Throughout much of lowland Amazonia, water provides the main means of transportation. Rivers provide natural thoroughfares whose layout determines the location of towns and villages, and the degree of commercial activity. Mass transit is provided by mechanized river boats, while personal transport consists of paddle-propelled dugout canoes. Road transport the rule only in large cities, while air travel is restricted to the wealthy few.
Rivers are the Amazon's highways, and boats such as these are the Amazon's buses and trucks. On the top deck are piled goods for transport, whereas the lower deck has a number of hammocks strung up no luxury cabins! Compare this with the tourist river boats. (See tourist river boat.)
At the periphery of the Amazon basin, road transport is practicable and more roads are being built, despite the destructiveness of road building. In these areas, such as the Ecuadorian Oriente (eastern Ecuador), buses are widely used by locals and tourists alike. However, the quality of the roads and the buses is below that found in most industrialized countries (but so are the fares!).