On the banks of the Amazon River, Iquitos is the capital of the jungle of Peru, and is an excellent base to explore the northern jungle of Peru. In the Main Square you will find a strange landmark of Iquitos, the iron house, designed by Eiffel for the Paris exhibition of 1889 and sent here by a rubber baron. In the 19th century, it saw Iquitos as the rubber boom town. Today, oil and tourism have outperformed rubber.
The department of Loreto is located in the northern jungle of the country. On the north it borders Ecuador and Colombia, on the south with Ucayali, on the east with Brazil and on the west with Amazonas and San Martín. It covers 30% of the national territory and is considered the northernmost of Peru. Its territory includes zones of high forest and low forest. Its climate is hot and humid with an average temperature of 17 °C to 20 °C in the months of June and July and a maximum of up to 36 °C in the months of December to March. Although the climate is warm in these months, this time of year is considered winter. The average humidity is 84% with heavy rains during all the time. It has an area of 348,177 square kilometers and a population that exceeds 650 thousand inhabitants. Its capital is Iquitos and other cities of importance are Requena, Contamana, and Nauta.
Due to the influence, the typical food of the department is similar to that of other places in the Amazon. Thus, it is not uncommon that here also the motelo soup (turtle) or the juanes (rice tamales with chicken or fish) are considered typical dishes. However, it is striking that in the local markets it is offered in fried or roasted, monkey or lizard meats that, according to its inhabitants, are exquisite. Other dishes of great acceptance are the cesina, the tacacho, the chonta salad and the palometa. To drink they have the masato, natural fruit juices like aguaje, passion fruit, cocona and to cool the aguaje ice cream.
Iquitos: It is a great city, perhaps the largest in the world without roads, with great commercial activity, a port, oil refineries and a large wood industry. The city of Iquitos has as its axis of social life the Main Square and around it famous houses of the rubber era; the square is very close to the Tarapacá viewpoint area of bars and restaurants from where you can see the Amazon River. Small museums, centers of native handicrafts, commercial area in the Prospero Street and the traditional neighborhood of Bethlehem with its floating houses on the river. Good services of hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs and lively nightlife.
Amazon River and Cruises: The Amazon is the longest and mightiest river in the world, it is so wide that in some points you can see the curvature of the earth as if it were an ocean. It is born with the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, in front of Nauta and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, navigable in all its extension and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon and its thousands of tributaries are the natural way to know the richness of the Amazonian biodiversity, going through the rivers to the jungle lodges or cruising.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: The "Mirror Rainforest", a place of exceptional beauty and one of the richest places of fauna and flora in the world in its natural state. Located in the Department of Loreto, provinces of Requena and Loreto, it has an area of 2 million hectares. Conservation unit, over the low jungle, for the protection of the fauna and flora of the region. It is located 180 km. (115 miles) from Iquitos. It constitutes the largest intangible zone of Peru, located at the apex of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, landscapes of exceptional beauty, aguajales, tahuampas. Recommended place for bird watching. Near the reserve there are lodges and lodges for tourists, from which you can organize guided tours and excursions. You can also visit through boat trips organized from Iquitos or Nauta.
Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve: Located only 20 km from the city of Iquitos, this area protects a unique combination of ecosystems of different origin and age from the lower basin of the Nanay River, and hosts an exceptional biological richness, since it is located in the so-called 'Napo Ecoregion', one of the most biodiverse areas of the Amazon and the world. Although the highlights of Allpahuayo - Mishana are its rare and ancient white sand forests, here you can find recent forests of flooded terraces by the Nanay River (which also has numerous blackwater lakes and streams, with its typical fauna and flora) , swamp forests, and clayey hills forests of various types, each of which has its typical community of plants and animals.
Exploring the Jungle: The Amazon rainforest is the most extensive and varied nature reserve on Earth, abundant botanical and zoological species, in exuberant landscapes where you can go in for encounters with wildlife and nature. You can choose to stay in hostels or lodges and from there start your excursions, some very close to natural protected areas highlighting Pacaya Samiria and Allpahuayo Mishana. Or if you prefer a cruise on the Amazon, or a simple boat ride. Excellent option for birdwatchers, sport fishing, knowledge of medicinal plants and contact with native communities.
Around Iquitos: Near the city you can visit the tourist complex of Quistococha for a first encounter with the regional fauna and flora, San Juan village of artisans and great parties, Santo Tomas a picturesque village on the banks of a beautiful lagoon, or visit the native communities of the Boras or Yaguas in the Momón River, the towns of Bellavista or the beaches of Santa Clara, lagoons such as Zungarococha or the distant Nauta very close to the source of the Amazon River.
Native Amazonian Communities: In the immense territories of the department of Loreto there are populations of native and aboriginal communities that receive tourists in their populations. The vast majority of these groups have been civilized since colonial times by Catholic missions and today they maintain many of their ancestral customs rooted, such as their art, language, dance, food, etc. For visitors interested in knowing the Amazon and interacting with other cultures, visiting the native communities becomes part of the main reason for their trip. Some communities of the Bora and Yaguas ethnic groups offer the possibility of staying in their villages with accommodation and sharing their daily life and doing experiential tourism.
Folklore of Iquitos: The inheritance of the native communities, their music and dances, their crafts, the regional celebrations and the typical foods and drinks of the zone. Folk medicine, shamanism and healers, the ayahuasc ceremony