Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian jungle. Nearly 3,000 kilometers up-river from the mouth of the Amazon at an altitude of 100 meters lies the jungle-locked city of Iquitos. Accessible only by boat or by plane Iquitos still displays evidence of the wealth created during the 'rubber boom' of the 1860's. Houses both near the main plaza and the river are still faced with the beautiful glazed tiles imported from Portugal along with many other European luxury goods.
Just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas down on the river front is Belen, Iquitos' floating neighborhood and market. Almost as interesting as the jungle itself, Belen is the center of an incredible variety of Amazon products; tropical fruits (the likes of which you've probably never seen before), fish of all shapes and sizes, turtles, birds, frogs and herbal medicines. For a few dollars you can take one of the small canoe-taxis for a tour of the waterways, some being paddled by small children eager to practice their English.
The climate in Iquitos is tropical, hot and humid, with an average temperatura of 28ºC (82ºF) with intense rain storms between December and March.
But it is the promise of vast virgin forest that brings the city its visitors, although getting to anywhere even resembling untouched jungle can require plenty of money and time.
To see wildlife such as caiman, monkeys and macaws, you really need to travel well beyond an 80km radius from Iquitos and preferably off the main waterways. Some animals such as pink dolphins are found only in some of the more remote tributaries of the upper Amazon. The massive river system around Iquitos offers some of the best access to Indian villages, lodges and primary rainforest in the entire Amazon.
At its widest point in Brazil, the mighty Amazon River is 60 kilometers across. Oceangoing vessels can sail the 3000 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean upriver to Iquitos, Peru's major port on the Upper Amazon.
The Amazon River, originating in Peru, is a world of adventure, mystery, and grandeur. Its towering forest and rushing waters harbor such an incomparable diversity of life that scientists are still working to classify it all:
2,000 species of fish, more than those in the Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 species of birds, including 120 hummingbirds, 60 species of reptiles such as the caiman and anaconda, the world's largest non-poisonous snake, Mammals like the marmoset, anteater, tapir, capybara and pink dolphin.
For the traveler wanting to experience the rainforest there are really only 2 possibilities: take a river cruise or visit a lodge.
One of the most classic, comfortable and luxurious ways of seeing the jungle is to take a river cruise down the Amazon. You may not see loads of animals or even virgin jungle but you will have time to relax, enjoy a good book and watch the world go by. You may also wine and dine in style or take an afternoon siesta in your private cabin. Some cruises also include day walks into the jungle and visits to local villages.
Pacaya – Samiria River Cruise
One superb adventure cruise trip to a jungle destination is to the Pacaya-Samiria National Park, which is the largest natural reserve in Peru. Reachable only by boat, larger than 2 million hectares, this reserve includes a series of lagunas (cochas), marshes and rivers that house a large variety of flora and fauna, including the charapa turtle, with a shell that measures up to 1 meter in diameter, the paiche fish, which grows up to 3 meters long, making it the largest fish in the Amazon, as well as hundreds of bird sorts, pink dolphins, alligators, river otters and more.
We suggest an 7 days/ 6 nights adventure cruise from and to Iquitos, visiting in detail this fascinating National Park.
Iquitos to Leticia (Tabatinga) 7 days/ 6 nichts classic cruise
An exciting classic cruise adventure you can choose is ride the Amazon River from Iquitos to Leticia in Colombia or Tabatinga in Brazil and back. The cruise from Iquitos to Leticia or Tabatinga which takes a week, depending on what kind of boat you take is, without a doubt, worth the time, as you will see and experience some of the most beautiful tropical jungle landscapes, sunrises and sunsets along the Amazon rainforest.
Staying at a jungle lodge is one of the most popular ways of visiting the jungle. After a quick walk around Iquitos you'll be amazed at the number of lodges and tours on offer. We can provide any lodge you would prefer to request, but as example we offer Explorama lodges, with different jungle lodges going from luxurious to real jungle adventure:
One of the advantages of booking into one of the Explorama lodges is that they also provide access to the canopy walkway at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER). The aerial walkway is now around 500m in length and over 35m from the ground, offering breathtaking views for bird-watching. Monkeys can also be spotted.
Other lodges in the area offer river trips to the beautiful Rio Yarapa, while others can arrange special shamanic tours. For the more adventurous some lodges offer night hikes or 'survival' trips in which participants catch their own food and construct their own shelters.
- CEIBA TOPS, LUXURY JUNGLE ADVENTURE 3 days/ 2 nights
- EXPLORAMA LODGE JUNGLE BOUND ADVENTURE 3 days/ 2 nights
- EXPLORNAPO HEART OF THE AMAZON ADVENTURE 4 days/ 3 nights
- EXPLORTAMBOS PURE RAINFOREST ADVENTURE 5 days/ 4 nights
"CANOPY WALKWAY" ADVENTURE
Opened in 1993, ACTS, Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies, provides a research station for scientists in the rainforest and an opportunity for layman to share in their discovery. The large, thatched buildings are identical in construction to those found at Explorama Lodge. A donation to maintain and protect the surrounding Reserve and Canopy Walkway is included in the tariff for the ACTS Field Station. In addition to the Walkway, extensive trail hikes are available including the "Medicine Trail" used specifically to show the local rainforest plants used in modern medicine as well as examples of native plant remedies which science may use in the future.