Iquitos's most fascinating neighborhood lies along, and floats upon, the Itaya River. During high-water season (December-May), tiny houses on balsa-wood rafts float placidly on this Amazon tributary's calm waters. This slummy area has been called the Venice of the Amazon (a diplomatic euphemism), but navigating between its floating homes is really a kick. During the low-water season (June–November), those houses sit in the mud and the area should simply be avoided. During high-water season, you can visit the floating houses with an Iquitos tour operator. Tours of Belén usually include a visit to the local market, Mercado Belén, where you may see bushmeat, suris (palm grubs), love potions, and other goodies for sale. Do not visit the Mercado de Belén or the surrounding area alone—muggings are frequent and pickpockets and bag slashers work the market with impunity. Only visit on a tour with a reputable company.
East end of, Jr. 9 de Diciembre, Iquitos, Peru