Attractions Nearby Iquitos, Day Trips and Excursions
(Iquitos, Loreto, Peru)
Excursions into the Amazon jungle surrounding Iquitos are always popular, with a multitude of rainforest attractions awaiting day trippers. Wildlife excursions to jungle lodges suit many Iquitos visitors, as do riverboat trips, and the somewhat more challenging hiking and camping opportunities.
Laguna Quistacocha is especially close to Iquitos and is located just a mere 15 km / 9 miles to the south, with its lakeside attractions being linked by a series of regular buses throughout the day, which arrive and depart from the Plaza 28 de Julio. Also relatively close are the endless natural attractions within the enormous Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, while somewhat further from Iquitos are destinations such as Pevas, Piura
Sited next to the sprawling Sechura Desert, the city of Piura is always a welcome sight for many travellers from Iquitos and stands to the far west, close to the shoreline of the South Pacific Ocean. Whilst the attractions
of Piura are really too far to make a day trip possible, longer excursions come highly recommended. Piura city centre boasts much colonial character and is very much dominated by its cathedral
, which dates from the late 16th century and presides over the Plaza de Armas. Other sights of note include the Bolognesi Monument, the Grau Monument and the Museo de Oro Vicus
- a museum filled with gold artefacts found at the neighbouring Vicus archaeological complex.
Children will be particularly appreciative of the animal attractions at the lake's small zoo, and the interesting fish hatchery. The Laguna Quistacocha is encircled by a pleasant pathway, or can be explored by paddleboat. It is even permitted to swim in the lake, although the water rarely looks particularly inviting.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
The very historic town of Pevas is to be found around 140 km / 87 miles down river of Iquitos, where it remains the oldest town within the Peruvian Amazon. Pevas was actually established almost 300 years ago by a small group of missionaries, and today offers attractions such as hilltop walking trails, seasonal fiestas, traditional markets and simple lodges with wonderful scenic views. Interestingly, Pevas is a completely car-free zone and is a good place to visit if you are headed for Leticia, which is connected by regular visiting cruise boats.
Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria (Pacaya Samiria National Reserve)
The biggest of all Peru's many national reserves, the Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria was established as recently as 1982 and covers a whopping 21,000 square kilometres / 8,100 square miles. Just over 40,000 people currently call the Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria their home. Iquitos is relatively close by and to the south-west, and tourists regularly choose to visit the plentiful attractions of the reserve, and observe the rich wildlife, both on land and in the water. Allow several days to properly explore the area, starting out from the village of Lagunas. Be sure not to miss out on a trip in a dug out canoe, when you will likely encounter Amazon manatees, river dolphins, South America turtles and even some caimans (small alligator-like reptiles).
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Yurimaguas is a relatively small and often overlooked port town, which lies directly to the south-west of Iquitos, alongside the Huallaga River (Rio Huallaga). Close to Moyobamba, the attractions of Yurimaguas are easy to explore on foot and tend to surround the Plaza de Armas, which is where you will find the Manguaré Expediciones outlet and its selection of guided tours. Locals from the area often refer to Yurimaguas as the 'Pearl of the Huallaga'.