8 bucket list ideas for July (#1: cargo boat down the Amazon)
Want us to heap a few more travel ideas on top that ever-growing list?
No, you cry? No, you’ve already got waaaay too many things you want to do and places you want to see?
You can handle a few more.
They’re good ideas. I promise.
Ready? That’s the spirit – read on for our eight favourite new adventures to book this July…
Travel inspiration of the month: Take a cargo boat down the Amazon
Want to sail down the Amazon River? There are plenty of tours to choose from, but Liane and Lars of BoB around the World wanted a more out-of-the-ordinary trip. So, they hitched a ride on a cargo boat from port town Yurimaguas all the way to Iquitos, discovering the river outside of the pre-packaged guided experience. We caught five minutes with them to find out how we could do it too…
1. You chose to explore the Amazon river on a cargo boat instead of an organised tour because you thought it would be more adventurous, did this turn out to be true?
In comparison to a tour, the cargo boat is much more relaxed. You decide how you want to spend your day. There is often not much to do, so most of the time you just enjoy the laziness and take in the amazing scenery. Where else can you lie in a hammock and see the largest rainforest in world passing by?
2. Did you have to pay an entry fee to board the boat?
We paid 100 soles per person, so roughly $35 for our 3 day trip from Yurimaguas to Iquitos. The price included three meals a day. We also rented hammocks for the night (20 soles per person) and brought our own drinking water and some food.
For the whole trip we spent around 200 soles per person ($70) including the entry fee, hammock, water, snacks, toilet paper and mosquito repellent. Not much for a one-in-a-lifetime experience! So yes, it’s definitively cheaper than the usual three day tour through the Amazon Basin.
3. Describe a day on the cargo boat…
You’re woken up around 6am by the rising sun. You spend some time in your hammock, reading a book, listening to music and taking in the passing rainforest. Once in a while the cargo boat will arrive at an isolated village, and supply villagers with food, beer, clothes and other supplies. It’s unbelievable how people are able to live in such harsh conditions out in the middle of nowhere. The houses are often just basic shelters and kids will still be running around having a lot of fun.
Your day will usually end with an incredible sunset. The colors are so intense; they’re reflected on the surface of the river and trees making the moment feel really magical.
4. Being in a small space with other travellers must have been difficult…
All hammocks are very close to each other and privacy is hard to come by. But everybody is so relaxed, the atmosphere is positive. Some people slept very early, others played cards listened to music until late, but with earplugs we could sleep perfectly. The hammock was way more comfortable than we expected and gave us all the privacy we needed, you won’t feel observed by other travelers.
5. Did you see any cool animals?
If you’re lucky you might see the pink river dolphin. They’re very fast, so if you want to take a picture you have to be quick. We also spotted some beautiful birds in the trees.
6. What about bugs?
It wasn’t really a problem, but yes we had a lot of bugs on the boat. The crew did clean the deck a few times a day and removed all the bugs, but be prepared to encounter cockroaches, giant moths and mosquitoes onboard – especially in the evening when the lights are on. Mosquito repellent is very important to protect yourself against malaria and dengue. You have to remember that these creatures are part of the Amazon experience, so don’t be afraid of them.
7. And finally, what were the best and worst parts of the trip? Were there any moments when you wished you’d just booked a tour?
The best part was socialising with locals. When you talk to them you realise how small your ‘first world problems’ are and how easy it is for us to travel comfortably to faraway places. We’re also very lucky to have supermarkets close by that stock everything we need. The people we saw living in remote villages feel content when the river grants them enough food for their family, and to buy something additional from the cargo boat is just a happy bonus. This trip will definitely make you see your own life with a fresh perspective.
The worst part was the toilets… they were probably the most disgusting toilets we have seen in our lives, and sharing with 200 other travellers didn’t help. Make sure to pack your own toilet paper and some disinfectant for your hands and you’ll be fine.
Even if a plane to Iquitos was cheaper and a hundred times more comfortable we would never have chosen to fly over taking the cargo boat. It would have been fun to stay on the boat for a few days longer, and it was definitely the best way for us to experience the Amazon Basin.
7 more trips to inspire you in July…
1. Explore Porto, Portugal’s coolest city
Porto’s one of those places that’ve been on my to-go list a good few years now, but Curiosity Travels’ story on why you should visit Porto, like now has finallyconvinced me.
Her main reasons to go? Oh, you know, just the fact it still feels a bit ‘off the beaten track’ (this is a western European city in 2014 we’re talking about), the Port wine is delectable, the pastels de nata irresistible and there’s many a winding alleyway to explore. Did I mention it’s cheap, too? Brb, booking my ticket.
Image via CuriosityTravels.org
Check out our beautiful hostels in Porto here, starting at £6.73 per person, per night.
2. Hit the road in Malta
A Mediterranean island between Sicily and North Africa, Malta is small in size, big on history, as Becki from Borders of Adventure shows in her ultimate Malta road tripguide. A hotchpotch of cultural influences courtesy of rule by the Roman Empire, Knights of St. John, France and Britain makes for stunning architecture, and there are beautiful beaches galore. Becki provides a handy drivers’ map so you can plot your trip from Valletta to make a 360 sweep of the island.
Image via BordersofAdventure.com
Wanna follow in Becki’s footsteps? Search for Malta hostels now.
3. Work in New Zealand
WWOOFing has taken off in a big way in New Zealand. It stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, but in NZ it’s a catch-all term for exchange of work for accommodation. If you fancy saving a bit of money and getting into local life in a meaningful way, WWOOFing is for you – and eTramping’s article on how to do it in backpackers’ paradise New Zealand is full of helpful resources. Click to find out how to make those work/travel dreams a reality.
Image via Travelshutter
4. Find an outdoor adventure on the Sunshine Coast
Beaches, boat tours, biking, hiking… Australia’s Sunshine Coast is well set-up for adventure-addicts. The Aussie Nomad gives a rundown of the best things to do and see this summer, including hitting the trails at national parks Kondalilla the Glass House Mountains, cruising up the Noosa River and bike tours to Mt Tinbeerwah. He also gives food and shopping recommendations for when you need to slow down.
Image via TheAussieNomad.com
5. Eat your way through Berlin
Berlin is multi-cultural, cheap and filled with hipsters (just don’t call them that): in other words, the perfect storm for a foodie destination, and it sure lives up to the label. Farsickness gives a nicely thorough list of Berlin bites to munch your way through, covering everything from coffee to currywurst. I’m particularly inclined to check out the Vietnamese restaurant options, considering Berlin’s apparently the capital of cheap Viet cuisine in Europe.
Image via Farsicknessblog.com
Ready to go? Find a cool hostel in Berlin by browsing here.
6. Take a trail ride through Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
You should click to see pics from professional photographer Kirsten Alana’s trail ride outside Las Vegas at Red Rock Canyon. Book a tour with Cowboy Trail Rides and you too could traverse the desert on horseback, watch the sun set and eat steaks and s’mores followed by a campfire sing-along with cowboys. Yeehaw.
7. Trek Machu Picchu
Image via Kasia Trapszo
That’s our travels sorted. Now over to you: what are you up to in July? Tell us in the comments…
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