Iquitos - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Iquitos


The gateway to the Amazon, Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest. Only accessible by plane or boat, the town is a popular base for Amazon tours and treks through the rainforest and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. A popular tour from Iquitos is a boat tour of Belén, a nearby community of houses tethered to poles in order to float in the river's waters. Belén also has a popular open-air market trading in local plant and animal medicines.

The river system around Iquitos offers some of the Amazon's best access to remote parts of the jungle and to Indian villages, and boat excursions can easily be arranged. Native tribes live along the river banks and organised trips to the villages include a show of traditional song and dance along with plenty of encouragement to buy their handicrafts, now a major source of income for the people.

Hot and humid all year round, Iquitos was originally founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1754, and has grown to a bustling city of nearly 400,000 residents. Colonial buildings and museums tower over clapboard houses and the streets buzz with motorcycles and buses. Some of the popular tourist attractions in Iquitos include the Amazonian Manatee Orphanage and Monkey Island.

Information & Facts

Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many other dialects are spoken. English is spoken only in major tourist centres and hotels.

The official currency is Nuevo Sol (PEN) divided into 100 céntimos. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all major international credit cards, including Diners Club and MasterCard, are accepted in many, but not all, establishments. Outside Lima facilities may be more limited. Travellers cheques may also be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages, and travellers are advised to have cash on hand. US Dollars are the easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels and shops in the main cities accept dollars for payment. Casas de cambio(exchange bureaux) often give better rates than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.

Local time is GMT -5.
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