Iquitos, Peru

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Iquitos is a Peruvian port city and gateway to the jungle lodges and tribal villages of the northern Amazon. Its district of Belén is known for its massive open-air street market and rustic stilt houses lining the Itaya River. In the historic center, the Plaza de Armas is surrounded by European-influenced buildings dating to the region's turn-of-the-20th-century boom in rubber production.

Iquitos is in the Amazonas region of Peru. This is not to be confused with the Department Amazonas where Chachapoyas is located. Iquitos is the capital of the vast Department of Loreto, which covers most of the northern Amazon region of Peru.

For travelers, Iquitos offers a vast selection of activities not found elsewhere in Peru, such as Amazon boat rides and great wildlife viewing. One way to see Peru is to visit the 3 areas – Costal, Andes, and Amazon — and Iquitos is the best way to see the Amazon.

In recent years, Iquitos has attracted a large number of travelers from across the globe who are interested in the ancient shamanic ways of plant healing. The most popular shamanic medicine is Ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic brew that is gaining increasing popularity worldwide. Iquitos is arguably the “Capital of Ayahuasca” with a fast growing number of Ayahuasca retreats surrounding the city area.

Understand

Iquitos is hot and humid (90 percent), year round. The population is very diverse: there were many periods of big wealth in Iquitos (mainly two with rubber and oil) that brought people from around the world and made it the most important fluvial port in the Peruvian Amazon. The city still has a lot of houses which were built during that age. ‘Iquiteños’ (or ‘Iquitinos’) are usually very friendly and like to party.

As a city not accessible by road, motocycles and motocarros dominate unlike anywhere else. Imagine if an American style biker-gang had taken over a city. This makes the city a bit more manic and loud. Other results include remarkably fluid (if chaotic) traffic, a preponderance of motocycle ads and repair shops, and a sub-industry of people who agree to guard your motorcycle while you shop (even placing cardboard on the seat to keep it cooler during the day).

Travelers should be aware that Iquitos is located in the region of Loreto, one of the poorest regions in Peru. Though there are remnants of houses from glory days past, it is easy to observe the poverty and struggles of many Iquiteños in every day life. Unfortunately, the government’s solution has been to give the people economic incentives to use the rainforest for income without ecological supervision or constraint. The region has long suffered a deeply entrenched illegal logging and wood laundering system which supplies raw material for several international corporations, including the most popular international manufacturer of compressed wood furniture.

Visitors to Iquitos should choose their activities, shopping and jungle trips carefully to avoid contributing to further destruction of this fragile region. Popular activities include handling and taking photos with jungle animals, visiting establishments that display animals in enclosures, buying souvenirs made from animal parts, and sampling exotic jungle meats. All of these activities encourage and perpetuate the local practice of illegally capturing and hunting animals to meet tourist demand. Once home, travelers can continue to help this region by avoiding compressed wood products sourced from Peru and demanding that manufacturers provide indisputable proof of the ecological soundness of their products.

Geographic and Climatic Data for Iquitos Peru

This data for Iquitos Peru is from the NASA Langley Atmospheric Science Data Research Center.

Latitude: Minus 3.75 degrees south of the equator.

The elevation above sea level is approximately 106 meters or 351 feet.

The Coordinated Universal Time of Peru is UTC-5, the same as Florida and New York, Eastern Standard Time. Remember that Peru doesn’t observe daylight savings time, so Iquitos will be the same time as Central Standard Time for about half of the year.

The time difference between the longest day and the shortest day is only 18 minutes.

The temperature measured by ° F averaged from 22 years of data per month:

(Jan. 82.09) (Feb. 81.86) (Mar. 82.60) (Apr. 82.06) (May 82.42) (June 82.20)

(July 82.04) (Aug 83.55) (Sept. 85.78) (Oct. 86.59) (Nov. 84.88) (Dec. 82.87)

The average rainfall at the Iquitos Port is 103 inches per year. March and April have slightly more rain on a 10 year average, and July and August have slightly less than average, but contrary to popular belief there is very little difference in month to month precipitation in Iquitos. The water level of the river fluctuates by as much as 40 feet per year, triggered by rainfall and snow melt on the east slopes of the Andes.

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