Wanderlist Discover: Iquitos, Peru
Accessible only by air or by river, Iquitos is a prosperous, vibrant metropolis in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Once a tiny native village cut off from the rest of the world, over the years it grew to become the largest city in the region, thanks to its emergence as one of the leading suppliers of rubber in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Today, many foreigners and tourists visit the city to enjoy its equatorial climate and the stunning natural wonders of the Amazonian rainforest. This is a perfect place for eco-tourist enthusiasts as once can almost instantly feel an instant connect with the unadulterated rainforests in and around this town. Traditional indigenous lifestyle and modern civilisation live in harmony in this city. Despite all the modern conveniences and infrastructure, you are never too far away from the Amazonian jungles. In fact, don’t be surprised to see the jungle pushing into the city premises, just outside the air-conditioned cafes and fancy restaurants that crowd the riverside. One thing is certain. Your unique experiences in Iquitos - chugging down the Amazon river, enjoying the local cuisine of the rainforest or even partying in the local nightclubs - will remain with you long after you have left Peru.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Cruise along the Amazon to Pacaya-Samiria : Sail along the Amazon river and head to the Pacaya - Samiria National Reserve where you will encounter pink dolphins. This reserve is also the largest protected flooded forest in the world, and one of the richest reserves of flora and fauna on the Earth.
Experience the local tribal culture : Visit the Bora Bora community and learn about their tribal lifestyle, and enjoy the song and dance experience they will put up. They also sell some local handicrafts, which will help finance their medical supplies. In return, you can learn how to hone up your blow-dart shooting skills.
Visit the Manatee Rescue Centre : Just less than 5 kms from the Iquitos Airport is a rescue and care centre for manatees. Learn all about these endangered creatures, and you may even get a chance to bottle feed the young calves.
Best Time To Go: any time of the year
Iquitos is good to visit anytime of the year, but if you are averse to hot temperatures, you may want to stay away from September to November, which are the hottest months of the year. If you want to enjoy the rainforest tours, you should travel in December and around March, which are wet months and. If you visit around mid June you can also enjoy the festivities surrounding the birthday of John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Amazon.
Where in the world:
Iquitos is located in the Peruvian Amazon forest and is surrounded by the Amazon, Nanav and Itaya rivers.
Fun Fact: Iquitos is the largest city in the world unreachable by road. To reach Iquitos, you need to fly to Lima, the capital of Peru, and then another flight from Lima. You can also take a boat journey down the Amazon River from places like Manaus in Brazil, Coca in Ecuador, or Leticia in Colombia.
Language : Spanish, with a distinct Amazonian dialect
Currency : Peruvian Sol
Get Around : Although there are no roads connecting the city to the outside world, motorised tricycles which seat three people at a time, are the best way to travel around the city. Many of the drivers of these tricycles - known as motocarros - are also excellent city guides, so you can hire them for a day or so, to show you around the local sights too.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.