Peru - North forest, 347 feet above sea level (106 m.a.s.l)
Distances to Iquitos:
From Lima 627 miles (1,009 Km) by air
From Pucallpa 615 miles (990 Km) by river
Airport Code: IQT
Iquitos is an ideal place for lovers of the ecological tourism, and for the ones who want to feel an intimate contact with the virgin nature of the Amazon forests. From the city you will be able to go to lodges into the jungle, and for the most adventurous and fearless you can arrive to parks and natural reservations, full and plethoric with exuberant flora and fauna, with many undiscovered places, and many alive species unknown by science.
Iquitos is the capital of the department of Loreto, located in the middle of the Peruvian forest, less than 4° south of Ecuador, and next to the left river bank of the Amazon River.
Iquitos was a village inhabited by the wild tribe called the "Iquitos" from whom the name was taken in the moment of its foundation in 1864. During the Spanish Colony and the gold fever caused by the legends of "El Dorado" (The Golden) and the "País de la Canela" (Country of the Cinnamon), Iquitos never had historical figuration. In 1883 began in this city the era and peak of the rubber, the exploitation of their latex and trade made that some reached immense fortunes, it brought the prosperity of the city and the construction of splendid houses began, some with tiles brought from Portugal.
In those days, Iquitos had better communications, with Europe, through the Amazon River, better than with the city of Lima. Part of the characteristic of this time was the acquisition of a house built by G. Eiffel in Paris and today located in the Main Square of Iquitos, the House of Iron. The end of the era of the rubber arrived in 1912.
From then on, Iquitos has always been the main fluvial mean and principal Amazon port of Peru; its economic activity has been centered in the commercialization of its natural resources and lately the exploitation of petroleum.
Near the city of Iquitos exists a zoological park of the Amazonian fauna, spas and resorts in "cochas" (lagoons). Almost in the same city you will be able to visit "Belen", the Peruvian Venice, or go for a walk by the pier and observe the mightiest river in the world, the Amazon River.
The population of Iquitos in its great majority are natural descendants of regional wild tribes and of the miscegenation. The people's temper is very noble and cheerful, lover of the amusement. Iquitos is also famed by the quantity of men that arrived to the city and lost their bachelorhood, because of the affection that women in this region give to the visitors. The population has many myths and legends, some occult; there is a great diffusion of the folkloric medicine and the faith to be cured with those medicines based on the great quantity of medicinal plants that exist.
In the city you will be able to find crafts of the aborigines tribes, as well as enjoy an excellent cuisine and typical drinks and beverages.
The typical public transportation in the city is the "mototaxi" or "motocar", it is a motorized tricycle used for passenger transportation with a very economic rate. There are also taxies in conventional cars that generally don't have air-conditioning. In the city you can rent a motorcycle or an automobile.
Iquitos has an international airport and arriving daily flights from Lima, capital of Peru. Iquitos don't has roads, it's only possible arrive to Iquitos by air or by river.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: With 2’080 000 hectares, it is the biggest National Reserve of Peru , also it is the largest protected flooded forest of the world and one of the richest places in biological wealth on the planet. Between its biological diversity we find 449 of tropical bird species, 102 of mammals, 256 known species of freshwater fish, 69 of reptiles and more than 1000 varieties of plants, as well as species in danger of extinction like the giant otter, the black lizard, the manatee and the pink dolphin of the Amazon. The place's beauty, as well as its biological wealth makes the reserve a particularly important destination for scientific investigators, nature lovers and bird watchers.
Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve:
The entrance is 26.5 km / 16 miles from Iquitos by the Iquitos - Nauta highway (30 minutes by car). Leaving from the Bellavista Nanay port, it takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the engine.
This reserve of barely 58,000 hectares protects the largest concentration of white sand forests or “varillales” known in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Here, numerous one-of-a-kind species of plants and animals live. Protected here is also a specimen of forests floodable by the black waters of the Nanay River, unique to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. This reserve contains an enormous and peculiar biological wealth and numerous endemic plant and animal and restricted distribution species stand out, many of them still without scientific classification. Up to now, there have been more than 1780 plant species, 522 butterfly species, 155 species of fish, 83 species of amphibians, 120 reptile species, 476 bird species, and 145 species of mammals registered; the most important ones among them are the equatorial sakis (Pithecia aequatorialis) and the black titi monkeys (Callicebus lucifer). New plant and animal species are continually being discovered. Among the birds, there are two dozen noteworthy species living in the white sand forests, unknown in Peru until just recently. In the last five years, four new bird species have been described by science, ones associated with white sand forests (three are ant eating species – Herpsilochmus gentryi, Percnostola arenarum, andMyrmeciza castanea) and the other eats flies and other insects (Zimmerius villarejoi). There exists a fifth that yet has a scientific description (Polioptila clementsi). To these, we have to add another dozen bird species that are unknown to Peru until recently like the beautiful pompadour cotinga (Xipholena punicea) and the saffron-crested tyrant-manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum).
Eco-Tourism: The Amazon forest is the natural reserve of more extensive and more variety life of the Earth. Abundant botanical and zoological species, in lustful landscapes in those in which you can go and be lodge for some time, or in the Parks and Natural Reservations. Or if you prefer a cruise by the Amazon River, or a simple ride in a boat.
The city - Iquitos: The city has as axis of its social and economic life in the Main Square, and around it, famous houses of the era of the rubber as Iron House. The Main Square is very near the riverside called Tarapacá, its commercial center in the Próspero Street, and the traditional neighborhood of Belén with its floating houses on the river.
Iquitos harbors between the jungle’s lushness and the Amazon’s mysterious murmur a series of architectural gems that surprise the traveler for the beauty of their forms and for the peculiarity of their style; these are the traces left over from the rubber barons, powerful land owners that made the jungle of Peru a true commercial paradise at the end of the nineteenth century. As part of the inheritance from the epoch, some singularly designed vestiges still remain: palaces richly decorated with Arabic bricks (the Rocha, Morey, and Cohen houses), Art Nouveau buildings (ex Palace Hotel), or the celebrated residence designed by Gustav Eiffel, constructed with metal girders transported by hundred of men through the jungle.
Tarapaca or Boulevard Seawall
One block from the Main Square on the banks of the Itaya River
It was built during the pinnacle of rubber fever and was named in memory of the fallen heroes in the war with Chile. From it, you can see the attractive landscape of the Itaya River and the floating neighborhood of Belen. There are many important historical monuments, houses, and cafes placed along its length. The wall has been remodeled, and now there are wide sidewalks, small plazas with gardens, and one rotunda, a monument to the biodiversity, myths, and legends of the Amazonian region.
Malecon Tarapaca 386. Telephone: (065) 23-1072(prefecture); 23-4031 (INC). Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. / Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
It was built in 1863. What stands out the most in the museum are the large windows ending in semi-circular arches and protected by strong iron bars, the decoratively carved wooden interior walls, and the furniture designed in the fashion of the times. It preserves a collection of more than 80 life-sized fiberglass sculptures representing the main ethnic groups found in the Peruvian, Brazilian, and Venezuelan Amazon Rainforest and a photographic retelling of the city’s history. It shares the premises with the Military Museum.
Malecon Tarapaca 354. Telephone: (065) 24-2353. Visiting hours: Mon. 3:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M.;
Tues. – Fri. 8:30 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. and 3:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M. / Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
The library keeps specialized subjects books, photographic archives, newspapers and magazines, movies, maps, prints, and paintings; it also exhibits objects of historic value and ancient editions of the Bible. Regional topics are its area of specialty. The library was built in 1873 to be only one story, but the second was built in 1903. The successive, large windows protected with iron grates are what stand out.
Port and Village of Belen
Located on the left bank of the Itaya River, southeast of Iquitos. Morning visits are recommended
Its origins date back to the beginning of the twentieth century, and it is composed of homes built on top of balsa wood rafts that float on the waters during the flood season. It is a traditional regional style. With the passage of time and the increase in population, the style has changed and more houses are built of a fixed construction on top of wooden pillars, some of them two stories. During the dry times, the people use both floors, but during the flood season, only the second floor is used; since the entire lower zone of Belen remains under water, the population transports themselves in boats and canoes, which is why it is considered the “Venice of Loreto”. Belen has two districts: the upper zone where the Belen market and main warehouse are and the lower zone, an informal port and lively commercial center for jungle goods. Today, there are buildings of high quality materials.
It is possible to take boat rides on the Amazon and Itaya Rivers.
Quistococha Tourist Center
Close to kilometer marker 6.3 of the Iquitos-Nauta highway, southwest of Iquitos (30 minutes by car). Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
The center is located near Lake Quistococha. The complex has an area of 369 hectares of natural forest and also an artificial beach where visitors can swim, sun themselves, and enjoy the white sand and lovely landscape. You can row a boat on the lake and hike in the areas nearby.
12 km / 7 miles from the Iquitos Airport control booth (30 minutes by car) It is located on the left bank of the Nanay River and is perfect for swimming or taking a canoe ride through the beautiful countryside. Close to the lake is a small pond, Corrientillo, where you can eat traditional food.
Santo Tomas Village
16 km / 10 miles from Iquitos (45 minutes by car)
It is situated on the banks of the canal that links the Nanay River with Lake Mapacocha, an excellent spot to water ski and to take boat or canoe rides. Nearby, there is a motocross track. The area is inhabited by a Cocama Cocamilla indigenous farming community whose main economic activities are fishing and ceramic making.
12 km / 7 miles south of Iquitos on the banks of the Nanay River (30 minutes by car). Turn off 500 meters / 1640 feet before the airport
During the dry season (July – December) when the Nanay River water level decreases, beautiful, white sandy beaches are formed in front of Santa Clara and other areas, perfect for swimming, tanning, or possibly camping. It is one of the most attractive spots in the area around Iquitos.
4 km / 2 miles from the Iquitos Airport control booth on the banks of the Nanay River (15 minutes by car)
It looks like a closed arch and is known for calm waters full of fish.
San Juan Artisanal Market
Kilometer marker 4.5 of Avenida Abelardo Quiñónez
This market produces and sells a large diversity of regional handicrafts like knitted plant fiber articles, wood carvings, diverse ceramic pieces with typical motifs, “llanchama” tree bark paintings, typical clothing, leather goods, typical drinks, and many others. There is a room for Amazonian culture expositions and a wooden amphitheater for artistic presentations.
Bellavista Nanay Pier
North of Iquitos (10 minutes by motorcycle taxi) on the left bank of the Nanay River
From here, boats depart towards different destinations like the Boras indigenous community of San Andres and the Padre Cocha and Manacamiri farming communities, where tourist activities related to the villages’ traditions are found. You can rent a boat for rides on the Nanay River, for visits to nearby communities, and to appreciate the difference of the water in the intersection of the Nanay and Amazon River.
20 minutes from the village of Bellavista by motorboat on the left bank of the Nanay River
The Cocama Cocamilla people live here, a community of artisans mainly dedicated to making ceramics. From there, you can visit the Boras tribe and go to the Pilpintuwasi butterfly farm.
Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm
15 minute walk from Padre Cocha. Visiting hours: Tues. – Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Last guided visit is at 4:00 P.M.
Pilpintuwasi is a Quechan word meaning “house of the butterflies”. It houses more than forty varieties of exotic butterflies in a beautiful habitat surrounded by tropical flowers. Visiting the center allows you to witness butterfly reproduction, an interesting process, medicinal and ornamental plants, and different birds, monkey species, a tapir, an anteater and a jaguar.
Boras of San Andrés
From the Bellavista Nanay port by chartered boat on the Nanay and Momon Rivers (20 minutes); it is on the banks of the Momon River
The inhabitants are originally from the area of the upper Putumayo on the border with Colombia, and attracted by rubber fever, they migrated to the place that they live today. They still maintain their customs and cultural traditions, and their festivals and ceremonies are associated with their myths and legends. They paint their bodies for their dances with the usual motif among the men and women being a stylized snake. The “Fiesta del Pijuayo” and the “Danza de la Viga” are the most important festivals, and in them, they wear masks to represent mythical beings and to dramatize mythological episodes about the origin of the world, humans, and the Bora culture. You can purchase local handicrafts in the area.