When we arrived back at Ciudad Bolivar, we reserved the night bus and went out to see the sceneries of the Orinoco River, the largest river in Venezuela. The river front during sunset was beautiful. However, we all enjoyed the Venezuela hot dog the most. It has flavors unlike the US version, with fried onions and unique sauces.
After a passport check and another detailed luggage check, we arrived at 7AM at Santa Elena, which is at the border of Venezuela and Brazil. This place is also the jumpoff point to hike up a famous table mountain call Roraima, but it takes 6 days of long hike so we decided not to go. Instead we had breakfast and found a taxi to take us across the border.
The border crossing went very smoothly, unlike the one between Colombia and Venezuela. At the Brazilian side, we found a taxi to take us for a 2 hour ride to Boa Vista wher we will take another night bus (12 hours) to Manaus, the heart of the Amazon Jungle!
At Boa Vista bus terminal, we found a tasty restruant and an internet cafe where we caught up on our journal and emails.
1) Adrenaline Expeditions helped to reserve bus tickets for Santa Elena at 48 Bolivars F. per person. The bus, Expresos Occidente, ride took 12 hours. The taxi to the bus terminal was 10 Bolivars F.
2) At Santa Elena, we went to the Backpacker hostel where the breakfast with pancakes, juice, toasts were tasty (15 B.F.) The travel agent there was very helpful in giving information on crossing the border. www.backpacker-tours.com.
3) The exchange rate from B.F. to Brazilian Real was 2.2 to 1. The exchange rate from US dollar to Real was 1.7 to 1.
4) The taxi to cross the border, including waiting at the Venezuela and Brazilian customs, was 25 B.F. (about an hour for the whole process) The taxi from the border to Boa Vista (2 hour) was 70 Real. Taking the taxi was a good option for five of us as the bus would have taken four hours and cost about the same.
5) The Ecutur bus from Boa Vista to Manaus (12 hours) was $R 80.50 per person. This is quite expensive relative to the buses we had taken so far in South America.