Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

The Amazon Basin Travel Guide

Iquitos

A sultry port town on the Río Amazonas, Iquitos is quite probably the world's largest city that cannot be reached by road. The city has nearly 500,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the vast Loreto department. The area around Iquitos was first inhabited by small, independent Amazonian tribes. In the 1500s Jesuit missionaries began adventuring in the area, trying to Christianize the

local population, but the city wasn't officially founded until 1757.

Iquitos saw unprecedented growth and opulence during the rubber boom, but became an Amazonian backwater overnight when the boom went bust. The economy slouched along, barely sustaining itself with logging, exotic-animal exports, and Brazil-nut harvesting. Then in the early 1970s petroleum was discovered. The black gold, along with ecotourism and logging, have since become the backbone of the region's economy, though drug running also provides significant income.

Read More

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trip Finder
Store
Travel Phrases

Learn Spanish Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now