Peru Destinations – Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos
The Amazon and Its Enigmas
Covering almost 4 million square kms, the Amazon basin is one of the world’s largest and nature densest areas. Rivers flowing down from the Andes converge to make the mighty Amazon the world’s second longest river and the largest in the world by volume. Mystery and legends abound in this region of more than 2,500 fish species, 1,500 bird species and 50,000 species of plants; with more being discovered every day. At least 15% of the world’s oxygen is produced here.
Looking down from the Andes one gazes out over a vast sea of green that stretches out into the horizon of endless unparallel beauty.
Places to VisitTambopata and Manu National Park
The Manu National Park, along with the Tambopata National Reserve, are Peru’s most important ecological areas, and are just a short flight from Cusco or Lima. So great is the bio-diversity here, that most species have not yet been named. This ecologically rich region is home to hundreds of species of birds, insects, cats, monkeys, reptiles and fish, as well as thousands of plants and flowers. The Manu National Reserve has been made famous in films, documentaries, the National Geographic magazine, and the WWF. Recognized by UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund as a “World Biosphere Reserve” and “World Natural Heritage Site”
While it is possible to visit to the Tambopata Reserve in two to five days, a minimum of four to five days are required to travel by motorboat and visit the areas of the Manu National Park.
The jump off point for excursions to Tambopata and Manu is Puerto Maldonado, a small jungle town with flights from both Cusco and Lima. Recommended dates are from May through October.
Iquitos is a city submerged in the Peruvian Amazon Region, which seen from the air, spreads out like a huge, green seemingly endless cloak. Linked to the world only by air and by the Amazon River, Iquitos is the capital of Loreto, the largest department of Peru. This city and its surroundings constitute one of the most important tourist attractions in the area. Iquitos is Peru’s most important city on the banks of the Amazon River, and much of the architectural pomp of the 19th century rubber baron years is still intact. Trips can be made from Iquitos to a number of typical jungle inns, with visits to native communities such as the Bora and the Yagua.
This part of the Peruvian Amazon Region is home to one of the largest hydrographic system in the world, the Amazon Basin, which begins in the Andes Mountain Range (Arequipa) where the Amazon River is born, the river with the largest volume of water in the world. It is formed by the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, close to the City of Nauta.
Loreto Carnival (Iquitos)
This is a popular festival where, as the legend says, the demons wander around, there is a street pageant, the parade of the humisha (a palm tree decorated with various objects, food and flags) and the people dance to the rhythm of the music and the folk dancers.
21-27 Iquitos Tourist Week
This program includes festivities which are celebrated along with the traditional regional fest of San Juan, when there is a Festival of Typical Musical Groups at the National Folkloric Handcrafts Fair, lively marches, contests and other competitions.
24, Feast of Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint
This is a religious festival in honor of Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint, during which there are rural trips to the Community of San Juan and dances and various types of contests are organized. In this fest one can taste the juanes, a typical dish made of turmeric spiced rice an pieces of chicken wrapped in bijao tree leaves.
8-10, Santa Clara
Religious feast in honor of the patron of the hamlet of Santa Clara, located 15 km from Iquitos. The Virgin is taken out on procession to the riverbanks so that she can bless its waters. Agricultural products and handicrafts are on display and sold here.
5-8, La Purísima
Religious feast in honor of the Virgin of the Immaculada Concepción, which is celebrated in the District of Punchana, with the community participating in different cultural and folkloric activities.