Into the Amazon: A Day Trip From Iquitos

I originally visited Iquitos as part of the research for my book, but I couldn’t be so close to the Amazon without taking a day off and venturing into the jungle. Most travelers tend to organize their itinerary based on the sights and then sample the local cuisine when they can. For me, it’s the other way around. On my last full day in the Selva, I decided to take a day trip from Iquitos to see a glimpse of the Peruvian Amazon.

Logistics 

You get what you pay for. All of these people had to cram into one boat while I had a boat to myself!

Amazon tours depart from Iquitos and are highly customizable. You can easily find a tour that fit your time frame. Common tour lengths are 1 day, 3 day, and one week. The longer you have, the deeper into the Amazon you can go. The Amazon is far from homogenous; the wildlife changes as you get deeper. More time in the Amazon also gives you more time for jungle walks and other activities.

You won't have to fend for yourself in the jungle. Meals are generally provided by the lodges.
You won’t have to fend for yourself in the jungle. Meals are provided by the lodges and generally consist of buffet with a number of different options.

Overnight tours make use of Amazon lodges located at convenient locations that follow the course of the river. The lodges serve as basecamp for expeditions and is where you will eat most of your meals. These lodges are all-inclusive and include food.

I only had one day but found that it was enough time to get a glimpse of the wildlife and how people in the jungle live. It was nice to just have one day where I didn’t have to plan every hour.

Breakfast

The tour left in the morning from the dock next to Ninay market. We had enough time to give the market a quick walkthrough. I also finally got a chance to try the most famous Suri (Amazonian grubworms).

Suri (Grubworms) are more palatable when served with a smile
Junior demonstrating how to eat Suri.
Junior demonstrating how to eat Suri.

A Day Trip from Iquitos

Wildlife

These colorful butterflies were constantly fluttering.
These colorful butterflies were constantly fluttering.

Jungle Walk

I can’t stress enough how beautiful it was to in the midst of the these incredible trees. It was like being in nature’s cathedral.

We weren’t really ever that far from civilization. This road was really well-paved and connected the villages in this part of the jungle. The only problem was that carts sped through, and there was no such thing as pedestrian right-of-way!

Survival Skills

Both before and after lunch, we strapped on our boots (provided by the lodge) and walked around while Junior shared his knowledge of the plants and wildlife. The people of the jungle have a harmonious relationship with the plants.

It wasn’t all tree-hugging. They cut branches and make use of the leaves of the trees around them but do so in a sustainable way.

I learned that surviving in the jungle requires a deep knowledge of your surroundings. There are tools, water, and food all around you if you know where to look.

These insects act as a natural mosquito repellent
These insects act as a natural mosquito repellent
A ready source of hydration
A ready source of hydration
If you get lost in the jungle, you can use this tree as a drum to signal for others to find you
If you get lost in the jungle, you can use this tree as a drum to signal for others to find you

Luckily, we were only a couple hundred meters from the comfort of the lodge and didn’t have to worry about survival. Since I was the only one on the tour, the pace was relaxed. It was like Junior was showing me around his neighborhood which in a way I guess he was.

Village life

The people living in the Amazon are a bit shy but friendly. The villages we came across were very well-kept. There was even a paved “highway” that linked villages.

The Journey Back

Before I knew it, it was time to head back. We saw more people in boats on the ride back. We arrived back in Iquitos late afternoon and some time to watch the famous pink dolphins.

Glimpse of a dolphin!
Glimpse of a dolphin!

Onwards

This wraps up my series on How to Eat in the Selva. Admittedly, this post has the fewest food photos of probably anything I’ve published, but you can check out my previous posts to learn about the ingredients and traditional dishes of Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon:

Upcoming on the blog-we’ll make a quick stop in Lima and then go to the Northern Coast of Peru to sample ceviche. My goal for this trip was to learn about the food in the sierra, selva, and coast. One more region to go!

Please Share

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Viviane says:

    So interesting! How a forest you’d expect to have no civilization actually does!

  2. I’m very jealous you saw a dolphin! We never made it to Iquitos which we were in Peru, but I would like to explore some of the Amazon one day.

  3. Laura says:

    This looks amazing! I would love to visit the Amazon and definitely try some local food out!

  4. Danik says:

    You saw a dolphin in the Amazon!?!?! That is crazy. Would love to do some jungle walks around here, but probably be sweating buckets if I do 😀

  5. Kenzie says:

    Ooh those jungle shots are incredible! Loved this post 👍🏻

  6. Anastasia says:

    I just recently came from Peru and unfortunately missed the Amazon – I will have to come back, and your pictures only make me long for it more!

  7. Wow!!! Such an amazing adventure! Not too sure about the Suri… but I would definitely love to travel into the Amazon for the wildlife and nature! (Maybe someday??!)

  8. courtney says:

    Photos are amazing! what a wonderful experience!

  9. Ellis says:

    Sounds like a great day trip. I went into the Amazon in Manu np. it was a great experience and i hope to visit iquitos as well.

  10. This is AMAZING! I have-to-must do this in my lifetime! Thank you sooo much for opening my eyes to this experience!

  11. jenny says:

    Very cool! I’ve always wanted to go into the amazon, it’s a dream for me and hopefully will become reality soon!

  12. Ada says:

    Seems like you had an amazing trip! Amazon looks beautiful! I would love to visit one day! Your photos are lovely!

  13. this seems a lovely tour, especially cause it seems quite personal, like you said, as if junior shows you around his nighbourhood! I am not sure if we can include Peru to our RTW trip, we really would like to though. Can you provide me with the web adress of this tour agency? I would like to check their offer.

  14. It’s always the case that no matter where you are in the world, even deep in the Amazon you come across someone wearing a Barcelona shirt, if not a Real Madrid one! I think my survival instincts would be to rely on the guide. This looks like a worthwhile trip to see the real Amazon!

  15. Ferna says:

    I love how not only you get to witness the amazon or these wildlife but got the chance to explore the village too. This is the kind of travel I always look forward to wherever I want to visit. The dolphins seemed surprising to me during that late time as they usually occur early in the morning. Nice shots by the way.

  16. Anita says:

    It’s just amazing. Amazon must be a very special place and experience. Surviving in jungles is a very special skill to acquire. I would love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Emily says:

    This is absolutely fascinating. I love rainforests and jungles but haven’t been to any South American ones. It’s really interesting to see how different they are around the world.
    I love the survival tips and the pics in the villages. There’s no way I’d eat a grub though!
    And to top it all off you got to see dolphins – amazing!

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