The city of Iquitos is arguably an island (particularly during the rainy season), bound on three sides by massive rivers. To the northeast is the mighty Amazon, accessible by Puerto Masusa. The northwestern border of town is caressed by the curvaceous course of slow and winding Rio Nanay. Finally, forming the eastern border of the town, with the most convenient boat access is the Rio Itaya.
Most of the city’s main attractions are within a few blocks of the riverfront, home to the popular Tarapaca River Walk. The neighborhood of Belen, just south of the city center, famously floats right atop the Itaya. While the Plaza de las Armas and most of the city’s most important buildings lie one block inland, several hotels, restaurants, bars and fine old buildings, such as the Museo Etnografico and neighboring Gobernacion Regional, overlook the water.
It’s easy to hire boats—from motorized canoes to much bigger riverboats—to explore the Itaya and its urban embankments. Or, simply order a locally brewed Iquitena beer at one of the restaurants overlooking the Itaya’s expanse and enjoy the breeze.