Peru: Iquitos

Iquitos is a Peruvian port city and gateway to the jungle lodges and tribal villages of the northern Amazon. Its district of Belén is known for its massive open-air street market and rustic stilt houses lining the Itaya River. As Iquitos is a city with no land connection, the only ways to get there are by air or by river.


🙁 Half dead creatures in market, Filth, Poverty.

We were up at 3.30am! Taxi to airport and even buy at that time! Flight delayed by an hour – completely chaotic. Moved seats to back of the plane as we had been separated and then we managed to get window seats for a view of he Amazon as we came in to land. We were transferred to Dawn on the Amazon to meet our Belen market tour guide.

It was FABULOUS getting there – we really felt like we were in the jungle and the mayham was crazy! Gino and Carlos were locals and transported us in their popular mototaxis, a type of rickshaw and which is the most popular form of the public transport in the city. SO much fun!

GREAT way to capture the buzzing and chaotic energy of this place!

The Belen Market is a sight to behold and an assault on all senses – noisy, chaotic and smelly and abhorrently cruel. Catfish slit open to reveal their eggs but kept alive to remain fresh for purchase as locals do not have fridges… caimans tails, fish, chicken and all sorts of concoctions and love potions! Young children rolling cigarettes! I will let the photos do the talking …

The suri grub is a skewered, barbecued delicacy that has been compared in taste to everything from hazelnut to butter. Suri are the larvae of the palm weevil, an insect that’s common throughout the Amazon rain-forest. I honestly nearly died as the hot liquid popped into my mouth!!! Paul on the other hand quite enjoyed it!

We then headed to the residential area. In the wet season these are all floating houses – there was not much water at the time of our visit. It really was rather squalid and polluted. Long drop toilets straight into the river and kids swimming , men washing and fishing. It really felt like a film set and surreal. We had to conceal our horror as Carlos showed us his house there. A real eye opener. We felt bad for doing a tour like this but Carlos said that he was proud of his roots and that he had learnt English and was able to provide an income to his family.

Go Back to: Lima

Go to: Amazon Cruise – Delfin 1 – Day 1

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