a voyage across brazil
by foot, paddle and pedal
***News Update — 5 November 2013: Paddling the Amazon from Santarém to Belém. 1000kms. Will take approx 1 month. We now have a second Ally canoe, and our joined by our most righteous friends Eric Yu and Colton Whittle***
We (Aaron Chervenak & Gareth Jones) are crossing Brazil from north to south on a historical ‘human-powered’ journey of over 9000km (5500 miles).
The voyage starts in the jungle region of Monte Caburaí in the remote Amazon where Brazil borders Venezuela and Guyana. It ends at Chuí on the border with Uruguay.
After travelling through the Amazon basin by canoe, we will hike out across the scorched Caatinga hinterlands and on down thousands of miles of tropical coastline.
Brazil 9000 will present an unprecedented portrait of Brazil and the Brazilians; visiting indigenous territories, deforested ranch lands, industrial ports, deserted beaches, fishing villages, pristine jungle and huge metropolises.
It’s a journey that has never been attempted, not even with the use of motorized transport.
Until recently the coastal town of Oiapoque was wrongly seen as marking Brazil’s most northerly point. It took until 1995 for a Brazilian military expedition in the remote Amazonian state of Roraíma to officially confirm that the nation’s true north lay hidden in the mountainous jungle on the border with Guyana at the foot of Monte Caburaí. School text books are slowly being updated.
A handful of Brazilians claim to have gone from Oiapoque to Chuí by foot or bike but they have all resorted to using motorised transport along the way; taking a ferry for 24 hours across the Amazon delta, for example. This, combined with the fact that they began their journey at the ‘false’ north, presents the opportunity to become the first people in history to genuinely cross the length of Brazil.
Caburaí may be only 100km more northerly than Oiapoque, but it sends the expedition’s start point back over 2500km into the Amazon basin. The hike begins from the the source of the Mau river and then by canoe downstream to the Rio Branco and Rio Negro and the main body of the Amazon river.
The journey then continues on foot with a push south along the coast. This coastal route is far longer than cutting a direct southern path but more rewarding. There will be detours inland as and when the site of coconut palm beaches becomes monotonous! This includes travelling inland across the barren Caatinga scrubland before meeting the coast again at Recife. From there the march continues along the tropical coastline to Rio de Janeiro.
The final phase will be cycled across southern Brazil to the Uruguayan border. Ideally, cycling would be avoided but is being considered as a fast option to ensure deadlines are met if necessary. We estimate the journey to take approximately 15 months.