Peruvian Amazon: How to Visit the Amazon from Iquitos, Peru

By Lucas Vega

Peruvian Amazon: How to Visit the Amazon from Iquitos, Peru

By Lucas Vega

Embark on a journey like no other as we delve into the heart of the Amazon, discovering the wonders of Iquitos, Peru. Nestled in the northeastern part of the country along the majestic Amazon River, Iquitos stands as the gateway to the awe-inspiring Peruvian Amazon, a region teeming with unparalleled biodiversity and natural marvels. This comprehensive guide serves as your passport to an extraordinary adventure, offering insights into the vibrant culture, lush landscapes, and the unique experiences that await in this remote city.

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Why You Should Visit Iquitos, Peru

Before we dive into the logistics of reaching Iquitos and exploring its surroundings, let’s unravel the compelling reasons why this city should be at the top of your travel list:

  • Amazonian Culture: Iquitos, known as the “Capital of the Peruvian Amazon,” offers an immersive experience into the heart of Amazonian culture. From bustling markets to enchanting river adventures, every corner of Iquitos reflects the rich tapestry of the Amazon.
  • Gateway to the Rainforest: Positioned along the Amazon River, Iquitos serves as a launching point for ventures into the expansive Peruvian Amazon. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, wildlife enthusiast, or culture lover, Iquitos opens the door to a myriad of experiences in the heart of the rainforest.
  • Unique Cuisine: Indulge your taste buds in the exotic flavours of Amazonian cuisine. From the vibrant Belen Market to the culinary delights of Nanay Market, Iquitos offers a gastronomic journey like no other.
  • Unforgettable Wildlife Encounters: Prepare to witness nature in its purest form. Iquitos provides access to diverse ecosystems, allowing for encounters with pink river dolphins, howler monkeys, jaguars, and a myriad of bird species.

Now that the allure of Iquitos has piqued your interest, let’s embark on the journey of reaching this captivating destination. Join us as we explore the avenues of adventure and convenience that lead to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.

How to Get to Iquitos: A Blend of Adventure and Convenience

Where is Iquitos?

Situated in the northeastern part of Peru, Iquitos stands proudly as the world’s largest city unreachable by road. Surrounded by the vast expanse of the Amazon rainforest, this remote city offers a unique entry point into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. There are multiple comfortable hostels in Iquitos, which you can use as a base for your activities.

Visiting Iquitos By Air: A Convenient Skyward Journey

Reaching Iquitos has never been more convenient, thanks to the establishment of a new airport. Daily flights from Lima, the capital of Peru, cater to varied weather conditions, ensuring a seamless travel experience for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. A flight from Lima to Iquitos takes under two hours, providing a swift and comfortable option for those seeking efficiency in their journey.

  • New Airport: Iquitos boasts a modern airport, streamlining air travel to and from this remote city.
  • Daily Flights: With daily flights connecting Lima and Iquitos, travellers can plan their adventure with flexibility.
  • Short Travel Time: The short flight duration of under two hours minimises travel fatigue, allowing you to arrive in Iquitos quickly.

Visiting Iquitos By Boat: Embracing the Classic Amazon Journey

For those yearning for a more adventurous and scenic route, the classic Amazonian journey by boat is an enticing option. The 2 to 2.5-day boat journey from Yurimaguas takes you through the intricate river system, offering a taste of classic Amazon exploration. This slower but immersive mode of travel allows you to soak in the beauty of the rainforest, gradually unveiling the wonders that await in Iquitos.

  • Adventure Awaits: The boat journey from Yurimaguas to Iquitos is an adventure in itself, providing a glimpse into the timeless allure of the Amazon.
  • Scenic Beauty: Navigating the Amazon River by boat allows you to witness the ever-changing landscapes and diverse flora and fauna along the riverbanks.
  • Classic Amazon Exploration: Embrace the spirit of early Amazon explorers as you traverse the waterways, immersing yourself in the natural grandeur of the rainforest.

Whether you choose the convenience of air travel or the romance of a river journey, arriving in Iquitos marks the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. In the next section, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of Iquitos, Peru – a city that stands as a final frontier in travel.

Exploring Iquitos: The Gateway to the Amazon

Before venturing into the heart of the Amazon, take the time to explore the cultural richness and historical gems that Iquitos has to offer. From tranquil river views to bustling markets, the city serves as a captivating prelude to the extraordinary adventures awaiting you in the Peruvian Amazon.

A City in the Heart of the Peruvian Amazon

As the road vanishes amidst the vast Amazon forest, Iquitos emerges as a final frontier in travel. Navigating the intricate river system becomes the sole path forward, leading you through days of solitude in the dark, dense rainforest. Iquitos, accessible only by boat or plane, stands as one of the most remote communities on Earth.

  • Inaccessibility: Iquitos is the world’s largest city unreachable by road, adding to its allure as an off-the-beaten-path destination.
  • Remote Charm: The city’s remoteness contributes to a unique and untouched atmosphere, making it a haven for adventurers seeking authenticity.
  • Amazonian Solitude: Traveling to Iquitos involves navigating the Amazon’s waterways, providing an immersive experience through the heart of the rainforest.
  • Trade Hub: The city’s strategic location has made it a crucial trading port, facilitating commerce between multiple South American countries.
  • Safety and Intrigue: Despite its military and police presence, Iquitos retains an air of intrigue and safety, beckoning travelers to explore its unique blend of history and modernity.

Visiting Belen Market in Iquitos: Discovering the Culture of the Peruvian Amazon

Traverse from the waterfront to the gritty streets of the Belen Market, an Amazonian secret hub where wooden boats navigate stilt villages along the river. Amidst its loud, grungy atmosphere, explore intriguing dark alleyways showcasing local delicacies, shamanistic magic, and the hallucinogenic Ayahuasca experience. Negotiate affordable village tours with locals, gaining insights into politics, daily life, and capturing the picturesque scene at sunrise.

  • Stilt Villages: Witness the unique architecture of stilt houses, reflecting the adaptation of the locals to the ebb and flow of the river.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: Belen Market pulsates with energy, offering a sensory-rich experience with its lively ambiance, colorful stalls, and diverse crowd.
  • Local Delicacies: Immerse yourself in the exotic tastes of the region, from unique fruits to indigenous dishes like juane (rice tamale) and inchicapi (peanut soup).
  • Shamanistic Magic: Encounter traditional healers and shamans practicing ancient rituals, providing insight into the spiritual aspects of Amazonian culture. This includes Ayahuasca ceremonies, in which participants ingest a psychoactive brew as part of a traditional spiritual ceremony.
  • Political and Daily Insights: Interact with locals to gain insights into the political dynamics and daily routines of the Belen community.
  • Sunrise Spectacle: Capture the breathtaking sunrise scenes, offering a visual feast as the morning light dances on the tranquil waters of the Amazon.

Nanay Market: A Culinary Adventure Beyond Belen

While Belen is a hub for Amazonian markets, the Nanay Market, 10 km from Iquitos, offers a culinary journey with unique flavors. From giant Amazonian snails to 3-inch grub worms, savor the diverse tastes of the region.

  • Culinary Delights: Nanay Market introduces visitors to a wider array of Amazonian flavors, showcasing exotic ingredients and traditional dishes.
  • Giant Amazonian Snails: Delight your taste buds with the unique experience of sampling giant Amazonian snails, a local delicacy.
  • Diverse Tastes: From adventurous offerings like grub worms to more familiar fare, Nanay Market provides a culinary adventure for every palate.

Plaza de Armas: The Heart of Iquitos

Embrace the cultural and historical core of Iquitos by starting your exploration at the Plaza de Armas. This central square serves as the heartbeat of the city, offering a perfect blend of leisure and cultural immersion.

Key Points:

  • Strolls and Relaxation: Take leisurely strolls around the plaza, soaking in the atmosphere and architectural charm. Find a comfortable spot to relax, perhaps at one of the outdoor cafes, and observe daily life in Iquitos.
  • Dining Delights: The plaza is surrounded by an array of restaurants and cafes, offering both local and international cuisine. Indulge in Amazonian delicacies or opt for familiar dishes with an exotic twist.
  • Souvenir Shopping: Explore the nearby shops for unique souvenirs and handcrafted items, allowing you to bring a piece of Iquitos back home.

Iquitos Cathedral: Architectural Grandeur

Visit the impressive Iquitos Cathedral, located at the Plaza de Armas, and marvel at its architectural grandeur. Built during the rubber boom era, the cathedral stands as a testament to the historical significance of the region.

  • Historical Insights: Delve into the history of Iquitos and the impact of the rubber industry on the city’s development. Appreciate the intricate details of the cathedral’s design, reflecting a blend of European and Amazonian influences.
  • Religious Significance: Attend a mass or simply spend quiet moments in contemplation within the cathedral. Capture the spiritual ambiance and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Malecón Tarapacá: Riverside Serenity

For a peaceful retreat and scenic views of the Amazon River, head to Malecón Tarapacá. This riverside promenade offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.

  • River Views: Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank, enjoying panoramic views of the Amazon. Find a bench or a cozy spot to absorb the serenity and watch the boats navigating the mighty river.
  • Sunset Splendor: Visit in the evening to witness a breathtaking sunset over the Amazon, casting warm hues across the sky. Capture the picturesque scene with your camera or smartphone for lasting memories.

Amazon Rescue Center: Conservation Endeavors

Before embarking on your Amazonian adventure, consider a visit to the Amazon Rescue Center. Located in Iquitos, this conservation facility focuses on the rehabilitation of manatees.

  • Manatee Encounters: Learn about the center’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned manatees. Witness these gentle creatures up close and gain insights into their conservation needs.
  • Educational Programs: Participate in educational programs conducted by the center, contributing to your understanding of Amazonian wildlife. Support the center’s initiatives through voluntary contributions or donations.

Amazonian Jungle Adventures from Iquitos

Iquitos is just your gateway to the Amazon. You will need to venture into the jungle, either on a day trip or a multi-day adventure. While a day trip will offer glimpses of the Amazon to tick it off your list, a few days will give you the freedom to venture further into the jungle and experience a greater degree of wildlife.

Top Amazon Day Trips from Iquitos

While immersing yourself in the depths of the Amazon for an extended jungle experience is captivating, Iquitos also offers incredible day trips that unveil the wonders of the rainforest in a shorter timeframe. These day excursions provide a taste of the Amazon’s magic without requiring a prolonged commitment. Here are some top Amazon day trips to consider:

1. Pacaya Samiria National Reserve Day Tour


  • Explore the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Peru, known for its diverse wildlife and lush landscapes.


  • Wildlife Spotting: Encounter pink river dolphins, monkeys, birds, and other wildlife species in their natural habitat.
  • Boat Excursion: Embark on a boat excursion through the intricate waterways of the reserve, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rainforest.


  • Duration: Full-day tour.
  • What to Bring: Binoculars, camera, comfortable clothing, and insect repellent.

2. Amazon River Boat Tour


  • Cruise along the majestic Amazon River, the lifeblood of the rainforest, on a day-long boat tour.


  • Scenic Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Amazon River and its lush banks.
  • Riverbank Exploration: Stop at key points along the riverbank to explore the flora and fauna of the rainforest.


  • Duration: Full-day adventure.
  • What to Bring: Sunscreen, a hat, camera, and comfortable shoes.

3. Monkey Island Visit


  • Delve into the fascinating Monkey Island, a sanctuary for various monkey species near Iquitos.


  • Up-Close Monkey Encounters: Witness playful and curious monkeys in their natural habitat.
  • Educational Experience: Learn about the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these intelligent creatures.


  • Duration: Half-day tour.
  • What to Bring: Camera, comfortable clothing, and an appreciation for primate conservation.

4. Butterfly Farm Adventure


  • Embark on a journey to the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm, an enchanting haven for butterflies and endangered animals.


  • Butterfly Spectacle: Witness a kaleidoscope of butterflies in various shapes and colors.
  • Wildlife Conservation: Learn about the farm’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate endangered species.


  • Duration: Half-day visit.
  • What to Bring: Camera, binoculars, and a passion for wildlife conservation.

Top Iquitos Jungle Lodges for Multi-Day Amazon Trips

Embark on a multi-day Amazonian experience by choosing from some of the top jungle lodges in Iquitos. These lodges not only offer comfortable accommodations but also provide an immersive journey into the heart of the rainforest.

1. Treehouse Lodge

Luxury meets nature as this eco-property offers treehouse accommodations amidst the canopy. Powered by solar energy and surrounded by toucans and monkeys, Treehouse Lodge provides a peaceful escape.

  • Elevated Experience: Stay in treehouses elevated above the jungle floor, offering a unique perspective of the rainforest.
  • Solar-Powered: Embrace sustainability with solar-powered amenities, minimizing the environmental impact.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Wake up to the sounds of nature, with toucans and monkeys as your neighbors in this jungle haven.

2. Tapiche Jungle Reserve

Distinguished by its commitment to preserving endangered species, Tapiche Jungle Reserve is located remotely, offering authentic, off-the-beaten-path eco-friendly experiences.

  • Endangered Species Preservation: Contribute to conservation efforts as the lodge focuses on protecting and preserving endangered species.
  • Remote Location: Enjoy an off-the-grid experience, surrounded by pristine nature and untouched landscapes.
  • Authentic Encounters: Immerse yourself in the authentic lifestyle of the rainforest, far away from mainstream tourist spots.

3. Amazon Yarpa River Lodge

Situated in a protected reserve, this solar-powered lodge focuses on conservation and medicinal compound discovery, providing access to top-notch guides.

  • Conservation Focus: Contribute to the protection of the Amazon’s biodiversity by staying in a lodge committed to conservation.
  • Medicinal Plant Discovery: Learn about the rich variety of medicinal plants in the region through guided tours led by knowledgeable experts.
  • Top-Notch Guides: Benefit from experienced guides who offer valuable insights into the local flora and fauna.

4. Tahuayo Lodge

Close to the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, this lodge offers a thrilling zipline ride above the jungle canopy. Solar-powered and comfortable, it balances adventure with comfort.

  • Zipline Adventure: Experience the thrill of ziplining above the jungle, adding an adventurous element to your Amazonian stay.
  • Solar-Powered Comfort: Enjoy the best of both worlds with sustainable, solar-powered accommodations in the heart of nature.
  • Proximity to Reserve: Explore the nearby Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, home to diverse wildlife and indigenous communities.

5. Ceiba Tops Luxury Lodge

Just 1.5 hours from Iquitos, this luxury resort ensures a comfortable Amazon experience with amenities like hot water, air conditioning, WiFi, and a pool.

  • Luxury in the Jungle: Indulge in a luxurious stay with modern amenities, providing a comfortable retreat after jungle adventures.
  • Convenient Access: Located close to Iquitos, Ceiba Tops Luxury Lodge offers easy access to both city comforts and jungle exploration.
  • Amenities: Enjoy hot water, air conditioning, WiFi, and a refreshing pool, enhancing your overall experience in the Amazon.

Top Iquitos River Cruises for Multi-Day Amazon Trips

For those seeking a different perspective of the Amazon, luxury river cruises down the Amazon River provide an opulent and scenic experience.

1. Delfin Amazon Cruises

A pioneer in luxury cruises, Delfin Amazon Cruises offers exceptional service, gourmet food, and sustainability initiatives. Explore the Amazon’s wonders in comfort.

  • Pioneer in Luxury: Experience the Amazon in style with a cruise from a renowned luxury cruise provider.
  • Exceptional Service: Enjoy top-notch service, ensuring a seamless and comfortable journey through the Amazon.
  • Gourmet Food: Delight your taste buds with gourmet food, adding a culinary dimension to your river cruise.

2. Jungle Experiences River Cruises

Winner of the 2019 World Travel Award, Jungle Experiences provides comfortable river cruises with daily excursions, delicious food, and luxurious accommodations.

  • Award-Winning Experience: Choose a river cruise provider recognised for excellence in the travel industry.
  • Comfortable Cruises: Cruise down the Amazon in comfort, with well-appointed accommodations and amenities.
  • Luxurious Experience: Immerse yourself in luxury with delicious food, daily excursions, and a comfortable onboard experience.

Eco-Travel & Sustainable Tourism in the Amazon Rainforest

Embarking on a journey to the Amazon rainforest from Iquitos comes with a responsibility to preserve its unparalleled biodiversity. By embracing eco-travel and sustainable tourism, you not only enrich your Amazonian adventure but also play a crucial role in safeguarding this irreplaceable natural wonder for generations to come. Choose a travel approach that respects the delicate balance of the Amazon rainforest, ensuring its magic endures for future explorers. Here’s how you can ensure your Amazon adventure leaves a positive impact:

Choose Certified Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Opt for lodges and hotels that prioritise sustainable practices. Look for certifications like Rainforest Alliance or Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to ensure the establishment follows eco-friendly guidelines. Examples include the Treehouse Lodge, known for its commitment to environmental sustainability through solar-powered amenities.

Support Conservation Initiatives

Contribute to organisations working towards Amazon rainforest conservation. You can also participate in guided tours or activities organised by local conservation groups. Tapiche Jungle Reserve, for instance, actively engages in preserving endangered species, allowing you to be part of their conservation efforts.

Respect Wildlife and Their Habitat

Follow ethical wildlife viewing guidelines, maintaining a safe distance and avoiding disruption to their natural behaviour. You should refrain from feeding wild animals or engaging in activities that could harm their habitat. Sustainable lodges, such as Amazon Yarpa River Lodge, prioritise responsible interactions with the local wildlife.

Practice Leave No Trace Principles

Minimise your environmental footprint by adhering to Leave No Trace principles. Dispose of waste properly and avoid littering in the rainforest. Responsible tourism ensures that the pristine beauty of the Amazon remains unspoiled for future generations.

Conserve Water and Energy

Contribute to the preservation of precious resources by conserving water and energy during your stay. Many eco-friendly lodges, including Treehouse Lodge, implement water and energy-saving initiatives as part of their commitment to sustainability.

Choose Responsible Tour Operators

Research and select tour operators with a reputation for responsible and ethical practices. You should consider operators that actively contribute to local communities and conservation projects. Jungle Experiences River Cruises, winner of the 2019 World Travel Award, is recognised for its commitment to sustainability and community engagement.

Educate Yourself and Others

Stay informed about the fragile ecosystems of the Amazon and the challenges they face. Share your knowledge with fellow travellers and encourage responsible tourism practices. Knowledgeable guides at sustainable lodges, like Tapiche Jungle Reserve, provide educational insights into the rainforest’s delicate balance.

Wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon

Embarking on an Amazonian adventure from Iquitos means delving into one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. The Peruvian Amazon, with its lush rainforests and winding rivers, is home to an astonishing array of wildlife.

Whether you’re enchanted by playful dolphins, awe-inspired by elusive jaguars, or captivated by the vibrant plumage of exotic birds, the Amazon offers an immersive and diverse encounter with the wonders of the natural world. Here’s a glimpse into the captivating biodiversity you might encounter:

  • Pink River Dolphins: Known as “bufeos” in the local parlance, pink river dolphins are a charismatic and iconic species. Encounter these enchanting creatures as they gracefully swim alongside boats, showcasing their distinctive pink hues.
  • Howler Monkeys: The unmistakable roars of howler monkeys reverberate through the treetops. Spot these agile primates swinging from branch to branch, adding a symphony of sounds to the rainforest.
  • Jaguars: The elusive jaguar, a symbol of Amazonian mystique, roams the dense foliage. While sightings are rare due to their elusive nature, the thrill of knowing they inhabit the same realm is awe-inspiring.
  • Sloths: These slow-moving, arboreal creatures are a delight to observe. Look up into the canopy, and you might spot a sloth leisurely navigating the branches.
  • Caimans: Venture out on nocturnal excursions to spot caimans, the smaller relatives of alligators. Their eyes glow eerily in the darkness as you navigate the waterways, creating a thrilling experience.
  • Toucans & Exotic Birds: The Amazon sky comes alive with the vibrant colours of toucans and a myriad of exotic bird species. Birdwatching enthusiasts can marvel at the diversity, from parrots to toucans, creating a kaleidoscope of avian wonders.
  • Macaws & Parrots: The Amazon rainforest echoes with the raucous calls of macaws and parrots. Witness flocks of these brilliantly coloured birds as they soar above the treetops in breathtaking displays.
  • Anteaters: Anteaters, with their long snouts and distinctive appearance, are part of the Amazon’s ground-dwelling fauna. Spot these fascinating creatures as they forage for ants and termites in the rainforest underbrush.
  • Anacondas: The Amazon is home to the world’s largest snake, the anaconda. While encounters are infrequent, some lodges offer specialized excursions for those eager to observe these massive reptiles.
  • Butterflies, Insects & Spiders: The Amazon rainforest is a haven for butterflies, with an astonishing variety of species. You’ll also be surrounded by a great number of insects and spiders, including tarantulas.

Best Time to Travel to Iquitos: Seasons and Perks

Planning the perfect journey to Iquitos involves considering the unique seasons that shape the Amazonian landscape. Each period offers distinct advantages, allowing you to tailor your visit based on preferences and the experiences you seek.

Wet Season (December to May): Navigating the Waterways

There are many advantages to traveling in the wet season, including:

  • Boat Excursions to Higher Canopy Areas: The wet season brings higher water levels, enabling boat access to areas that are otherwise unreachable.Lush Greenery and Flourishing Wildlife: The rain revitalizes the rainforest, creating a vibrant and lush environment teeming with wildlife.
  • Unique Excursions: Explore flooded forest areas and witness the Amazon at its most dynamic.

However, you should consider:

  • Increased Rainfall: Expect occasional heavy rainfall, contributing to increased humidity and creating a unique ambiance in the rainforest.
  • Mosquito Activity: With more standing water, mosquito activity might be higher. It’s crucial to use mosquito repellent and take necessary precautions.

Dry Season (June to November): Concentrated Wildlife Activity

The dry season is very popular, because of the following considerations:

  • Concentrated Animal Activity: As water levels recede, wildlife tends to concentrate around water sources, offering excellent opportunities for observation.
  • Clearer Paths for Exploration: Dry weather ensures more accessible trails and paths, making walking excursions more convenient.
  • Ideal for Animal Feeding Areas: The dry season concentrates feeding areas, making wildlife encounters more predictable.

However, you should be aware of a number of downsides:

  • Hotter Temperatures: The dry season brings warmer temperatures, making it essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Limited Boat Access: Some areas may become less accessible by boat due to lower water levels.

Holidays: Unique Cultural Experiences

Beyond the climatic considerations, specific holidays in Iquitos provide an extra layer of cultural richness to your visit:

  • San Juan Festival (June): Embrace the festive spirit of the San Juan Festival, celebrated in June. Experience cultural events, music, and local traditions during this vibrant celebration.
  • December Holidays: The holiday season in December brings a unique atmosphere to Iquitos. Plan ahead to partake in local festivities and celebrations.

Whether you prefer the dynamic and lush landscapes of the wet season or the concentrated wildlife encounters of the dry season, Iquitos welcomes you with open arms. Tailor your journey to the heart of the Amazon based on the seasonal perks that align with your ideal adventure.

Exploring Alternative Gateways to the Peruvian Amazon

While Iquitos stands as a captivating entry point to the Peruvian Amazon, alternative gateways provide distinct yet equally enchanting routes for those seeking diverse experiences. These towns, each offering unique charms, serve as launchpads to the awe-inspiring wonders of the Amazon rainforest.

Manu National Park: UNESCO’s Crown Jewel

Accessible from Cusco, Manu National Park holds the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage site. This alternative gateway introduces travellers to the Amazon’s biodiversity through diverse ecosystems. Journey through cultural and reserved zones for an unparalleled encounter with nature.

  • Geographical Marvel: Located in the southeastern part of Peru, Manu National Park spans diverse ecosystems, from Andean highlands to lowland rainforests. The park’s vastness contributes to its status as one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet.
  • Macaw Clay Licks: Visit the famous macaw clay licks, where vibrant macaws and parrots gather to ingest essential minerals. Witness the spectacular sight and capture vibrant photographs of these colorful birds in their natural habitat.
  • Mammals of Manu: Keep an eye out for a variety of mammal species, including capybaras, tapirs, and multiple monkey species.The park’s pristine wilderness provides a conducive environment for wildlife observation.

Puerto Maldonado: Gateway to Tambopata’s Riches

Nestled in southeastern Peru, Puerto Maldonado beckons adventurers with its accessibility by air or an adventurous bus journey. This alternative entryway unveils the famed Reserva Nacional Tambopata, offering budget-friendly accommodations like Hostal Tropical Inn and opulent retreats such as Hotel Enai.

  • Accessibility: Located in the Madre de Dios region, Puerto Maldonado is easily accessible from Cusco and other major Peruvian cities. The city serves as a starting point for exploration into the Tambopata National Reserve.
  • Tambopata River: Navigate the Tambopata River, surrounded by lush rainforest, and witness the vibrant biodiversity along its banks. Keep an eye out for giant river otters, caimans, and an array of bird species during boat excursions.
  • Canopy Walkways: Experience the rainforest from a different perspective by walking on elevated canopy walkways. Gain a bird’s-eye view of the forest, providing opportunities to spot elusive species that dwell in the treetops.

Choosing How to Visit the Peruvian Amazon

Whether opting for the traditional charm of Iquitos or exploring these alternative gateways, the Peruvian Amazon invites you on an unforgettable expedition, promising a rich tapestry of wildlife, biodiversity, and cultural immersion. Choose the entry point that aligns with your travel preferences and embark on a journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

What to Pack When Visiting the Amazon in Peru

Preparing for an adventure in the Amazon rainforest requires you to pack all the essentials. To ensure comfort, safety, and an enriching experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to pack for your visit to the Amazon in Peru:

Essentials for a Comfortable Journey

  • Lightweight, Long-Sleeved Clothing: Opt for breathable, long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against insects and sun exposure. Light colors can help keep you cool, and moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal for the humid climate.
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Choose comfortable, waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support for jungle treks. The terrain can be uneven and muddy, so durable footwear is essential.
  • Rain Gear: Pack a high-quality rain jacket or poncho to stay dry during frequent rain showers. Consider bringing a rain cover for your backpack and a quick-dry towel for convenience.
  • Insect Repellent: Bring a DEET-based insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects. Apply repellent regularly, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Sun Protection: Pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect against intense Amazonian sun. Sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt offer additional sun protection.

Health and Safety Essentials

  • Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage for medical emergencies. Verify if the policy includes evacuation coverage for remote areas.
  • Basic First Aid Kit: Prepare a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. Consult with your doctor for recommended vaccinations and medications for the region.
  • Water Purification Methods: Bring a portable water purifier or water purification tablets to ensure safe drinking water. Staying hydrated is crucial, and these methods can be essential, especially in remote areas.

Jungle Exploration Gear

  • Backpack: Invest in a high-quality, waterproof backpack to carry your essentials during jungle excursions. Consider a backpack with adjustable straps for a comfortable fit.
  • Binoculars and Camera: Enhance your wildlife viewing experience with binoculars for birdwatching and a camera to capture the mesmerising flora and fauna. Ensure your camera is protected from moisture in a waterproof case.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: Jungle nights can be dark, so a hands-free light source is essential. Bring a reliable headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.

Additional Useful Items

  • Power Bank: Keep your electronic devices charged with a portable power bank, especially if you plan to use cameras or smartphones for extended periods.
  • Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife: A versatile tool can be handy for various situations, from cutting to opening bottles.
  • Travel Adapters: Ensure you have the right travel adapters for your electronic devices, as power outlets may differ.
  • Notebook and Pen: Document your experiences and observations in a waterproof notebook. A pen can be useful for jotting down notes or filling out any required forms.

Responsible Practices for the Amazon

  • Leave No Trace: Follow Leave No Trace principles to minimise your impact on the environment.
  • Sustainable Toiletries: Use biodegradable and environmentally friendly toiletries to minimise harm to the ecosystem.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Carry a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste. Dispose of waste properly and avoid disturbing wildlife. Refill it with purified water as needed.

By packing thoughtfully and considering the unique challenges of the Amazon rainforest, you’ll be well-prepared to immerse yourself in this extraordinary environment while prioritising your safety and the preservation of this invaluable ecosystem.


Embarking on a journey to Iquitos and the enchanting Amazon rainforest promises an unparalleled adventure, seamlessly blending vibrant city life with the untouched wilderness. As the largest city unreachable by road, Iquitos serves as a gateway to wonder, offering diverse Amazonian experiences from bustling markets to tranquil rainforest depths. Whether choosing jungle lodges or river cruises, the region accommodates every traveler’s preference, emphasising eco-travel and sustainability. Encounter the marvels of wildlife, embrace seasonal perks, and prepare for jungle exploration. Iquitos unfolds as a tapestry of extraordinary moments, inviting you to contribute to the preservation of this unique ecosystem while creating memories that last a lifetime.


How do I reach Iquitos?

Iquitos can be reached by air with daily flights from Lima or by boat, providing a more adventurous journey from Yurimaguas.

How do I get to Iquitos from Lima?

Daily flights from Lima to Iquitos provide the quickest access. Cargo ships called lanchas offer a scenic river route for the adventurous.

How many days should you spend in Iquitos?

We recommend one night in Iquitos, with additional nights in an Amazon eco-lodge for a complete rainforest experience.

What kinds of things are there to do in Iquitos?

Explore markets and rescue centers like the Amazon Rescue Center and Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm & Amazon Animal Orphanage.

Is Iquitos safe for travellers?

Despite its proximity to cocaine production regions, Iquitos is generally safe. Violent crime is rare and there is a notable military and police presence to ensure security.

What can I explore in the Belen Market?

The Belen Market offers a sensory-rich experience, from local delicacies to shamanistic magic and Ayahuasca exploration.

What are the top wildlife highlights in Iquitos?

Iquitos boasts diverse wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, and caimans. Lodges and river cruises provide opportunities to spot these animals in their natural habitat.

What is the best time to visit Iquitos for wildlife viewing?

For optimal wildlife viewing, consider the wet season (December to May) for unique boat excursions or the dry season (June to December) for more concentrated animal activity.

How can I plan an Amazonian trip on a budget?

Planning your Amazonian adventure on a budget is feasible. Opt for local travel agencies, consider bus travel, and explore budget-friendly accommodations. Flexibility in your schedule allows for on-the-spot tour arrangements, often at lower costs.

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Written By Lucas Vega

Lucas is a travel writer with deep experience exploring South America. He enjoys hiking through mountain ranges, cycling across deserts and paddling down rivers.

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