- Access Routes
- Historical Overview
• Location: The department of Loreto is located in the north-eastern region of Peru.
• Area: 368 852km2
• Capital: Iquitos (104 masl)
• Altitude: 70 masl (Amelia) Lowest town. 220 masl (Balsapuerto) highest town.
• Average annual temperature: 28º C (36º C maximum and 17º C minimum).
• Rainy season: December to March.
• By air: There are daily flights from Lima (1 h and 45 minutes flight). There is also service from the cities of Tarapoto and Caballococha.
• By river: From port La Hoyada in Pucallpa (2,5 km from the city) it is possible to travel to Iquitos, by the Ucayali river, with stopovers in the Ports of Requena and Contamana.
There are two types of boats:
•Speedboat: small but speedy boat. The trip takes 2 to 3 days depending on the river stream.
•Chata: A large boat with a capacity to carry about 250 passengers but traveling at a slow speed. The trip takes from 4 to 7 days depending on the river stream.
Iquitos, the capital of the department of Loreto, was founded in 1 757 as San Pablo de los Napeanos, and is the first port on the Amazon river. A portion of its territory is inhabited by various tribes and nomad and semi-nomadic groups who speak diverse languages and have different customs. Sharing the same challenging habitat, these people developed very similar means of living, mainly based on hunting and fishing. The first western settlements were established by Jesuit missionaries who made their way into the most remote corners of the forest and founded towns such as Borja, Jeberos and Lagunas, among others. Later, commerce between Peru and Brazil increased until, in 1 880, Iquitos really took a big step towards prosperity with the rubber extraction fever. Evidence of the economic heyday of those days are the buildings that can still be seen in the city. Oil was first exploited in 1 938. Current oil reserves are considerable and Iquitos has important projects for the use of its forest resources. There are many native groups living in the jungle today, many of which are in permanent contact with civilization. These groups live mainly along the banks of the Amazon, Napo, Ucayali, Marañón and Nanay rivers.
Attractions in the city
Casa de Fierro. (Iron House)
Corner of calle Próspero and calle Putumayo, facing the Main Square. Open: Monday to Sunday 8:00-20:00. This iron house was entirely made in the Belgian workshop Les Forjes D´Aisseau. Rubber industrialist Anselmo del Aguila bought it at the Paris International Exhibition in 1 889. Once disassembled, it was sent to Iquitos during the rubber years.
Embankment Built during the golden days of rubber on the banks of Amazon river at the border of the city, this riverfront walk offers an attractive panoramic view of Port Belén and the Amazon river.
Port of Belén
Located on the banks of the Itaya river, the port is an important supply center with substantial ship movement. The houses that make up the quarters of Belén are built with simple material over piles to preserve them from the high water level the rainy season.
Jr. Napo 236 (third floor). Visits: Monday to Friday 7:00-12:45. Presently, this is the seat of the Municipality of Maynas. Its museum houses a selected collection of local, stuffed animals and interesting samples of handicrafts.
The Amazonian Museum
Malecón Tarapacá 386. Visits: Monday to Sunday 8:00-21:00. Reconditioned building home of 80 life-size sculptures depicting the different aboriginal communities of the Peruvian jungle including Brazil and Venezuela. The building also holds 40 photographs of early 20th century Iquitos. (National Historical Museum).
The Amazonian Library
Malecón Tarapacá 354 (third floor of the Prefecture). Visits: Monday to Saturday 9:00-17:00. One of the finest libraries specialized in regional issues in the Americas. Originally, it was a single-story building, the second floor being built in the year 1 903. To be noted is the series of big windows, protected by rounded bar iron gates.
Outskirts of the city
Quistococha Tourist Resort
At km 6,3 of the Iquitos – Nauta Highway.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 8:00-17:00.
About 15 minutes drive, the resort spreads across 369 ha and is located around the Quistococha lake. The lake is 56 ha long and 8 m deep. On its banks there is an artificial beach known as Tunchi Playa. Visitors are welcomed to visit the museum, aquarium, serpentarium, small zoos, hiking trails around the lake, as well as small embankment where they can rent boats. A restaurant and a collection of captive birds, a playground and sports grounds are also available to visitors.
Farmer community located on the banks of a branch of the Nanay river, 16 km from Iquitos and 200 meters from the airport, Santo Tomás is the city’s main resort. The quiet waters of the Nanay river are ideal to practice swimming and ski, as well as boating or canoeing.
Located on the banks of the Nanay river, 12 km from Iquitos, its main attractions include the white sand beaches that are formed in the dry season, and its natural landscape.
This dock is located 3,5 km from Iquitos and about 20 minutes drive on three-wheeled van, on the Nanay riverside. The dock has boat rental facilities for river cruising allowing the visit of adjacent hamlets such as Padre Cocha and San Andrés.
Located 12,1 km from the airport’s control sentry and about 30 minutes drive, this port is home to the Puerto Almendra Research and Forest Teaching Center featuring the El Huayo Arboterum Botanical Garden with parcels showing the various natural species found in the Nanay basin. The center provides ecological circuits and recreational areas for hiking and visits to local farms.
Located 3,8 km from the airport’s control sentry and about 15 minutes drive southwest of Iquitos on the banks of the Nanay river, this closed arch-shaped lake has very quite waters that make it a perfect spot for fishing.
This lake is located 12 km from the airport’s control sentry and about 30 minutes’ ride, on the right bank of the Nanay river. From here visitors have a breathtaking view of the landscape and can also swim and practice canoeing.
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
Located 150 km from the city of Iquitos upstream the Amazon river and about 18 hours by peke peke (*), the reserve is in the area of confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, in the provinces of Requena and Loreto. This is the largest national reserve in Peru, the second largest in the Amazon Basin and the fourth largest in South America. It spreads across a total of 2 080 thousand ha irrigated by the Samiria and Pacaya rivers, home of a large flora and fauna biodiversity.
Located in the province of Alto Amazonas, on the basin of Pastaza river. The 75 km perimeter and 10 m depth of the lake make it the largest in the Peruvian Amazon region.
The region boasts a large variety of dances accompanied by different costumes, the mostimportant being probably the Carnaval Arequipeño, a group dance that is present during the week of carnival and the city’s anniversary (August 15th); the Yaraví, of Quechua origin; the Pampeña, a primitive huayno in which dancers dress on farmer costumes. The most genuine musical expression of Arequipa is the Yaraví. Other popular expressions of Arequipa’s musical folklore include the Carnaval Arequipeño, the popular Huayno and the Pampeña.
There is a great variety of handicrafts, such as pottery with geometrical designs, hand painted cloth and a series of artifacts made using the region’s natural resources.
• Chonta (palm sprouts) salad.
• Tacacho con cecina (mashed roast or fried green banana mixed with lard and cured meat).
• Inchicapi (chicken soup with peanuts, cilantro and cassave)
• Cecina (delicious cured beef or pork meat).
• Patarashca (roasted fish wrapped in banana leaves).
• Juane (steamed rice tamales seasoned with turmeric and stuffed with chicken chunks, wrapped in bijao leaves).
• Noteworthy is the large variety of tropical fruits such as papaya, melon, aguaje, taperiba, banana, cocona and guava. The traditional drinks are:
• Masato (drink based on crushed cooked cassave fermented with sweet potato or sugar).
• Chuchuhuasi (eau-de-vie based on a bitter, astringent root, very popular in the entire Jungle region).
Feast of San Juan (June) The influence of John the Baptist as a symbol is very strong in the Peruvian jungle because of the importance of water as a vital element in the entire Amazon region. This is why this feast is celebrated with typical bands and the region’s traditional dishes.
(*) Peke Peke:motor-driven canoes that have become the most common means for mass transportation in the Peruvian Amazonian region. They can carry up to 30 passengers. Despite they are slow and very noisy, they are very inexpensive. Ideal for short trips.
• Health Centers
• Police Stations
• Handicrafts Markets
• Post Office