- Historic Centre of Iquitos
- Bellavista-Nanay port and market
- Amazon River
- Padre Cocha village.
- Pilpintuwasi butterfly farm and Amazon animal orphanage
- Bora & Yagua Native Indian Communities (Momón River)
- Fundo Pedrito (alligator farm)
- The Heronry of Fátima (El Garzal)
- Monkey Island
- Amazonian manatee orphanage (Centro de Rescate Amazónico-CREA)
- Quistococha Complex (Complejo Turístico de Quistococha)
- Santa Clara and Santo Tomas beaches
- Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve (IIAP research centre)
- Nauta City
- The Meeting of the Waters
- Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (RNPS)
Historic Centre of Iquitos
The centre of Iquitos is filled with several buildings built during the Rubber Boom (1889-1914). Once luxury and of European design, they still remain valuable architectural features unique in Peru. Examples are the Iron House (built by Gustave Eiffel), the Main Church, the Pinasco House, the Sargento Lores School, the Morey House, the Cohen House and more. El Malecón Tarapacá and the Boulevard have some historical buildings including the Capilla de la Consolación, the Governor’s House and the old Naval Factory.
Bellavista-Nanay port and market
Located 4 km at the north of the Plaza de Armas, to get here it is necessary to take a mototaxi (S/.3 – 4 Soles one-way, 12 min) or a bus “colectivo” (S/.1.00 Sol one-way, 20 min). It is an open street market full of stalls selling the Peruvian Amazon dishes. A hundred metres from the market is the port, where “peke peke” taxi/bus boats can be taken or a private peke peke or speedboat (or bote rápido, a boat for 8 people) can be rented, towards the Nanay River (Padre Cocha village or the Butterfly farm) or the Amazon River (Barrio Florido village). “Peke peke” is a small motorboat made in wood, thatched roof and with a long-shaft outboard stationary-motor.
The longest and mightiest river in the World with 7,062 km (4,388 mi) long from its source in the Apacheta stream, Quehuisha peak (Arequipa, south Peru), more of 5,597 masl (18,363 ft). Sandy coloured water, Amazon takes its name in the Marañón-Ucayali confluence, near to Nauta city, and 100 km (62 mi) south of Iquitos. From Iquitos it is possible take a look or navigate the Amazon from Bellavista Nanay and see the Amazon confluence with the the darkly coloured waters of the Nanay River.
Padre Cocha village
Left bank of Nanay River. From Bellavista access is by bus boats (20 min). The village is the starting point to visit the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm (15 min walking) and the native yagua and bora, both located on the right banks of the Momón River (30 min walking).
Pilpintuwasi butterfly farm and Amazon animal orphanage
From Bellevasita Nanay it is necessary to rent a private boat (peke peke or rápido) to go directly to this place, or take a bus boat to Padre Cocha village and from here to walk 15 min or take a mototaxi ride (S/.1 Soles one-way, 5 min). The sandy path, easy to walk, is signed and well maintained. Pilpintuwasi has between 20 to 25 Amazon butterfly species, throughout its life cycle. Also it is a center for rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife as monkeys, sloths (Bradypus spp.), jaguars (Panthera onca), ground turtle motelo (Geochelone denticulata), river turtles charapa (Podocnemis expansa), taricaya (Podocnemis unifilis), spectacled caimans (Caiman crocodilus), amazon manatee (Trichechus inunguis), parrots, and much more.
Bora & Yagua Native Indian Communities (Momón River)
From Bellavista it is necessary to rent a private boat to go directly to their maloca (longhouse), or take a bus boat to Padre Cocha village and from here to walk 30 min (path is not well signed) or take a mototaxi ride (S/.5 Soles one-way, 10 min). They live according to modern western customs and perform a show for tourists with dances from their original culture. They will invite the visitor to dance with them and to buy their handicrafts.
Fundo Pedrito (alligator farm)
Barrio Florido village-Amazon River, from Bellavista, access to the village is by bus boat (45 min downstream and 90 min upstream) or private boat. From Barrio Florido, walk for 2 min to the Fundo Pedrito. It houses 3 lagoons surrounded by a green landscape. These lagoons houses the Victoria Regia, the largest lilypad in the world; spectacled caimans (Caiman crocodilus), piranhas (Serrasalmus sp.), and paiches (Arapaima gigas), the largest fish in Amazonia and one of the largest in the world (2.5 m long and up 250 kg). It is possible to feed the animals.
The Heronry of Fátima (El Garzal)
Santa María de Fátima village-Amazon River, from Mercado de Productores, access to the village is by bus boat (40 min downstream and 50 min upstream) or from Bellavista-Nanay by private boat. From Santa María de Fátima village, walk for 30- 40 min, and then take a 10-minutes canoe ride to the camouflaged viewpoints where birds are watched. This is a bird colony where many species of local and migratory herons nest. It is possible to see the Chestnut-bellied Heron (Agamia agami), one of the world’s most beautiful herons, the Boat-billed Heron or huapapa (Cochlearius cochlearius) that displays a punk-style crest during a courtship dancing, and the Black-crowned Night Heron or huaco común (Nycticorax nycticorax), as well as their nests and courtship displays. Early in the year it is possible to see the hoatzin or shansho (Opisthocomus hoazin). The high river season or creciente (December to May) is the season for visits.
To get here is necessary to take a bus speedboat from El Huequito port and then to Varadero de Mazán or you can get aprivate transportation. From here take a boat to the Monkey Island. It is possible to rent a private boat in Bellavista. It is recommended to rent a speedboat because takes 1 h to get and 2 h to return, peke peke takes twice as long. An island downstream from the city of Iquitos in the middle of the Amazon River, where over 40 primates of 13 species reside, most of which were rescued and are going through rehabilitation to eventually be released back into the wild. It is also possible to observe and hear local birds.
Amazonian manatee orphanage (Centro de Rescate Amazónico-CREA)
Km 4.5 Iquitos-Nauta highway, (+51 65) 965-834685, Mon-Sun 9am-3pm. Located 1h20min from Plaza de Armas by bus or 45 min by mototaxi. CRA is a non-lucrative organization that rescues and rehabilitates river mammals as the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), pink and grey dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis). It is supported by the Dallas World Aquarium (USA). DWA donate milk and special food for these species, in care of biologists and volunteers. Visitors may touch and feed the manatees. They also have educational programs for local communities and schools about the importance of the preservation of the ecosystem. CRA sells some souvenirs (from US$3) and accepts donations to fundraise.
Quistococha Complex (Complejo Turístico de Quistococha)
Km 6.5 Iquitos-Nauta highway, Mon-Sun 7:00am-5:30pm. The main Zoo in Iquitos with around 70 wildlife species rescued from farms and hunters. Also Quistococha has a serpentarium, a botanical garden, a natural lagoon with darkly coloured waters where paddle boats can be rented, a white sand beach with calm waters, typical restaurants (dishes from S/.5 Soles), a beach soccer/volleyball field, and 12 Amazon myths and legends (in Spanish and English). 2 km from Quistococha is the Amazonian manatee orphanage-CRA; transportation from the city downtown is the same. From CRA to Quistococha is possible to walk (1 hour) or take a mototaxi (S/.3-4 Soles one-way, 7 min).
Santa Clara and Santo Tomas beaches
Located at nearby villages, south west of Iquitos, they offer white sand beaches. Santa Clara is a nice river beach ideal during low river season and Santo Tomas is ideal in high river season.
Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve (IIAP research centre)
(+51 65) 26-5515 and 25-7733, km 26.8 Iquitos-Nauta highway, Mon-Sun 7:30am-11:30am. A former Finnish Amazon research centre, this natural area protects an uncommon ecosystem in the whole South American Amazon rainforest: white sand forests (known as varillales). Specialized flora and fauna grows here, with high rates of endemic species. It houses of 535 bird species and 23 of them are endemic as the Iquitos Gardnatcher (Polioptila clementsi) the symbol of the city. As well, it has the world record in tree species per hectare and a great variety of insects. Moreover, there are ecological treks, an amphibians’ farm, and medicinal and fruit plants gardens. There is a lodge to spend a night. Is suggested to bring water to drink and food.
30,000 inhab, 105 km (65 mi) south of Iquitos. Take a bus (Trans del Sur SAC, S/.8 Soles/person one-way, 2 h, at Próspero/Libertad St corner, Belén district) or taxi colectivo (S/.10.00 Soles/person one-way, 1h30 at jirón Aguirre 14th block, next to Sachachorro mall). Within Nauta city is the Sapi Sapi lagoon, with river turtles, paiches and Amazon fish. The Botanical Garden (Vivero Municipal), 15 min from Plaza Centerario (the main square of Nauta) by mototaxi (S/.3.00, one-way, 7 min) is one of the largest botanical gardens in Loreto. Nauta is a basic city, it has accommodations, restaurants (do not expect English speaker staff) and hospitals, but not banks (only the public Banco de la Nación) or ATM.
The Meeting of the Waters
30 km from Nauta is the Marañón-Ucayali confluence to form the Amazon River proper. Here the river takes its name and both flow side by side, the black coloured Marañón with the mud coloured Ucayali for a few km. To reach the confluence there are bus boats but it will stop in every village they have passengers. Most recommendable is to rent a speedboat or a peke peke. Facing the meeting of the Waters is Grau village.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve (RNPS)
The largest reserve in Peru and the largest within the whole South American floodable Amazon (várzea) with 2,080,000 hecta acres and a RAMSAR site since 1986. To visit the RNPS is usually required at least 3 days but is recomended to spend 5 days (in rainy season: December-May) or 7 days (dry season: June-November). RNPS is the habitat of endangered species of amphibians, river turtles, fish, birds and mammals. Some inhabitants of these forests are the pink and gray dolphins, the giant otter (Ptneura brasiliensis); black caiman (Melanosuchus niger); the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus); the Amazon manatee or see cow (Trichechus inunguis); the sloth (Bradypus spp.), monkeys, birds as the exotic hoatzín or shansho (Opisthocomus hoazin), as well as the flora like the aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa), irapay (Lepidocaryum gracile Martius), and more.