…in Iquitos, Peru


Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian rain forest and the fifth-largest city of Peru. It is also the capital city of the Loreto Region and Maynas Province. Located in the Amazon Basin, the city is along the Amazon, Nanay and Itaya rivers. Its name in Iquito language translates to the people. The city proper with its four districts has a population of 422,055; 462,783 live within the Iquitos Metropolitan Area, making it in the sixth-largest metropolitan area of the country. The official city nickname is Capital of the Peruvian Amazon.

During the early 20th-century rubber boom, it attracted many European immigrants who contributed to a period of wealth and great social and commercial development that resulted in its unique urban and cultural identity. The city originally was developed from an Indian Reduction developed by Jesuit missionaries along the Nanay river circa 1757 with the name San Pablo de Napeanos. The town was inhabited by the Napeanos and Iquito people. At the present time, the city has become a destination in the Peruvian Amazon, due to historic architecture, cuisine, landscapes, accent, nightlife and diverse cultural movement. It is a cosmopolitan city with strong Amazonia roots.

I shot today’s photo that shows one of the buildings from the days of the rubber boom, showing the decorative tiles that adorned the outside of some of the buildings along the waterfront.

Downtown Iquitos is considered the starting point for the city tour. The Belén Market is described as the largest traditional market in the Peruvian Amazon. Several neighborhoods and landmarks of Iquitos are prized for their Amazonian, European, and bohemian atmosphere. Over 250,000 visitors came to Iquitos in 2012, a number that is expected to rise since the ranking of the Amazon River as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. In 2012 Iquitos inaugurated international flights with the major hub in Panama City, with shared destination to Miami and Cancun. The city was included, as number 6, on the list of “top 10 cities for 2011” by Lonely Planet.

The city can be reached only by airplane or boat, with the exception of a road to Nauta, a small town roughly 62 miles south. It is the largest city in the world that is inaccessible by road. Ocean vessels of 3,000 to 9,000 tons and 18 feet draft can reach Iquitos from the Atlantic Ocean, 2237 miles away. Most people travel within the city via bus, motorcycle, or the ubiquitous auto rickshaw (mototaximotocarro or motocar). It is a modified motorcycle with a cabin behind supported by two wheels, seating three.  Transportation to nearby towns often requires a river trip via pequepeque, a small public motorized boat.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1888, the most severe winter storm ever to hit the New York City region reached blizzard proportions, costing hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in property damage. Although the storm also struck New England, New York was the hardest hit, with the 36-hour blizzard dumping some 40 inches of snow on the city. For several weeks, the city was virtually isolated from the rest of the country by the massive snowdrifts. Messages north to Boston had to be relayed via England. Even “Leather Man,” a fixture of New York and Connecticut history who had walked a circuit of 365 miles every 34 days for three decades, was reportedly delayed four days by the Blizzard of 1888. Leather Man, who walked during the day and slept in caves at night, was known as such because his clothes were made out of large patches of thick leather.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  It is common to hear that the Fresh Kill Landfill in New York and the Great Wall of China are the only two man-made objects that can be seen from space.


2 thoughts on “…in Iquitos, Peru

  1. ” It is the largest city in the world that is inaccessible by road.”

    Oh really? Hmmm, sounds like a good post idea. Did you get a lot of pictures of the city itself Galen?

    I always thought the “see great wall of china from space” thing was an urban legend… Is that true? I can’t see it on Google maps at all if I zoom out.

  2. I got some pictures of the city…and I’d be happy to share them with you. There is an interesting area of the city, Belen, that is a slum area. As to the Great Wall, I do believe it is true. I’ve not tried to look it up on Google Earth, but I suspect that the satellites they use for that are a lot higher up than the shuttle would fly and that might explain it.

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