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Iquitos & the Amazon River
Iquitos is located in the northeastern lowlands of Peru and is the capital of the department of Loreto, Peru. The only way to access the city is by air or by boat. There are no roads leading into the jungle.

The department of Loreto is limited to the north with Ecuador and Colombia, to the south with the Peruvian department of Ucayali, to the east with Brazil, and to the west with the Peruvian departments of Amazonas and San Martín. Iquitos lies about 4 degrees south of the Equator.

Loreto, the most northerly department in the country, takes in 30% of the national territory, and comprises parts of the High and Low Jungle.

The weather is warm and humid with an average temperature of 17ºC (63ºF) to 20ºC (68ºF) during the months of June and July, and a highest up to 36ºC (97ºF) from the months of December through March. The average humidity is 84%, with strong rains all year round. Substantial amounts of precipitation fall in every month. The natural vegetation in the area is tropical rainforest, the local term for which is selva.

Loreto has an extension of 348,177 km² (134,432 sq ml) and a population of over 650,000 people. Other important cities are Requena, Contamana and Nauta.
____ LINKS ____ is a resource for photos and videos of native indigenous people of the Amazon Rainforest:
MATSES Indians

Learn about Iquitos, its natives, and the Amazon Rainforest:

History Iquitos & the Amazon River Top of Page

The first settlers in the region were grouped in small tribes. Many of these tribes settled in the Purús, Turúa and Yaraví river basins, receiving names different from those of their lineage. They were merely family clans, who adopted the name of their chief or curaca. During Colonial times, up to 800 of these groups were detected.

It is hard to determine the number of natives in the region when the first explorers and missionaries arrived. Numbers given by chroniclers indicate that only in the first century, 100,000 natives were baptized. Presumably, when the Spanish arrived, they were almost 300,000. Many of these original people died by diseases acquired in the contact with the Spanish.

On February 12, 1542 Spanish conqueror Francisco de Orellana discovered for the Europeans the Amazon River. The city of Iquitos was founded in the year 1864.

During Colonial times, the Jesuits and Franciscans evangelized and founded different towns. When the missions fell, a long period of ostracism followed, taking on most part of the nineteenth century. By the Twenty Century navigation on steamboats arrived and the rubber concessions that would make Iquitos a valuable port on the Amazon River. With the subsequent invention of synthetic rubber, Iquitos turned to tourism as its sustaining economy.

A number of buildings constructed during the rubber era, many adorned with ceramic tiles imported from Portugal and Italy, remain in use in central Iquitos, especially along the old riverfront called the Malecon Tarapaca.

Attractions Iquitos & the Amazon River Top of Page

Up the Amazon River from Iquitos are exciting adventures for the traveler, where conservation-minded lodges have established protected areas under the ownership of indigenous Indians.

Here, Pink Dolphins, Macaws, caimans, and monkeys inhabit a pristine primary rain forest ecology.

Shaman ceremonies with the indigenous Indian trips is a very popular attraction to the area.

Main Attractions at Iquitos:
Parque de Quistococha.
This park has a zoo site with exotic animals and various species of serpents. Laguna de Moronacocha. A lagoon with a paiche breeding center. The paiche is a very big species of Amazon fish (one or two meters long).
Nineteenth Century Mansions.
Sumptuous and exquisite, they display the opulence of the rubber heyday. Most of these mansions are located in front of the river sidewalk. Most outstanding among them is the Casa de Hierro (Iron House), the so called first prefabricated house in America. It was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel, brought from Europe in parts (bolts and nuts included), and assembled in the site in which it currently stands.
Barrio de Belén, also known as The Venice of the Jungle. This quarter is located in the center of the city and built over the waters of the Amazon river.

The Amazon region offers a great opportunity to enjoy this type of tourism. It is the biggest and most assorted natural reserve in the world. It houses no less than 25,000 species of plants already classified; approximately 4,000 species of butterflies; and 2,000 species of fish.

Reserva Nacional del Pacaya-Samiria. This natural reserve is the biggest in the country, with an extension of 21,000 km² (8,108 sq ml). It was created to preserve the distinctive fauna and flora of this enormous extension of Low Jungle territory.

First Week on January. Anniversary of Iquitos.
Week-long festivities to celebrate the founding of the city.

Third Week in February. Carnivals.

June 24. Fiesta de San Juan.
The local people go to the Nanay and Amazonas river banks, taking with them the traditional juanes, cooked on the eve. In front of the waters, they merrily drink and dance.

First Two Weeks in August.
A farm, livestock and crafts fair takes place in the small town of Santa Clara de Nanay, at 14 km (7 ml) from the city of Iquitos.

September 7. Señora de la Natividad.
Date in which the people Tamashiyacu, in the province of Maynas, honor their patron.

December 8. Fiesta de la Purísima,
celebrated in the district of Punchana, at 3 km (1.86 ml) from Iquitos.

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