The Napo River (Spanish: Río Napo) is a tributary to the Amazon River that rises in Ecuador on the flanks of the east Andean volcanoes of Antisana, Sinchulawa and Cotopaxi.
Its total length is 1,075 km (668 mi). The river drains an area of 100,518 km2 (38,810 sq mi). The mean annual discharge is 6,976 m3 (246,400 cu ft) per second.
Towns and Cities
Coca and Nuevo Rocafuerte are on the Ecuadorian side of the border. There is a daily speedboat service between the two ($15, 10-11hours). Ecuadorian immigration is located in Nuevo Rocafuerte. Pantoja is the first village on the Peruvian side, and here you need to get your entry/exit stamp. Santa Clotilde is the biggest town between Mazán and Coca. Sometimes slow boats from Mazán terminate here, and there is also a scheduled speedboat service (S/. 100, 8hours). Mazán is the strategically located across a narrow strip of land at a huge bend between the Amazon and Napo rivers. It is a short boat ride from Iquitos (S./. 7-15, 40mins-2.5hours)
Parque Nacional Yasuni is an Ecuadorian national park located by the Peruvian border.
Fast (40minutes, S/. 15) and slow (2.5hours, S/. 7) boats leave Iquitos to Mazán (Amazon port), from where you take a S/. 5 mototaxi to Mázan village and the Napo port. There are also roughly 3 slow boats per month which travel between Iquitos and Coca.
Speedboats run daily between Coca and Nuevo Rocafuerte on the Peruvian border. The only part of the river south of Coca where there is no scheduled speedboat service is the border crossing between Nuevo Rocafuerte and Pantoja, you will have to bargain for a private transfer - there should be other locals or travellers hoping to make the same trip, try to find them to reduce the cost.
From Pantoja there are 2 speedboats per week to Mazán, leaving on Monday and Tuesday mornings (S/. 200, 2days overnight in Santa Clotilde). There also may be speedboats on other days of the week to Santa Clotilde, and from Santa Clotilde to Mazán.
To go in the opposite direction (from Peru to Ecuador), there are cargo boats and speed boats. Cargo boats leave whenever they ahve enough cargo to justify the journey (approximately once in 10 days). Speed boats are ran by a company Trans Vichu. The company provides transport all the way from Iquitos (with a transfer by mototaxi in Mazan) to Pantoja. The boats leave Iquitos/Mazan on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays (6:30 am from Iquitos and 9 am from Mazan). It costs S/.215 from Iquitos and S/.200 from Mazan. The boats stop in Santa Clotilde overnight (accommodation is provided) and continue the following day. There is one meal provided on the boat each day.
There is one public boat service going from Pantoja to Nuevo Rocafuerte - a speedboat that leaves Pantoja every Sunday at 2 pm. It taks 1 hour and costs $10.
Tours to Parque Nacional Yasuni can be arranged from Coca or Nuevo Rocafuerte (about $50-60 per boat for a day trip if arranged in Nuevo Rocafuerte).
Take a boat up or downstream, relax and take in the scenery.
There is no ATM between Coca and Iquitos, so bring enough cash. Changing money at either of the border towns, however, will see you receive an extremely bad rate.
You will likely eat a lot of rice-based meals while on the Napo River.
The locals make a liquor from fermented sugar cane and honey, sometimes mixed with milk. Try at your own risk.
A mosquito net is a good idea if you plan on sleeping in a hammock and repellent is a must.
There is no 3G signal on the Peruvian side north of Mazán. There is municipal internet access in Santa Clotilde. There are medical clinics in the bigger villages.
Iquitos and Coca are the main jumping off points.