Places of Peru: Following the Marañon #2 – Waterway to Iquitos

(Photo: Verónica Isabel Calvo Niño)

If time is on your side, there is no more enriching way to experience the journey to Iquitos than going by the northern Peruvian jungle’s natural highways: the Huallaga and Marañon Rivers.

Last week, we crossed the Marañon river valley from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas.  Our final destination is Iquitos, so we left the path of the river to drop down from the Andes into the Peruvian rainforest near Yurimaguas.

It is here, from the port of Yurimaguas, that we will travel 3 days downriver to Iquitos and the smaller nearby town of Nauta.  

Down the Huallaga river we go until rejoining once again with the Marañon.  Only now, instead of a snaking ravine, the river has become a wide mirror of water reflecting the many moods of the jungle sky.

Rain, wind, sun, and mist batter us as we travel downriver on a cargo ship, bundled in our hammocks to stay warm during the surprisingly chilly nights.

Setting out from the port of Yurimaguas in a local cargo ship, the journey to Iquitos is nearly 3 days by river. We wait in the harbor until the boat fills up with cargo and passengers. (Photo: Verónica Isabel Calvo Niño)
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Join us next time as a local guide takes us into the inlets and forests of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve!




Mike grew up and eventually attended university in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated in Integrative Leadership Studies with an emphasis in Urban and Regional Planning and has been a part of planning projects in three different countries. Mike’s passion is reading; he devours both literature and nonfiction. His favorite author is Peru’s own Julio Ramón Ribeyro.