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Iquitos, Peru

This is the largest city in the Amazon basin – population 300,000.  The only way to get to this city is by air or river.  At Iquitos the Amazon River is 2 mile wide and about 120 feet deep. Its mouth is 2,300 miles away, on the east coast of South America, but oceangoing freight ships power their way all the way upriver to this major in-land port. The river water is light brown and opaque, filled with silt from the banks that crumble constantly into the river, sometimes even as we watched.

As soon as we departed the airplane everyone was drenched with sweat, even at an early hour. It was not only warm; it was humid---a weather condition that spanned all seasons.  We were told there were only two seasons - wet and dry. We were there during the rainy season (although we were told it normally rains every day) and the river can rise as much as 45 feet.

We met our nature guide, Luis, and went to the boat dock in an "open" bus.  The windshield was tied up out of the way while driving, except when it rained.  We had natural breezes coming through the bus to help dry the sweat.  The bus had no suspension - so a bumpy ride.  Thank goodness the ride was short, about 20 minutes.

We then boarded the river boat to head down the Amazon River.

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