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Overview

Despite its size and status as the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and the third largest in the entire jungle, Iquitos remains relatively unknown. Isolated, without road access of any kind, it stands waterlogged amidst the trees. To those in the know, though, this one-time mission station and trading post, which boomed with the rubber trade but declined as the industry fell away, is a raucous frontier town. Relics of its rubber boom heyday remain although the once grand, ostentatious homes of the rubber barons are now faded versions of their glamorous former selves. Hot and humid, with a particular steamy, sultry feel, Iquitos ...

Despite its size and status as the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and the third largest in the entire jungle, Iquitos remains relatively unknown. Isolated, without road access of any kind, it stands waterlogged amidst the trees. To those in the know, though, this one-time mission station and trading post, which boomed with the rubber trade but declined as the industry fell away, is a raucous frontier town. Relics of its rubber boom heyday remain although the once grand, ostentatious homes of the rubber barons are now faded versions of their glamorous former selves. Hot and humid, with a particular steamy, sultry feel, Iquitos nonetheless has a certain charm. It’s also enjoying a renaissance as recent oil discoveries and an increase in ecotourism have meant that workers and visitors have returned to the region. As the gateway to the northern Amazon Basin, it’s also an excellent introduction to life in the jungle, the ideal place to pick up an Amazon River cruise and the jumping off point for trips to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the world’s largest flooded forest.

Alex Stewart
About the Expert

Alex Stewart is the author of the Bradt travel guide Peru Highlights and the Inca Trail trekking guide The Inca Trail, Cusco and Machu Picchu, published by Trailblazer. He has updated other material for Rough Guides, Thomas Cook and Trailblazer.

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Alex Stewart for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the capital of the Loreto Region and Maynas Province.
  • Language: Spanish & native languages
  • Currency: Peruvian Nuevo Sol
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Iquitos is hot and humid year round. Rainfall is also fairly consistent, with slightly less than average in July and August, making these the ideal months to visit.