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Iquitos Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Iquitos, Peru in 2024?

Traveling to Iquitos, Peru, nestled in the Amazon, sparks excitement and safety curiosity. Only reachable by plane or boat, it offers a unique experience in the lush rainforest and vibrant culture.

Tobi Miles
March 29, 2024
Iquitos Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Iquitos, Peru in 2024?

Safety concerns are valid wherever you go, and Iquitos is no exception. While it's a fascinating destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike, knowing what to expect and how to prepare can make all the difference in your travel experience. Let's dive into what makes Iquitos a place worth visiting and how you can enjoy its wonders safely and confidently.

Key Takeaways

  • Stay Vigilant Against Petty Crime: Iquitos has a high occurrence of petty theft, particularly in crowded and tourist-heavy areas. Travellers should be cautious, secure their belongings, and avoid displaying expensive items to minimize the risk of theft or scams.
  • Prioritize Health and Environmental Safety: Due to Iquitos' location in the Amazon Basin, malaria and dengue fever are prevalent. It's essential to use mosquito repellent, drink only bottled or purified water, and explore with reputable guides familiar with the local wildlife and environmental hazards.
  • Engage Wisely with the Local Community: Interaction with locals can greatly enrich the travel experience, but it's important to stay cautious of overly friendly strangers and scams. Relying on reputable sources for tours and information can lead to safer and more authentic experiences.
  • Prepare for Emergencies: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and have a plan for medical emergencies, including travel insurance that covers medical evacuation. Understanding Iquitos’ remote accessibility and taking preventative health measures are critical.
  • Follow Dos and Don'ts for Safe Exploration: Secure belongings, use reputable guides for exploring the Amazon, and stay informed about local conditions. Avoid unmarked taxis, displaying valuables publicly, and ignoring wildlife precautions to ensure a safe journey in Iquitos.
  • Stay Informed and Prepared: Keeping up-to-date with travel advisories, weather conditions, and potential health risks will enable travellers to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions for a safe and enjoyable trip to Iquitos.

Safety in Iquitos: Understanding the Local Context

When planning your adventure to Iquitos, it's crucial to grasp the local context concerning safety. Iquitos is a vibrant city with a unique charm, but like any travel destination, it comes with its share of precautions.

Crime Rates and Safety Measures

First, let's look at the numbers to understand the overall safety landscape in Iquitos. While official statistics fluctuate, petty theft and minor crimes are the most reported incidents, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots.

Crime Type


Petty Theft


Violent Crime

Low to Moderate

Tourist-targeted Scams


Knowing this, staying vigilant is your first line of defense. Avoid displaying expensive jewellery or electronics and always keep your belongings secure. Nighttime brings additional risks, so it's wise to travel in groups after dark and stick to well-lit, populated areas.

Health and Environmental Safety

Beyond crime, health and environmental safety are significant concerns. Iquitos sits in the Amazon Basin, which is both its allure and a factor to consider seriously. Malaria and dengue fever are present, making mosquito repellents and prophylactic measures non-negotiable parts of your travel gear.

Water safety is another critical point. Only drink bottled or purified water to avoid waterborne diseases. Furthermore, when exploring the Amazon's captivating landscapes, always do so with a reputable guide well-versed in the area's wildlife and terrain.

Engaging with the Local Community

Engagement with the local community can enrich your travel experience significantly. Locals can offer invaluable insights into navigating Iquitos safely. They’ll point you toward safe areas, reliable eateries, and authentic experiences that are off the tourist trail. Embrace these interactions, but stay cautious of overly friendly strangers promising unreal deals or tours.

Understanding the local context of safety in Iquitos empowers you to navigate the city more confidently and securely. Keep these insights in mind, and you'll be well-equipped to enjoy the wonders of Iquitos while minimizing risks.

Common Safety Concerns in Iquitos

When planning your adventure to Iquitos, understanding the common safety concerns is crucial for a stress-free experience. Here's what you need to keep in mind.

Petty Theft and Pickpocketing: Like many tourist hotspots, Iquitos is not immune to petty crimes. Crowded markets and tourist areas are particularly vulnerable spots. It's essential to keep your personal belongings secure and be mindful of your surroundings.

Scams Targeting Tourists: Tourists can sometimes be easy targets for scams. From overpriced tours to fake indigenous ceremonies, it's important to do your research and book services through reputable companies. Always negotiate prices and confirm services to avoid falling prey to these scams.

Health Risks: The tropical climate of Iquitos presents certain health risks, notably malaria and dengue fever. Take necessary precautions such as:

  • Using mosquito repellent
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets
  • Drinking only bottled or purified water


Cases in Iquitos (Annual)





Environmental Hazards: Iquitos' remote location in the Amazon also brings environmental hazards into play. Sudden rainfalls can lead to slippery paths and unexpected flooding. When venturing into the jungle or participating in river activities, always follow local guidelines and use accredited guides.

Engaging with Locals: While it's encouraged to interact with the local population for an authentic experience, remaining cautious is key. Accepting invitations to unfamiliar places or consuming unknown substances can lead to unsafe situations. Listen to the advice of trusted locals and stay in well-known areas for your activities.

By keeping these safety concerns in mind, you're more prepared to navigate Iquitos safely. Awareness and prepared planning are your best tools for an unforgettable journey.

Tips for Staying Safe in Iquitos

Traveling to Iquitos offers a unique adventure into the heart of the Amazon, but it's vital to prioritize your safety to ensure a memorable trip for the right reasons. By following a few strategic steps, you'll significantly reduce potential risks and embrace the rich experiences awaiting in this vibrant city.

First and foremost, Stay Informed. Before embarking on your journey, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the latest travel advisories and updates for Iquitos. The Peruvian government and various travel forums provide real-time information on safety measures, health advisories, and potential regions to avoid.

When it comes to personal belongings, Be Mindful and Secure. Petty theft and pickpocketing are not uncommon, especially in crowded marketplaces or during popular festivals. A smart approach is to carry limited cash and use anti-theft bags or money belts. Also, always keep digital copies of your important documents in a secure online storage.

Regarding health, Prevent Malaria and Dengue. These diseases pose significant risks in the Amazon jungle. According to the World Health Organization, Peru reported significant numbers of malaria cases in recent years:


Reported Malaria Cases




Decrease due to COVID-19 measures

To protect yourself, ensure you've received the necessary vaccinations and consistently apply insect repellent with at least 20% DEET.

For an authentic and safe engagement with the local culture, Connect with Reputable Guides. Participating in guided tours not only enriches your experience but also ensures you're navigating Iquitos and its surroundings safely. Look for tours with positive reviews and those that contribute to the local community.

Lastly, Exercise Environmental Caution. When exploring the Amazon's natural wonders, stay on designated paths and heed local advice on areas to avoid, especially those known for environmental hazards like quicksand or dangerous wildlife.

By staying alert, informed, and prepared, you'll navigate Iquitos safely and make the most of your Amazonian adventure.

Emergency Preparedness in Iquitos

When you're exploring the vibrant city of Iquitos and its surrounding Amazonian wonders, being prepared for emergencies is a must. Given its remote location, access to healthcare and emergency services is not as immediate or robust as you might find in more urban environments.

Firstly, familiarizing yourself with local emergency numbers is essential. Peru's national emergency number is 105 for police assistance, while 116 connects you to fire services. For medical emergencies, hospitals such as the Regional Hospital of Loreto offer services, but it's vital to have travel insurance that covers medical evacuation, as severe cases may require transport to Lima for comprehensive care.

Secondly, due to Iquitos' unique geographic position, transportation during an emergency can be challenging. The city is accessible primarily by boat or plane, which might delay emergency response times. Integrating a solid emergency plan that includes contacts of local guides, accommodations, and embassies can significantly mitigate risks.

Health Preparedness is particularly crucial in Iquitos. Preventative measures against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever should be a top priority:

  • Use mosquito repellent: DEET-based repellents are the most effective.
  • Sleep under mosquito nets if staying in areas exposed to the outdoors.
  • Stay hydrated and have access to clean water to avoid waterborne illnesses.

Additionally, understanding the risks of wildlife encounters and having basic knowledge of first aid for bites or stings can be invaluable. While the allure of adventure in Iquitos is undeniable, respect for the local ecosystem and its inhabitants — both animal and microbial — is necessary for a safe experience.

Lastly, staying informed about weather conditions and natural disaster alerts can help you avoid hazardous situations, especially during the rainy season when floods can disrupt travel plans and pose safety risks.

By being proactive about emergency preparedness in Iquitos, you’ll ensure that your adventure remains memorable for all the right reasons. Equip yourself with knowledge, preparation, and the right contacts to navigate the unexpected seamlessly.

Navigating Iquitos Safely: Dos and Don'ts

In the heart of the Amazon, Iquitos poses unique challenges and adventures for travelers. Understanding the dos and don'ts is crucial for a safe journey. Your safety in Iquitos starts with informed decision-making and responsible behavior.


  • Stay Informed: Before and during your trip, keep an eye on travel advisories and local news. The Amazon can experience sudden changes in weather and river conditions. Staying informed can help you avoid areas of potential danger.
  • Use Reputable Guides: When exploring the Amazon, always hire experienced and trustworthy guides. This can be the difference between a memorable adventure and a risky ordeal. Guides not only know the safe paths but also possess vital survival skills.
  • Secure Your Belongings: Petty crime can occur in bustling markets and crowded areas. Use anti-theft bags and keep valuables hidden. Always be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Avoid Unmarked Taxis: It's safer to book transportation through your hotel or a known service. Unmarked taxis can lead to overcharging or, worse, safety issues.
  • Don't Flash Valuables: Displaying expensive jewelry, cameras, or smartphones can make you a target for theft. Be discreet to avoid unwanted attention.
  • Ignore Wildlife Precautions: The Amazon is home to many beautiful, yet potentially dangerous, creatures. Always maintain a safe distance and follow guidelines provided by your guide or local authorities.

Important Numbers

Contact Information







Respecting local customs and practices also contributes significantly to your safety and ensures a harmonious experience. Remember, your safety in Iquitos depends as much on your actions as it does on the precautions taken by local authorities and service providers. Making conscious choices during your stay will help you navigate Iquitos safely and enjoyably.


Navigating Iquitos safely is entirely within your reach with the right preparation and mindset. Remembering to stay informed about the latest travel advisories, choosing reputable guides, and safeguarding your belongings will significantly mitigate risks. It's also vital to respect the local customs and wildlife precautions to ensure a harmonious experience in this unique Amazonian city. By following these guidelines, you'll not only protect yourself but also contribute positively to the local community and environment. Your adventure in Iquitos awaits, equipped with the knowledge to make it a safe and unforgettable journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main safety tips for traveling to Iquitos?

To navigate Iquitos safely, travelers should stay informed about travel advisories, use reputable guides, secure belongings to avoid petty crime, avoid using unmarked taxis, refrain from flashing valuables, and follow wildlife precautions. Respecting local customs and practices is also vital for safety.

How can I avoid petty crime in Iquitos?

To minimize the risk of petty crime, secure your belongings, use reputable transport services, and keep valuables out of sight. Choosing accommodations wisely and staying aware of your surroundings also help.

Are unmarked taxis safe in Iquitos?

No, using unmarked taxis in Iquitos is not recommended due to safety concerns. Opt for reputable taxi services or transportation arranged through your hotel or tour provider.

What should I do if I encounter wildlife in Iquitos?

If you encounter wildlife in Iquitos, maintain a safe distance and follow the guidance of your reputable guide. Do not attempt to touch, feed, or provoke the animals. Adhering to wildlife precautions is necessary for your safety and the well-being of the animals.

Why is it important to respect local customs in Iquitos?

Respecting local customs and practices in Iquitos is crucial for ensuring a harmonious and safe experience. It helps maintain good relations with local communities and aids in preserving the local culture and environment. Personal actions play a significant role in your safety and the quality of your visit.

Whom should I contact in case of an emergency in Iquitos?

In case of an emergency in Iquitos, here are the crucial contact numbers:

  • Police: (Provide local number)
  • Ambulance: (Provide local number)
  • Fire Services: (Provide local number)
    It's advisable to have these numbers saved on your device or kept in a handy place during your stay.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 29, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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