The Options: Shipping from Belém

So, you’ve driven all the way up the Brazilian coast to Belem and run out of road, did you? Now, what?

1) put the vehicle on a cargo boat from Belem to Macapa. Cost is about $500 USD for the vehicle. You cost extra. It’s only a 2 day trip, and you’ll probably get to see some interesting stuff on the way as you weave around Ilha de Marajó and cross the Amazon. From Macapa, you can drive 600 km to Oiapoque and exit Brazil into French Guiana. But, there’s a catch.

The bridge that crosses the Oiapoque River was completed two years ago, but it’s still not open. Fortunately, there’s a guy with a boat that charges $300 USD for the 10 minute trip across the river. Convenient. If you don’t mind paying for that boat ride, then you’ll probably love French Guiana… it’s expensive. Still, you’re driving from Brazil into France, so that’s kinda cool.

We considered this option, but the problem for us would be that the Guianas would be a dead end. Sure, we could visit Suriname and Guayana too, but from the Guianas, all roads lead back into Brazil. We would not be able to re-enter Brazil due to the expiration of our Brazilian visas. We would have to wait 6 months, get a new visa, and then re-enter. This didn’t sound like a good plan. We could also ship directly from Cayanne to Europe, but I couldn’t get anyone to give me a quote. We could definitely ship from Suriname to the Netherlands (again, no quote). But, we’re just not sure that’s the next continent.

2) Ship from Belem directly to some other country. As the bus has been continuously deteriorating and general travel exhaustion has taken a permanent hold on us, this was looking like a preferred option. Ship the car and take a break.

The ‘problem’ seemed to be that exiting Brazil from a port is a major hassle and an exorbitant expense. Lengthy port inspections, unpredictable customs, and a requirement to use a shipping broker seem to be the reasons that the associated costs quickly add up. For us, it might make more financial sense to just sell the vehicle rather than ship it. But, again, nobody would talk to us. Maybe if we had a few million kilos of coconuts they would be interested.

3) Up the Amazon to Manaus. This is a 6 day (or so) trip. There are a few cargo options for about $450 USD for the vehicle. You would travel separately on a different boat or fly. There are many passenger boats to choose from. We did find one boat that holds 8 vehicles, has a few passenger cabins, and a big hammock space. The vehicle transport is $550 USD and a cabin with 4 bunks and A/C is $350 USD. The San Marinho II. It leaves every two weeks.

We decided this option was going to work. We could travel with the vehicle, see the Amazon up close, then drive 1000 km north to make a quick exit into Venezuela before our visas expire. Then, Angel Falls and who knows what else.  We’ll sleep off the road weariness on the boat. Resting from too much travel with more travel? It’s so crazy it just might work.

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3 thoughts on “The Options: Shipping from Belém

  • May 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    The third one was the good one…enjoy !

  • May 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    I guess many people cannot believe, that you can be exhausted from travelling… Unfortunately visa regulations, climatic reasons (winter, rain season, etc.), and more quite often restrict the idea of staying at one place for a longer period and recover. We had wished for such option several times…
    As the opening sentence on our website says “Traveling is hard. Anyone who says different isn’t a traveler; they’re a tourist. A traveler’s life and their trip are one in the same, living life while traveling rather than taking a vacation from life.” I hope you can relax a little in Manaus before taking on the next hard stretch of road!

  • June 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I just started to read the blog and don’t know yet if you had a change to go to the south of Brazil. If not, I would recommend. It’s completely different from what you experienced at the north. Also Minas Gerais is a lovely state. I’m loving to read you! 🙂

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