Peru’s largest jungle city, Iquitos stands on the west bank of the Amazon river and is completely isolated except by air and river. It was founded in the 1750s as a Jesuit mission, fending off attacks from indigenous tribes who didn’t want to be converted. The tiny settlement survived and slowly grew until the late 19th century rubber boom transformed it from a centre of poverty to one of great wealth. The boom soon collapsed, however, and Iquitos suffered economic decline for several decades until an oil boom in the 1960s revitalised the area and turned Iquitos into the prosperous town it is today. Iquitos is also a starting point for cruises that navigate the upper reaches of the Amazon river.
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