The Panama airline, Copa Airlines, recently announced they will be offering a new route for travellers to South America and Peru. On July 14, they will start operating direct flights from Panama City to Iquitos in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest on the banks of the mighty Amazon River. This flight represents the first direct international flight to any jungle city in Peru – and one of the very few in South America – only Manaus in Brazil also receives direct international flights. During their first year of operating this route, the airline foresees to be serving around 5000 business and leisure travellers on their 2 flights weekly (Wednesday and Saturday).
As Copa is already connecting most major hubs in the USA with Panama City, this means that there is now a possibility to start your Peru adventure in the Jungle City of Iquitos instead of obligatory passing by Lima. From Iquitos there are daily flights to Lima connecting with almost all domestic airports within Peru on a regular basis.
The airline has recognized the potential for Iquitos both as a tourist and business destination and hopes to give a massive boost to both sectors in Iquitos. Iquitos, the second largest jungle city in the world is only reachable by air or river transport making it a very mysterious and interesting destination. It is a lively hustle and bustle city and makes even the most experienced traveller enjoy every minute. The floating market of Belem especially, (one of the largest on the continent) is a place that speaks to the imagination of all “jungle fanatics”.
Iquitos is also the point of departure for people looking to enjoy a luxurious jungle cruise or a stay in one of the jungle lodges scattered around. The Amazon River has several luxury cruise ships departing several times a week. The most popular and exclusive are probably the Delphin and Aqua Cruiseships. These ships offer cruises of 4-5 days including daily excursions in the rainforest while still enjoying the amazing luxury of the cruise boats in between excursions. The meals are excellent and some cabins even have private Jacuzzis. For the people liking to ‘rough it’ a little more there are more than 20 different Jungle lodges around Iquitos. The level of the lodges found goes from luxury lodges with airco, internet, cable tv and swimming pools to those with minimal equipment and completely focused on the surrounding jungle. As Iquitos is such a large city the possibility of wild life at these lodges or on excursions depends a lot on the distance the lodge is located from Iquitos. Lodges can be found up and downstream from Iquitos, some as close as 20 minutes from Iquitos others located at about 4 hours in boat. Most wildlife is seen in the lodges at least a couple of hours upstream the Amazon River. It is slightly different to the Southern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest where the Amazon River is only made up out of its effluents; in the Iquitos region the rare Pink Dolphin can often be seen.
Therefore it is great that Iquitos gets a chance to prove itself as one of the primary cities worldwide to visit the unique Amazon Rainforest and that hopefully due to this easier connection from the USA people do not have to feel obliged anymore to miss out on the experiences and adventures this city and its surroundings can provide them with!
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