Iquitos: Off to the Amazon

  Our much anticipated trip to the Amazon had finally arrived. When I used to think of South America, that’s what usually would come to mind. That huge river with wildlife so diverse and exotic that documentaries and books hardly did it justice. We hadn’t originally planned on taking the kids on this trip, but after living in Peru for nine months, we’d adjusted to the idea of traveling into more adventurous places with our littles. We talked to a few people who had done it successfully with children and found (not much, but some) information online as well. We got a great deal on flights when LAN was running a special, and though we waited on the Tarmac for about an hour, the savings was still worth the mediocre flight.

We arrived in Iquitos around noon, feeling the full force of the hot sun and the jungle humidity. Iquitos is an interesting city. The largest city in the world that’s not reachable by road. It’s full of motorcycles and mototaxis – literally hundreds crowd the streets in the afternoons and evenings.  

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn & Uncle David

Cliff riding a MotoTaxi with Aunt Katelyn & Uncle David

We were staying at the Nativa Apartments. A good, clean place to stay for a few days, or an extended period of time. Plus, they had a room big enough for all six of us. We were traveling with John’s brother and his wife, who had been staying with us and traveling around Peru the last few weeks.

That first day we didn’t do much, besides walk to the riverfront and grab lunch. 

Walking around Iquitos

Walking around Iquitos

Artwork by the river

Artwork by the river 

  We talked to a tour guide and got some information on day tours for later in the week. 

Talking to a guide

Talking to a guide

We were all pretty wiped out, and wilting in the heat and humidity, so we got a rest and then headed out to a local market nearby our hotel.

It was dusk as we arrived and some of the market was already closing up. The smell hit us before we even could see it. It was a pretty dirty market, maybe because we arrived at closing. We were looking for fruit and veggies to snack on since we had a small kitchenette at the hotel. We were also hoping to find some dinner…but didn’t have much luck amid the sea of chicken carcasses and gutted fishes. David did manage to find some grilled smallish fish and plantain that they bagged up for him, but none of the rest of us felt so brave (or had much appetite with all the strong smells surrounding us). We decided it would be best to go down to the river and eat at a restaurant for dinner.

When we got there we were amazed at the number of people out and about. It was a fun crowd. Lots of locals, kids, and tourists mingled along the riverwalk. We ordered some food at a patio seating area while the kids sat on the sidewalk and watched the busy excitement before them. It wasn’t long before a teenage girl came up to the kids and started talking to them.  

Blowing bubbles with new friends

Blowing bubbles with new friends

 It happens everywhere we go – especially with teenage girls. They want to know their names, where they’re from, and if they speak English. Then they usually want a picture together. The kids have been through this routine so many times now that they can give their own answers in Spanish and just need the occasional verification from us on the pronunciation of their names. It’s pretty funny to watch, really. They’ve gotten really comfortable with it. The young girl had a toddler with her, and after talking to the kids for a while, she went and bought a cup of bubbles. The kids had a lot of fun with that. 

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

 When a group of about 10 young people came over they agreed to take pictures with all of them one at a time. They looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. As long as they don’t seem bothered, we don’t mind. When they want space they know to come back to us, and we always watch closely to see if they’re being smothered.

Surrounded by friendly Peruvian teenagers

Surrounded by friendly Peruvian teenagers

The food at Dawn on the Amazon was really good. Delicious local fish with a twice baked potato and some coconut milk smoothies to finish it off. We were glad we’d gotten to see a bit of the town, too, since during the heat of the day it had been pretty desolate. We were learning quickly. In this heat and humidity, enjoy the morning, go home for a nap, and come back out for the night. Seemed to be the way to do it!

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