Situated in the northern part of Peru is the jungle town of Iquitos, known locally as the Capital of the Amazon, Iquitos is an assault on the senses and you will be overwhelmed by the steamy confluence of color and noise. Traveling from the airport to the town the road is full of motorized rickshaws that race around the city getting the locals and the tourists to their final destination. Travel to Iquitos is only possible by air or over crowded ferries from other ports.
The city is situated on the Itaya River that is part of the Amazon tributary, Iquitos is only a part of what it once was. In the late 19th Century the town was home to the rubber trade and exported to America and Europe. The beautiful Spanish style mansions of the wealthy rubber barons today show are neglected and some even are nothing more than rubble. Fortunately, some have been restored as hotels. The banks of the Itaya River are still littered with the remains of the Jesuit churches all a reminder of the towns colorful past. It is said that the local people were enslaved and forced to work will low wages as the baron got rich off of the people’s labor.
The town itself is surrounded on one side by the river and the other side by the green dense Peruvian Amazon jungle, making access almost impossible. As mentioned you need to fly or take the ferry like the local people, which are very crowded and not very pleasant in the humid weather. In the morning the city awakes around 4am and doesn’t seem to slow down until around midnight, on the river there is a constant stream of banana boats filled with the green fruit and fishing boats all with their baskets full of freshly caught fish.
While visiting the city you should take the time to explore the Witches Market, the atmosphere enchants both tourists and locals and features a large array of foods, crafts and wares. The streets surrounding the Market are full of people selling all kinds of fish, spices, weird potions and street food, which is not always the best idea to eat.
What most people travel to Iquitos for is the luxury Amazon cruises that leave from the port of Iquitos. There are many companies to choose from and the experience will be one of which memories are made.
One of the companies that you should try is Aqua Expeditions, this luxury company features a 7-night Amazon River Expedition Cruise on the Aria Amazon where you may experience the most luxurious and comprehensive Amazon journey among the Amazon River’s two powerful tributaries: The Marañon and the Ucayali, as well as several hidden black water lakes.
Kayak, canoe and swim in these unspoiled black waters, keeping eyes peeled for the Amazon’s legendary pink dolphins. Be witness of one of the great spectacles of the Southern Hemisphere, the birth of the Amazon River. Take a short jungle walk in the San Jose flooded forest and see the unforgettable giant water lilies. Enjoy a breakfast picnic accompanied by jungle symphony and fishing along the black waters of the Pacaya River.
Another company to explore is the Delfin fleet of ships all featuring all the luxury you will ever need. Explore the Amazon from the comfort of your suite, all the ships have restaurants with chef prepared meals and relaxing details to sip cocktails. Most of the cabin feature roof to floor windows to enjoy the view along the mighty Amazon River. Travel to the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, as well as other neighboring creeks, each one rich in cultural experiences, some wildlife and thriving rainforests. Go fishing for piranhas, explore into the dense jungle on foot in search of three-toed sloths, toucans, macaws then come back to the comfort of our skiffs to and hunt for endangered pink dolphins, unique to the Amazon, at play. As the Delfin III journeys towards the union of the Ucayali and the Marañon Rivers, considered the birthplace of the Amazon, learn from our experienced, English speaking naturalist guides about the diverse cultural experiences in the Amazon, wildlife and birds while enjoying the panoramic views from onboard.
For all the luxury you need try an upscale adventure river cruise Amazon on one of these wonderful companies. For luxury on a budget in Peru and Iquitos there are lodges in the area to enjoy try the Heliconia Amazon River Lodge, named like that because of the beautiful tropical flower: Heliconia, is one of the most exclusives lodges in the Peruvian Amazon. It is surrounded the rainforest, islands and lagoons full of wildlife. This is a beautiful place to rest and make many activities like bird watching, observation of pink dolphins, jungle hikes, etc.
Travel to Iquitos for the most wonderful Amazon experience. Get close to all the natural beauty that this region has to offer with something for every budget. Flights to Iquitos leave Lima daily.