The vast majority of travelers come to Iquitos because it is the jumping off point for Peru’s fine selection of Amazon lodges. These are scattered along the region’s rivers (not only the Amazon itself), amidst its villages, and throughout its protected areas, offering the opportunity to commune almost completely with nature.
Most lodges are accessible only by boat, and some operators will take you to several different lodges over the course of a multiple-day tour. Visits are all-inclusive and include meals and side trips, such as day hikes, piranha fishing, visits to local villages and much more.
While it’s usually best to make reservations online well in advance, you can usually find rooms after you arrive in Iquitos. Keep in mind, however, that tours promising you the earth and sky are working on commission; take what they say (particularly about competing lodges) with several grains of salt.
What to Expect
Cost and amenities vary widely, ranging from modest offerings like Your Little Jungle Lodge, run by the much loved Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises, a thatch-roofed cottage with room for up to eight people, meals prepared on a wood-fired stove, and “the nicest outhouse in the village;” to the glamorous Ceiba Tops luxury resort, featuring fabulous air-conditioned rooms, stunning gardens, a gorgeous pool with waterslide and Jacuzzi, and international cuisine. You could also opt to camp, stay at student dorms in the Amazon Conservatory Field Station, or opt for a yoga and spa vacation at Jangala Retreat Center. And those are just a few of the possibilities.
What to Bring
Even if you’re paying five-star prices, keep in mind that local infrastructure is shaky. Except at the priciest properties, electricity will likely be limited to a few hours in the evening and morning, and there may not be an opportunity to charge camera batteries; bring extras. A flashlight and/or headlamp, also with extra batteries, will also prove useful—even the most expensive spots suffer power outages. Of course, sunscreen, DEET-based insect repellant and a good book or two are always recommended.