706. Peru Trip | First Taste of the Amazon: Exploring Iquitos!

Streets of Iquitos
While I absolutely loved visiting each city on our entire trip, I particularly liked Iquitos just a little bit more. It gave me the most culture shock which was surprising because I find it similar to Asia in some ways, where I've visited many times. Though I guess Asia doesn't feel as exotic for me since I am Asian..and this is an Amazonian city after all.

As soon as we left the airport I was immediately captivated by the chaotic scenes around me. Iquitos is the gateway city to visiting the Peruvian Amazon which might give you bit of an idea to how the atmosphere is there. The city is loud, dusty, fast-paced, super hot, full of moto-taxis and a bit surreal. We decided to stay 2 nights here to explore. We mainly wanted to visit Belen Market (a crazy place where you can find anything and everything for sale) and Monkey Island (a sanctuary for young monkeys you can play and interact with).

Amazon River
First view of the Amazon River from our plane.

We got a car/taxi to get to our hotel. I soon realized that actual cars are extremely rare here. Everyone gets around in those moto taxis which is the better option since the city is very hot, and riding around in those are very refreshing. Plus it is a lot more fun. But a car was the better option with our luggage.

Iquitos police
Even the cops get around using them hahah.

Iquitos police
Or like this. I found it pretty amusing. Like they are in a parade or something.

DoubleTree by Hilton Iquitos food
Then we arrived at our nice, air-conditioned hotel! We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton which is actually the only "luxury" hotel in the city. I really loved it and the food at the restaurant was very good. I became obsessed with the pasta and lemonade, and ordered it for every single meal.

monkey Iquitos
After lunch, our plan was to visit Monkey Island. We went to their office to get more information where I met this super cute monkey. We then decided to do the island the following day instead, which turned out to be a very good idea (the whole trip there was like 2 hours each way and quite an extreme journey). I will post more about that in a future post.

Mototaxi Ride Iquitos
So we hopped in one of these and headed to CREA, a rescue centre for manatees and other Amazonian wildlife. To be honest it was a big waste of time. Since we were going to the actual Amazon anyway, seeing the animals in their natural habitats would've been much more interesting. CREA was kind of like seeing them in a zoo, but it is a good organization since they are a sanctuary. I'm glad we went anyway because I very much enjoyed the mototaxi ride there and back, taking in all the chaotic street scenes.

CREA Iquitos caiman
Iquitos Peru
fresh coconut
Iquitos Amazon
Iquitos Amazon
Mototaxis Iquitos
Iquitos streets
On the way to Belen Market (which I will make another post on soon!)

Monkey Island Iquitos
At Monkey Island! I will make another post on this soon too.

Iquitos dock
DoubleTree Hilton Iquitos food
The same meal for dinner again (plus taquitos).


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