Iquitos, Peru is a port city that is so connected to its history. It has an abundance of natural wonders with the Amazon River being on the top of the list. Although it is more famously identified with Brazil, the Amazon Rainforest of Iquitos is so dense and rich with flora and fauna. With the biggest port in the region located here, the city is known to be a major contributor to the country’s economy. With a rising tourism industry bringing in more visitors every year, the city has a lot to offer in terms of interesting places to visit and activities to do. Here are some of the best things to do in Iquitos, Peru.
The Amazonian Manatee populates the fresh waters of the Amazon River. Get the chance to feed some of them before you start your river cruise. The Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center provides you this opportunity to care for these lovely creatures. The center is responsible for nursing and releasing injured and sick manatees back into Pacaya-Samiria National Park. Because this is a protected area, the manatees stand a better chance of surviving and living out their whole life span here.
Amazon Rescue Center - Manatees Conservation Center Admission Ticket
Duration: 1 hour
2. Dig deep into the Amazon's indigenous peoples' way of interaction with nature and the rainforest at the Indigenous Culture Museum Amazonicas
Get a chance to see how the indigenous people of the Amazon interact with natural elements like water, land, plants, and trees. This is something you can witness at the Indigenous Culture Museum Amazonicas. This is where the culture and way of living of no less than 40 native tribes come to fore. There are exhibits that contain collections of ceremonial pieces, musical apparatuses, art made from feathers, and tools they used to survive.
Indigenous Culture Museum Amazonicas
Address: Malecón Tarapaca 332, Iquitos 16006, Peru
Opening hours: 10am - 7pm (daily)
Price: 15 USD
3. Appreciate the care with which the orphaned monkeys have been kept at the Monkey Island
Monkey Island or La Isla de Los Monos is a rescue center for monkeys where the animals can run free. The monkeys here are abandoned but are given a second chance in life. These animals are rescued, nursed back to health, and eventually released back to their natural habitat. The sad plight of these monkeys starts with the illegal poaching of their kin by hunters. You can book either a day or overnight tour and see what is going on with these amazing monkeys.
La Isla de los Monos
Address: Condamine 416, Iquitos 16002, Peru
Website: La Isla de los Monos
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 7pm (closed on Sun)
Price: 100 USD
4. Set sail on a scenic Amazon cruise
If you want to go on a cruise then you might as well do it in the world’s longest river. There are boats that sail these waters and provide you with comfortable accommodations. Imagine travelling in the most comfortable room while taking in the best scenery of the world’s most renowned river. It does not matter if this is your first or 100th time on a cruise–the biodiversity of the river will certainly take your breath away.
Website: Amazon cruise
Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm was born out of the dream of owner Gudrun Sperrer. She had a vision of putting up a place where she can care for animals especially butterflies. Considered one of the most beautiful creatures ever created, butterflies here get a chance to live their lives to the full. Visitors can witness the development of each stage of the lives of these colorful animals. The farm lies within the premises of the Amazon Animal Orphanage Compound.
Iquitos: 6-Hour Amazon River Tour w/ Belén & Butterfly Farm
Duration: 6 hour
6. Stroll on the Malecon at night
What do you get when you take a stroll down Malecon Tarapaca? You get to relax and you get to take in some of the best scenery in the city. The Malecon is well-lighted even after hours when people from all over converge. Aside from that, you can also do some shopping in reasonably priced stores along its sides. You can grab dinner in one of the restaurants while being amazed at the sight of Rio Itaya, one of the Amazon’s branches.
Address: Boulevard Tarapaca, Iquitos Peru01, Peru
7. Soak in the incredible Amazonian experience at the Tapiche Reserve
The Tapiche Reserve was opened to discourage illegal loggers and poachers from doing their thing in the area. The good thing was that the damage they did was reversible. The untouched forest was given a new life with a tourism program that allows visitors to participate in various activities while communing with nature. The program not only lured in tourism but it also gave indigenous people a source of livelihood that does not do damage to their environment.
Address: Tapiche Reserve Booking Office (inside the Green Track Hostel), Ricardo Palma 516, Iquitos, Peru
Website: Tapiche Reserve
8. Tour the floating village of Belen
The town of Belen offers a one-of-a-kind scene for visitors. Literally floating on water, most of the houses here stand on rafts that go with the tide. During low-tide season, the rafts fall on mud. However, they normally float on water the majority of the time. When this happens, a cool and beautiful sight occurs. Several thousands of people call Belen home and earn most of their livelihood by selling goods from their canoes.
The floating village of Belen
Address: Belen, Iquitos, Peru
9. Take a stroll at the Plaza De Armas de Iquitos
Plaza de Armas de Iquitos is one of the pockets of greens that captivates visitors and locals alike. The public garden is the perfect spot to have a leisurely stroll with palm trees littered around its central monument. The monument pays homage to Peruvian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the War of the Pacific. Among the most popular features here is the fountain located on the eastern portion of the park. Colorful lights and water jets create a magical display worth watching.
Plaza de Armas de Iquitos
Address: Jirón Putumayo 253, Iquitos 16002, Peru
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
10. Explore the fascinating floating history at the Museum of Historic Boats
Witness the history of Iquitos through numerous historic boats that played a huge part in exploration and conquest. These are all displayed in the Museum of Historic Boats or Museo de Barcos Historicos. Most of these played a huge role during the rubber boom that went on from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Rubber balls were transported using the boats from different points of the Amazon to major cities like Iquitos.
Museo de Barcos Historicos
Address: Raimondi Street (Riverbank below the Ramon Castilla Square), Iquitos 16000, Peru
Opening hours: 10am - 7pm (daily)
11. Take in the beauty of the architecture and symbolism at the Cathedral of Iquitos
The Cathedral of Iquitos is considered one of the most important historical structures in the city. Done in neo-Gothic design, the church is considered a cultural heritage site which means that it has strong significance through the generations that have devotedly preserved it for the future. Simplicity and serenity dominate the insides of the church. Its understated interiors make it the perfect venue to meditate and pray for a few minutes. However, taking photos of its interiors is not allowed.
Cathedral of Iquitos
Address: Jirón Putumayo 271, Iquitos 16002, Peru
12. Make the most of the jungle canopy with the help of Canopy Walkway
The picture you see here is a section of Explorama Lodge's Canopy Walkway bridge located in their Amazonian tropical...Posted by Amazon Explorama Lodges on Monday, 20 August 2018
Take to the rainforest of the Amazon in a very unique and unforgettable way by getting on the Canopy Walkway. See the views from atop the trees while going on a hike that extends to half a kilometer (.31 miles). From here, you get a birds’ eye view of the lush flora and fauna while taking all the photos you want. All you have to do is wear comfortable shoes and off you go on a different kind of wildlife adventure.
Address: Av. La Marina 561, Iquitos 16003, Peru
Website: Canopy Walkway
13. Enlighten yourself about the significance of nature conservation at the Rainforest Awareness Rescue Education Center
The Rainforest Awareness Rescue Education Center is an organization that is focused on disseminating information regarding Amazonian wildlife conservation to its immediate communities. You get to know more about the indigenous life forms that inhabit the Peruvian part of the Amazon jungle. You get to witness the rehabilitation of animals that have been rescued, nursed back to health, and eventually released back to their natural environment. Volunteers from all over Peru and the world come over and participate in such activities to create a worldwide community geared on conservation of wildlife.
Rainforest Awareness Rescue Education Center
Address: Carretera Iquitos Kilometer 47, Iquitos, Peru
14. Test your darting skills and enjoy a tribal dance with the Bora people on the Amazon Community Visit
Go on an Amazon Community Visit by immersing yourself in one of Peru’s most resilient tribes, the Bora people. The tribe once enjoyed a great population but suffered a decline in number brought about by the rubber boom at the start of the 20th century. One of the skills that you can learn from them is darting. This is not your ordinary kind of dart. The tribe will teach you how to use a blow dart. Grab one of these and show your skills by blowing a dart through a wooden tube thrice while trying to hit a post.
Amazon Community Visit
Address: Between Putumayo and Napo Rivers
15. Savour the best of local peruvian cuisine at Al Frio y al Fuego
If you want to feast on the best Peruvian cuisine in Iquitos then come on over to Al Frio Y Al Fuego! Well-trained chefs combine the best cooking techniques with the freshest ingredients sourced locally to come up with flavorful dishes everyone will enjoy. Located right in the middle of the Itaya River near the mouth of the Amazon, the restaurant imbues a resort feel with its huge pool. Dining and swimming are what people come here for.
Al Frio y al Fuego
Address: Av. La Marina 138, Iquitos 16003, Peru
Website: Al Frio y al Fuego
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm
16. Have a gritty shopping experience at the raucous Mercado de Belen
The Mercado de Belen or Bethlehem Market is the largest market in Iquitos. There is a sea of options on what to buy in this place. Most of these items are indigenous to Iquitos and the Amazon. Food choices include the ordinary and the exotic like turtle, ram, and reptiles. Vast amounts of spices are sold by volume here. Then there are lotions, potions, animal horns, flower thorns, beads, and a whole lot more. A trip here may require you to spend a few hours because of the sheer size of the market.
Mercado de Belen
Address: Belen, Iquitos, Peru
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 6am - 6pm (closed on Sun)
17. Pamper your taste buds with a delicious lunch at the Iron House
The Iron House is one of the iconic buildings in Iquitos. Layers and layers of iron make up most of the edifice that was designed by Gustava Eiffel, the same man who designed and built the Eiffel Tower. The upper level is where you will find a restaurant where you can grab some lunch. Have some of the best dishes prepared by one of the best culinary teams in the country. From here, you get a good view of Parque de Juliette and the Plaza de Armas de Iquitos.
Address: Jirón Próspero 129, Iquitos 16002, Peru
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
18. Enjoy in the Habana Club at nighttime
The Habana Club is one of the best places to have fun with your family during the day. However, when darkness comes, this becomes a venue for adults who would like to have their own kind of fun. At nighttime, it becomes one of the more popular clubs in town where dancing and drinking are the standards. This is the time when you can gather all your friends and have the time of your life. The vibe here is fun and exciting.
Address: Miami, Iquitos, Peru
Get an up-close look into the lives of certain tribes of Iquitos. Plus, a trip to this place will give you a chance to have close encounters with the animal kingdom. The Pacaya-Samiria National Preserve serves as home to the Kukama tribe. Witness their way of living by interacting with them. Then come close to ethnic animals like paiches, piranhas, caimans, macaws, monkeys, butterflies, and dolphins in their natural habitat.
Awesome trip Kukama Amazon River in Iquitos
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Piranhas are some of the most fearsome fish in the world. However, you can actually turn the tide and fish for them and have them for dinner. All you need to do is go to a piranha-infested part of the Amazon and hook your bait. The bait is usually meat or poultry. If there are no piranhas coming at your bait, splash the water with the oar of the boat, not with your hands! These fish are attracted to noise. Chances are you will have around five or six of them caught the whole afternoon.
Tour Iquitos Piraña fishing in the jungle
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
A whole lot of fun things to do in Iquitos await you
Iquitos is an intriguing place for a lot of good reasons. There are so many things you can do and so many nature-centric places to see. These are all fun and exciting to do. All these are the reasons why Iquitos should be on everyone’s ‘must-visit’ list.
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