The Rio Nanay undulates along the northern border of the city, a slow and interesting tributary of the Amazon that plays hosts several interesting cruises from Iquitos. The almost sensual curves of the river create beautiful white-sand beaches when the water is low, and crystal clear. These are popular day-trips for locals during dry season, though most travelers head further upriver, into the wilderness, often visiting small Yagua, Bora and Mestizo communities, such as Santo Tomás, Padre Cocha and Santa Clara, along the way.
While most Nanay tours are day trips, there are a handful of lodges scattered around the rainforest, offering adventurous travelers the opportunity to stay in remote villages and really get a feel for life on the Amazon.
Or, travelers could continue on to the region’s newest conservation area, Reserva Nacional Alpahuayo Mishana. The 57,600-hectare (222-square mile) reserve, created in 2008, is located about 23km (14mi) south of Iquitos. The rare white-sand rainforest is famed for its remarkable biodiversity of trees (perhaps the highest in the world) and offers hiking trails, isolated lakes and much more to explore. It is even less traveled than the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and visitors have discovered six entirely new species of bird in recent years.