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Plaza de Armas - City Plaza Iquitos - Peru

It seems everyone passes through Plaza de Armas in this Amazon outpost, whether they are on their way to work, taking a stroll, on their way to dinner or zipping by in mototaxis. The plaza spans four square blocks and is the heart of Iquitos. A park is the centerpiece. A fountain sprays geysers of water in the center, and serves as a popular meeting spot. Travelers come here to sightsee, but Plaza de Armas is an important part of life for residents, too.


Crowds gather in the evenings in restaurants that ring the plaza or in the park. Photographers are always on hand with an instamatic camera to snap keepsakes for a few nuevos soles, and visitors can often buy inexpensive popcorn and other snacks from street carts. The butter-colored Iglesia de Matriz dominates the southwest corner of Plaza de Armas, with its tall steeples and ornate architecture accented in brick red. Peek in for a look or to contemplate in a pew.


Tellers at BCP bank will gladly exchange money (at the corner of Próspero and Putamayo). The fanciest hotel in Iquitos, the El Dorado Plaza, faces the northern side. Anyone can stop in the bar for a drink. A tourist office (Napo 232) isn't well marked but is open for information and can provide maps. Have your pick of meals at Ari's Burger, a chicken joint or Peruvian restaurant on the eastern side of the plaza. The ice-cream parlor with the Helado sign specializes in flavors made with guanábana, passionfruit and other regional fruits.


Don't miss the Iron House (at the corner of Putamayo and Prospero). Called the Casa de Fierro, it really is made of iron. The constant parade of mototaxis—motorcycles with carts attached to the back for passengers—assures a steady serenade of engine roar. Because it's a busy place, people often come to sell what they think tourists want: butterflies, tarantulas and other insects and wildlife sealed under glass. Street vendors are on corners selling homemade popsicles and drinks made from the aguaje palm fruit, and police are usually around and helpful to ask for directions.

Iquitos, Peru

City Plaza

Getting There
Between Napo and Putamayo to the north and south and Arica and Próspero to the west and east.

02 Aug 2007

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