Iquitos is the biggest city in the world without any roads leading to it. To get there we had to take a three hour flight over the rainforest, and when the clouds cleared, the view from the window was pretty spectacular.
Once down on the ground it came as some surprise to find bustling streets full of cars, motorbikes, buses, and tuk-tuks. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
We had read about a butterfly farm just out of town that was worth a visit, so we took a tuk-tuk to the harbour. On arriving we were set upon by a horde of boatmen, waving pictures of butterflies and trying to sell us rides. We tried to negotiate a price but they were having none of it, it was going to be 10 Soles each way (around £2.50 or $4) or we’d have to swim it. The boat ride was interesting, we passed some riverside huts and an empty tanker on the 20 minute trip.
When you arrive at the ‘dock’ and try to jump gracefully off the boat (step on the palm leaves to avoid the mud), you have to walk for 5 minutes through the jungle. The noise of cicadas, birds, and all kinds of life buzzing, screeching and chattering surrounds you in an instant. As we crossed a wooden bridge, a curious monkey came down to meet us.
Later I found out it was called a bald uakari, and it only existed in patches of Peru and Brazil (pun not intended). Their numbers are declining thanks to the usual culprits of hunting and habitat loss. Luckily for us this little guy didn’t hold grudges and was quite friendly, if a little shy. While he was happy for me to take photos, he never looked directly at the camera.
I gave up trying to photograph the butterflies, and I only caught glimpses of the manatee and the caiman that live there. The sanctuary also houses various other animals, including a jaguar, an ocelot and a sloth in a box (imagine the complete opposite of a jack-in-the-box). Here’s a few remaining pics…
We Stayed: Hostal Colibri
We Paid: 60 Soles a night for a fan and private bathroom. Decent place, but if you have the cash you might want to consider the AC upgrade, it’s hot at night. The boat was 10 Soles each way and the butterfly farm was 10 Soles entry with a student card.