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Iquitos is the largest port city that can not be accessed by road and the largest metropolis in the Peruvian Amazon with more than 500,000 inhabitants.
This is one of the reasons why it is also known as the ‘capital of the Peruvian Amazon’. Because of its geostrategic location connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, it is an important internal port.
This city was founded by Spanish Jesuits on the banks of the Nanay River around 1757.
The whole history of the city is told along its streets through architecture, its customs and its inhabitants.
It’s a place full of adventures, wildlife and the mysticism of the Amazon River.
The city of Iquitos besides being part of one of the natural wonders of the world, the Amazon, the tour of the jungle of Iquitos is a mandatory goal to be fulfilled if you are in the area.
But the jungle is not the only thing you can find in there, but also its city has a lot of wealth that makes it special in its streets and its people.
Due to the great wealth that the rubber left in the city, turning it into one of the richest cities of the world at the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX, it has beautiful atypical constructions of the zone.
But during its time of glory the wealthiest families in the city could afford everything, enriching all the cultural heritage of the city.
However, the rubber industry did not last long due to the creation of synthetic rubber and the easier production of rubber latex in Asia, isolating the city economically and geographically but still conserving the buildings that the good times left behind.
Due to that epic of greatness of the city, Iquitos currently has a historic center with several treasures declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation.
Among which we find: The Cathedral of Iquitos, the Iron House, the Old Palace Hotel, the Cohen House, Morey House and more than 70 buildings.
Now we will advise you in detail what to do in Iquitos and what you can not miss in this city:
What to do in Iquitos: Plaza de armas
It is also known as Trade Square or Plaza de Iquitos and is one of the most visited places in the city.
In the center of this square you can find the Obelisk of Heroes that pays homage to the heroes of the battles liberated in Peru in the War of the Pacific.
This center has the shape of a four-sided obelisk. There is also a circular pool that at night offers light and water shows, where the jets reach up to 10 meters high.
What to do in Iquitos: Iquitos Cathedral
Neo-Gothic style religious temple also known as the Mother Church of Iquitos or the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista de Iquitos located in the center of the city.
Its construction began in 1911 and was completed eight years later. A tower is part of the monument in whose upper part is embedded a metal cross, making this the highest religious temple which was completed in 1924.
In 1925 a Swiss watch was installed in the cathedral that still makes curious and more charming this place.
What to do in Iquitos: Fierro o Iron House
Emblem of the city of Iquitos, since it was the first prefabricated house in Latin America brought from France in 1889.
It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
This building has a European style with balconies on its facades and a pyramid shaped roof supported by wrought iron columns.
It was acquired by a rubber magnate who decided to transfer this work of architecture to Peru.
What to do in Iquitos: Antique Palace Hotel
It is also known as Malecón Palace and was one of the most luxurious hotels in the entire Amazon area.
Outstanding for its Art Nouveau design with influences of Catalan modernism from the Antonio Gaudí school.
All the necessary elements for the construction were transported across the Atlantic.
What to do in Iquitos: Cohen House
It was home of one of the first Sephardic Jews who arrived in the city in 1896. This historic building was built and belonged to the merchant Rubén Cohen and whose Art Nouveau facade with large doors, walls and decorations that attract a lot of attention.
During the rubber rush it served as an important commercial place that imported European products and exported rubber. Currently, it is the headquarters of Los Portales Supermarkets.
What to do in Iquitos: Belen Neighborhood
Also known as the Amazonian Venice, but instead of palaces, it is made up of huts, since this was the place where the old poor workers who did not get rich in the golden age were left behind.
Its outdoor market is famous for having its own unique personality that has kept its traditional market.
This market offers a wide variety of products, from fish, vegetables, exotic fruits to all kinds of medicinal plants and aphrodisiac liquors, becoming an important trade area in Iquitos.
What to do in Iquitos: Morey Arias House
The house par excellence of the rubber era since its owner was known as the baron of rubber, Luis Felipe Morey Arias.
During the rubber era it served as a commercial office and warehouse because it was located in front of the old main dock of Iquitos.
This historical monument of Victorian style is currently an important hotel in the city of Iquitos