No trip to Iquitos would be complete without a visit to the riverside district of Belen. Houses here are built out into the water; either raised on stilts, or floating like rafts.
The district developed during the trade boom in the late 19th Century as a low cost living area for the workers in Iquitos. Aside from the addition of motorized canoes and boats, little has changed since these times. The area attracts references to the "Venice of the Jungle" and whilst it is indeed unusual and attractive, the reality is a poor district, with limited facilities.
Nevertheless a tour around supports the local community, and is a fascinating insight into life on the water. Transport is entirely by boat, locals sell products from canoes, and there are even "floating" schools, shops and petrol stations.
Belen can be accessed from the waterfront near the main Iquitos market. Of course, you need to take a boat to get around. This can be arranged in advance through a tour agency, but there are also plenty of guides available at the market area willing to show you around. Most guides are locals, who naturally can answer any questions about the area, and may well offer to show you where they live as well!