Note: This is the final part of a comprehensive 5 part guide to the Amazon Rainforest (specifically the stretch between Leticia in Colombia and Iquitos in Peru). For the guide’s introduction, click here.
Iquitos holds the bizarre distinction of being the largest city in the world completely inaccessible by road. its population is roughly 470,000, which rivals cities like Miami, Atlanta and Minneapolis. Imagine not being able to drive into Atlanta. That blows me away. Regardless, there's good reason for it: Iquitos, Peru is surrounded on all sides by the endless expanse of the world's largest rainforest: the Amazon. Iquitos is also the world's capital of Ayahuasca, an intense and controversial psychedelic medicine deeply embedded in Amazonian mysticism, indigenous religion and the culture of the Amazon itself.
Where to stay
iquitos is home to a world of lovely hostels. That said, if you've just come from the slow boat and several days of touring the Amazon, chances are that you're exhausted. At least for a night, I'd recommend upping your accommodations, at least a bit. An upscale hostel like Hospedaje Florentina might be up your alley.
What to do
- Amazon Rescue Center: If you've ever wanted to see a manatee up close and personal, this is your spot.
- Mariposario Pilpintuwasi (Butterfly Farm): I haven't done this. That said, the reviews here are outstanding. More information is available here.
- Walk down to the canals: The harbor in Iquitos is beautiful and colorful - pastel buildings and flamboyantly colored boats. I mentioned in my conversation with Chris that I wouldn't recommend doing the Venice-style canal tours - they feel a touch touristy in a way that wasn't great. That said, the canals are something else. Go explore.
Ayahuasca: Alright, I saved it for last, but we can't... not talk about it. From a tourism standpoint, the primary draw of Iquitos is the mystical, with Ayahuasca as the central theme of tourism in the city.
- The city is Catholic, for instance, but that Catholicism is tinged with a refined mysticism that's hard to define. From Iquitos, tours are available into the jungle for Ayahuasca experiences. I want to keep this resource family friendly. If you're interested in more on this topic, text AYAHUASCA to (332) 877-9540.
With that one glaring exception at the end, we've covered what we need to cover! Again, feel free to reach out on the form below, via text or via email at [email protected] for more. And, if you're craving travel and you're so inclined to listen to immersive, thought-provoking travel stories, it would mean the world if you check out the Baggage Claim podcast, below: