Day 71: Rio Branco to Puerto Maldonado – Border Crossing Challenge

After a typical Brazilian “café da manhã” (breakfast) with “pão de queijo” (Cheese bread), “misto” (Cheese-Ham-Sandwich) and cafe I hit the road again. A short detour lead me back to the main road and I was on my way to Peru, the Amazon and Machu Pichu…

The road conditions were miserable… everywhere potholes! It slowed down my progress significantly and I was not sure if I could reach my final destination of the day before nightfall. Furthermore, I did not do my homework regarding the border crossing and had no clue what challenges to expect.

The scenery was not in particular very beautiful and I tried to make as much progress as possible. Around noon, I decided to make a lunch break in Brasileia before crossing the border at Assis, Brazil and Iñapari, Peru. For sure, I could not leave the country without having a last Açaii, lol.

While enjoying my fruity lunch I was considering to take a short cut through Bolivia on “highway 18” but locals in the restaurant were advising me to better stick to my plan of crossing directly from Brazil to Peru.

Worse road conditions than here!

After experiencing the sandy roads in Bolivia and my crash, I had no other choice but to believe them. Consequently, I continued my journey and reached after another 2 hours the border of Brazil and Peru.

Border Crossing Brazil / Peru Alfandega

The Brazilian side was super easy, no problems at all. However, things changed when I arrived at customs in Peru. Not because the procedure was difficult but because the personnel was incredibly lazy or simply not available. The border patrol needed ages to cope with the few people. It drove me nuts! The officer in charge for the motorcycle registration was not even in his office… he made a break or whatever… Just after imagining myself already in Puerto Maldonado, I was stuck at the border.

Happy to have had sufficient dollars with me, I used the time to already purchase my obligatory SOAT insurance, made a couple of copies of my passport and vehicle registration and… well… waited!

When the officer finally showed up and processed my documents it was almost dark. Of course… I failed to maintain my number one rule: “Not riding at night.”

I was lucky though… the road conditions suddenly improved with the Peruvian side. No potholes anymore but instead beautifully paved asphalt.
However, I was riding in the night and I considered stopping in one of the few villages along the way but did not really like the the accommodations.

Where to stay in Puerto Maldonado

Arriving late in the evening in Puerto Maldonado I also had problems to find the hostel right away. After asking several people I finally found Tambopata Hostel and discovered a nice accommodation with swimming pool and spacious dorms with mosquito nets. They let me park “Fury” inside the hostel next to the reception and the staff was incredibly friendly.

Marianna was apparently out with other travelers and I decided to explore the town myself. Washing off the stress of the day, I took a quick shower and went straight to the main square which had surprisingly a broad range of different restaurants and bars.

Puerto Maldonado is apparently not just a great place for hanging out but a superb hub for exploring the nearby Amazon region. When returning to the hostel I met Marianna again who convinced me to sign up for another adventure – an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon. Right on!

Rio Branco to Porto Maldonado