IQUITOS - Portal to the Amazon by Cliff Tulpa, Author

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Introduction Founded as a village of Iquitos Indians in the 1750’s by Jesuit missionaries, Iquitos is a wild frontier city and a major gateway or Portal to the Amazon Jungle Rainforest. Getting to Iquitos is either by airplane, or several days journey by boat. It is the largest city with no roads connecting it to the outside world. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the Amazon River, the Nanay River and the Itaya River, Iquitos is an important shipping port and is the center of trade for the upper Amazon region of Peru. The borders with Columbia and Brazil are just a short distance down the Amazon River from Iquitos. Large commercial shipping vessels can reach Iquitos by traveling up the Amazon River through Brazil from the Atlantic Ocean. It takes about 23 days by boat to make the 2,300 mile journey from the Atlantic Ocean to Iquitos. With a population approaching 500,000, this frontier city on the edge of civilization is home to a mixture of several tribes of indigenous native Indians of the Amazon Jungle and adventurous foreigners (extranjeros). Some of these extranjeros come to Iquitos looking for a more natural lifestyle, some looking for a more basic life, some to leave a past life behind and start fresh, some lured by the natural plant medicines, natural hallucinogenic drugs, and some trying their hand at the many opportunities available from extracting the rich natural resources of wood, oil, gold, rubber, minerals, animals and plants of the Amazon region. At the turn of the century in 1900, Iquitos was a bustling business center with about 9,000 inhabitants. It was the days of the rubber boom and the wealthy Rubber Barons

that exploited that wonderful natural resource. They created and brought great wealth into Iquitos and built outstanding buildings with fine architecture. Marble and other building supplies were shipped and imported from Europe. The famous French architect Gustave Eiffel built the Casa de Fierro (Iron House) and it was purchased and moved from France to Iquitos by one of the Rubber Barons. It is situated across from the Plaza de Armas. Baroque and Rococo style was brought in along with architecture styles from Spain, Portugal, Germany and France. Most of these fine buildings are still standing today and are a vital part of Iquitos charm, culture and attraction. The days of the rubber barons are gone. However, now is the time for the Oil Barons, Wood Barons, Gold Miners, Pharmaceuticals and others extracting the natural resources from the Amazon basin and making fortunes. Iquitos is now also a major Amazon tourist destination. Over 250,000 tourists are estimated to have visited Iquitos in 2012. Since the Amazon River being named as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2012, tourism has flourished and is expected to continue to increase. New hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shops have opened. Direct International flights are available. Many new Jungle Lodges have been built along the rivers just outside the city. Iquitos is growing and changing, but for now it is still wild. “IQUITOS - Portal to the Amazon� will take you on a photo tour and explore the attractions and the charm of Iquitos. 19