Most hotels in Iquitos will pick you up at the airport and save you the hassle of dealing with taxi drivers. In general the area north of the Plaza de Armas is safer and more attractive.
There are dozens of hostels clustered around the Belén Market, south of the Plaza de Armas, but they are mostly grimy and filled with the drone of passing mototaxis.
Hostal Alfert (García Sanz 301, tel. 065/23-4105, reservacionalfert [at] yahoo [dot] es, US$5 s, US$9 d) has stunning views over Belén and the Río Itaya. This 17-room establishment has been in operation for two decades by former riverboat captain Alfonso Fernández. Situated seven blocks south of the Plaza de Armas, it is probably the best place you can get for less than ten dollars. The upstairs rooms look out over the river toward a vast complex of thatched homes propped up off the water on stilts. The hostel’s rooms are simple, mostly clean, and have spongy beds and a bit of hot water.
Hostal El Colibrí (Nauta 172, tel. 065/24-1737, hostalelcolibri [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$14 s, US$21 d) is a long-time favorite. It has a homey feeling not found in many other Iquitos hotels. Rooms are small but have big windows and fans, but there are also nice rooms with air-conditioning (US$20 s, US$27 d) and nice writing desks. The hostel is small but clean and with a friendly staff. There are only a few rooms with hot water but all rooms have private baths and cable TV.
Hotel Baltazar (La Condamine 265, tel. 065/23-2240, US$13 s with fan, US$20 d with a/c) has clean rooms, cable TV, private baths with hot water, and rooms with fans or air-conditioning.
Hostal Caravel (Próspero 568, tel. 065/23-2176, hostalcaravel.blogspot.com, US$18 s, US$25 d) has been upgraded and continues to be a well-managed place, four blocks from the main square. Rooms are comfy and all have air-conditioning, but double-check about the amenities they actually have since their blog page is not quite accurate.
For a more standard hotel, try Hostal Jhuliana (Putumayo 521, tel. 065/23-3154, hostaljhuliana [at] e-milio [dot] com, US$20 s, US$25 d with breakfast). Carpeted rooms have comfortable beds, air-conditioning, refrigerators, and hot water. There is a full-service restaurant and bar.
Real Hotel Iquitos (Malecón Tarapacá and Napo, tel. 065/23-1011, realhoteliquitos [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$29 s, US$36 d). This former state-owned Hotel de Turistas is literally a grand dame of a hotel, though somewhat abandoned. It definitely is not the choice for its top-end service. But the historic hotel more than half a century old has an elegant though somewhat rundown interior. The rooms have unique touches, such as wood or black-and-white tile floors, red curtains and green walls, and balconies. Rooms of the same price vary from small and cozy to absolutely enormous (especially room 218 or 312). This location on the pedestrian waterfront is wonderfully quiet. Amenities include private bath, TV, air-conditioning, and refrigerator.
Marañón Hotel (Nauta 285, tel. 065/24-2673, hotelmaranon [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$35 s, US$46 d with breakfast) is quite centric. This hotel is somewhat of an oasis in this hot, sticky town. Large rooms with clean white walls are kept cool with tile floors and air-conditioning. Amenities include refrigerators, comfortable beds, hot water 24 hours daily, WiFi, and a nice outdoor pool with an adjoining Peruvian restaurant. Rooms on the fourth floor have a view of the Amazon. Make reservations ahead of time, as this hotel fills up frequently.
Oro Verde Plaza Hotel (Ucayali 315, tel. 065/22-1616, oroverdeplazahoteliqt [at] speedy [dot] com, US$46 s, US$57 d with breakfast) is near the Plaza 28 de Julio. Situated a bit off the main drag, its big rooms, firm mattresses, and bright reading lamps are worth the extra walk. The hotel has some rooms that face the street, which are well lit but a bit noisier. Room rates include airport transfer.
La Casa Fitzcarraldo (Av. La Marina 2153, Punchana, tel. 065/60-1138, www.LaCasaFitzcarraldo.com, US$57 s, US$107 d with breakfast) is probably the most extravagant place to stay in Iquitos. It is owned by Walter Saxer, personal friend and former producer of Werner Herzog’s most famous films, including Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Self-defined as a “jungle oasis,” due to the intense vegetation that surrounds the house built in the 1960s, this swanky bed-and-breakfast hosted Mick Jagger (in the Blue Room), Klaus Kinski (in the Green Room), and Herzog himself (in the Bungalow).
The rooms are huge, with high ceilings, painted with pastel colors and soberly decorated with Shipibo and other Indian arts and crafts. The amenities include a swimming pool, satellite TV, WiFi, airport transfer, and a privileged peek into photos of the film shooting when Jagger and actor Jason Robards were still in the cast. If you stay in this place, with a bit of luck you might bump into Saxer. Then he might tell you a tale or two, if he is in the right mood.
Hotel Acosta (Huallaga 254, tel. 065/23-1761, www.hotelacosta.com, US$59 s, US$71 d with breakfast) is a modern and comfortable three-star hotel including air-conditioning, hot water, cable TV, phones, refrigerators, Internet, laundry, and safe deposit boxes. The price includes airport transfer.
Victoria Regia Hotel and Suites (Ricardo Palma 252, tel. 065/23-1983, www.victoriaregiahotel.com, US$75 s, US$86 d with breakfast), owned by the Acostas, one of the pioneering Peruvian families in tourism in the jungle, is an upgraded version of her sister, Hotel Acosta. In addition to all amenities imaginable, it has a swimming pool and comfy suites, making this place one of the best hotels in the city. The same owners manage Heliconia Lodge, 80 kilometers downriver from Iquitos.
The five-star hotel of Iquitos is El Dorado Plaza Hotel and Business (Napo 258, Plaza de Armas, tel. 065/22-2555, www.eldoradoplazahotel.com, US$242 s or US$297 d with breakfast). Extremely overpriced for what it is, the 65 rooms are divided between the newly remodeled with huge windows and the older ones, which are not as nice. The upper floors have nice views toward the Amazon River. Additional services include gym with sauna, boutique, WiFi, air-conditioning, business center, a huge sun-filled atrium in the lobby, and an outdoor pool with bar and whirlpool.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition