is the largest and most exciting of Peru's jungle towns. It is
a city of 400,000 and the capital of the Peruvian Amazon. The
city was named for the Iquito Indians who first settled the peninsula
of land formed by the Amazon, Itaya, and Nanay Rivers. Jesuit
missionaries founded a mission here in the mid 1700's, fending
off attacks from the many local tribes (especially the fierce
Yagua, renowned as marksmen with their long poison-dart blowguns)
who did not want to be converted. Iquitos reached its heyday between
1880-1915 when the rubber boom was at its peak. European ships
and goods were common sights, and rubber barons became fabulously
rich, while local Indians and mestizos were exploited as laborers.
Iquitos can still be reached only by river or air as there are
no roads connecting it to the outside.
Surrounded in all directions by green forest and a maze of rivers
and streams, it remains an oasis in the midst of the Amazon. The
city is full of activity and interesting sights. Three-wheeled
motorcars are the main means of transportation in
the town. Mansions and beautiful tiled walls still remain as testament
to the glory days of the rubber boom.
The market area of Belen consists of thousands of huts built
on rafts which rise and fall with the river. During most of the
year, the rafts are afloat and canoes paddle from house to house
selling and trading jungle produce.
Information | The Learning
Center | Iquitos |
© 2002 Peruvian Amazon Rainforest Expedition
All Rights Reserved.