Sunday, August 28, 2016

Iquitos: The river and the jungle

The Amazon River from Iquitos

Iquitos is a city In the far North of Perú on the Amazon river. It can only be reached by plane or boat as there are no roads connecting it to the rest of Perú. There's not all that much in the city itself as the main attraction is the Amazon river and jungle.

The Iquitos church

In the main square there are plenty of people who try to sell you trips to the Amazon - with various prices and itineraries. Shop around not just for the price but for the specific activities you want - many places will tailor something for you. I chose a trip heavy on trekking and animal watching and less on "Authentic" Amazonian artisanal markets.

My trip started with a two hour boat trip down the Amazon river until we turned into one of the many tributaries.

A tributary of the Amazon

The accommodation was basic but functional and was right on the edge of the river and the jungle.

The forest lodge

From here we started many treks into the jungle.

Our first foray into the Amazon Jungle to try and spot some wildlife. Sadly, despite braving swarms of hyper aggressive mosquitoes, we only saw a few curious monkeys.

Curious Monkey


Monkey in the tree

Thankfully, when we went out at night we were able to spot quite a few more animals (and mosquitoes - swarms of them).

Black Scorpion

Another Black Scorpion

Bullfrog

Another Bullfrog

Catapillar

Forest rat

Tarantula

The next couple of days were spent on the river: swimming, mud bathing (which was surprisingly fun despite mud getting *everywhere*), fishing (I caught a sardine - yay me) and watching the grey and pink river dolphins. Sadly I wasn't lucky enough to photograph them, but the river was still beautiful.

Birds on the river

Sunset

Sun over the river

The next day we went trekking in the jungle again looking for sloths. And, we found them.

Sloth in a tree

And some other interesting things

Lily pond

Ant nest on a tree

After two days in the jungle I headed back to Iquitos.

Amazon river

I was determined to see more Amazonian animals so I organised to visit a local animal sanctuary. The sanctuary could only be reached by boat from the far end of town - a somewhat sketchy area, however, I took a mototaxi to the dock and bought a snack at the local market.

Didn't go back for seconds

Before negotiating a boat trip to the sanctuary.

The little, possibly seaworthy boat

The sanctuary housed many different animals that had been found sick or injured or had been taken illegally from the Amazon. 

Tortoises

Anaconda

Macaws

Sloths

Happy sloth

After the sanctuary we stopped at a floating restaurant for lunch

Floating Restaurant

And then headed back to Iquitos to watch the moon rise over the Amazon.

Moonrise over the Amazon