Iquitos, Peru - June 2016


Level 2 Member
One day in Iquitos, Peru . . .

Our trip to Peru started with an unforgettable day in Iquitos and set the tone for our entire trip.

On our arrival day we asked the hotel staff for a recommendation for a tour/guide for the next day. The evening manager recommended Alex, who then met us in the lobby that evening to discuss our plans and settle on an itinerary.

Alex met us the next morning in the lobby and we traveled by tuk tuk to the pier (he drove as he has his own tuk tuk). He gave us a tour of the small market (he knew everybody) at the pier, and insisted that we eat Palm beetle larvae. Okay once they stopped moving.

Then by speed boat we toured the area where the Nanay meets the Amazon – there is a very distinct color difference between the rivers and it was interesting to see the point where they flowed together. Managed to catch a glimpse of a couple of pink dolphins. On to a tribal village (a bit touristy but we had fun especially when one of the women thought I was trying to buy her baby when I was trying to ask how old he was - not how much!), and a butterfly farm (which was small and Alex acted as our interpreter). The woman giving the tour was adorable and insisted on putting 6 inch long caterpillars all over me while Alex took pictures. Ugh.

We stopped at a spot to do some piranha fishing (high on DH’s list) but no one had any luck. Caught some fish, but not piranha.

Off we went to a floating restaurant for lunch - cost was approximately 80 sols for a couple of beers and a decent lunch. After lunch my husband was fishing off the pier for piranha and I lounged in the hammock. Great conversation with Alex. He fished with my husband for a while and, thankfully, DH caught a piranha.

We left the restaurant and went to an animal refuge center. It was raining at this point, but the pens for the animals and the walkways were covered. No rules here. Monkeys roam freely and climb all over you. They were pretty tame. I had a baby monkey latch on to me that I carried the whole tour. One of the other monkeys climbed up on my head. My husband decided he wanted to hold him, so he tried to take him off my head at which point chaos ensued. The monkey grabbed a fistful of my hair in one hand and my camera strap in the other and started screeching. I was holding the baby monkey in one hand and trying to pull the camera strap away from my neck with the other - my husband, Alex and the owner were all trying to get the monkey off my head and I was trying to tell them to leave it alone! Moral of the story - if the monkey wants to sit on your head - let him! We went in all the pens with all the animals. My husband was holding a sloth, toucans, a giant turtle. And the pen with the anaconda. Of course, they brought the snake out and put it around my husband’s shoulders. They wanted me to join in on that fun, but I am deathly afraid. So Alex suggests I just stand next to my husband while he takes a picture. And of course I start to feel the thing slither on my neck.

At this point it's getting pretty dark (sunset was around 6). We went back to the pier and got in the tuk tuk - about halfway to our hotel I realize I don't have my phone. I tap Alex on the shoulder and he pulls over and we search my bag and the tuk tuk. I said I thought it was at the restaurant. Without a word or any sign of being upset, Alex turned around and went back to the pier. The speed boat was long gone. He rented a peque peque - no lights, no life vests and off we go into the night - it was really dark as it was cloudy and there was no ambient light. The driver of the boat kept flashing a large flash light to let other boats know we were there. We pulled up to the dock and my husband, the boat driver and I start looking through the hammocks for my phone. No luck. I’m pretty upset at this point, when Alex comes back from talking to the bartender. Someone had found my phone and gave it to the bartender! This is about 5 hours later when we came back. I couldn’t believe it. Really, I was astonished that someone actually turned in my phone.

When we eventually got back to the hotel, all Alex wanted was 30 sols (~$10 USD) to pay for the boat. We paid for the boat and gave him a generous tip.

Alex was so kind and so generous with his time and attitude, we were blown away. AND the fact that my phone was there!

So, thus set the tone for the rest of our trip – we found the Peruvians to be wonderful people. Kind, funny, warm. But not in Lima - skip it if you can!

If anyone is heading to Iquitos and would like a recommendation for a guide, let me know. I will enthusiastically pass along Alex’s contact information!

PS – the person who found my phone took a picture of himself in the hammock with my phone. Whoever you are, thank you!