IQUITOS


Iquitos is the capital of the Loreto region and is located in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest on the edge of the Amazon River. The city was once a small village, but with the rubber boom of the 19th century the area was transformed almost overnight. The gum trees that covered hundreds of hectares brought immense wealth to many of the city!s inhabitants. At the peak of the boom, in the 1880s, luxurious homes were built with no expense spared. Mosaic tiles brought from Portugal were used to decorate the walls of Italian-style palaces, and an ornate riverside walkway was constructed.

However, this time of abundant prosperity would not last, and with the invention of nylon and other alternative products, demand for rubber dwindled and the boom ended in 1912. The city had to move away from its reliance on production and now focuses on showcasing its incredible natural surroundings.

IQUITOS HIGHLIGHTS

Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve - located in Peru!s Amazon region 30km from the city, the reserve is a triangular shaped area between the Marañon and Ucayali rivers. It is at the northeastern tip of these intersecting rivers that what is considered the Amazon proper begins. This area was declared a national reserve in 1972 and enlarged to its present size of over five-million acres in 1982. It is the single largest reserve in Peru and the second largest in the Amazon region. This area of the reserve is also known as the "Jungle of Mirrors! due to the glassy waters of the area!s lakes and rivers. In this remarkable part of the rainforest there are numerous exotic species of birds, animals and plants.

The Iron House - Designed by Eiffel for the 1889 Paris exhibition, the Iron House caught the eye of a rich rubber baron who had it flat-packed and shipped all the way over to Iquitos where it now sits on the city!s main square.

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Fitzcarraldo
One of the most popular restaurants on the main Iquitos promenade, Fitzcarraldo offers a diverse menu, from palm- heart salads to turtle in ginger sauce, as well as some excellent pizzas. The restaurant is a convivial place featuring updated colonial décor and views of the Amazon, along with good music and sidewalk tables.
Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $12-$17
Address: Napo 100 (corner of Napo and Malecón). Tel: 65 243 434

Yellow Rose of Texas
Owned by Texan Gerald Maveaux, the ex-director of tourism for Iquitos, the Yellow Rose has an extensive menu including everything from English fish and chips to Maveaux!s own Texas-style barbeque and Tex-Mex. For breakfast try the thick-cut French toast made from an old family recipe. Staff and customer photos tacked to the walls tell the restaurant!s story. Open 24hrs.
Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $15-$20
Address: Putamayo 180. Tel: 65 23 1353

Montecarlo
Glitzy on the outside, but relaxed and elegant on the inside, Montecarlo is one of the best upscale restaurants in town. Serving Peruvian and jungle specialties, including excellent fish dishes such as Pescado a la Diabla (lightly fried John Dory in a spicy ginger and tomato sauce). They also serve turtle and alligator. If you want you can gamble in the downstairs casino.
Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $15-$25
Address: Naplo 140. Tel: 065 232 246