Iquitos Riverside Market (Belen)
As a trading hub, the large, open air market next to the riverside by the Belen district is worth a visit. In existence since the city's early development in the 19th Century, the market continues to be a venue for Iquitos locals and people from up and down the river to meet and trade goods.
Fascinating place to visit, the sights and smells that can quickly become overpowering! An incredible range of items are on sale here. The usual array of fresh meats, spices and vegetables found in most Peruvian markets are joined by exotic items from the surrounding jungle. Look for snake, crocodile, armadillo and turtle meat. The species of fish from the Amazon are also a fascinating sights, as are the live animals: birds, monkeys and lizards are all on display.
For many the most unusual section is the medicinal section. The tribes of the Amazon region have a strong belief in natural remedies and herbal healing; many of the items here will amaze or shock the unprepared. There are monkey skulls, dried animal skins, teeth and bones, turtle shells and even vials of snake venom. Not your common souvenirs!
The Amazon is a powerful river, and if you visit the market in wet season, parts of it will be underwater. Take a look at some of the two story buildings close to the water to view the high water markings.