Iquitos is the capital city of the Loreto Region in Peru, and is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. It is also the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road – the only way to get there is by river or air. Iquitos is a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people who live there. The city has a number of museums and cultural centres, as well as a lively market scene. There are also plenty of opportunities to get out into the rainforest itself, whether you want to go on a short hike or spend a few days at a lodge or embark on a river cruise to explore the Amazon river.
The Amazon River is right outside of the city and it is possible to take a tour on a boat to see some animals such as the Amazonian Manatee or the Pink River Dolphin. We have created a list of 10 must do activities in Iquitos and how to take part in them.
1) IQUITOS MAIN SQUARE: PLAZA DE ARMAS
The Plaza de Armas is a beautiful square in the heart of Iquitos, Peru. It is surrounded by colonial buildings and the Amazon River, with lots of street food vendors and shops. The plaza is a great place to spend an afternoon strolling and people watching. There are plenty of interesting things to see in the plaza, such as the statue of Father Angel Maria, who was a Jesuit missionary who helped build the city of Iquitos. The western corner of the tree-filled plaza features Matriz Church (also known as Iquitos cathedral) and neoGothic architecture. It also has a tall bell tower. This church is located only 20-30 minutes away from the Francisco Secada Vignetta Iquitos International Airport. Definitely a first stop on your Amazon adventure.
2) Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm & Amazon Animal Orphanage
An easy to reach site, great for a day tour, it is located only 15 minutes by boat outside of Iquitos city. The organisation works to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals that have been affected by the illegal wildlife trade. The organisation also runs a butterfly farm, which helps to fund the rescue and rehabilitation of animals.
This unique sanctuary has been around for 20 years and is home to over 5,000 butterflies. You can help the animals by adopting an animal or volunteering at the sanctuary. The sanctuary is also a great place to see other animals like macaws, toucans, and howler monkeys.
3) VISIT THE MANATEE RESCUE CENTER
The Iquitos manatee rescue center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees in the Amazon region of Peru. The center was founded in 2000 by Dr. Jack E. Schaefer, a manatee expert and former professor at the University of Florida.
The center is located on the outskirts of Iquitos, the largest city in the Amazon, and is the only manatee rescue facility in the region. You can find the center on the Iquitos-Nauta highway. The center has a large pool where manatees can be treated and rehabilitated. The center also has a education and research center, where Dr. Schaefer and his team work to educate the public about manatees and their importance to the Amazon ecosystem.
The Iquitos manatee rescue center has rescued and rehabilitated over 100 manatees, and released them back into the wild. The center is a vital part of the conservation effort to protect manatees in the Amazon.
Hand-feeding manatees with milk and lettuce leaves is a favorite activity at the center. This allows you to get close to these majestic mammals. To help them with their important work, donations can be made at the entrance and around the center.
4) ENJOY LOCAL CUISINE INSIDE AN IRON HOUSE
Iquitos is home to many different types of cuisine, but one of the most unique and delicious places to eat is the iron house restaurant Casa de Fierro (or House of Iron) . This restaurant is built entirely out of iron, and the menu features traditional Amazonian dishes that have been passed down for generations. The iron house is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends or family. If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, be sure to check out the iron house restaurant in Iquitos.
The Iron House was built during the rubber boom at the end of 19th century. It is covered in silver-hued metallic sheets and has a second story wraparound balcony, several exterior columns and a distinctive orange/pink roof.
5) Take a boat to Monkey Island
Monkey Island is a small island located near Iquitos, about 45 minutes by boat. The island is home to a large colony of monkeys, which are a popular tourist attraction. Visitors to the island can observe the monkeys in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and diet.
This island is home to many different types of monkeys, including white-faced capuchins, spider monkeys, and even howler monkeys. You might be able to befriend a few locals if you bring some bananas as a tip.
Monkey Island is also a popular destination for bird watching, as the island is home to a variety of bird species.
6) MINGLE WITH THE LOCALS AT BELEN MARKET IQUITOS
Belen Market in Iquitos, Peru is one of the most unique and interesting markets in the world. The market sells a wide variety of goods, including traditional Amazonian items such as fruits, vegetables, and fish.
You can also buy bottled oils that are used in healing and rituals of shamanistic magic as well as jungle-grown roots and seeds. To make it easier for your market to buy, you can bring small amounts of Peruvian Soles. The market is located right on the banks of the Amazon River, so you can watch the boats go by as you purchase your goods.
But what makes the Belen Market truly unique is its floating market. Every Saturday, the market sets up shop on rafts and boats, making it one of the only floating markets in the world. If you’re looking for an authentic Amazonian market experience, Belen Market is the place to go.
7) WALK ALONG THE TARAPACA BOARDWALK (MALECON)
The Tarapaca Malecon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iquitos. Located on the banks of the Itaya River, this riverfront walkway is filled with historic monuments and gardens, offering stunning views of the Amazon tributary and the surrounding rainforest. Visitors can stroll along the promenade, take a boat ride, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery.
The Tarapaca Malecon is a great place to watch the sun set over the Itaya River . As the sun goes down, the river turns a beautiful golden color, and the sky is filled with the colors of the sunset. It’s a truly magical experience, and one that you won’t soon forget.
Closeby is the Belen neighborhood, which is built on stilts above the water, a colorful sight filled with lush greenery and authentic local homes. This area is home to many bars, cafes, restaurants, and gorgeous mansions built during the height of the rubber boom.
8) AMAZONIAN CULTURES MUSEUM
The cultural museum in Iquitos is located in a beautiful old building, which has been converted into a museum, that was originally built by the Germans. It offers an insight into the lives of the Amazonian people through many different exhibits, such as a reconstruction of an ancient village, a display of tools and weapons used by the natives, and even a replica of a canoe.
It’s a short walk along the Tarapaca boardwalk to get to the museum. Here you can get to see the beautiful handcrafted artifacts from local tribes and learn about the culture of the Amazon. It features artifacts, such as textiles, musical instruments, and ceramics including the famous shamanic paintings of the Shipibo-Conibo people.
The museum also has a library and research center, making it an excellent resource for academics and students. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a performance by a local indigenous group.
Finally the museum is home to one of the largest and oldest living Ayahuasca temples, which is a plant that gives off a psychedelic experience when consumed.
9) EXPLORE THE RAINFOREST FROM A JUNGLE LODGE
There are a number of rainforest lodges near Iquitos, Peru, which offer visitors the opportunity to stay in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. These lodges provide comfortable accommodation, as well as a range of activities and tours that allow visitors to experience the rainforest in a safe and sustainable way.
Many of the lodges are located on the edge of the rainforest, providing stunning views of the Amazonian landscape. The lodges offer a variety of accommodation options, from simple tents and cabins to more luxurious suites. There are also a number of lodges that are located deep in the rainforest, providing a more intimate experience of the Amazonian ecosystem.
Activities include rainforest walks, canoeing, birdwatching, and jungle safaris. The lodges also offer a variety of educational programs that provide visitors with an understanding of the rainforest ecosystem and the importance of conservation.
10) TAKE A RIVERBOAT CRUISE ON THE AMAZON AND ITS TRIBUTARIES
An Amazon River Cruise – www.amazoncruise.net – is an unforgettable experience for the adventurous traveler. It is like floating on a bed of white clouds, surrounded by nature and the sounds of birds and water. You will get to explore the Amazon basin and its tributaries from the comfort of a floating observation platform with luxurious accommodations. Seeing the mighty Amazon on a river cruise is a great way to see the rainforest from a different perspective.
Along the way, you’ll see some of the most incredible scenery imaginable, including the rainforest canopy, sprawling riverbanks, and an abundance of wildlife. You’ll also have the opportunity to stop and explore some of the many villages and towns along the river, learning about the local culture and way of life.
Cruises departing from Iquitos usually take you to Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This is an area of protected Amazon Rainforest. The reserve is known as the forest of mirrors and boasts beautiful scenery and a wide variety of plants and animals.
The Zafiro Amazon riverboat is a luxury class riverboat, custom built to explore the Amazon river as well as the ins and outs of the Pacaya Samiria reserve, here you can choose from 3 different itineraries lasting, 3, 4 or 7 nights.
Contact us for more information about booking your Amazon Adventure.