Linked to the outside world by air and by river, Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. It’s a prosperous, vibrant jungle metropolis teeming with the usual, inexplicably addictive Amazonian anomalies. Unadulterated jungle encroaches beyond town in full view of the air-conditioned, elegant bars and restaurants that flank the riverside; motorized tricycles whiz manically through the streets yet locals mill around the central plazas eating ice cream like there is all the time in the world. Mud huts mingle with magnificent tiled mansions; tiny dugout canoes ply the water alongside colossal cruise ships. You may well arrive in Iquitos for the greater adventure of a boat trip down the Amazon but whether it’s sampling rainforest cuisine, checking out the buzzing nightlife or exploring one of Peru’s most fascinating markets in the floating shantytown of Belén, this thriving city will entice you to stay awhile. Because everything must be ‘imported,’ costs are higher than in other cities.

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