In the northeast of Peru, stretching over a vast territory covered mainly with dense jungle vegetation, is the largest, and at the same time one of the most sparsely populated departments of the country – Loreto. It is here, surrounded by extremely inaccessible green areas, that the most famous Amazon River originates, and in the surrounding territories, natural biodiversity is striking in its scale, especially pronounced in the national reserves of Pacaya Samiria and Aypahuayo Michana.
The largest city in the region and the capital of the department of Loreto is the city of Iquitos, which is often referred to as the “window to the Amazon” or the “Pearl of the Amazon”.
According to Hyperrestaurant, Iquitos is the most remote center of trade in the jungle, where ocean-going ships sail through the Amazon for more than 2.5 thousand km from its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean.
The city was founded in 1757 by a mission of Jesuits who tried to instill their faith among the local tribes. The city was named after San Pablo de los Napeanos and was the first river port in the Amazon. The rapid development of this settlement began at the end of the 19th century. in connection with the start of the production of rubber from natural raw materials – the Hevea tree, which grows in the Amazonian selva. It was a period of prosperity for the city. The richest bosses of the rubber industry built luxurious mansions here in the so-called “colonial style”, many of which have survived to this day.
Today, Iquitos is the tourist center of the region and the starting point for trips to the selva. The best way to get acquainted with the flora and fauna of the jungle is to stay in an eco-friendly hotel or eco-lodge with all amenities. Ecolodges are wooden huts, raised 2-3 m above the river level and equipped with mosquito nets. The proposed active programs in the region allow you to get acquainted with the unique nature and culture of the Peruvian selva in all its pristine beauty: there are trips to see numerous plant species and observe countless insects, birds and animals, as well as excursions to local Indians, aborigines and shamans who still live according to the centuries-old traditions of their ancestors, and in the evening, being in the heart of the rainforest, without leaving the territory of the chosen lodge, you can endlessly enjoy the incomparable Amazonian sunset. Traveling through the Peruvian selva can also be carried out in the form of cruise programs, which will allow you to feel even more deeply all the uniqueness of one of the most little-studied territories of our planet.
Despite the difficult living conditions, some Indian tribes were able to adapt to the jungle, in particular the Yagua Indians, who continue to lead a primitive lifestyle. The men wear palm fiber skirts, their faces are painted red, and they subsist on blowguns with poison arrows. Their culture is different from the culture of other tribes and is of interest to researchers. Arriving in Iquitos, you can visit the settlements of these aboriginal Indians, get acquainted with their culture and customs.
In the southeast of Iquitos is the area of Belen, most of whose houses are built on rafts drifting on the water. You can visit the local Belen market, where along with rice, potatoes, fruits and fresh fish, the Indians sell many unusual and exotic goods. Here, for example, you can buy coca leaves and dried frogs, fresh caterpillars and piranha teeth.
Nauta river port
Located 100 km south of Iquitos. Here, from a close distance, you can see the confluence of the two large rivers Maranion and Ucayali, the birthplace of the majestic Amazon River, the most full-flowing in the world, which flows for 6,788 km and flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Alpahuayo Michana National Reserve
Located just 20 km from Iquitos. Here the highest density of tree growth is about 300 trees per hectare, the largest number of reptiles (140 species). In addition, here you can meet animals that are on the verge of destruction – coypu, predatory eagle, red monkey, black peacock and giant armadillo.
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
The largest reserve in the country, the second in the Amazon Basin and the fourth in South America, whose territory covers 2.1 million hectares of lakes and small lagoons, swamps and wet soil. It is irrigated by the rivers Samiria and Pacaya and is distinguished by a huge variety of flora and fauna. Here you can meet manatees (sea cow), pink dolphin, small turtles (tortuga charapa) and anaconda. Here is the largest marshy forest in the Amazon due to the large amount of rain and the presence of moisture. This jungle is also called mirrored, as the sky and vegetation of the jungle are clearly displayed in the rivers and lakes of this area.
From Lima, the city of Iquitos can only be reached by air – there are daily flights to Iquitos – 1 hour 45 minutes on the way.
The climate is tropical – it is warm and humid throughout the year. Average annual temperature – +28°C (maximum temperature – +36°C, minimum – +17°C). The rainy season lasts from November to March.
The best time to visit Iquitos is from April to October (relatively dry season).
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