Iquitos is also called the Amazonian Capital of Peru and has a population of nearly half a million people. If you're going to visit Iquitos, don't be fooled. There's a lot to see in this great city that combines its tourist attractions with enormous natural wealth.
The old town of Iquitos contains plenty of places of interest, many of them of an architectural nature.
In Peru, the Plaza de Armas is the equivalent of the Plaza Mayor of many Spanish towns. It is the true heart of Iquitos and houses the monument to the fallen in the War of the Pacific: the "Obelisk of Heroes".
When you get closer, you will see that many of the reliefs on the monument represent men dressed in oriental clothes. The reason is that the sculptor confused Chile (which participated in the war) with China.
This is also located in the Plaza de Armas and is built in neo-Gothic style.
The renowned Gustave Eiffel, designer of the famous Parisian tower, also designed this house which is located, like the Cathedral, in the Plaza de Armas. The building is made of iron and was erected in the late 19th century. Specifically in 1860, at the height of the rubber boom.
The central market is the nerve centre for the inhabitants of every town in Peru, from the smallest villages to the biggest cities. Call in for local dishes and to buy fresh fruit at unbeatable prices.
This is on the banks of the Itaya River and it also dates back to the time when the city went through its golden age thanks to rubber. You'll find various monuments and a wide range of bars and restaurants along the promenade to keep you occupied.
One of the most striking buildings on this walk is the former Palace hotel now known as Casa Malecón Palace. As soon as you see it you will recognize the influence of Gaudí, the Catalan modernist architect.
There's a lot more to see than the centre when you visit Iquitos. The Belen district is known as the Venice of the Amazon, which means exactly what you're thinking: that you can take a boat trip and navigate the Itaya River and the Amazon itself.
In addition, the Belén market awaits you with its increasingly famous Calle Paquito, the Amazon pharmacy where you'll find concoctions to "cure" all kinds of ailments. Ailments that range from a mild migraine to unrequited love.
If you want to know more about the history of the city, visit its museum. It has lots of photographs documenting its foundation and plenty of information about its heyday: the rubber fever era.
This boat was built in 1906 in Germany and is now anchored in the Itaya River. It was used to collect the rubber that would then be exported to Europe and North America. It contains ten exhibition rooms with a wealth of historical material.
If you have the opportunity to visit Iquitos, take a look at this museum to learn about the people who originally inhabited the Amazon.
Visiting this community, which devotes its heart and soul to crafts, is a good option if you want to get to know the region around Iquitos. It is about 20 minutes away by boat on the left bank of the Nanay River. You'll be surprised at the expertise in the pottery. And the boat trip is certainly picturesque.
This is very near the Community of Padre Concha and, despite its name, it's more than just a place where a large number of butterfly species are preserved. In addition, its mission is to rescue animal species in the Amazon. It's best to arrive on the public boat.
If you have come to this part of the world to be as one with nature, you should come to the Independencia look-out point. It has impressive views of the Amazon River and you can visit a nearby waterfall. In addition, it is here that you can see the Lupuna tree, which is more than 200 years old. However, it is only possible to come into direct contact with the Amazon at the last point of interest on our list.
This is a protected mangrove, or flooded forest. In fact, it is the largest of its kind in the country. The reserve is inhabited by a great variety of birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. It's the perfect place to experience nature at its wildest roaming free.
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