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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

The long way round to the Amazon - Day 568 - 571

How much? A month or so ago we were looking for flights from Central America back to Brazil and were shocked by the price of flights.

We wanted to return to Brazil for two reasons: firstly, to visit the Meeting of the Waters and the Amazon Jungle; secondly for our cheap £160 exit flight to Seville, Spain on 25th June.

At £400 each one way for a direct flight, that was far too much for our budget.

I tried every combination I could think of using Skyscanner — no such luck. There must be a cheaper solution.

I reached out to ask facebook group for "retired" travellers for advice. (No, we have not retired, I still work; however, the demographics of this group is similar to us.) One person responded that we could get to South Columbia and travel by boat along the Amazon into Brazil. Interesting.

Further investigation showed that we could fly to Letitia in Columbia, get a taxi across to Tabatinga in Brazil, then catch a flight to Manaus to tick off our first criteria. Great.

The cheapest journey, a saving of over £200 each, was four flights, two overnight stays and one tuk-tuk ride! Oh well, all an adventure but it hurts our carbon footprint; something that both of us are increasingly concerned about.

Our Day 568 was spent in San Jose, catching up with family and friends via WhatsApp and having lunch at a cafe in the city's Grand Theatre.

The service was superb, but sadly on the next table, the attitude of three American ladies to the waiters was rather disrespectful. I did nearly say something to them!

Day 569 was nothing to write home about, so I won't, and Day 570 afternoon and evening was spent exploring Letitia, a military town where we saw with many young soldiers training and listening to their band practice.

Luckily Tim had read about the border procedure to get into Brazil, different to usual. We returned to the airport to get our exit stamp (which can be done the day before leaving). When in Brazil, we had to go to the Federal Police Station to get our entry stamp.

In the evening, we visited probably the best restaurant in town, splashing out a total £16. The waitress brought over a bowl filled with coconut husks with large fat grubs. I had an inclining that she thought I would shudder with horror. I didn't but wouldn't be keen eating them alive, even though that is what these grubs experience when a bird swoops down to gobble them up.

Day 571 I awoke to a very poorly Tim. He had been throwing up all night and felt dreadful. No, he hadn't eaten a grub.

We got a tuk-tuk over to the border, found the police station, obtained our stamp, got to the bank, and after giving our tuk-tuk driver the rest of our Columbian money, waved him goodbye.

Oh dear. The bank did not accept our bank card. As our spare one had been compromised earlier in Brazil, we only had this one card. No money, no sim, how were we to get to the Airport?

With Tim feeling unwell, the hour walk in the sweltering heat was not a good idea.

I had read in a travel book advising to have some US$ hidden in case of emergencies like this and mentioned it to Tim. "We have sterling" he replied. Returning to the bank to see if we could convert this to pesos (we couldn't), Tim discovered that as well as sterling we also had £27 worth of Brazilian pesos. Hurrah! There were two very relieved people!

Onwards and upwards, a few hours later, we were in Manaus. Phew!

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