Iquitos - Quistococha & Noa Discoteca

Iquitos Travel Blog

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Quistococha Entrance

Quistococha is just beyond the airport outside of Iquitos and was recommended by the guidebooks and Peru tourist information office where I had received a map and several tips on things to visit in and around Iquitos.  Olivia and I got a mototaxi to take us out of town to the destination which includes a zoo and a laguna and beach.  It was beastly hot as usual but the zoo was in plenty of shade and it was welcome from the punishing heat radiating off the pavement on the way in.  Incidentally, we passed the Amazon Golf Club, the only golf course in the Amazon.  It´s just a 9 hole par 3 course but there is a small clubhouse and it´s quite an accomplishment here to have golfing for both members and non-members.

Legend of Quistococha
  Unfortunately it is closed right now pending the resolution of a dispute between the members.  I had hoped to golf a round before leaving Iquitos. 

As we entered the zoo, there was a wall with painted illustrations of various legends and myths of the area including the legend of the founding of Quistococha.  Apparently the natives were on the lagoon fishing when they thought they saw an island moving.  It terrified them so much they called the priest to come and when he exorcised the lagoon a tremendous Anaconda rose up out of the lake before dying and the terror was over.  In Quechua language, Quistococha means ¨Christ´s Lagoon¨.  They also had illustrated the very popular local belief in the ¨bufeo colorado¨, the pink dolphin that transforms itself into a handsome man and seduces local beauties, only to later drag them down into the river and drown them.

Ayahuasca hallucinogenic plant
  A variation on the siren that seduces men, huh?  They also believe in a spectre called a ¨Tunchi.¨ It´s supposed to haunt the lonely, deserted areas of the jungle and frighten people away from camping or staying overnight where they live.  After passing by the wall we encountered all sorts of local animals, such as spider monkeys, jaguars, turtles, crocodiles (which they wrongly translate as alligators.  The local name is ¨lagarto¨but they are really a species of Caiman.), and other animals I didn´t recognize or know the English name for.  There was an interesting bird that builds its nest in a tree kind of like a big cocoon and they are smartly colored with a brilliant yellow breast and black wings and body.  I lost count of all the different sounds they made, like a mad mockingbird!  I also saw the strange muskrat river animal that my friend Riccardo says has invaded the Po river in northern Italy and other parts of Europe.
  It is not a mutant beast but an actual species of animal that has been introduced to other countries outside of its natural habitat and flourished there.  The Russians even use it for fur coats apparently.

Olivia hadn´t brought her bathing suit but I did and I took advantage of the sweltering day to swim in the lagoon´s warm waters which at least brought some relief.  Then, since Olivia was just sitting on a bench watching me cool off, I suggested a boat ride.  So I rowed for awhile and we enjoyed the stillness of the small lagoon, observing birds and the shores and the kids and teenagers swimming and frolicking in the water.  On the way back we took a bus and it was an adventure because the bus route took us through the busy, crazy Belen market and I got to see block after block of classic Latin American market chaos.

Turtles
  Down below, on the water, there is another market and everything is displayed in boats and canoes.  The locals´houses float when the water level is high but now with the low river they sit in the mud.  The market is a floating bazaar that is an amazing sight to see.

For dinner I had told Olivia I would cook Italian for them and I freshened up (little good it did me when I was pouring sweat later in the kitchen) with a shower before getting supplies at the market.  I found what I needed more or less except for basil for the bruschetta.  I was going to make fresh pasta with a cream sauce and bruschetta.  Well, with temperature in the high 90s and about that same in humidity, my pasta was a sorry affair.  I had to keep adding flour and then more flour to keep the pasta from sticking but by that time it was so dense and thick that it turned out pretty bad in my estimation.

Spider monkey
  The sauce was really tasty and that was a saving grace, and that bruschetta turned out well too.  Olivia broke out a bottle of Prosecco an Italian friend from Lima had given her and we had a nice meal in the end as I tried not to think about how much a failure the pasta was.  Olivia´s sister arrived later with her boyfriend and we had a nice talk in English since he had spent 6 years in Florida.  I took some pictures of the family and the four beauties of the Lopez family before Olivia and I went out dancing.

The night before there was no club open because of a new law passed by the mayor of Iquitos limiting the sale of alcohol to midnight on all days except Friday and Saturday when the bars and clubs can sell until 3 am.

Jaguar
  So the clubs don´t bother opening on the other nights because most people start coming out at 11 or so.  A lot of people are upset about the law and rightly so in a big tourist destination.  It will probably be changed due to so much objection.  So anyway, tonight the discoteca was open and we danced and danced until 3 am.  I think I danced more than I have in years because the music was so well mixed and my partner was such a great dancer.  Before we knew it, they were shutting everything down and it was time to go.  The police even gather outside the doors as they did at the club where we watched a local rock band perform the nght before. 

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Quistococha Entrance
Quistococha Entrance
Legend of Quistococha
Legend of Quistococha
Ayahuasca hallucinogenic plant
Ayahuasca hallucinogenic plant
Turtles
Turtles
Spider monkey
Spider monkey
Jaguar
Jaguar
Yellow breasted predatory bird
Yellow breasted predatory bird
A kind of otter?
A kind of otter?
Some kind of monkey
Some kind of monkey
Caimans or crocs although they tra…
Caimans or crocs although they tr…
Laguna
Laguna
Pretty flowers from the tree
Pretty flowers from the tree
Capibara water rodent
Capibara water rodent
Nests of yellow and black bird
Nests of yellow and black bird
Cooking
Cooking
Noa discoteca
Noa discoteca
Me
Me
Iquitos
photo by: Ileamel