Weekend Excursion to Iquitos
One of the reasons that Peru is such an amazing country is that it has so many different climates and sights to offer. You can spend one weekend nestled in the Andes Mountains and the following weekend in the midst of the Amazon jungle. It is all possible here in this fantastic country.
While staying in Lima it is best to look into some weekend excursions for those who desire to explore the nearby city and its surroundings a bit more.
A weekend trip to Iquitos is a fabulous getaway and will open your eyes to the wondrous world of the Amazon. Iquitos, is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest, with a population of 370,962. It is the capital of Loreto Region and Maynas Province and is generally considered the most populous city in the world that cannot be reached by road. Lima offers daily flights to Iquitos at reasonable rates making travel to there quite accessible. Iquitos has a growing reputation as a tourist community, especially as a jumping-off point for tours of the Amazon rainforest and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and trips downriver to Manaus, Brazil - the other rubber-industry city in the interior of the Amazon basin - and finally the Atlantic Ocean, which is 3,360 km (2,088 mi) away.
There are numerous boat tours to Belén that has recently become quite a common tourist attraction. Belén is an area of Iquitos that can be accessed by foot in the dry season but is only accessible via boat in the wet season. Many of the homes in this area are tethered to large poles and float upon the rising waters every year, and some homes float year-round. Where the waters begin there are often a few men with their boats who transport locals and tourists for a small fee.
There is also an open-air market in Belén (in a part that doesn't flood). This too is a common tourist attraction. Most notable is the medicine lane, "Pasaje Paquito", an entire block of the market lined with local plant (and animal) medicines, stocking everything from copaiba to chuchuwasai.
The climate in Iquitos is dry and hot! Make sure to pack sufficient sunscreen, bug repellent, and light clothing. There are several hotels that are worth checking out like Cieba Tops Luxury Lodge, and the El Dorado Plaza Hotel. Book your reservations in advance though so you do not wind up in the jungle without a room to retreat to. Spend a weekend walking around the city, travelling outward to the Amazon Basin, and taking in the locals and their customs and you will leave Iquitos feeling both refreshed and enlightened.