian embassy website, the consule (and the locals there) told me that HAD to be obtained BEFORE you enter the country.


You are up early and obviously very sleepy still - how IS work? hahaha!

I am clearly up very late.

If you read the excerpt from the site again, it confirms what you said - "if entering and leaving the country by air"

XT says hello What's her name again? She nearly got a new, rather unflattering one the other day!
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How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda

Last edited by Stretcher Monkey; 26 Jun 2008 at 15:51.
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  #13  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Hi
I agree that Santa Elena is something apart, and is in no way representative of how things work in Venezuela. It is so far from the nearest big town (650 km) that all services are poor, There are only 2 banks and 2 ATM's. If your card doesn't work in the ATM you always have the option of doing a cash advance on your Visa credit card inside the bank. Lots of foreigners are doing that. But again that will be done at the official rate and is not good business for you.
Another option, since Banco do Brasil opened now a branch in Pacaraima, you could go back to the boder, no formalities required if you go only to Pacaraima, and withdraw reais from the Banco do Brasil ATMs. You then exchange them into bolivars.

I agree also on the bad attitude from the police and military in Venezuela. You will find most National Guard checkpoints between Sta. Elena and Puerto Ordaz. It is not that I agree but they are there to control (or try to) the smuggling, drugs going South into Brasil and gold and diamonds going North, as it is a big mining area and also a border area.
These checkpoints will stamp your passport (where you have the entry for the motorcycle) to indicate your motorcycle passed through. Once you passed the last one (Upata), nobody will stamp your passport again.

As for visas, a number of French and Germans living now in Sta Elena on their tourist status have to exit Venezuela every 3 or 6 months, they do that formality in one hour: exit venezuela, enter Brasil exit brasil and enter Venezuela again... and they have their new stamp for another 6 months. I know personnally 2 of them having done that for more than 6 years !! by this example I mean that no visa is required, you just present yourselves at the border. In any case as soon as I return to Sta. Elena, I will ask directly at the customs officials what is the story about that and I will gladly report back here.

btw I am not venezuelan... I have only 15 yrs here.
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  #14  
Old 26 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretcher Monkey View Post
You are up early and obviously very sleepy still - how IS work? hahaha!

I am clearly up very late.

If you read the excerpt from the site again, it confirms what you said - "if entering and leaving the country by air"

XT says hello What's her name again? She nearly got a new, rather unflattering one the other day!
Hey buddy..

Work is crap. Long hours of souless sales in miserable and wet St Helens. lol...

Hows the XT treating you ? I hope shes behaving !!
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