Getting there & away
Boats down the Amazon to Manaus leave from Porto Fluvial de Tabatinga. There are generally three boats per week, departing from Tabatinga on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday around 2pm, with a stop at Benjamin Constant. Sometimes there are extra boats, so it's worth asking. Note that boats can be very crowded.
The trip to Manaus takes three days and four nights and costs around US$65 if you bring your own hammock, or around US$240 for two people in a double cabin. Food is included, but you're best advised to bring snacks and bottled water. There are a number of places to buy ordinary cloth hammocks (US$5 to US$10) along Rua Marechal Mallet. To negotiate your trip, head down to the Porto Fluvial a day or two in advance and ask which boat is headed to Manáus. Board the boat and let the crew know you want to join them.
Boats come to Tabatinga one or two days before their scheduled departure back down the river. You can string up your hammock or occupy the cabin as soon as you've paid the fare, saving on hotels. Food, however, is only served after departure. Beware of theft on board. Traveling upstream from Manaus to Tabatinga, the trip usually takes six days, and costs about US$110 in your hammock or US$330 for a double cabin.
Transtur (3412 2945; Rua Marechal Mallet 248) runs rápidos - high-powered passenger boats - between Tabatinga and Iquitos. Boats leave from Tabatinga's Porto da Feira at 4am Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and arrive in Iquitos about 10 hours later. The boats call at Santa Rosa's immigration post. The journey costs US$60 in either direction, including breakfast and lunch. Don't forget to get an exit stamp in your passport from DAS at Leticia's airport the day before departure.
The only passenger airline servicing Leticia is AeroRepública (592 7666; www.aerorepublica.com.co in Spanish; Calle 7 No 10-36). It flies between Leticia and Bogotá three to four days a week. For travel in August, December and January, try to book as early as possible, as flights fill up.
Two airlines (Trip and Rico) fly from Tabatinga to Manaus; between them they fly every day except Wednesday. You can buy tickets from Turamazon (3412 2026; Av da Amizade 2271), or CNM Câmbio e Turismo (3412 3281; Av da Amizade 2017), both near the border. The airport is 2km south of Tabatinga; colectivos marked 'Comara' from Leticia will drop you off nearby. Remember to get your exit/entry stamps before departure.
A small Peruvian airline, TANS (www.tansperu.com.pe in Spanish), flies its 15-seat hydroplane from Santa Rosa to Iquitos on Wednesday and Saturday (US$90). You may be able to find out information from Cambios La Sultana (592 7071; Calle 8 No 11-57) in Leticia.