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Peru Cargo Boat Packing List

What to bring on your trip by cargo boat trough the Peruvian Amazon.

Once you have made the bold decision to travel the Amazon by cargo boat ( from Pucallpa to Iquitos for instance like we did)  it’s time to get your supplies. You will be on your boat for 5 days, so it is important to be prepared! But what exactly do you need to bring? We proudly present you our extensive Peru cargo boat packing list!

TIP: we can be super specific about the route from Pucallpa to Iquitos, but what you need is very similar for each cargo boat experience in Peru! Also when you go from Yurimaguas to Iquitos!

About the Peru cargo boat packing list

To make it easier for you, we divided the list into different categories: Sleeping stuff (the items you need to sleep on the boat), Necessities (items that you will not want to miss), Nice to bring (items that made our stay much better), food & drinks and, lastly,  items that you could leave at home if you have space issues. By clicking on the links below, you go to the specific category!

Pucallpa to Iquitos by cargo boat 

So, as said above, we took the cargo boat from Pucallpa to Iquitos and therefore bought the majority of our gear in Pucallpa.  Accordingly, we can tell you exactly where to buy your beautiful hammocks, your food, and cutlery.   As we will do, by providing google maps links 🙂 Everything you specifically need for this trip you can buy in the little market close to the harbor (convenient!). Furthermore, the prices are really fixed, so you do not have to worry about haggling or about being ripped off.

Different route?

In case you take another route, don’t worry. The set up for all cargo boats is pretty much the same. You will sleep in a hammock as well for instance. In that case, you can still use this packing list to prepare yourself and use the prices as an indication!

Read more about the boat first?

If you read the story above and think: “hammocks?” We wrote another article that exactly explains the sleeping on the boat and a lot more practical issues. This Peru cargo boat packing list is part of a set of three articles about our experience on the cargo boat from Pucallpa to Iquitos. 

Sleeping stuff

The first category is the most important one, namely what you need to bring to the cargo boat to be able to sleep: hammocks that is! Furthermore, we advise you to bring mosquito nets, and a hammock to hang your backpacks above the ground (great theft prevention!)

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Our Iquitos cargo boat experience

Sleeping stuff

Hammock

(Market, 20-30 sol)

You will sleep in a hammock at the boat: you can buy them at the harbor (20 soles) but the pretty Cusco ones in any color imaginable are sold at the market for 30 soles each.

 

Hammock for bags

(Market, 15-20 sol)

Hanging your bags in the air (and showing how easy they drop) really decreases the chance of being robbed, plus your bag stays clean. Fortunately, you can fit two big backpacks in one.  The cheapest one is 15 soles, but the 20 soles one is slightly more stable or buy another Cusco pattern and give it away as a souvenir.

 

Mosquito net

(Market, 18 sol)

Even in the dry season (we went in September) there are some mosquitos around, but it is not too bad. However, a mosquito net also really protects against thieves because it’s more difficult to reach into your hammock when you sleep.

 

± 6,5 meters of rope per person

(Market, 1 sol per meter)

All of the above needs to be hung to the white metal bars on both sides of the boat. If you have strong rope, a single string is sufficient.  This leaves you with about 3 meters for your hammock, 2 for the backpack hammock and 1,5 for the mosquito net.

pucallpa Iquitos cargo boat hammocks everywhere

Cannot forget to pack

Each trip like this has a few items that if you forget to pack them, you will have a miserable time. The same applies to your experience at the Peruvian Cargo boat: all these items are must-packs!

 

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Our Iquitos cargo boat experience

Necessities

Pocket knife

To cut your ropes, but also to cut your additional veggies (see the food section)

 

10 liters of water

(Supermarket, 12 soles)

Big bottles of water on the boat are expensive and scarce (2,5 liter for 4,5 soles), so make sure you bring enough!

 

Cutlery & Tupperware

(Market, 1 & 2 soles per piece)

You need to bring your own utensils for the meals. As you often get soup, a spoon is a must (consider bringing an extra in case you lose one).

 

Toilet paper

(Market, 1 sol per role)

We brought 2 roles per person and were totally fine. However, make sure to incorporate the chance on food poisoning and usage for spilling and napkins.

 

Fanny pack/money belt

You will want to carry your real essentials (like your phone, money, and passport) on your body at all times, even at night. I use a Nike one that I can also use for running. 

 

Mosquito spray

Especially when the boat stops, the mosquitos start feasting.

 

Books or other offline entertainment

Because this will be your main passage of time, and there is A LOT of time.

 

Flip-flops that can get wet 

(Market, 4 soles)

You will live on flip-flops for the entire trip. Morevoer, you do not want to shower bare feet, believe me.

 

Earplugs/eye masks

You are sleeping in a room with 200 other people, so for some decent sleep these are very important. 

 

Fast drying towel

One of the travel kind because with humidity a normal towel does not dry.

Nice to bring

Happiness is in the small things, especially when you are at a cargo boat from Pucallpa to Iquitos for 5 days. Although you will definitely survive your trip without these items, they do make your experience a lot nicer! 

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Our Iquitos cargo boat experience

Nice to bring

Plenty of (plastic) bags

Super nice to tie up food or to take with you into the shower (see our practical information post) and a nice way to recycle.

 

Cups

(Market, 2 soles)

We really enjoyed drinking from a cup once in a while and we used them to put our cut vegetables in as well. Plus, if you buy cups with “an ear”, you can hang them!

 

Sleeping bag liner

I have a silk one and it was perfect for at night.

 

A small bag for semi valuables

Your kind-of-valuables you will have to keep in your hammock at night as well because of theft. So, we all used a small bag and attached this to the inside at night.

 

(Dish wash) soap

Or any soap (we used a hand bar) to wash your utensils after your meals.

 

Power bank

There are power plugs at the boat, although these are often occupied.   If you buy a power bank on the boat, check if it works: my friend bought one that did not.

 

Hand Disinfectant

Just to add a little comfort.

 

Carabinas

To attach anything from your cups to your bags etc.

 

Tigerbalm

Really works against itchy mosquito bites

Pucallpa to Iquitos by cargo boat amazon shore

More food & drinks

In the price of your boat ticket, three meals a day are included. However, from experience, we can tell that after a while you want to eat something else than rice and chicken and then you will be happy to have some fruit or Oreos with you! Make sure to bring small money too, because there are women selling amazing food along the way as well 🙂

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Our Iquitos cargo boat experience

More Food & Drinks

Fruit and vegetables

For your daily vitamins you do want to bring your own fruit and vegetables to the boat. We were really happy with our tomatoes and cucumber, which we cut up and added to our meals.

 

Non-sweet bread

Efficient in filling you up. Althoug it’s possible to purchase a bag for 1 sol at the boat, this bread is quite sweet.

 

Drinks

Next to water, we brought 2 bottles of red wine, but we advise the boxed wines from Gato! They are cheaper, lighter ánd not as sweet! Furthermore, we also had one bottle of coca cola each, a true treat on day 3.

 

Sweet stuff 

Oreos are our weakness, but really, there is cake being sold at every stop for 1 sol.

 

Small money for snacks

At every village the boat stops, there are women selling drinks and snacks (like banana bread and coconuts!). So, make sure to have enough small money with you for a treat.

Can leave at home

With only a limited amount of baggage you can carry, it is good to know that you can leave some stuff at home too! That is more space for food 😉

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Our Iquitos cargo boat experience

Could leave at home

Warm/too many clothes

Mistakenly, we brought a lot of warm clothes but even at night you will be sleeping in shorts. So, one sweater is enough. Furthermore, we pretty much wore the same outfit for 4 days in a row with the philosophy: everything gets dirty in a second anyways.

 

Unnecessary Valuables

Really only bring what you need: the rest you can better leave at home or out of view in your backpack for safety.

 

Shoes

As said before, you will be living on flip flops as they are easiest to get off when you get into your hammock.

Total list

Now without explanation, perfect to do your shopping! Want to read why we include the item? You can click on the orange text to go to the category. 

Peru Cargo boat Packing list

Item

Where to get it

Sleeping stuff

Hammock

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Hammock for bags

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Mosquito net

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

± 6,5 meters of Rope

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

Necessities

Pocket knife

 
 

10 liters of water

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Cutlery & Tupperware

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Toilet paper

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Fanny pack/money belt

 
 

Mosquito spray

 
 

Books or other offline entertainment

 
 

Flip-flops that can get wet

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Earplugs/eye masks

 
 

Fast drying towel

 

Nice to bring

Plenty of plastic bags

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Cups

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Sleeping bag liner

 
 

A small bag for semi valuables

 
 

(Dish wash) soap

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Power bank

 
 

Hand Disinfectant

 
 

Carabinas

 
 

Tigerbalm

 

Food and Drinks

Fruit and vegetables

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Bread

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Drinks

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Sweet stuff 

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

 

Small money for snacks

Market Pucallpa/Iquitos

leave at home

Warm & too many clothes

 
 

Unnecessary Valuables

 
 

Shoes

 

Enjoy your Peru Cargo Boat experience!

Cargo Boat Pucallpa Iquitos Amazon

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