Running along the northern border of the rainforest city of Iquitos, Nanay is a slow tributary of the Amazon River where rare white-sand beaches appear when water levels are low. Lodges scattered along the banks offer day trips, journeys upriver into the wilderness, and visits to native Yagua, Bora, and Mestizo communities.
Join a full- or multi-day tour to explore the enchanting scenery and diverse wildlife of the Amazon jungle. Hike to isolated lakes, cruise on the river in a dugout canoe, spot birds and monkeys frolicing in the treetops, and visit a traditional sugarcane distillery to learn about ancient agricultural methods.
Go deeper into the heart of the jungle by adding on a trip to Allpahuayo Mishana Reserve, a 14,2300-acre (57,600-hectare) reserve about 14 miles (23 kilometers) south of Iquitos, known for its remarkable biodiversity of tree species—perhaps the greatest in the world.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear appropriate clothing (long pants and shirts) and shoes for trekking.
- Remember water for hydration and mosquito repellent.
- Inquire about vaccination and malaria prevention before traveling to any area in the Amazon.
- The most accessible native communities are Santo Tomás, Padre Cocha, and Santa Clara, which should always be visited with a proper local guide.
How to Get There
The Nanay River runs along the northern border of Iquitos, a city that sits at the confluence of the Nanay and the Amazon Rivers. From Lima, fly to Iquitos via local carriers; expect the flight to take about 1.5 hours. Iquitos is also accessible from nearby cities by traveling up the Nanay and Amazon Rivers by dugout canoes known locally as peque peques.
When to Get There
The Nanay River in the northern Loreto region is a year-round destination, with the high tourist season falling around the December holidays and during the dry season from June to August. Come in June for the San Juan Festival, which celebrates the birthday of John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of the Amazon.
While in the area, make time to explore the region’s newest protected zone, Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve. More remote than nearby Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Allpahuayo-Mishana has 300 tree species over 4 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter and more than 500 species greater than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters), 120 species of reptiles, as well as rare white sand forests that attract some 21 “white sand specialist” bird species.