Iquitos, Peru: Capital of the Peruvian Amazon
Iquitos is the capital of the Loreto Region, in the northern part of Peru. Iquitos is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by land, only by air or boat. Due to this, tuk tuks(auto rickshaws, motocarros) dominate the city. This is the best way to get around and it’s only about 2 Soles(.60 USD) to get anywhere in the city. We were only here for 1 ½ days and headed to Cusco afterwards.
Getting to Iquitos from Leticia:
Since you can’t get to Iquitos by land, you’ll have to catch a flight or a boat. Flight takes about an hour, slow boat about 3 days(depending on the water levels), and a fast boat about 12 hours. I took a fast boat which costs around $70USD, depending on the exchange rate. Most hostels and tour operators offer fast boat tickets. I purchased mine through the hostel I was staying at in Leticia. Boats leave at 4am from Santa Rosa, Peru. Since we were staying in Leticia, we were advised to go to the dock and catch a boat to Santa Rosa. The trip to Santa Rosa was only 5 minutes. Once we cleared Peruvian immigration, we were finally on the fast boat.
The fast boat stops in several villages along the way - each village on the Amazon is different and interesting to see. Halfway through the trip, our boat got too close to the river bank and hit a massive rock and went airborne. I was certain the boat was going to capsize, but the boat turned out to be fine - one strong boat! Due to the boat’s minor incident, we were delayed 3 hours and eventually made to Iquitos in one piece.
Arriving in Iquitos:
Once you arrive in Iquitos, tuk tuk drivers will be surrounding you and charging you an insane amount of money to get you to your destination. 5 Soles($1.50 USD) should be the maximum price. I recommend you stay at the Flying Dog Hostel located by the river and only several blocks away from the main plaza and nightlife.
Things to Do:
Plaza de Armas - Main square of Iquitos with several restaurants, hotels, a water fountain, statues, and a church. Most definitely the busiest part of the city at night.
Casa de Fierro(Iron House) - Located in Plaza de Armas. An iron building built during the rubber boom at the end of the 19th Century. There’s apparently a restaurant on the 2nd floor, but we didn’t see one.
Belen Market - Open-air market in one of Iquitos most impoverished neighborhoods. The market spans over 20 blocks located in the Belen district of Iquitos.
Jungle Tours - Most hostels in Iquitos can arrange this for you. Flying Dog Hostel offers jungle tours, but we didn’t do one because we already did a tour in Leticia.
Places to Eat:
Restaurante Fitzgeraldo - It's an upscale joint that serves local and international dishes. Highly recommend this place for breakfast.
Calle Napo 100, Iquitos, Peru
El Pollon -Located in Plaza de Armas. Chicken spot with an extensive menu. Local dishes served and an excellent way to eat like a local.
Jirón Próspero 151, Iquitos, Peru
The Yellow Rose of Texas - Located in Plaza de Armas. They serve Tex-Mex, American, and Peruvian food. They also have a Ayahuasca menu. This place makes you feel like you’re back in the States. The owner is from Texas!
Jirón Putumayo 174, Iquitos, Peru
Arandu Bar - Located on Malecon Maldonado overlooking the river. It’s a restaurant/bar joint that serves amazing food and exotic drinks at affordable prices. This is the place where I had my first Peruvian ceviche and pisco sour. Awesome place to spend a relaxed night out.
Malecón Maldonado 113, Iquitos, Peru
Noa Disco - If you feel like dancing the night away, head to Noa Disco. We got bottle service and had a table on the 2nd floor. Great music with 2 stories of dance floors. We should of stayed an extra night in Iquitos because Nicky Jam was performing the next day..bummed out.
Jirón Fitzcarrald 298, Iquitos, Peru
Next blog will about Cusco/Machu Picchu!