Welcome to Iquitos Peru
|the thousands of motorcycles
and three wheel rickshaws
called moto-kars jockeying for
position on the streets. The
biggest adventure most
tourists have in Iquitos is
racing recklessly through the
streets in a moto-kar.
Keep your arms, legs, and
baggage inside the steel
frame at all times. Disembark
the moto-kar on the sidewalk
side, never the street side.
|Pedestrians have no right of way in Iquitos, Peru.
Iquitos has no roads connecting to other cities making it the largest,
most isolated city on any continent. Cars are not necessary. I do not
have one. Boats are important. I have four river boats. I walk or take a
moto-kar, and I enjoy spending a lot of time in my boats.
A common mistake is that the best time for the tourist to visit Iquitos,
Peru, is during the low water season from June through November. The
water level can fluctuate as much as 40 feet from the low level to the
high water season from December through May.
The rise and fall of the water is determined by the snow melt and
rainfall on the east slope of the Andes. The only activities that are
better in the low water season are fishing, collecting ornamental fish,
and walking on the beach. Everything else, particularly cruising, is better
in the high water season.
The rubber boom caused an explosion in population and prosperity from
1880 through 1912. The legacy from the rubber era can still be seen in
the architecture of the elegant mansions, as well as the Iron House and
bandstand designed by Eiffel.
Many of the mansions are decorated with exquisitely painted ceramic
tiles imported from Portugal, and with mahogany shipped to Italy to be
carved by the most skilled Italian artists, and shipped back to Iquitos. If
you take a tour of the historical buildings, be sure to visit the Museo
Amazonico, constructed in 1863. The museum contains many sculptures
by Felipe Lettersten, as well as old photographs from the turn of the
Every tourist should spend a morning with a knowledgeable guide in the
Belen market. In the alleyway known as Pasaje Paquito you will find a
natural medicine to cure every illness.
|Iquitos, Peru, encircled by rivers and rainforest, is the largest city with
no roads connecting to the outside world. This city on the edge of
civilization has been my home port for adventure cruises on the Amazon
River for three years. Come with me now for a quick tour.
Your first impression of Iquitos is the warm, oxygen rich, moist air. It
feels good and is easy to breathe, particularly if you just came from the
high altitude, low oxygen content of the Andes. Your next impression is
|Look for the sign that says Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises.
On Saturday and Sunday nights the boulevard is the place to be. Visit
with some of the "characters" from the ex-pat community, drink a cold
Iquiteña Extra beer (locally brewed), and watch the action. We like to
buy ice cream cones and lick them in the cool mist from the beautiful
fountain in the Plaza de Armas. Clowns on stilts, mimes, slapstick
comedians, capoeira, a brass band, street musicians, a dog and monkey
show, and beautiful women are all part of the scene. My favorite is the
group that performs the capoeira, a martial arts dance, every Saturday
at 8 p.m. below my balcony.
When you visit Iquitos, plan on going with me for a day trip. The port
area is one of the most interesting parts of the city and most tourists
never see it. We will cruise slowly close to shore and watch the tug
boats and barges, the colectivos, llevo-llevos, lanchas, lanchitas,
canoes, and balsa rafts, some so full of people, livestock, fruit, charcoal,
and other jungle products they look like they would surely sink. Iquitos
has some of the most interesting maritime traffic you have ever seen.
|clothes in the river, children swimming, boat builders building, and all
the local traffic going by in canoes. I helped build my first boat here and
know this area well. I think you will agree Belen is one of the most
interesting villages on earth.
You will enjoy a day trip with me to the Amazon Animal Orphanage and
Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm; to the Momon River, a small winding stream
with the jungle close on both sides; to Las Boas, a petting zoo where
you can wrestle a giant anaconda; to the Bora and Yagua indigenous
villages where you can take target practice with a blow gun; and to
watch for pink river dolphins.
The people make Iquitos, Peru, special
The friendly non-violent people are the biggest attraction of Iquitos,
Peru. The streets are safe and clean. Violent crime is rare. There are
plenty of street hustlers and touts so please use common sense like in
Visiting Iquitos is to step back in time to a previous way of life rarely
seen in the 21st century. I equate it with the 1940's and 50's when very
few had television, or phones, when families stayed together visiting on
the front porch and sidewalks with their neighbors instead of staying
The population census shows far more women than men. You have
probably never see so many people smiling and laughing, ready to
dance, play, and flirt for fun. Every holiday is celebrated and there are a
lot of parades and parties.
Iquitos, Peru, is blessed with eternal summer and known as The City of
Love. If you are not in love when you arrive, there is a good chance you
will be when you leave…
Follow this link to see pictures from the Belen Market and Iquitos set of
our photo album.
|You can watch the sun rise
over the Itaya River from the
Malecon, or river walk. This
is my neighborhood. I live on
the third floor of the corner
building across the street
from the chapel and
seminary. My office is on the
ground floor facing the river.
|Iquitos historic building
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|We will cruise on past the
ports to visit the picturesque
shanty town, Belen. The
houses are built on balsa
rafts and float up and down
as the water level rises and
This area is known as the
Venice of the Amazon. We
like to cruise through slowly
watching the women washing