The magnificent gateway to the Peruvian Amazon is the magical city of Iquitos, the largest city in the world which cannot be reached by road. Yes, exactly as you heard it, you can only reach it by boat or plane. This is a peculiar way to discover our diverse Amazon rainforest, isn’t it? Thus, you will have a lot of things to do in Iquitos and your journey will be more than an unusual and extraordinary adventure.

things to do in iquitos amazon cruise

Exploring the “Capital of the Peruvian Amazon”

This vivacious jungle destination, with its abundance of flora and fauna, offers you an interesting list of activities and Amazon tours.

  • Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

One of the top things to do in Iquitos is an excursion to Pacaya Samiria. It is one of the most important protected area in Peru which preserves about 1.5% of the total surface of the country.

This National Reserve houses abundant biodiversity. There is a register of the presence of hundred species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes and thousand species of wild plants.


The wildlife-rich Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is captivating. You will able to see: Pink River dolphins, giant river otters, jaguars, macaws, several species of monkeys, anaconda snakes, caimans and Amazonian manatees.

Pacaya Samiria is frequently called “The Jungle of Mirrors” because of the extraordinary reflections in the water during the high-water season.

  • Manatee Rescue Center

Located at Km 4.5 on the Iquitos-Nauta highway, this centre protects the population of the largest mammal in South America, the Amazonian manatee. This freshwater species of manatee lives in the Amazon basin and is, sadly, hunted for its meat.

The Manatee Rescue Center takes care of and rehabilitates injured manatees or orphaned (baby manatees stay at the centre until they are two years old), and releases them into their natural environment such as The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.

 Also, you can feed a baby manatee as part of this lovely tour in Iquitos.

things to do in iquitos feeding baby manatee

*Be the change you want to see in the world. Respect and protect wildlife. 

  • Swim with Pink Dolphins

The fantastic ecosystem of Iquitos has to include these unique, friendly and playful animals

things to do in iquitos swin with dolphins

A good way to play with them is splashing yourself into the water and, as they believe that you want to plant, they will approach you.

  • Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Amazon Animal Orphanage

Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm is the perfect place to learn about the life cycle of butterflies. It is a conservation and breeding reserve for plenty of Amazonian butterflies, including the famous “owl butterfly”.

things to do in iquitos owl butterfly farm

At the same time, this wildlife reserve gives shelter some animals such as monkeys, alligators, a tapir and even a majestic jaguar. These animals were rescued by the owner.

Thus, a visit to the delightful Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm is a must-see!

  • Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve

Located very close to the city of Iquitos, the small but significant Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve houses many different ecosystems such as the highly vulnerable white sand forests and many rare and endangered species such as the Goeldi’s marmoset and the equatorial saki.

But the jewel of the Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve are the birds. There are diverse species of birds such as the Mishana Tyrannulet and the elegant Cotinga.

things to do in iquitos cotinga

In addition to that, the Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve offers you a vast fruit collection. You can find around fifty different amazon fruits… Delicious!

things to do in iquitos owl

  • Canopy walks

The canopy walk in Iquitos is one of the largest in the world, it is at a height of over 35 meters and extends about 500 meters through the forest. The canopy walk offers you sublime, perfect and panoramic views of the rainforest. You will witness an unforgettable and captivating beauty.

Once you are in the treetops, you will be marvelled and absorbed in the amazing biodiversity of the Amazon. You will see and hear a different kind of exotic birds such as macaws, kingfishers, toucans, hummingbirds and more.

There are several interesting things to do in Iquitos but this is probably a dream for passionate nature lovers.

  • Indigenous Tribes: Yagua and Boras

A visit to the Amazon villages is part of the educational and funny things to do in Iquitos. It will allow you to explore and learn about the tradition and culture of the Indigenous tribes.

Once you trek deeper into the jungle, you will see the Boras performing a traditional dance and the Yaguas will give you some shooting lessons.

*In order to contribute to the development and maintenance of the Indigenous tribes, we recommend purchasing some handicrafts such as pottery, paintings, clothing and more. The Yaguas and Boras are talented artisans. 

On the other hand, in the last years, Iquitos has become the “Capital of Ayahuasca”. Ayahuasca is a powerful native vine of the Amazon which has been used as a “teacher plant” or as a spiritual medicine by shamans or healers in ceremonies among indigenous communities.

It attracts many travellers from all over the world who are interested in healing plants. Ayahuasca is considered a way to expand consciousness and cure physical, emotional and spiritual ailments.

More highlights

Amazon food

The traditional jungle cuisine is varied, exotic and delicious. There are some popular dishes such as:

  • Tacacho and Cecina: The Tacacho is a mashed green plantain which has been rolled up into a ball and then cooked. It is usually served with Cecina, a slice of salty dehydrated pork meat.
  • Juane: A piece of chicken wrapped with rice and cooked in a leaf.
  • Patarashca: A steamed fish dish. The fish is wrapped in a Bijao leaf along with onions, cilantro and tomatoes. The result is extremely tasty.

things to do in iquitos patarashca

Belen Port

Known among travellers as the “Venice of the Peruvian Jungle”, because Belen is a floating neighbourhood at the edge of the Itaya river, which consists of wooden huts raised on stilts.

You can visit the flooded streets by hiring a “peke-peke”, a wooden palm-roofed boat. It would be one of the most pleasurable things to do in Iquitos.

Amazon Climate

Iquitos weather is very particular, it suffers a phenomenon called “urban heat island”, meaning the heat has difficulty dissolving into the night hours.

At the same time, Iquitos has microclimates, for example, sunshine can be present in one area of Iquitos and rain in another.

During the summer (high-water season), from November to May, Iquitos is humid and rainy. The Amazon river reaches its highest point. And during the winter (low-water season), from June to December, Iquitos offers sunny and nice days.

things to do in iquitos sunny day

So, make sure to know the best weather conditions to make your tour comfortable.

Jungle Essentials

Travel to Iquitos is undoubtedly an extraordinary and wild experience but keep in mind you must be well-prepared.

  • Yellow Fever vaccine
  • Malaria pills
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Tight-weaved, light-coloured, long pants
  • Long sleeve and light-coloured cotton shirts
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Broad-brimmed caps or hats, and sunglasses

Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Peru Travel, our speciality is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your tailor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.

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