Paseos Amazónicos

Iquitos Travel Guide

Iquitos on the Amazon River is the most inland navigable port by Atlantic Ocean-going ships; it is also an important fluvial port in Peru' Loreto Region and the gateway to the Amazon rainforest, the world's largest and mega diverse tropical forest.

  • Location:

    North of Lima city, 347 feet above sea level
  • Distance:

    627 miles from Lima (by plane).

    615 miles from Pucallpa (by river).

  • Climate:

    Tropical and humid with a minimum temperature of 62°F and a maximum of 100°F. Frequent and heavy rains during the months of December to March.

  • Population:




Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 66%

Wind: 4.83 km/h


Iquitos, the Capital of the Departament of Loreto and the most important city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, was founded by Catholic Jesuit Priests in 1754. In the past, this area was home to diverse ethnic groups that survived through hunting and fishing (Iquitos, Cocamas, Yaguas, Huitotos, Boras, Ticunas and Orejones). In 1542, Francisco de Orellana and a group of Spanish expeditionaries sailed on the Amazon for the first time and made contact with native people that inhabited these lands at the time.

By mid 19th Century the little village with less than one hundred inhabitants, most of them indigenous and a few foreign missionaries, outstandingly turn into a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its history can be interpreted today through the architecture of its old mansions that show the European influence the city had during the first decades of the 20-Century in the time period known as "The Rubber Boom". There are still standing some important architectural reminders of these days, like the "Iron House" designed by Gustave Eiffel and old mansions faced with glazed tiles brought from Europe.

Nowadays Iquitos is a noisy, festive city with a population of over 400 000 people, nevertheless keeping its "little town" image where all foreigners are welcome. Feasts, dancing and parades are common everyday. The Belen Floating Market is Iquitos soul, where one can find almost anything. There are entire streets where bananas, medicinal plants, good-charm potions, dry fish, game meat and colorful vegetables and fruits are sold.

Traveling from Lima to Iquitos by plane, the geography change is simply impressive. In the hour-and-a-half trip one can see pass the coastal desert around Lima, the high snow peaks of the Andean white and black mountain ranges, the vast Amazon jungle and its countless winding rivers.

Visiting Iquitos

Ecological Tourism: The Amazon forest is the natural reserve of more extensive and more variety life of the Earth. Abundant botanical and zoological species, in lustful landscapes in those in which you can go and be lodge for some time, or in the Parks and Natural Reservations. Or if you prefer a cruise by the Amazon River, or a simple ride in a boat. Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve are recommendable to visit.

The city: The city has as axis of its social and economic life in the Main Square, and around it, famous houses of the era of the rubber as Iron House. The Main Square is very near the riverside called Tarapacá, its commercial center in the Próspero Street, and the traditional neighborhood of Belén with its floating houses on the river.

Municipal Museum: Located in the Távara Street block 2, small and modest museum with handmade works of the natives, ethnographic and with regional fauna.

Surrounding areas of the city: You will be able to visit the tourist complex of "Quistococha Zoo" for a first encounter with the regional fauna and flora, San Juan Handicrafts Market and Santo Tomas a picturesque neighborhood.

How to arrive to Iquitos:

By air: Regular flights to Iquitos from Lima (1 hour and 30 minutes), Tarapoto (50 minutes) and Pucallpa (1 hour). Sporadic flights to Iquitos from Yurimaguas (40 minutes) and Leticia, Colombia (1 hour).

By river: It is possible to travel from Pucallpa (Puerto La Hoyada, 2,5 km / 1,5 miles from the city) to Iquitos by boat via the Ucayali River with stops at Requena and Contamana in a chartered boat, small but fast, built for 10 to 15 people, hired as a private service. The trip lasts 1 to 2 days, depending on the level of the river. If you elect to travel by "motonave", a larger boat with room for 250 people, the trip then takes longer, 4 to 5 days, depending on the river current.

By land: There is no overland access to Iquitos.