Iquitos Peru

History, things to do & Accommodations

Iquitos, Peru is a unique place amongst the cities of the world. It is a city that is situated between several rivers the Itaya River, the Nanay River and the mighty Amazon River creating an island that has no roads that lead to this isolated location deep in the Amazon Jungle. The only way to travel to Iquitos is by plane or boat. This leads to a unique culture largely due to its isolation from the outside world. Surprisingly this city supports approximately 550,000 people in an area 7 miles long by 4 miles wide. For its isolation, it is surprising how it is advancing culturally and technologically a large portion of people have cell phones and high-speed internet just arrived recently. Iquitos was just given the award for being the gateway to the Amazon since it is the largest city just at the beginning of the Amazon River being just named one of the new seven wonders of the natural world. One of the interesting aspects of this city is the confluence of peoples that travel into the city from throughout the planet especially over the past ten years or so using it as a springboard searching for the transcendent experience that has exposed itself out of the jungle by working with Ayahuasca and the shamans of the Amazon. Many have come and many lives have been changed and altered by the experiences they have had here.

This city can be charming and after living here for almost a year I have learned much about the way of thinking of the peoples, magic abounds and stories of ghosts and the existence of many healers and brujos. If something goes wrong with someone there is always a magical source of the bad that is to blame. Many spiritually gifted people seem to find themselves either coming to stay or passing through. It is truly amazing the people that pass through and that I have met. Many seem to be more aware that the majority of the state of affairs of what is going on throughout our planet. Iquitos has become a launching pad into the mysterious shamanic world of the Amazonian shamans and their magical brew Ayahuasca. When coming through Iquitos there are several recommendations regarding lodging and dining that I have for you. If you come to the retreat or would like to stay afterwards there are several Hotels and hostels depending on your budget that I would recommend and several restaurants that offer clean delicious and affordable food. There are also many other excursions that can be enjoyed and experienced if you do decide to extend your stay in this magical place. Below there will be links and information for you to take advantage of if you so deem to choose to do so.


DoubleTree By Hilton Iquitos

Jr. Napo 258
Telephone: +51 065 222 555

Casa Morey

Loreto St. 200
Telephone: +51 065 231 913

Casa Moray was built between 1910 and 1912 and used to one of the Rubber Barons mansions and has been restored to its former elegance. Very peaceful quiet and elegant. One of my favourite places.

Hotel Marañon

Fitzcarrald/Nauta 289
Telephone : +51 065 242 673
Fax:+51 065 231 737

Época Hotel

Ramírez Hurtado # 616
Telephone: +51 065 224 172

Hotel Camu Camu

Calle Putumayo 376
Telephone: +51 065 234 839
+51 065 234 539

Bora Hotel

Raymondi # 363
Telephone: +51 065 223 687

Amazon Apart Hotel

Av. Aguirre 1151
Telephone:+51 065 730 904
+51 965 961 453

La Casona Hotel

Jr. Fitzcarrald # 147
Telephone: +51 065 234 394

Nativa Apartments

Nanay 144
Telephone:+51 065 600 270
+ 51 065 234 208
Cell: +51 965 810 318
English attention only + 51 980 364 553

Victoria Regia

Ricardo Palma 252
Telephone: +51 065 231 983

La Posada de Lobo Hotel & Suites

Cobo Pantoja 417
Telephone: +51 065 236 140


Dawn on the Amazon Cafe

Malecon Maldonado 185
Telephone: +51 065 223 730
+51 065 600 056

One of my favourite places to eat right on the boulevard overlooking the Itaya river. The food is excellent and they offer a special menu for those that are on the Ayahuasca diet. Owned and operated by one of the nicest smiling faces and ex-pats from the United States Captain Bill Grimes and his lovely wife Marmelita. They are very conscious of the service, cleanliness and freshness of their food. They have a deliciously varied menu and the location is very comfortable and hospitable. They also offer wireless connection for laptops and wireless-enabled cell phones. They also offer Amazon tours and Amazon cruises on the upper Amazon River and its tributaries from Iquitos, Peru. Check their website for more details.

La Gran Maloca

Sargento Lores 170
Telephone: +51 065 233 126

An elegant restaurant with a great menu. The food and service are excellent.

El Trinchero

Calle Napo 393
Telephone: +51 065 225 917

A great grill. Delicious food …make sure if you are sensitive to monosodium glutamate to ask for your food to be prepared without it. You gotta try the chimichurri sauce.

Karma Café

Calle Napo 138
Telephone: +51 065 600 576

A really nice place to eat with a great atmosphere.

Huasai Restaurant

Fitzcarrald 131
Telephone: +51 065 242 222

Antica Pizzeria
Jr. Napo 159
Telephone: +51 065 241 988

Chez Maggy
Raymondi 177-158
Telephone: +51 065 241 816
+51 065 232 731

Genuine brick oven pizza, pastas and also grilled meat dinners and lunches. A favourite of many locals.

La Rustica

Putumayo 467
Telephone: +51 065 603 665

Al Frio y Al Fuego

Av La Marina 138
Telephone: +51 065- 607 474

Amazon Bistro

Malecon Tarapaca 268
Telephone: +51 065 600 785

A very good French restaurant that opens for breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and closes generally in the evening when the last customer leaves.

Chef Paz 

Putumayo 468
Telephone: +51 065 241 277

Things to See & Do

Plaza de Armas

The Iquitos Main Square or Plaza de Armas is the historical central area of town.  On Sunday mornings there is a flag raising ceremony and military parade.  On Sunday evenings, the plaza is filled with visitors, street entertainers, and vendors.  There is an obelisque that is a monument to those from Iquitos who defended Peru in the War of the Pacific in 1879.

The Matriz Cathedral

Located on the Plaza de Armas, this Neogothic cathedral was built over a period of thirteen years from 1911 to 1924. The cathedral has one nave and has a carved wood pulpit on its right side. A Swiss clock that was added in 1925 still keeps accurate time.

The Boulevard

The Boulevard and Tarapaca Malecon are located just a block east of the Plaza de Armas on the bank of the Itaya River just before it flows into the main Amazon River. The Boulevard was built at the height of the rubber baron era and was dedicated to the memory of those who died in the War of the Pacific during which Peru lost the Tarapaca region to Chile.

During the day, you get a wonderful view of the river and the floating town of Belen. At night, the Boulevard comes alive with tourists and locals strolling along it enjoying the pleasant night air, bars, restaurants and entertainment. Along the Malecon are many historical building and monuments.

Pilpintuwasi – Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage

Padre Cocha Village (10 minutes walking from the village), At Pilpintuwasi you can see the complete life cycle and learn about the impressing development of butterflies.

At the Amazon Animal Orphanage, you can see the rescued endangered animals that were ill-treated, such as anteaters, monkeys, tapirs or Pedro Bello, the Jaguar. Pilpintuwasi is on the Nanay River Front near the village of Padre Cocha. It’s about 20min by boat from Bellavista-Nanay.

There are boats all day long. During the dry season, you have to walk about 15min from the village. Volunteers are also regularly needed for help!

Quistacocha Zoo and Tunchi Beach

Close to kilometre marker 7 of the Iquitos – Nauta highway, southwest of Iquitos (30 minutes by car). The complex is located at about 15 minutes by car from Iquitos and covers 369 hectares. It is located around the lake Quistococha. The complex has an artificial beach known as Tunchi Playa.

Visitors can visit a museum, the aquarium, and zoo with snakes and other exotic animals. There are paths around the lake and small dock on the water where one can rent boats. Furthermore, it has a tourist restaurant, a collection of captive birds, children’s park and sports courts. One can request permission to enter the park by car. This way you can avoid the stairs and the steep grade ramp at the entrance.

The paths of entire complex vary in terms of surface -some are concrete, some unpaved- and also in terms of width, but they generally are 35.1 inches (0.90 m) wide. It is necessary to have some help for the tour if the visitor has limited physical mobility or uses a wheelchair. There are no accessible public restrooms.

The Iron House

The Iron House (Casa de Fierro) is said to have been designed and built by Gustav Eiffel who is famed for the Eiffel Tower.  It was originally built in France and then disassembled and shipped up the Amazon River to Iquitos after the Paris Exhibition of 1898.  Rubber Barons Baca Diaz and Anselmo Del Aguila had it reassembled at its present location on the corner of Putumayo and Prospero.

Belen – Jungle Market and Floating City

Located on the left bank of the Itaya River, southeast of Iquitos. Morning visits are recommended. Its origins date back to the beginning of the twentieth century, and it is composed of homes built on top of balsa wood rafts that float on the waters during the flood season.

It is a traditional regional style. With the passage of time and increase in population, the style has changed and more houses are built on a fixed construction on top of wooden pillars, some of them of two stories. During the dry season, people use both floors, but during the flood season, only the second floor is used; since the entire lower zone of Belen remains under water, the population uses boats and canoes for transport, which is why it is considered the “Venice of Loreto”.

Belen has two districts: the upper zone where the Belen market and main warehouse are and the lower zone, an informal port and lively commercial center for jungle goods. Today, there are buildings of high-quality materials. It is possible to take a boat rides on the Amazon and Itaya Rivers.

The Pasaje Paquito

Is located inside the Belen market where you can obtain local traditional medicines and potions.

CREA – Amazonian Manatee Rescue Centre

Km 4.5 of Iquitos Nauta highway, this project aims to rescue orphaned manatees, whose mothers have been killed by locals for food. They also have educational programs for local communities and schools about the importance of the preservation of this species.

The employees are very enthusiastic about the animals. Currently (Dec. 2009) they have 4 almost grown up animals in a pond and 4 babies in a smaller swimming pool. Probably the only place in the world where you can bottle feed manatee babies. The entry is free, but a donation is expected. Take a mototaxi from downtown for about 15 soles to get there. They also accept volunteers to educate local school kids.

Fundo Pedrito – Caiman and Paiche farm

Barrio Florido village, river Amazonas (45 minutes by boat from the Bellavista Nanay port, Iquitos). M-Su from 8 AM to 4 PM. edit It houses around 10 spectacled alligators, paiches (the biggest freshwater fish in the Amazon basin and one of the longest fish in the world) and the Victoria amazonica (the biggest lily-pad in the world). The admission fee includes fish to feed alligators and paiches.

Natives Communities

In the immense territories of the department of Loreto, exist population of native and aboriginal communities that can be visited. The great majority of these groups has been civilized by Catholic missions and they maintain ingrained many of their ancestral habits, such as their art, language, dances, feeding, etc.

Iquitos Video courtesy of

Niels Ahmes