There is a pleasant beach, with white sand and palms, at Tipishca, reached in 20 minutes by speedboat from Puerto de Santa Clara near the airport; it gets quite busy at weekends. A quieter beach is Santa Rita, reached from Puerto de Pampa Chica, on a turnoff, off the road to the airport.
Allpahuayo-Mishana Reserve (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), Av Quiñones on the way to the airport, T065-265515) is some 25 km south of Iquitos by road or two to three hours by boat from Bellavista. This reserve protects the largest concentration of white-sand jungle (varillales) in Peru. Part of the Napo ecoregion, biodiversity here is among the highest in the Amazon Basin, with many birds (500 species have been recorded) and several endangered species including the very rare Iquitos Gnatcatcher (Polioptila clementsi), two primates and some endemic species. It also has a Jardín de Plantas Medicinales (at Km 24, T065-267733, 0800-1400, US$3.35) with over 2400 species. With a smaller number of plants, but various departments dedicated to the scientific study of medicinal plants is Jardín Botánico del Instituto de Medicina Tradicional (IMET, Pasaje San Lorenzo 205, Guayabamaba, at Km 2 of Av Abelardo Quiñones, T065-265629, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0700-1500) .
Some 4 km south of the city, Lake Quistococha is beautifully situated in lush jungle, with a fish hatchery at the lakeside. On the lake, Parque Zoológico de Quistococha (0900-1700, US$0.95) gives an insight into the local wildlife, though conditions are squalid. At the entrance are interesting pictures and texts of local legends. The ticket office will supply a map of the lake and environs. There’s a good two-hour walk through the surrounding jungle on a clearly marked trail, bars and restaurants on the lakeside and a small beach. Boats are for hire on the lake and swimming is safe but take insect repellent against the sandflies.
On the road to Quistococha is the turn-off to the village of Santo Tomás. Take a left turn just before the airport, and then another left 300 m further on. Then it’s about 4 km to the village. You can swim at the lake, canoes are available daily and water skis sometimes. Basic restaurants are open on Sunday (not recommended). The village hosts a fiesta on 22-25 September. Mototaxi from Iquitos US$3.20.
Pilpintuhuasi Butterfly Farm (near the village of Padre Cocha, T065-232665, http://www.amazonanimalorphanage.org, Tue-Sun 0900-1600, US$4.80, students US$3.20, includes guided tour at 0930, 1100, 1330 and 1500) . As well as butterflies, it also has a small well-kept zoo, Austrian-Peruvian run....
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