The Amazon is a region of immense magnitude, with unexplored sites and others that are discovered while reading this article. Being able to travel to it is, without a doubt, one of the most enriching experiences you can live. And what better than enjoying your vacation in one of the most striking cities of the Amazon. That is why, together with Machu Travel Peru, we have decided to make a small article about things to do in Iquitos. So on your next vacation, you don’t miss out on the best activities in the city.
Iquitos is one of the largest cities inaccessible by land. If you want to get there, you will have to go by plane or boat. It is known as the capital of the Peruvian jungle or “La Isla Bonita” (The Beautiful Island). This picturesque city is surrounded by rivers known as Nanay, Itaya, and Amazonas. Within the imposing city, you will find many activities to keep you busy. From observing wildlife, relaxing in an eco-lodge, enjoying the nightlife, and much more.
Our list of the best things to do in Iquitos
- See Casa de Fierro (Iron house)
- Visit the Monkey Island
- Cruise around Belen
- Explore the Belen Market
- Meet the indigenous tribes
- Travel to another dimension in a traditional ceremony
- Embark on a luxury cruise
- Go to the Butterfly farm
- Swimming with Pink Dolphins
- Have an encounter with the Manatee
- Canopy walkways
- Stay in a jungle lodge
See Casa de Fierro (Iron house)
When you are in the city of Iquitos, it is mandatory to visit this historic building. It has a characteristic and unique shape, in addition to having been built by Gustave Eiffel (who designed the Eiffel Tower). It is said to be one of the first prefabricated buildings in America, as it was shipped in pieces across the Atlantic Ocean.
This beautiful and unequaled building is located in the Plaza de Armas. Its appearance contrasts with the other buildings as it is completely covered with steel sheets. If you are looking for things to do in Iquitos, you cannot miss a delicious lunch at Casa de Fierro.
Visit the Monkey Island
One of the most fun things to do in Peru is to go to Monkey Island. If you are traveling with your family or a partner, going to this place is an excellent idea to enjoy and contemplate the different monkeys that can be found. The monkey island is very committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of these. Most monkeys you will encounter are victims of illegal trafficking. So you would be supporting a very good cause by visiting this wonderful place. On the island, you will find up to nine different species of monkeys roaming freely over more than 200 hectares. The entrance is by donation, making this activity very accessible if you are looking for things to do in Iquitos. Be sure to bring some bananas to feed the playful monkeys.
Cruise around Belen
South of Iquitos city, you can find one of the most remarkable settlements in the region. The city of Belen is a floating village that has remained intact over time. Different boat tours take travelers through the city. These pass through family homes and public buildings like schools and restaurants. One of the main attractions is the Belen market, where all kinds of traditional Amazonian medicines are sold. They claim to cure anything from baldness to a broken heart. If you plan to enjoy family holidays in Peru, be sure to visit this corner of Iquitos. Therefore Iquitos is one of the things to do in Iquitos that is unmissable.
Explore the Belen Market
This huge open-air market is an excellent option to discover the culture and traditions of the locals. If you find yourself touring the Peruvian Amazon tour through Iquitos, you cannot miss this wonderful place. Located about 11 blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this market is one of the main shopping places for locals and tourists. Here, you will find everything from vegetables, fruits, medicinal herbs, shoes, technological accessories, aphrodisiac drinks, and everything you can imagine. Prepare to overload all your senses in this beautiful, busy, and chaotic place.
Meet the indigenous tribes
One of the best things to do in Iquitos is to know the local and ancestral culture that this wonderful place has. For this, you can venture and meet the indigenous groups that live in the surroundings. Two main indigenous tribes live in the area: the Bora Bora tribe and the Yagua tribe.
- The Bora Bora tribe is made up of approximately 2,000 people. They have their language: the Bora. Rubber production in the 20th century wreaked havoc on its population, decreasing its community by thousands.
- The Yagua tribe is said to be one of the oldest in the entire Amazon. They suffered losses since the Spanish invasion, the diseases they brought, and the very production of rubber. The Yagua is currently the friendliest with visitors. They welcome visitors into their communities to show off their culture, beautiful traditional dances, songs, and more. If you are planning a trip to Peru, you cannot miss these beautiful communities.
Travel to another dimension in a traditional ceremony
Whether in indigenous communities or with alternative medicine groups, you can take advantage and venture into one of the most ancient and traditional ceremonies in Peru. Ayahuasca is a traditional and ancestral indigenous medicine that has become very popular in recent years. This powerful preparation is made from a combination of different plants that together make possible a very strong psychoactive compound that is not suitable for the faint of heart. The preparation sends visitors on a very deep psychedelic journey to the darkest corners of human consciousness. Some claim that they have restorative effects for those with very strong trauma or addictions. Others simply open up to an internal spiritual search.
It is important to note that you cannot take this preparation alone. It is very significant to know who you are going to do it with and feel safe meanwhile. So always look for groups or companies with a good reputation for offering these beautiful and sacred ceremonies. Being part of this ceremony is one of the best things to do in Iquitos.
Embark on a luxury cruise
Those seeking a more luxurious experience may choose to tour the Amazon River on a beautiful cruise. Discover one of the most famous landmarks in Peru aboard an all-inclusive cruise. This is one of the most sophisticated ways to appreciate the Amazon River. The cruise also offers different activities to enjoy inside or outside, such as canoeing trips to the different tributaries of the river. Dare to experience the Amazon in all comfort.
Go to the Butterfly farm
If you are a fan of wildlife or exotic insects, Iquitos is the ideal place for you. Not far from the city, you can enjoy one of the best butterfly farms on the continent. If you are a butterfly enthusiast, this farm will blow your mind. Inside this refuge, you can find innumerable species of all colors. The experience is accompanied by an informative guide that explains in detail the life cycles and reproduction habits of each of the butterflies. But butterflies are not all there is to see, other exotic animals such as jaguars, manatees, alligators, and monkeys are also on display. If you plan to explore Peru, a visit to this farm will be one of the best things to do in Iquitos.
Swimming with Pink Dolphins
This unique type of Dolphin can be found in the waters of the Amazon River. Until these days, the researchers know little about their feed, mating times, or why they have this particular color. However, believe it or not, the Pink River Dolphin can be very friendly with visitors or everyone who wants to play with him for a while. Among your things to do in Iquitos, this activity is unmissed and the more time you spend sailing the Amazon river, the more possibilities to spotting them. You only have to make a splash and wait for your Pink friends to start the party!
Have an encounter with the manatee
Do you hear about the manatee before? No? Don’t worry. The manatee is the largest marine mammal in South America. They live in the Amazon River throughout Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela rainforest. Seeing them is amazing, and it is one of the best things to do in Iquitos. This marine mammal feed on native plant species and its population is decreasing year in year out. Therefore, the Amazon in Peru has CREA, the Amazon Rescue Center (an organization made up of international marine research centers and some local researchers) that rescue and breed these animals in captivity, then set them free (Once they will be fully recovered). The ticket entrance costs 20 Soles per person and the center is located at km 4.5 on the route between Iquitos to Nauta town.
Iquitos is not only famous by the manatees, Pink Dolphins, or native tribes. The Peruvian jungle city is famous for Canopy walkways that connect the highest treetops in the region. With 35 meters of highs and 500 meters of length, the canopy walkways represent a great opportunity to do bird watching (In the third country with more bird diversity in the world). Besides, the visitors will have great views of landscapes and sunshine in the afternoon. A mandatory stop among your things to do in Iquitos.
Stay in a jungle lodge
Even though the city of Iquitos is an attraction in itself and is one of the best tourist attractions in Peru, to truly experience the Amazon, it is necessary to get away from it. A tour around the Peruvian jungle would not be complete without immersing yourself in the depths of the jungle ecosystem. And fortunately, you will find many eco-lodges scattered throughout the region. Choosing one may be challenging for you. There are exclusive and luxurious options that promise to give you all the comforts of a 5-star hotel. And you also have other much cheaper options. Whatever your choice, you will have some amazing views and will be surrounded by a unique atmosphere in the world.
“DON’T LET FEAR GET IN THE WAY OF THE LIFE YOU ARE MEANT TO LIVE”
Inside Amazon, you will find many things to enjoy, from totally free activities to more exclusive ones. Enjoy a destination like no other and everything it has to offer. Machu Travel Peru hopes to have been of help in planning your next vacation. Remember that these activities are just a few popular examples of what you can do in Iquitos. But they are not all the things to do in Iquitos, there is much more to do and know in the beautiful jungle city. If you want to know more about this wonderful destination, do not hesitate to consult with our team of qualified advisers.