Synonymous with mysticism and adventure, Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and, at the same time, the largest city in the world without road access, which turned it into a European bubble within Peru in the rubber era, where the city it resembled London or Paris because of the constructions with imported tiles and facades of different colors.
Iquitos not only has spaces that invite you to adventure and enjoy nature, but other cultural ones that come from the legacy of rubber, as well as spaces with a lot of nightlife such as its boardwalk with restaurants and rooftops with a beautiful view of the Itaya River. Here we tell you about 5 activities that you must do in Iquitos to get to know both the adventure aspect of the jungle as well as its cultural legacy:
- Navigate the Amazon River in search of pink dolphins: The pink dolphins are an endemic species of the Amazon jungle and during your visit to Iquitos you will be able to see them, usually in a river mouth (union of 2 rivers). The tour guides know the places where you can observe them. I was lucky enough to observe several of them on a tour we did with Ceiba Tops Lodge, which is included in their stay program. You can also do it with various agencies that you can contact in Iquitos.
- Tour the communities of Iquitos by bicycle: If you really want to get to know Iquitos, you must start with its people, its communities, understand their day-to-day life and what better way to do it while surrounded by beautiful views along the way. This is possible thanks to Iquitos Bike with whom I made a tour of about 4 hours that began by crossing the Nanay River, with the bicycles, in small to start the route in the communities of Independencia and Santa Clotilde. We made stops at the Independencia viewpoint to marvel at its graffiti, colors and natural views; We arrived at the house of the hermit poet Fernando Fonseca who told us his story and showed his books. The price of the tour is 150 soles including guidance, helmets, bikes and it is one of the most enriching experiences I have had traveling in the Peruvian jungle.
- Complete the Extreme Circuit at Avatar Canopy Park: If yours is the adventure and enjoy the emotion, this circuit is for you. It has guides that will place all the safety implements on you and guide each of your steps. The circuit begins with an extreme suspension bridge, it has zip lines of up to 65 meters!, rappelling, a liana so you can live the very experience of Tarzan and almost at the end it has a web of ropes that you must cross. You will be above up to 25 meters high. I recommend you not to look down and just enjoy the moment. The views at the top are incredible and the experience is pure adrenaline. The circuit begins with the pick up at the Port of Nanay and you will be back in Iquitos around 4:30 pm, it has a cost of 180 Nuevos Soles that will include the implements and transfers.
- Kayak on the Amazon River: This experience has been unique and I was able to do it at sunset. You will feel tiny when you look up and be aware at that moment, while paddling little by little, of the immensity and beauty of the jungle around you: only vegetation, the river and the sounds of birds. I did this experience together with Ceiba Tops Lodge
- Learn about the cultural and architectural legacy of rubber: And finally it is important to understand that our jungle is not just nature. Iquitos has a unique historical legacy as a result of the rubber years and the contrast of its fauna and flora with the architecture that you will appreciate in its streets will leave you surprised. Do not forget to tour the monumental area of Iquitos and appreciate the Casa de Fierro with the design of Gustave Eiffel himself (yes, the designer of the Eiffel Tower) or walk through the Casa Morey in front of the Ramón Castilla square, touring the Boulevard from Iquitos to run into the former Palace Hotel, the first luxury hotel in Peru –since it is older than the Bolivar hotel- full of tiles on its facade. You can take this tour completely free, you just have to walk through the Plaza de Armas and the Boulevard de Iquitos, look for the locations on Google Maps.
Your Next Stop Information:
A. How to get there from Lima?
To find offers it is a matter of being attentive to the various airlines and signing up to receive their promotions. Flights take about an hour. I made my trip through Star Peru that allows you to take 1 suitcase with the purchase of your ticket.
B. Where to stay and where to eat?
If you want to enjoy the adventure of Iquitos, I recommend you enter the jungle and for this you must stay in a lodge. I recommend you find out the facilities it offers, there is a wide range of lodges on the banks of the Amazon River. The lodge where I stayed is called Ceiba Tops Lodge and it has a swimming pool with a slide for adults and children. In addition, it includes all meals and organizes guided tours. Within its facilities they have a giant ceiba tree over 200 years old. Prices start at USD435 for a 3-day, 2-night program with all tours and meals included.
To eat and enjoy, I recommend 3 places: if you are looking for something gourmet with local ingredients, a place that tells you the whole story around the film of the same name is “Fizcarraldo” by German director Werner Herzog, which even has the original rudder of the ship and posters of the time. All the decoration revolves around the movie, it is located on the same Boulevard of Iquitos.
If what you are looking for is an environment with a lot of movement and beautiful views, then “Las Terrazas” in Iquitos is the place you are looking for. The rooftops have also arrived on the beautiful island and this place located in front of the Itaya River, also on Iquitos Boulevard, has the perfect atmosphere and views to enjoy the city. Finally, if you want to try drinks with local ingredients, I recommend “Musmuki” where you will even find aphrodisiac drinks
C. What to bring?
Shoes, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, camera. The months of December to May are rainy and during the months of June to November the weather will be sunnier. Come prepared with rain gear.