According to barblejewelry, Iquitos – “window to the Amazon” or “Pearl of the Amazon” – one of the most important cities on the banks of the Amazon. In addition, this is the main starting point for traveling through the selva. The buildings of rubber magnates of the 19th century are still preserved here.
There are several hotels in the city (including one “five-star”). Most tourists stay in lodges around the city.
How to get there
From the country’s capital, Lima, you can only fly (1.5 hours on the way, 6 flights a day). In addition, you can get to Iquitos by ferry from any Amazon port.
Cuisine and restaurants
Iquitos has a wonderful local cuisine, which intricately mixes Peruvian, Colombian and Brazilian gastronomic traditions, as well as authentic dishes of the Amazonian settlements. Many local establishments can offer dishes from “wild meat” – antelopes, caiman, turtles, etc. Note that it is better to refrain from such an exotic meal, since in the vast majority of cases animals are killed illegally. See watchtutorials for Peru travel package.
As for drinks, it is worth trying honey “para-para” and “aguahinha” from the fruits of the same name.
Entertainment and attractions of Iquitos
The center of city life is the picturesque Plaza de Armas with a mass of buildings of colonial architecture around, including the famous “iron house” Casa de Fierro, designed by the tireless adept of stainless steel Eiffel (it is not known what he thought when he built it: to live in the house became possible only quite recently, with the invention of air conditioners). In the city is the gallery of Cesar Calvo de Araujo, an artist born in the neighboring city of Yurimaguas, who depicted his native places and their inhabitants.
84 km from Iquitos is the river port of Nauta, where you can see the unique confluence of two rivers, Marañon and Ucayali, the birthplace of the majestic Amazon River.
The port and village of Belen, located on the left bank of the Itaya River, are interesting for their architecture. Some of the houses here stand on wooden rafts, some on stilts. During the rainy season, the village is called the “Venice of Loreto” because the lower floors and streets are flooded, and the locals travel by boats and canoes. In the city itself, you should definitely go to the capoeira school (freaky graffiti) and the zoo: with tapirs, capybaras, ocelots, jaguars and monkeys that calmly walk along the paths. The zoo has an excellent sandy beach.
Ayapuyo-Mishana National Reserve (Allpahuayo-Mishana) is located 26 km from Iquitos, in the thick of the Peruvian Amazonian jungle, also called Variales. 1800 species of plants grow here, 520 species of butterflies, 155 species of fish, 83 species of amphibians, 120 species of reptiles, 750 species of birds, 145 species of mammals.
The Institute for Amazonian Research in Peru (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana) has developed amazing selva tours that take place at night. It is at this time of day that you can see some types of frogs, rodents, earthworms, snakes and insects. The cost of the tour is 22 USD, for an additional 11 USD you can stay in the reserve for the night already outside the organized tour. To visit the reserve at night, you will need rubber boots, trousers and a dark-colored long-sleeved shirt to blend in with the environment as much as possible.