If you travel to Peru, we always recommend a must-do experience, such as the Peruvian jungle in Iquitos. A unique place surrounded by wild and virgin nature, where together with the native community that inhabits it, you will discover each of its corners and learn a new way of living away from the big cities.
In order to know more in-depth how this fantastic adventure is, one of our companions, Javier, tells us in the first person the tour in the Iquitos jungle.
Day 1 in the Iquitos jungle
I already knew the tour to the Amazon rainforest of Iquitos, but my colleagues Daniel and Paco had never been to the Amazon, so I was convinced they would love it.
We woke up early and took the Latam Airlines flight between Cuzco and Iquitos because Iquitos has not access by road. When we landed at 10:30, there was Manuel and a partner of his, with the lodge’s polo shirt and the car waiting in the airport parking lot.
We loaded everything and in a few minutes we were on our way to the port of Nauta, the heat and humidity of the jungle were already noticeable, especially compared to Cuzco.
When we arrived at the port, as it was time to eat, we were able to stop at a restaurant. The menu was something we had never tried before, fried lizard!
As soon as we finished we took the boat to go to the lodge. We sailed for over an hour, passing by the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers, where the Amazon River is born.
Sailing in the immensity of the river is an experience that makes me feel free, that’s why I enjoyed the whole way to the lodge.
When we arrived we left our things in a triple room with a bathroom and went for a while to the dining area.
Manuel introduced us to the one who was going to be our guide during the whole tour in Iquitos and coincidentally his name was also Manuel. We talked to him, he explained everything we could do and we decided on the plan for the three days of the tour, but he told us that we could change it whenever we wanted, so perfect.
In about half an hour we were already taking the smallest boat, with which we would travel during the 3 days. The boatman was the son of our guide, Alexis, and they were both residents of the community where the lodge is located.
We set out and gradually got into narrower rivers, noticing how the jungle was becoming more and more closed. At that moment we headed for a route around the surroundings to see birds, plants, and pink dolphins.
It was an incredible moment to swim in the same waters as some dolphins. They were several meters away from us, only letting themselves be seen for a few seconds when they emerged from the water. As the day was ending we saw the sunset, reddish and orange colors and a very warm feeling in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
We returned to the lodge, took a shower, put on our mosquito repellent, and went to the dining room for dinner. Sincerely, it was better than what I expected, fruit juice, water and a very good combo plate.
That night we decided to stay at the lodge, we went up to the hammock area and chatted with May, one of the guides I had already met on my first visit over 5 years ago. We spent more than an hour until we decided to go to sleep.
When we got to the room we looked more at the place where we were going to sleep: a triple room, each bed, and all the windows with their mosquito nets.
The truth is that it gives a very comforting feeling the moment you realize that in the room there is not a single mosquito, comfortable bed, sounds of the jungle, heat and sleep, lots of sleep.
Although we chose the best season to go to Iquitos, the mosquito nets are always present here.
Day 2 in the peruvian jungle
Beginning the second day in our experience in the Peruvian Amazon jungle, we woke up around 8. As we had planned, we went on a 4-hour route in the boat, going down in some areas, but mostly sailing.
In one area some monkeys approached the boat and even the most curious one got in while eating some fruits, which our guide had given to Daniel. No wonder he ate them, it was a fruit I had never tasted before, very good. It was similar to a cherry, yellow and a little sour and sweet at the same time.
After spending some time watching the monkeys, we continued and saw iguanas in trees, all kinds of birds, giant termite mounds, frogs, and all kinds of plants.
We returned to the lodge for lunch and then lay down for a while in the hammocks. In the afternoon we went out to fish piranhas, surprisingly my friend Paco was the one who fished the most, beginner’s luck I guess.
We continued and went to see the giant water lilies, Victoria Amazónica. It is an incredible plant. The landscape changes completely when the fauna is surrounded by it.
I began to realize that the Peruvian jungle is not a single landscape, each area is different from the other, and in a few minutes, the landscape can change radically.
We had dinner and went on the most fun excursion of all, nightly alligator watching.
It is incredible how the guide could distinguish the shine of the flashlight in the eyes of the caiman, we approach an area with more plants, near one of the banks. From the front of the boat Manuel showed his arms and we saw how he picked up a caiman of approximately 40 centimeters.
The caiman was small but it gave the sensation of respect, we were watching it for a few seconds and Manuel left it again in the place from which he had taken it.
We returned to the lodge, on the way while we were sailing two fish jumped into the boat almost at the same time, with the darkness we had not seen them, we only heard them. Immediately Manuel picked them up, showed them to us, and returned them to the river.
The Peruvian jungle is full of life and does not rest, you can notice the activity at night, the sounds of the jungle transmit a sensation difficult to describe.
Day 3 in Iquitos
The last morning at the lodge, we woke up early and went to watch the sunrise. It began to clear on the horizon, little by little the sun began to appear. At the moment the motor of the boat stopped, the silence was created.
I enjoyed 20 minutes in which I could say it has been the time with the least noise during the 3 days, I only realized at that moment, I had already gotten used to the sounds of life in the Amazon.
We returned to the lodge, had breakfast (I think the best of all): a camu camu juice, tortilla, breads, coffee…
We went out for the longest walk of all, and spent two hours walking through the Peruvian Amazon jungle, in some areas the ground is firmer, in others it is wet, it was a little slippery but with the rubber boots we walked we walked much more firmly.
Later we drank from some vines that when cut release water. Also, they made a noise while cutting it, a sound similar to that of an effervescent pill. We saw different frogs, some spiders and even some lizards, we passed by an area of night monkeys and even saw a sloth.
The truth is that I am still surprised by the ease with which the guide Manuel and his son Alexis could see animals in the jungle. You can tell that for them the jungle is like the schoolyard, where they have played and lived. At that moment I realized that we are very similar but our environment has made us different.
We returned to the lodge, ate, and took a walk around the community. They were holding a sports event organized by the lodge. Libertad is not just a lodge, it is a project that helps the whole community.
When I visited the first time, they explained to me that they had created the lodge among about thirteen families. But they didn’t stay alone with the lodge, they also bought a mill to peel the rice. The profits from both businesses are shared among the entire community that works it, and also those who worked there before, such as the elders of the community.
I am very excited to think about all that they have achieved and how by collaborating with them at Howlanders we are also doing our part to improve the quality of life in the community.
We said goodbye to everyone and we left them our Howlanders flag.
On the way to Nauta, I asked my colleagues what they thought of it. Daniel answered me with a very serious face: “it was the best tour of my life, by far”. We started talking, looking at some pictures and taking some more to remember until the last moment.
When we arrived at Nauta, we got off the boat and said goodbye. After that we got into the car that Manuel had bought to take the travelers to Iquitos. We had no accommodation booked, so our driver took us to two hotels, both of which were very good value for money.
As we saw that he was a reliable person and was a worker at the lodge itself. We asked him if we could meet him the next day to take us to the airport. He accepted without any problem for a very affordable price.
Thus, we stayed to discover Iquitos that night. The city is totally different from the Peruvian Amazon jungle, the people, the climate, the closeness, but most of all the atmosphere, vibrant but relaxed.
The next day, the same transfer that left us in Iquitos took us to the airport as we agreed.
These three days in the Peruvian jungle have served us all to rest. We are physically tired but very calm, they have transmitted to us their tranquility, their way of living in a more carefree way.
After this great experience in Iquitos I can only thank Manuel. Thank you for taking care of us and showing us your home. Thank you for letting us be part of this project and thank you very much to all the travelers, those who have already met him and those who will soon.
Dare, you will not regret it! Book now your tour and meet this native community in the Peruvian Amazon jungle.
And you? Do you dare? I’m sure you won’t regret this incredible experience!