Iquitos in the Amazon

Iquitos Travel Blog

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Sunrise from our hotel window
 
We landed in Iquitos the next evening after a long transfer through Lima. As soon as we descended the stairs onto the tarmac, the humidity engulfed us -- you could just feel the jungle in the air. Atousa and I stepped out into the  back of the tiny airport to smoke. The exit was completely surrounded by taxi dudes in a semi circle. I guess they weren't allowed to be within so many feet of the entrance, as they all shouted at us from behind some imaginary line in the ground. Atousa made the mistake of stepping outside this imaginary line to smoke, and the entire mob rushed around her. I saw her shreik and dissapear into a circle of taxi dudes, like a dying antelope being mobbed by hyenas.
birds at sunrise
 
Despite the initial awkwardness, we quickly got the hang of the mob and started bidding them against each other for a ride into town. 5 sole over here! 4 over there! Oh, this guy's got 3. 3 going once... 2 sole! It was a motherfucking reverse auction. So awesome. And the mob actually turned out to be very nice. They weren't upset or mean the way some touts are when you don't give them business. They all congratulated the winning driver and waved goodbye to the three fat little american dollar signs on legs as we went into the parking lot.
 
We had no idea what a Motocaro was before we got to Iquitos. We were led by the guy we finally sold ourselves to for 2 sole and throng of other cabbies to the parking lot where we were first beheld the magical sight.
Does the sun glow hotter 4 degrees from the equator?
We turned to each other and collectively cried "Oh, it's tuk-tuk."

The air in our hair, the zipping and weaving around other tuk tuks and motorbikes (there were very few cars other than those little vw van-looking public buses that seem to grow in the tropics) -- i wish every city had tuk tuks.
 
Through the streets of Iquitos we zipped, past fruit stands, petrol stations, buses, and into the littl downtown area, full of casinos and neon lights. We checked around for hotel prices, before going with the one offered by our driver. The place was OK, with a nice patio downstairs, air conditioning, and a giant room that was more like a suite. However, we spotted a few dead cockroaches and the room smelled of bugspray. $40 for the triple.
 
We walked down to the main square after putting our stuff down.
tuk tuk
The cute church in the square illuminated the humid jungle air with its neon meets neo-gothic charm. Locals stared at us as we walked by. Iquitos is a friendly, outgoing town. It seems to embrace the tourism industry with an almost comical abandon -- the reverse auctions indicative of a kind of stripped down grass roots capitalism, but always with honesty and even a good conversation separate from business afterwards. Maybe it's because Iquitos, unaccessable by roads (air or river are the only ways to get in), is still a bit off the tourist track, so that the locals still like us and don't feel overwhelmed.
 
We headed over to The Yellow Rose of Texas (see review below), where I had the tastiest alligator I have ever eaten. We sipped on caipirinias and talked to some friendly locals, including an ex-guide who gave us his honest opinion of several lodge companies, and a British (or was it Australian? In any case, he had a funny accent and said things like "jag-you-ar") who now publishes the Iquitos Times, the local newspaper for travellers and ex-pats.
 
We found out that the Muyuna Lodge office was across the street. Both the book and the local dude had good things to say about it, so we decided to just saunter over there and book a trip up the river, drinks in hand.
 
 
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Sunrise from our hotel window
Sunrise from our hotel window
birds at sunrise
birds at sunrise
Does the sun glow hotter 4 degrees…
Does the sun glow hotter 4 degree…
tuk tuk
tuk tuk
Iglesia Matriz
Iglesia Matriz
gecko at the restaurant
gecko at the restaurant
Iquitos Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
I really liked this place-- good food, convenient location, helpful patrons, friendly service and booze. Apparently, it serves American food, but my e… read entire review
Iquitos
photo by: Ileamel