Official language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Time zone: UTC -5
Currency: Sol (PEN)
Iquitos is one of a few such big cities in the world, that isn’t connected with other towns via land roads. You can only get there by plane or boat. The Amazon has been the main route of transportation since centuries.
Belén is situated a few metres lower than the rest of the city. It is a district of houses on pales. During a rainy season, Itaya, the branch of the Amazon, overflows and houses look like they are floating on water.
Once your reach the city by boat or plane, you can move around it on electric pedicab. It is the most popular mean of transport, you just have to wave on a driver on a street.
Iquitos is located by the Amazon, in the north-east part of the country. The beginnings of the city are dated back to the middle of the 18th century, when Jesuits have their first mission there. From Iquitos many tourists set out to the heart of a jungle.
Because cruises on the Amazon are irregular, it is best to book a few days more for a trip. What to do in that spare time? Even though Iquitos isn’t a big city, there are a few places worth visiting.
If you are nature lover, definitely step by Centro de Rescate Amazónico. Rescued manatees lived there, a bit tamed. When they are in good mood, they can be fed. In the neighbourhood of the port Bellavista-Nanay, you can jump into a water taxi, that goes to Padre Cocha. Over there Pilpintuwasi, a farm of butterflies and a rescue centre for wild animals, is located. Animals discovered by an ecological police on a market are placed in both rescue centres. When they are back in shape, they are set free.
In the western part of the city, close to Plaza de Armas, there is situated Casa de Fierro, the Iron House, designed by Gustave Eiffel for the world exhibition in Paris in 1889, as was the famous tower. The house fascinated Anselmo del Aguilara, a tycoon in rubber production, who bought it and ordered to move it to his hometown. Today, there is a restaurant located on the second floor of the house.
For shopping it is best to go to the Belén district in the eastern part of the city. Local market makes for vast part of it with stalls put out by vendors directly on the streets. Apart from delicious fruits, local jewellery or clothes, you will find there true gems – magical powders, elixirs and stones, which according to selling them shamans and wizards have various powers – some of them cure, others bring luck.
The most delicious local dishes you can buy from stalls. Apart from sweet fruits, you can get there suri, characteristic white larva with black head. It is important part of many dishes of people inhabiting the area of the Amazon jungle. On stalls it is mostly served fried on a stick, but we recommend to also look for soup made out of suri.