More than Just a Packing List

by Captain Bill

More Than Just a Packing List, a Travel List for Iquitos Peru

I want to help you plan and enjoy your visit to Iquitos Peru and your Amazon tour and cruise. The information in this article includes suggestions about cash and credit cards, as well as a list of items to pack, and where to pack them. I hope these suggestions help you travel safely and with confidence.


Make sure your passport will not expire until long after you return home.

Plane tickets

Keep a copy of your plane tickets and itinerary in a seperate bag from your plane tickets.

Waist pack

Always wear the waist pack to the front to keep everything safe and handy, never like a fanny pack to the rear. Be very careful to close the zippers each time. Airlines do not count waist packs as carry-on luggage, so you get to keep what you want and need with you in your seat, instead of in the overhead storage bin. Your waist pack should contain a pen, small notebook, boarding pass, passport, tooth brush, a small amount of toothpaste, ear plugs, iPod, and what ever else you would like to have with you on a six hour flight?

Carry on bag

Pack a complete change of cloths, a roll of toilet paper, baby wipes, soap, small towel, Advil, camera, book, laptop, medium size notebook, extra pens, and a warm shirt, the plane will probably be cold. Be very careful to close the zippers each time.

Money belt

Never remove, adjust, touch, or acknowledge a money belt in public. For added comfort and security, wear it between two pair of underwear.

Suitcase or back pack

Make sure you have a card attached to your suit case or backpack, with at least your name, and email address, in case your luggage is lost. I tie a colorful ribbon to my check-through luggage for easy identification. The last time I traveled through Atlanta we all went to the luggage carousel showing our airline flight number on the screen. One load of luggage came up, none of the bags were mine. I only had  an extra hour to make my connecting flight. I waited impatiently for the next load of luggage, and waited, and waited. I glanced over at the next carousel and caught a glimpse of my bright colorful ribbons attached to my bags going around. I made my connecting flight because of the colorful ribbons. Give it a try. Most luggage looks more or less the same without your colorful ribbon attached.

List of important phone numbers

Learn your country code before leaving. The US is 001, Peru is 011.

ATM card, Cirrus

Make sure you know your pin number and that your card works before leaving home.

Pay for your tour and cruise in advance by bank to bank electronic wire transfer

The service charge is usually less than $100 no matter how much is transferred. It is safe, easy, a bargain, and minimizes the amount of cash you have at risk while traveling.


Carry enough cash that you have $300 left at the end of your Amazon adventure to deal with any economic emergency to get you back home. Thanks to Ed Hudson for this smart tip.

Look very carefully at your dollars before leaving home. Make sure your currency is crisp, and new. Even the tiniest rip, tear, slit, or staple hole, will make your currency worthless in Iquitos. If the bills have been written on, stamped, marked or stained, you will receive less of an exchange rate, and in many cases it will make them impossible to change at all. Please pay special attention to this advice.

If the first two letters of the serial number of a $100 bill begin with CB you will have a difficult time exchanging it.

Divide your cash into equal amounts in your, wallet, pockets, money belt, your waist pack, and your carry-on luggage. Never put valuables you can not afford to lose in your check-in luggage. For your waist pack and carry-on luggage put your cash in regular sized security tinted envelopes. Put the cash, extra credit card, and part of your traveler’s checks for your money belt in a plastic bag to protect from perspiration.

Change at least $100 at the Lima Airport into small denominations and coins of the local currency, soles, to deal with any situation that might present itself before you have a chance to change dollars into soles in Iquitos. Be prepared.

Divide your credit cards and your ATM cards between your wallet, money belt, and waist pack.

Divide your Travelers Checks between your wallet, money belt and waist pack.

Obviously the dividing of valuable assets increases the odds that if you lose one bag or your wallet, or are robbed of a bag or wallet, you should have enough in your back up systems to continue on your adventure with the minimum of distress. Imagine losing or being robbed of all your valuables. You can not be too careful. Never leave a purse or bag unattended.

Have an old billfold with a couple small bills, some change, and a few worthless photos or documents in your pocket to distract a robber or pickpocket.

Credit Cards

Visa and Master Card are the most widely accepted; Visa charges 7% and Master Card charges 6% service charge in Iquitos. Inform your credit card companies you will be traveling to Peru. When there is a change in purchase patterns they sometimes cancel your card to “protect” you.

Travelers Checks are not practical in Iquitos Peru

They are difficult to cash, and there is a low exchange rate. If you bring Travelers checks consider them only for emergency back up. Write down the numbers of the travelers checks and keep them in a separate location.

Travel insurance

Highly recommended, a good investment.

South American Explorers Club

For 10% discount many places, but you must have a current membership card.

Amazon Explorers Club

For 10% discount, including Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises day trips.

Passport, plane tickets, visa

Make copies of your passport, and plane tickets before you leave home. As soon as you arrive in Lima or Iquitos make a copy of the white paper with the visa stamp you receive coming through immigration. That innocent looking piece of paper is very important. Keep it with your passport and protect it as valuable. Your life will become much more complicated when you try to leave the country if your visa is lost. Keep the copies of your important documents in a separate location from the documents themselves. If the originals are lost or stolen you will at least have a back up with information that will be important when attempting to replace the originals.

What to pack

10 Underwear, enough for four days and the fifth day is laundry day
10 T-shirts, for four days, and the fifth day is laundry day
4 pairs of socks if you can wear sandals without socks most of the time, otherwise 10 pairs of socks
4 shorts
2 pairs of long pants, to minimize insect bites
2 long sleeve shirts, to minimize insect bites
Swim gear
Comfortable shoes
Wrist watch with alarm
Point and shoot camera
Extra battery for camera
Extra, large (2-4 GB) memory card for camera
Earplugs for sleeping on plane, boat, hotel, etc…
Roll of toilet paper
Baby wipes
Towel, small, quick dry
Tooth brush
Tooth paste
Dental floss
Small travel can of shaving cream
Your usual daily toiletries
Your usual medications
Sun screen
Insect repellant
Anti-malaria medication, not necessary in the city of Iquitos, but recommended for the rainforest.
Diarrhea pills
Deck of cards
Books to read on the plane, at the airport, hotel, and boat
Kindle Reader, must be shut off as electronic equipment on planes, take off and landing
MP3 player, or iPod, music and extra batteries
iPad, with movies and music preloaded, and your own headphones.
Universal sink plug
Cloths pins
Zip-lock plastic bags, gallon and quart size, freezer bags are best
Small notebook
Medium notebook
Flashlight, small, with extra batteries

If you will be traveling in the Andes or staying in Lima for a few days you will need to add warm cloths accordingly.

That is what comes to my mind. Maybe you have more travel experience than me. What did I miss that you would want to share with others here in the comments?

More than Just a Packing List, a Travel List to Iquitos Peru

Bill Grimes,  Dawn on the Amazon

Click the links below for more valuable information to help you travel safely with confidence.

Navigating the Lima Airport and Arriving in Iquitos

Hotels of Iquitos Peru; Reviews, Rates, and Recommendations

Where Will You Eat in Iquitos Peru?

You Could Love Iquitos Peru

Travellerspoint has a very comprehensive general packing list, and good suggestions on how to pack.

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