This was my second trip to Iquitos and selva, since I had been there in September last year. I was really excited to see the area again, since last time it was dry season and now rainy season, so I wanted to see the difference.
Iquitos is the world's largest city where you cannot get to by road, only by air or by river. The flight from Lima takes only about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Most of the tourists visit Iquitos only on their way to Amazonian lodges, but there are some interesting places to visit in Iquitos as well e.g. Belén, where we visited as well.
First thing you notice when you get to Iquitos, already at the airport, are mototaxis. They are everywhere and they are loud! Mototaxi from the airport to the center takes about 30 minutes.
Our flight arrived really early in the morning, so we asked our mototaxi driver to find us a place for breakfast. He did and we had a good breakfast somewhere near mercado and Plaza de Armas. Their juices where really delicious, although the coffee was instant, but did the trick.
Then it was time for us to start our trip to the first destination of our short Iquitos trip. We met our guide in Belén (area in Iquitos, which I will tell more later). After getting a taxi with our guide and a local girl Erika, who was going back home to the village we were going as well after spending some time in the city, we drove towards Nauta for less than one hour. We then continued the trip by foot in rubber boots, of course, because of the rainy season. The walk to our lodge was really pleasant. Our guide stopped ones in a while to explain us different things about the trees or other vegetation and animals that can be found in the area.
|Road towards the lodge and our guide|
|In the jungle|
|View from the toilet :)|
It was then time to get ready for the dinner. Since there is no electricity at the lodge everything needs to be done before the sun sets or in the candle light. We had our own chef who lives at the lodge to prepare us a really delicious dinner.
|Kitchen and eating area|
I usually don't sleep that long and all my friends know me as a person who gets up at 5 in the morning, so I was a bit worried that going to bed around 7-8 in the evening, I would wake up really early. I did wake up once to listen to the rain falling at night, but fell back to sleep immediately and waking up for our guide calling me at 7.30!!! So if you have some problems to sleep enough, I can warmly suggest this place to cure your sleep deprivation!
Since we were only travelling for a long weekend, we didn't do a complete tour at the lodge but headed back to Iquitos next morning after breakfast. We again walked to the main road for about 1,5 hours. On the way we saw some really cute monkeys, butterflies and of course locals walking the from the main street to the village.
We took a local bus back to the city and it took us about an hour to Iquitos. Rest of the day we took it easy, walked a little bit in the center of Iquitos and by the river.
Next morning we did a tour in Belén, the area of Iquitos I mentioned earlier. I was really interested to see how it looked liked in the rainy season after seeing it when it was dry. Belén is sometimes called Venice of Iquitos because of the water everywhere in rainy season, like in Venice. This shantytown is an area where the poor people live, not like in Italy. Most of them don't have proper sewer so the toilet is a shack next to the house. Most of the houses do have electricity and you can see lots of satellite antennas around.
Some houses are built on high legs and if the water gets higher than where the floor is, people need to move somewhere else until the water falls again. Other houses are so called flouting houses. They are not attached to the ground with feet, but they float with water. So when water gets high, the house rises; when the water gets low, the house falls to the ground.
In the dry season there is a river running through Belén but it is really narrow compared to the lake it looks like the rainy season.
|Belén September 2014 (left), Belén February 2015 (right)|
Belén also has a huge market area where they sell everything from chicken and turtle meat to vegetables, all kinds of potions you can make of ingredients found in the jungle, hand made pure tobacco or mixture with coca leaves and so on and so on.
|Tobacco sale stand in Belén|
After truly inspiring afternoon at La Chacra it was time for us to head back to Iquitos and get ready for the next morning and early flight back to Lima.