The city of Iquitos is located in the tropical rain forest in the northeast of Peru and contains approximately 400,000 residents. It is a popular starting point for excursions into the Amazon Basin. and is exclusively accessible by boat on the Amazon or by plane. Iquitos was established in 1750, when Catholic Jesuits founded a missionary station for the rather “disobedient” indigenous residents. In 1860, a small rubber boom took place in the city which generated a short spurt of growth in Iquitos. Furthermore, the discovery of oil wells near the city in 1960, brought even more growth to the city. Today, the most important source of income for the local population in Iquitos is tourism.
One of the highlights in Iquitos is the Iglesia Matriz. This Catholic Church is located at the palm-lined Plaza de Armas and its height exceed all other buildings in the city. The architect of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, also designed the iron house that is found on the edge of the same square. This “Casa de Hierro” is made entirely of metal.
Many nature lovers use the city of Iquitos as a starting point for their rainforest -adventure. The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is the largest protected area in Peru and the fourth -largest nature reserve in South America. If you have some extra time on your hands, you should enjoy the impressive habitat of the Amazon Rainforest. Many agencies offer various day trips into the jungle: these include boat -trips, piranha fishing and, hikes through the brush observing exotic animals and plants. These tours normally come in a package that includes a stay in a jungle lodge with traditional bungalows.
Near the Plaza de Armas there is a small beach promenade with colorful fountains. This area is the place to be especially in the evenings. Street performers entertain tourists and locals, while bars and restaurants offer the perfect place to enjoy the fresh evening -air and relax with some delicious food and drinks.
Don't miss out on a visit to Belen, the bustling market area of Iquitos. If you are interested in the extraordinary: take a stroll through the medicine lane ("Pasaje Paquito") to observe all kinds of remedies from local plants and animal products
Iquitos can easily be reached by boat or plane. Thousands of tourists arrive by the local International Airport Coronel Francisco Secada Vignetta, in the San Juan Bautista District every year. Lima offers daily flights to Iquitos at reasonable rates.
The standard of living in Iquitos one of the highest in Peru. The hotels of the city are beautiful and, - if measured by “western” standards, - inexpensive.
The temperatures in Iquitos are relatively constant throughout the year, ranging from 26-31 degrees Celsius, with an average humidity of 80.2 percent. Although it is sunny year round, you can expect the highest amount of sun exposure between August and September. Be sure to pack sufficient sunscreen, bug repellent, and light clothing.