20th August 2010

Iquitos, on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru´s steamy jungle region, can only be reached by boat or plane. The Jesuits established a mission here in 1757 but the indigenous people resisted being converted. We arrived in time for the morning downpour. The city buzzes with moto-taxis. Boats ply the river carrying produce from villages up and down stream. Crumbling mansions stand as reminders of the more prosperous days of the rubber boom in the late 19th century.


From early morning, canoes paddle around the floating shantytown of Belén, selling all kinds of jungle goods, including monkeys and turtles dead and alive. We picked up 2 local guides in the Belén market (or they picked us up), Lito (Phone 965835320) and Marlon. They showed us parts of Belén into which we would not have been brave enough to venture. We then went by boat past the floating houses, shops, bars and restaurants, some now high and dry to visit Lito´s own house on stilts, and saw the giant water lilies on the way.


In the nearby village of Padre Cocha there is a butterfly farm but unfortunately the butterfly section was closed the day we went.  They also have a refuge for local animals which was open.


Flying over the Andes to Iquitos

Landing at Iquitos

One of the busy ports of Iquitos

Bananas from up the Amazon

Floating resturant

Former mansion in Iquitos

Tiles were the height of fasion

School in Iquitos

Moto-taxis are the best way to get around in Iquitos

The Iron House - made by Eifel in Paris and shipped to Iquitos

Lito and Marlon in Belén market

Boats unloading for the Belén market

When the water level drops, the floating house doesn´t float anymore!

Looking out from Lito´s house

Rainy day

Giant waterlilies near Belén

Houses on balsa logs anchored by upright poles when they float

Twin Otter on floats landing on the Amazon

Pam with a baby sloth at the animal refuge

Lazy sloth (oso perezoso)

Prehistoric turtle

Ginger flower

Front page story in the Iquitos Times