Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Iquitos
The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river’s storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in Peru’s northern Loreto region is the country’s largest and most pristine protected area and the second largest reserve in the Amazon. Located at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, the reserve has some of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world.
Running along the northern border of the rainforest city of Iquitos, Nanay is a slow tributary of the Amazon River where rare white-sand beaches appear when water levels are low. Lodges scattered along the banks offer day trips, journeys upriver into the wilderness, and visits to native Yagua, Bora, and Mestizo communities.
Located in Iquitos, the Manatee Rescue Center is a sanctuary where orphaned and injured manatees receive care and protection until they’re strong enough to be released back into the rainforest. Visitors get the chance to interact with the animals, feed them, and learn about the challenges of this endangered species through an educational tour.
Commonly known as “The Venice of the Amazon,” the floating town of Belén near the outskirts of Iquitos offers a unique cultural experience. A boat ride through the market of Belén will give you a rare glimpse into the lifestyle of the locals. A shantytown of modest thatch-roofed homes, restaurants and bars sit atop balsawood foundations, Belen is one of Iquitos’s top tourist attractions.
This research and conservation center inside the Peruvian Amazon caters to photographers, research teams, and wildlife enthusiasts who want to experience the untouched jungle, while working to employ local people and allow visitors to access the Amazon sustainably and in harmony with nature. Naturalists lead educational walks through the rainforest to view hundreds of species of unique plants and animals.
Dominating the Plaza de Armas in Iquitos, this 2-story building seems delicate and elegant in the midst of the otherwise rough jungle town. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the so-called Iron House was forged in Belgium and shipped to the Amazon where it was reconstructed piece by piece during the height of the rubber boom.
The Itaya River is a tributary of the mighty Amazon River in the northern Loreto Region in Peru, flowing parallel to the city of Iquitos and the floating town of Belén. Forming the eatern border of the city, the waterway offers the easiest access in and out and most of the city’s main attractions fall along its banks.