Banking on a Good Time – Presidente Figueiredo, Brazil


Route Manaus, Brazil – Presidente Figueiredo, Brazil (BR174)
Distance 105Km
Travel Time 1 hour
Road Conditions Good tarmac
Weather Hot, sunny, humid
Terrain Tropical Jungle
Food and Petrol Frequent
Accommodation Pousada Das Pedras, Presidente Figueiredo

Around 105Km north of Manaus on the BR174, we visit Presidente Figueiredo.


The initial impression is a tranquilo town , though with rather terrible hostels. Almost ready to leave the town for somewhere else, we finally find Pousada Das Pedras (50BRL/dbl + fridge, kitchen, parking, breakfast) – a price which we negotiate for a number of days stay with the owner Fernando.


Das Pedras is excellent. Fernando has set up the place like a jungle lodge, all with local heavy wood furniture and scattered all over are his collected antiques, which he is locally well known for. And then there’s his dog, named Fidel – lol!

A heart-breaking incident at 80Km/h… 🙁

As this moth flew by we had to duck not to get clipped for fear of concussion…

We spend a number of days exploring the area by moto and it’s truly amazing! Waterfalls, rivers, caves, crystal clear and pure as nature. Most of these locations are waylaid and off the main tourist path, so we often find we have the entire attraction all to ourselves. Fantastic!


There are even a large dam and hydro plant, which we get a little tour of, thanks to a lovely young lady named Maria, an employee there who showed us around. (They do have tours at certain times during the week but we weren’t there during any of these, so we were lucky.)



Das Pedras has an amazing kitchen, which we’re permitted to use, so every other evening we cook up a storm like we’re chefs in a classy hotel. The other evenings we spend lazing in plastic garden furniture, eating char-grilled chicken or beef skewers at the street-side restaurants in the village centre, while watching the nation-gripping soap opera Salve Jorge (which we were introduced to during our BR319 stint).


Refreshments on the way home….

Breakfasts are included at Pousada Das Pedras and always an experience. Every morning, besides the strong, sweet Brazilian coffee and maize cake, is an assortment of Amazonian fruits we’ve never seen before – interesting, healthy and delicious!

The Argentinians we met in Manaus meet us in PF a few days later.


We spend a few more days in the area with Max and Erica, swimming in waterfalls, exploring the area and getting to know each other a bit better. Erica and Max made some money building properties down Patagonia way and decided to do something adventurous: so now they’ve rode all the way up the Brazilian coast line to get here, and they will continue on all the way to Alaska. Seeing we’re going the same direction we decide to ride on together, at least to the Brazilian-Venezuelan border.



One day, riding out to one of the waterfalls, it starts to rain so heavily that we park up under a little shelter by the road side, where I get introduced to a cashew nut tree. Now of course I’d eaten cashew nuts before but never had I imagined the fruit (edible) to be so odd-looking! Also, I learn the hard way that the bean beneath, which contains the cashew nut, is filled with a strong chemical best not touched, because the resulting burns will leave you with a scar.


It must be said that the area surrounding Presidente Figueiredo is some of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen! There are literally dozens of waterfalls, one more beautiful than the other, secluded in lush jungle, pure amazonian water flowing through – magical! (But beware, some of them are hard to find and hard to get to!)


One of the waterfalls we visit is very close to the pousada but lost beyond a series of mud tracks in tall jungle. It’s such a slush through the clay to get there we get flash-backs of the BR319 – really traumatizing. I drop the bike about three times, blistering my legs up on the hot exhaust… (don’t ride there in your swimming cozzie next time!)


Max and I spend some time chatting with the owner Fernando. He’s an interesting character. Descendant of a wealthy Italian family in the textile business, his passion for motorbikes landed him testing motorbikes for the Honda factory. He tells of his adventures, spending six months at a time, riding the new motorcycle models thousands of kilometres down the Brazilian coast, getting up to all sorts of mischief. Until he unfortunately had too much fun racing down a road, looking backward, and ended up stopping very hard and breaking a whole lot of bones…


On one of our outings I manage to reel in a beautiful Amazonian river fish which went into a good meal that night…. very exciting at the time, but when nothing else took my bait thereafter I was left with a guilty conscience, wondering about whether I’d terminated the only Amazonian river fish living in these parts. I wish I had thrown him back. But then how could I know he didn’t have loads of friends?


On the evening before we plan to depart I try to withdraw money from one of the two banks in town. The ATMs fail to dispense any money, first giving the message “communication failure…”, however the third time I try I get the message “insufficient funds…”. I rush back to the Pousada and spend a hour on their useless USB-key-WiFi system to connect to our Kalixa online banking system, to find that our cash card account has been overdrawn (by my recent failed transactions) by about 600GBP! Something that should not even be possible!!!


What’s more: my cash card provider doesn’t see this as their problem and tells me I need to top up the account balance before I can continue using it! The last time we had a problem like this was in Santiago, Chile, with Kalixa cancelling Ebru’s card due to a suspected “security compromise” – nonsense!


Luckily Erica worked in a bank before and together we go to the branch the next morning. Her Spanish and Portuguese work a lot better than mine and she manages to convince the Banco Brazil staff – first reluctant to do anything – to give us print-out confirmation of the failed transactions from the ATMs, as well as time-stamped photo snapshots of me doing the transactions the previous night.



With these documents – though it still takes a painstaking email process with my card provider – we manage to get my provider to reverse the transactions and refund all incorrect charges. Thanks a lot Erica!!


Did I mention that we planted trees for our Brazilian Planting Around the World mission here? Click here for details…