The largest city in Peru unreachable by road, Iquitos is only accessible by boat or plane. In the past, the rubber and oil trades dominated and brought wealth to the region, the prosperity of the time still visible in some of the older homes. Today, it flourishes in the Amazonian jungle with it’s friendly people juxtaposed with its vibrant nightlife. Whether you come to visit the famous Amazon river or to stroll through the market of Belén, there is something new for you to discover in Iquitos.
To get around Iquitos, use the motocarros, a motorcycle with a rickshaw-like back passenger cabin. They provide a pleasant breeze you won’t find in most of the taxis and are less expensive. The motorcarristas are usually very friendly, like most of the Iquiteños in the city, and are excellent travel guides with a local’s perspective. Taxis are recommended when traveling from the airport to your hotel, but the most comfortable mode of travel around the city is by far the motocarros.
One of the most popular places to visit in Iquitos, besides the Amazon River itself, is the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage. A conservatory and breeding facility for Amazonian butterflies and the only butterfly farm in Peru, as well as a rescue for Amazonian animals. Dedicated to rainforest conservation, the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm hosts tours of their facilities for visitors looking to learn more about the ecosystem and wildlife of the Amazon. Visitors will learn about the life cycles of the butterflies and the different breeds that can be found in the rainforests of the Amazon, including the Blue Morphos, Heliconids Swallowtails, and Owl Moths. They are also a temporary custody center for rescued wild animals who, for one reason or another, need help. They also teach about the unintentional consequences of owning exotic animals as pets and the exotic pet trade.
To visit the beautiful and exotic Amazon River, the largest river in the world, you will need to book a tour through the Peruvian Tourist Board. It’s best to book through them and not with one of the many independent guides on the streets to ensure that your tour is covered with a guarantee. You can either book a group tour or a private tour with a luxury yacht that includes fishing and bird watching. If you have your heart set on sleeping in the jungle, there are many jungle lodges with various amenities available. If you would like more interaction with the wildlife, then take a tour to La Isla de los Monos, or Monkey Island, this island in the Amazon houses many different species of monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds. The monkeys love to climb on you, and take your hat or glasses!
Despite its proximity to the Amazon and it’s surrounding lush rainforest, Iquitos has a lively nightlife and a friendly people who love parties! With beer less expensive than in Lima due to government subsidies, Iquitos boasts an active party atmosphere with many different bars and clubs open all year round. A popular outdoor dance venue is Agricobank, where locals and tourists come to drink, dance and socialize. Complejo CNI is another popular club, a disco that hosts popular local bands, and Iquiteños like to dance the night away. Men, be aware that many clubs will turn you away if you dress too casually, like unbuttoned shirts or sandals.
The local cuisine of Iquitos is blend of Peruvian, Brazilian, and Colombian food with influences from the Andes and the Pacific Coast. Restaurants in Iquitos offer a wide variety of traditional, international, and fusion cuisine. The Amazon Bistro, with Belgian and New York influences mingling with Amazonian fare, offers pizzas, Amazonian steaks, and l’escargot. Taberna del Cauchero features memorabilia from days gone by of the former rubber industry and serves up sushi and river langostinos, or shrimp, in a tortilla with spicy chorizo and creamy avocado, created by a Cordon Bleu chef. If you’re craving Peruvian cuisine, then Ivalú is where you want to be: fish or chicken filled tamales and wrapped in jungle leaves, they also serve juices and desserts. Seafood is plentiful here near the Amazon River, so Bucanero offers pescado a la plancha (grilled river fish) with chicharrones (chopped fried pork), topped off with an icy Iquitos beer.
One of the more popular places to eat and shop is the market on the floating shantytown of Belén. Belén’s Mercado offers exotic dishes straight from the rainforest, including worms, ishpa (simmered sabalo fish intestines and fat), and sikisapa (fried leafcutter ants). If you would prefer to shop rather than dine, then Belén is the best place for handmade woven items made from of the wool of alpacas, llamas, and sheep. Over 150 different communities gather here to sell produce, and the market is an excellent place to try an exotic drink. Buyers are asked to be careful about purchasing items made from the local wildlife as it is not sustainable.
Are you ready for your adventure to Iquitos? Eager to explore the Amazon and savor the Iquitos nightlife like a local? Then book your flight to Iquitos with Peruvian Airlines! Call 877-958-1077 or visit them online at Peruvian Airlines today!