Iquitos is the capital of Loreto, the largest “state” department in Peru. This exotic and somewhat chaotic city is the largest in the Peruvian Amazon with about 400 thousand inhabitants. Geographically it is drawn and bordered mainly by three large and meandering rivers: the largest in the planet, the mythical Amazon; Nanay and Itaya; these last two tributaries of the first, and in addition to the Moronacocha lake.
Although it may seem like a small city compared to other cities in Peru, there is a variety of things to do in Iquitos in one day, especially in the cultural field. In the city of Iquitos you can find handicrafts from the jungle tribes, as well as you can enjoy excellent regional cuisine, typical drinks, hectic city life and great nightlife. There is great diffusion of folk medicine and quackery based on the large number of medicinal plants that exist, ayahuasca sessions.
Access roads – Iquitos
View of the Iquitos International Airport at the beginning of 2014. Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport links Iquitos with the Peruvian cities of Lima, Tarapoto and Pucallpa, as well as with the border city of Leticia in Colombia. It also serves private airlines and the armed forces for flights to remote Amazonian towns.
It is located in the district of San Juan Bautista about 7 km from the city center. Inside the airport operate registered cars and motorcycle taxis (tuk tuks). A taxi from the airport to the center of Iquitos costs S /. 20. In mototaxi it costs S /. 10. Outside the airport you can get buses for S /. 1 per person, with an average frequency of 15 minutes. The trip by car or motorcycle taxi takes approximately 30 minutes and by bus 40 minutes. It could be unsafe to wait for a bus after 6PM.
The available routes are the following:
1)Lima-Iquitos (1:40 hours, 8 daily flights, Monday to Sunday): LATAM, Avianca, Peruvian Airlines and Star Peru.
2)Tarapoto-Iquitos (1 hour, 1 daily flight, Monday to Sunday): LATAM and Star Peru.
3)Pucallpa-Iquitos (1 hour, 1 daily flight, Monday to Sunday): Star Peru.
4)Leticia-Iquitos (1:10 am, 2 weekly flights, Tuesday and Saturday): LC Peru.
Rivers are one of the main means of transportation for the cities and communities of the Amazon. In Iquitos operate mainly two services: the motorboats or boats that are large capacity for 250 passengers and the rapids, ships with large outboard motors with capacity for approximately 50 seated passengers.
The routes that currently operate the motor ships are:
1)Yurimaguas-Iquitos (3 days, 3 to 5 motorboats per week, from Monday to Saturday)
2)Pucallpa-Iquitos (3 days, 3 to 5 motorboats per week, from Monday to Saturday)
3)Santa Rosa-Iquitos (3 days, 4 to 5 motorboats per week, from Monday to Saturday)
4)Pantoja-Iquitos (7 days, 1 or 2 motorboats per month)
5)The fast boats make the route to Santa Rosa in 10 hours and depart from Tuesday to Sunday.
The tickets of the motor ships are bought the day before or the same day of the departure in the same ship. They can not be booked in advance. The rapids have offices where you can reserve the seat in advance.
Gastronomy – Iquitos
- Salad of chonta or palmito (stem of the palm tree also called pona).
- Golden Cebiche: based on fish.
- Inchicapi: chicken soup with peanuts, cilantro and cassava.
- Timbuche: concentrated broth based on fish and coriander.
- Cecina: dried and salted beef or pork.
- Patarashca: fish wrapped in bijao leaves and roasted over a fire.
- Juane: sticky rice dough with pieces of chicken, wrapped in bijao leaves and steamed.
- Tacacho: prepared with roasted green banana, mashed and kneaded with pork rinds. Usually, combined with jerky.
- Inchicucho: prepared with corn, peanuts and chili.
The best time to go to Iquitos, and in general the Amazon rainforest is between the months of April to October, during the time of the emptied. You can also visit during the growing season but there are more constant rains. The average annual temperature is about 24-25ºC
Tourist Attractions – Iquitos:
Arms square: Heart of the city, it congregates many people since dusk, center of gatherings. In the center of the square is a monument to the fallen in the Pacific War. In its outline are the Municipality, the Cathedral, social clubs and commercial establishments.
Mother Church: Located in front of the Plaza de Armas. The church, built in neo-Gothic style, was built between 1911 and 1924. Its single nave structure has a pulpit carved in wood on the right side. An interesting detail is the Swiss watch that was installed in 1925.
Historical Constructions: The city of Iquitos keeps between the exuberance of its jungles and the mysterious rumor of the Amazon a series of architectural gems that surprise the traveler both for the beauty of their forms and for the particularity of their style: they are the traces of the passage of the “barons” of rubber “, powerful landowners who made the jungle of Peru a true commercial paradise at the end of the 19th century. As part of the inheritance of this stage have been some traces of unique design: palaces richly decorated with Arabic tiles (houses Rocha, Morey and Cohen), Art Noveau buildings (former Palace Hotel) or the famous residence designed by Gustave Eiffel it was built with metal plates transported by hundreds of men through the jungle.
The House of Iron: Built by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exhibition in 1889 and acquired by the rubber millionaire Anselmo Del Aguila, who brought it unarmed to Iquitos, including nuts and bolts, and assembled it in its current location in the NW corner of the Parade ground.
Regional Army Command: Its headquarters is located on one of the most beautiful houses of the peak of rubber, its facade is finely decorated with tiles. Its interiors can not be visited. Located on the NW corner of the Plaza de Armas and the Tarapacá Malecón.
The Malecón Tarapacá: Located one block from the Plaza de Armas, on the banks of the Itaya River. It dates from the rubber boom era. From there you have an attractive panorama of the river and the floating neighborhood of Bethlehem and in its route you can see important historical monuments, restaurants and cafes. Called this way in memory of the fallen heroes in the war with Chile, the pier has been remodeled and has wide paths, small squares with gardens and a singular roundabout, a monument to biodiversity and to the myths and legends of the Amazon region. . After sunset many people gather the restaurants, bars and amusement centers of the boardwalk. Craft center.
Jiron Prospero: It is one of the main streets of the city in which many businesses, banks, airlines, travel agencies, sales of handicrafts, fabrics, etc. are congregated.
Municipal Museum of Natural Sciences: Napo N ° 224. Visits: L-V 7: 00-19: 00; S 8: 00-13: 00. It presents samples of stuffed animals native to the region and a collection of local crafts.
Amazon Museum: Malecón Tarapacá N ° 386. Visits: L-V 8: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-19: 00; S 9: 00-13: 00. Built in 1863. The succession of large windows finished in semicircular arches and protected by strong iron bars, the interior walls decorated with carved wood, and the furniture designed in the style of the time stand out in the museum. It preserves a collection of more than 80 life-size fiberglass sculptures, representing the main ethnic groups of the Peruvian, Brazilian and Venezuelan Amazon and photographs that portray the history of the city of Iquitos. The place is shared with the Military Museum.
Amazon Library: Malecón Tarapacá No. 354. Visits: L 15: 30-18: 45; Ma-V 8: 30-12: 15 and 15: 30- 18:45; S 9: 00-12: 00. It has editions of various specialized areas, photo library, newspaper library, film library, map library, art gallery, exhibition of historical objects and collections of old editions of the Bible. It specializes in regional issues. It was built as a one-story building from 1873; The second floor was built in 1903. The succession of large windows protected by iron bars attracts attention.
Belen: It is a neighborhood of poor people, in the southwest area of Iquitos, 10 blocks from the Plaza de Armas; It is located on the banks of the Itaya River and is characterized by the fact that a large part of its houses are located on the river bed and are adapted to changes in the height of the waters. This neighborhood, in turn, is the big market of the city, and fishermen, hunters, collectors and farmers with their canoes loaded with products arrive every day from dawn. In the market you will find herbs and medicinal concoctions, exotic fruits and much more. Called the “poor Venice”, their houseboats are on rafts fixed to large wooden piles.
Is a visa required to enter Peru?
It is not necessary for the citizens of most of the countries of America and Western Europe. The citizens of Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile do not need a passport or visa to enter certain regions of Peru. Consult with the Peruvian diplomatic representation in your country to obtain more information. The addresses and telephone numbers are included in the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru: www.rree.gob.pe If you enter for tourist reasons, the authorized period of stay is 90 days (extendable by the immigration authority). The traveler must carry a valid passport or safe-conduct issued by the Peruvian immigration authority.
Is it safe to go through Peru?
We know you’ve seen on the news, read on websites or in the newspaper about terrorism, crime and political and economic instability. But we also know that many years ago we defeated terrorism, we live in peace and we are working very hard to build a democratic and stable country. The only thing that all travelers will have to do, we assure you, is to take the precautions they normally take when traveling to any other tourist destination.
In the cities:
- Take normal precautions against pickpockets.
- Carry a copy of your identification documents. Save the originals and your valuables in the custody of your accommodation. • Take your valuables discreetly, do not carry large sums of money and keep an eye on your bags and luggage.
- Do not change money on the street.
- It is advisable to use taxi companies (they are requested by phone) or those authorized by the municipalities (in Lima they are painted yellow and have a bright cap on the roof).
- Always carry with you your driver’s license, copy of your passport and, if the vehicle is rented, the vehicle rental agreement. If you come with an international driver’s license, it is valid for one year; If you come with a driver’s license from your country, it is valid for 30 days.
- If a transit officer tells you to stop, do it. This must be uniformed and carry his identification (his surname is recorded on a plate at the height of his chest). They can not enter the vehicle.
- Keep in mind that your documents and those of the vehicle can not be retained and under no circumstances do you offer money.
- In case of accident or collision, call a transit officer. If the vehicle is rented, call the representative of the insurance company where you rented the car. Wait and do not move from the place. Keep the windows closed and the doors secured.
It is strictly forbidden to photograph airports, military bases, places near high voltage towers and police stations.
Are there services for tourists with disabilities in Peru?
In Peru we believe in the concept of “Tourism for all” and several public and private entities have been working for several years on the task of conditioning their services for people with disabilities. We recommend contacting service providers before your visit, to be sure they can meet your needs.
Now you know more about the city of the kings, the start point for many incredible vacation in the land of the Incas. Visit its beaches and its rich culture through the visit of Machu Picchu and the best? You can visit the most incredible treks in Peru!!! Discover the imposing Salkantay Trek, or Lares Trail to Machu Picchu or the most popular inca path, Inca Trail to Machu Picchu