Trip to Iquitos: amazing experience in the peruvian rainforest

iquitos review

This post is also available in: Español

I had been thinking about this trip for a long time, and the truth is that Iquitos and the peruvian rainforest did not disappoint me at all. It was an unforgettable experience in every way. Where do I start to describe something so indescribable?

How to get to Iquitos

I will start with how I got to Iquitos. From Lima there are several companies that operate flights and they’re not expensive. It’s almost two hours by plane. When I arrived there was another tourist waiting for me. The driver was waiting for both of us in Iquitos with a poster with our names on it. This made me feel safe and in good hands.

iquitos rainforest

Arrival at the lodge in the peruvian rainforest

When we went to the car in Iquitos we noticed the driver had almost everything ready for the trip, like the food and water supplies. It’s worth mentioning that once we arrived from Iquitos in the jungle, it’s impossible to get any of these things there. Afterwards, we went to pick up the professional guide (his name is May, I will talk more about him later) and to buy some fresh products. Once we were ready, we left Iquitos and went to Nauta to catch our boat. If you want to buy a coke, some chocolate bars or some alcohol, just let the guide know and he will accompany you to the shops.

Finally, we arrived at our lodge, the trip was more or less two hours. Once you arrive at Iquitos and Nauta you can see all the nature that is around you and the first thing you think about is: why don’t we stay in the nearest lodge? It’s simple: the farther you are, the deeper you are in the jungle, from Iquitos, the more adventures you will enjoy.

We arrived at the lodge at noon. It was an idyllic place. Without a lot of comforts, everything was made of wood. However, every room and bed had his own insect screen so you can sleep peacefully.

First day in the peruvian rainforest

After leaving the luggage and resting, we ate what Mays assistant had prepared.

iquitos food

Then we went to the boat to take a stroll around the lodge. That boat was going to be with us throughout our whole experience in the peruvian rainforest (driven by James, a very kind and pleasant man). It was a small boat, which allowed us to drive to places a big boat wouldn’t fit. In about two hours, we had already seen a sloth, several types of butterflies, monkeys and some birds very similar to swallows… Amazing!

When we came back, we took a nap since we were very tired of the trip. We had dinner and had a very interesting talk with our guide. May is kind, and in every moment he asks you what you want to do. He has lived in the jungle for a long time and he knows the area like the back of his hand. I really liked that he gave us total freedom. We were only 3 so it was very easy for us to decide what we wanted to do the next day.

Second day in the peruvian rainforest

The next day, we had scheduled a walking trip across the jungle that was going to last 2 hours. In order to give you a pair of boots they ask for your shoe size. That day we had to wear jeans and a long-sleeve shirt since mosquitoes love the tourists’ blood hahahaha.

The walk was spectacular, we were able to see all the nature in its splendour. We saw several anteaters, and in the apex of a tree a black monkey and some toucans. All this happened while we were surrounded by millennial trees that could have a height of 200 meters. The smell was indescriptible, it smelled like nature. Returning to our lodge on the boat, we went to search dolphins since there were many in the rivers we were sailing.


When we got to our lodge they were waiting for us with the food ready. We were very hungry, due to the hot weather and the walk. However, we were very happy with the experience and with all the things we had seen.

The food was delicious! Everything was made over wood fire, that always tastes better. Some days before you do the trip they ask you if you have any allergy, or if you are vegan or vegetarian. We ate very diverse, local food. Additionally, they gave us a lot of exotic fruits to try.

We took a nap and then went again for a stroll with the boat. We went to see a lake full of ‘river lettuces’ and it looked as instead of sailing the river we were sailing through ‘river lettuces’. It’s an incredible effect… with that green color… just, wow! The sun started setting and the sky had a red colour as if we were in a movie. Once again, our eyes took some mental pictures that we will never forget.

Once it was dark enough, we went to search alligators. The guide, once again, was an expert. You could see them with a lanter, since when they look at you, you can see their red eyes. In order to catch them, May went to the boat’s top to try it.

We spent more than one hour trying to catch one to see a close up of them, but finally, we did not have enough luck. The jungle is like this. It’s not a decorated, fake scenario. The animals are always moving and sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you aren’t.

There were millions of lighting bugs around the boat and the stars were shining as I had never seen before.

iquitos sunset

We went back to the lodge to sleep, the days in the jungle are very tiring and very energetic at the same time. Therefore, we were very tired and all you can hear from the bed are birds so we slept like babies.

Third day in the peruvian rainforest

On the third day of our adventure in the amazonian jungle we woke up early and had breakfast (fruits, eggs, orange juice, milk…).

That day we went to seek parrots, since May knew where we could find them. That is why it is convenient to tell him what you are and aren’t interested in, so he can help you. If you want to know more about the peruvian rainforest animals I strongly recommend that you read this post about the five unique animals of the amazonian jungle. 

frog in iquitos

We walked a route that had a lot of mud, but since we were wearing our boots, it was a wonderful experience. We were seeking a tree whose sap parrots love. Even though the tree is very tall, thanks to May and his binoculars we were able to see them and even to take some pictures. Then we went back to the boat with James.

After sailing placidly half an hour, we got to an enormous tree. It was a Ficus, it’s a tree invader that has several branches that grasp other trees until they get the trunk they have invaded. May encouraged us to climb this tree. We took some amazing pictures, just as if we were hidden monkeys.

By the way, we saw a little monkey in that area, and as May knows everything, he told us it is a nocturnal animal which steals the nests of other animals.

When we were going back to the lodge we saw a lot of water lilies. Some of them were more than one and a half meters long!

After having lunch and resting, May took us to a community where a family of sloths live. Sometimes they get into the peruvian rainforest and when they feel hungry they come back to their community. They know they are safe there and have plenty of food. Therefore, seeing a sloth so close is an experience that most likely we will not live again. You have to enjoy every moment in the peruvian rainforest! In that community there is a lady who sells souvenirs, they are made by her with roots and natural dyes.

iquitos boat trip

After visiting the house, May asked us if we wanted to take a mud bath, and there we went! We really liked it and so did our skin! We played like kids, jumping from the top, throwing mud to our friends… Afterwards we went to the river to take a bath and went back to the lodge since it was dusking.

The last night we did not go out because it was raining a lot, but it was also a good experience enjoying a good book in the middle of the jungle… there is nothing better…

Last day in the jungle

Now it was the last day of the experience, sadly. This trip had passed so fast! On the last day May had a surprise for us. We got on the boat once again with James and with some fruit. After a trip of half an hour, there was a big group of monkeys in the trees, close to the river.

May took a piece of fruit and… A monkey jumped into the boat! Our face was indescriptible… I am sure we deserved a picture of it. The monkey jumped between us fearlessly.

We gave them some more fruit and different types of monkeys also came. Some of them just took the fruit of our hands with us barely noticing it. We took some spectacular pictures while they ate their fruit.

And then our sad goodbye started. We had lunch and went back to reality.

My experience has been unique and I would recommend everyone with a passion for adventure to travel to the peruvian rainforest and experience themselves these four days in Iquitos. My adventure was thanks to the Howlanders agency. If you are looking forward to enjoying this adventure do not hesitate to contact them on their website.


Javi, along with Daniel, was the one who gave life to Howlanders and formed this team. Each of his trips and the experiences he accumulated in his backpack, gave him the idea of helping other travelers to live them too.

At Howlanders, he is one of the people in charge of deciding which tours we offer. While in this blog he gives us his travel diaries.

He has traveled Torres del Paine for all its circuits and knows it to perfection, so he gives us all the recommendations and tips that can't be found elsewhere.

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