Iquitos vs Tambopata: A Thorough Comparison

For this opportunity, Peru Jungle Trips will share with you some of the highlights of both Iquitos and Tambopata to help you choose which destination could be more convenient for your trip to the Peruvian Amazon!

A beach by the Tambopata's river


The largest city in our Amazon has it all: warm people, beautiful landscapes, great biodiversity, rich food, and the impressive Amazon River just a step away! If you have little time to visit Iquitos, here are some experiences that cannot be missed on your agenda and that you can do in a few days.

Visit the mansions in downtown Iquitos

When walking through downtown Iquitos, be sure to visit some buildings that are the testimony and legacy of the Rubber Boom in the Iquitos city. Many of these buildings stand out for the architecture of their mansions, with modern designs and tiles. Some of these most famous mansions are the following:

  • Iron House or Casa de Fierro (Plaza de Armas) at the intersection of Putumayo and Próspero streets. Considered a Cultural Historical Heritage of the Nation and designed by the famous French engineer Gustave Eiffel.
  • Former Palace Hotel (Malecón Palace House) at the intersection of Putumayo Street and Malecón Tarapacá. This mansion is considered the maximum expression of Iquitos architecture.
  • Fitzcarrald House at the intersection of Raimondi and Napo streets.
  • Luis E. Morey House at the intersection of Raimondi and Loreto streets.
  • Cohen House at the intersection of Próspero and Morona streets.
  • Ríos Padilla House (Irapay Cultural Center) at the intersection of Próspero and Ricardo Palma streets.

Iquitos's streets flooded partially by the river flow


Belén Market and Belén Neighborhood

If there is an essential place to visit in Iquitos, it is the Belén Market. Not suitable for impressionable people, it is a good approach to the Amazonian culture, as here you will find all kinds of exotic products, including monkey, sloth, capybara, crocodile, river turtle or boa meat (teeth, skin, fat…). As well as giant snails, all kinds of fish (carachamas, paiches, piranhas, etc.) or a large number of stalls selling local tobacco or mapacho.

The Belén Market is huge, with an area of approximately 5 square kilometers. Something you definitely can’t miss is the so-called Pasaje Paquito or the “Sorcerers’ Alley”, where you will find all kinds of aphrodisiac brews, medicinal plants and items used for rituals.

The market is located in the Belén Neighborhood, an area of the city that has given Iquitos the nickname of the Amazonian Venice. Around 100,000 people live there, many of them in floating houses or stilt houses because the river level varies greatly throughout the year. Therefore, it is interesting to tour it by boat and see the daily life of its inhabitants.

Although it is possible to visit this part of Iquitos on your own, consider doing it on a guided tour, as in certain areas you may feel unsafe. If you decide to venture out alone, always heed the advice of the locals, who will usually tell you which areas are best to avoid walking through.

Other markets to see in Iquitos, where you can also enjoy hearty breakfasts and lunches for little money, are the Iquitos Central Market and the Modelo Market.

Boats roam around the Belén port in Iquitos

Take a night walk through the jungle

Walking through the jungle nature is magical, but doing it at night is a completely different and unmatched experience!

Hire a professional tourism agency or service to guide you during an exciting walk or boat ride in the middle of the night, listening to the sounds of the wind and animals, and seeing the intimidating shadow of the huge trees surrounding you. You will feel like a true explorer!

A family rows in a small boat to get back home


Nature in all its splendor! Tambopata is a spectacular National Reserve, a showcase of our great biodiversity and Amazonian beauty. It is located in the middle and lower areas of the Tambopata River and south of the Madre de Dios River, a 30-minute boat ride from the city of Puerto Maldonado. Visiting the Tambopata National Reserve is immersing yourself in the immensity of our jungle and, therefore, today we are going to show you some information to take into account before your trip, as well as the best activities you can do in this wonderful place.

Information to take into account before your visit to Tambopata

Keep in mind that entry to the reserve is only through authorized tour operators, so it is essential that you hire one before heading to the Tambopata National Reserve.

It is also recommended (not mandatory) that you get vaccinated against yellow fever. As for the things you should bring for the various activities, take into account sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt (flashy colors are not recommended), comfortable sneakers, a hat that covers your face well, sunglasses and, of course, a camera to not miss capturing every moment.


A boat with a Peruvian flag sails across the Tambopata River

What species are there in the Tambopata National Reserve?

The Tambopata National Reserve is home to 632 bird species—more than can be found in the entire United States!—103 amphibian species, 169 mammals, 103 reptiles, 205 fish and 112 species of diurnal butterflies.

In addition to hundreds of other plant and tree species. This makes Tambopata one of the places with the highest biodiversity in the world. A true source of national pride that must be protected!

Blue and yellow macaws gather over a tree

One of the most unique and memorable experiences in Tambopata is the opportunity to see the famous clay licks, where parrots and macaws congregate to feed on the clay’s nutrients.

The Tambopata River is home to several of these clay licks, including the famous Collpa de Guacamayos.

What characteristics does the Tambopata National Reserve present?

It is characterized by protecting the flora, fauna and landscape beauty of the humid subtropical jungle of southeastern Peru. Among the types of habitats you can see there are: aguajales, pacales, collpas, chestnut forests, lakes, riparian forests, terrace forests and cochas.

The Tambopata National Reserve is located near the Bahuaja Sonene National Park that surrounds it to the south, thus forming a very important protection unit for Peru, so taking care of it is part of the responsibility of every visitor.

A group of Amazon inhabitants

Immerse Yourself in the Biodiversity of the Peruvian Jungle

No matter which you choose in the end, both destinations are unique and both will surely guarantee you a wonderful time.

If you want to check furtherly into details, contact us today, we’ll be ready to help you out with your traveling plans.

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