Top Ten Tips To Save Some Money In Iquitos

by Captain Bill

The exchange rate in Iquitos Peru on May 5th, 2011 for 1 dollar was 2 soles and 80 centavos. Not funny money.

These are my top ten tips to save some money in Iquitos. Use them. They’re free.

  1. The monetary exchange rate can fluctuate daily. If it’s less than 1 dollar equals 3 soles it’s unfavorable. The dollar fell below 3 soles several years ago, and to date, hasn’t recovered. At today’s exchange rate, 1 dollar is worth 2 soles and 80 centavos, 2.80. Not favorable. The day before it was 2.78. Worse. Learn the monetary system. Become aware of the daily exchange rate. Soles are not funny money. Spend it wisely. Just like the money back in your home country.
  2. Don’t change dollars to soles on the street, particularly Saturday evening and Sunday. Learn the exchange rate for the day from the bank or a business person, not the money changer. If you must change your money on the street, watch out for the slight of hand that exchanges your perfectly good $100 bill for a counterfeit or badly torn bill. The best place to exchange $100 or more is at the Dawn on the Amazon office. We don’t make a penny on the transaction. We only provide a safe place that you can trust and a free service. Plan ahead. We don’t change money Saturday afternoon or all day Sunday.
  3. Never get in a motocarro without negotiating your fare. It’s S/1 to ride a couple of blocks, S/1.5 for up to 10 blocks, S/2 to the Belen Market, S/2.5 to Bellavista Nanay, S/3 to the Hunting and Fishing Club, S/7 to the airport, (S/10 from the airport to the city), S/10 to the Amazon Golf Course, the Quistacocha Zoo, and to ride around shopping or site-seeing per hour.
  4. If you hear, “My friend,…”, Or “Amigo,…”, assume that person is not your friend until proven different.
  5. “I just want to practice my eeenglish”, in most cases translates into the speaker wants you to adopt him or her.
  6. That cute little child begging for a sole should be in school. Encouraging begging is not helping. Do the children a favor and keep your sole. To better understand this problem, click this link and read; How You Can Help The People Of Peru.
  7. There are 10 casinos with-in two blocks of the Plaza de Armas. Stay out of the casinos. Duh…
  8. Don’t get drunk! It increases the odds of bad things happening that turn out to be expensive.
  9. Never ever leave your purse, backpack, bag, laptop, camera, cell phone, or anything, unattended in a public place.
  10. Eating cheap on the street is a false savings, more than counteracted by frequent diarrhea, and medication for amoebic dysentery, or worse parasites. Eat at established restaurants that use purified water and good hygienic practices. Don’t drink the tap water for the same reason.
  11. Here is a bonus tip, #11 is also free. Use it. Imagine this. Your at home in your city out in the park enjoying a nice warm day. Some one you’ve never seen before comes to you and says, “My friend, (remember that clue?), I’m selling insurance and here is my policy. Look at these photos.” What are you going to say? Right after you get rid of the insurance salesman, another guy you’ve never seen before comes up and says, “My friend, I’m selling used cars and I have a beauty for you. Here look at these photos.” What are you going to say? Now imagine this. You just arrived in Iquitos. It’s a nice warm day. Your relaxing on the boulevard, leaning against the rail, looking at the beautiful scene of boats and birds on the river, and a person you’ve never seen before approaches you and says, (you guessed it), “My friend, I’m a jungle guide, I’m selling trips to the jungle. Look at these photos.” What are you going to say?

Be smart. Do your research. Choose a tour and cruise company with a good reputation and an office with certificates on the wall proving they operate with the approval of the government and the tourist bureau. One that does not send it’s piranhas out on the street to capture a tourist. A company that won’t sell tours to go touch the giraffes in the jungle…One that will tell it like it is. Trust has to be earned. Don’t give it away on the boulevard.

In fact turn around, look up, and you will see the white awning that says Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises. Walk the 47 paces to go through the office door. You will be glad you did. The piranhas are not allowed to follow you there.

Top Ten Tips To Save Some Money In Iquitos

Hi, Bill Grimes here. Now you don’t have to learn these tips the hard way like I did. I wish someone would have helped me like this 10 years ago. The Top Ten Tips To Save Some Money In Iquitos is the first of a two part series in the Captain’s Blog. Stay tuned for part two, 21 tips How To Save A Lot Of Money And Stay Out Of Trouble In Iquitos. Study these two articles and you will be well armed to succeed

Did I miss anything? What would be your 12th tip to save some money in Iquitos.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monty May 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

NEVER wear good jewelry on the street, unless you want to donate it to a new amigo you’ve never seen before and will never see again.

2 Mark Halliday May 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

nice, thanks !

3 Martin Green May 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Good advice Mr. Bill and good to see you are writing your own blog posts again. I will say I stopped negotiating rates with the motokar drivers and started just giving them what I knew the trip was worth. This does require having the proper change.

4 dawson May 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Great advice Captain Bill…….. I exchanged a $100.00 bill on Sunday morning once, in Iquitos, only to be ‘slipped’ a fake $100 for my $100 bill. And I was watching CLOSELY…… The money changers on the street are very clever and quick. The key problem is when two money changers are dealing with you, one distracts while the other does the ‘slip’ of the bills….. Very great service you offer, of exchanging money there at Dawn on the Amazon. I only exchanged with you thereafter…. and certainly appreciated it… Hope all is well on the mighty river…..

5 Alan May 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Hi my friend (you know that one is real lol),
Completely unselfish of you to do this public service. All persons coming to Iquitos or thinking of doing so in the future: Heed Bill’s words, his 10 commandments for keeping your money are true, I can attest to that, I broke all of them and learned the hard way over many years. Don’t get had by unscrupulous people, for any trips visit the “Dawn of the Amazon” on the main boulevard. For great food, view of the river with free friendly intellectual stimulating conversation the DAWN is a must.

6 Aaron May 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

My tip is this ; If you happen to meet a nice young charapita (Girl from Iquitos) make sure it is a girl before going too far.

7 Gringa Linda May 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Right-on – TRUE, CORRECT, RIGHT ON THE MONEY – What you read here, I paid for in real currency over the years – NOTHING in Iquitos is FREE – my education here most likely cost more than the university I attended – and, MY FRIEND, no student loans here!

8 Gart van Gennip May 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm

While you can find many more tips and great advice on the tourism pages of my website, here’s another one for free:

Don’t visit the illegal ‘serpentarios’ on the Momon and Amazon rivers. You will be charged as much as 50 soles per person, so you can see wild animals locked up in small cages, and pose with some animals that are neglected, malnourished and sick. Don’t support animal cruelty and exploitation with your money. Tell your hotel manager, your travel agent and your mototaxi-driver: NO serpentarios!

Instead, just pay 3 soles to get into Quistococha, 5 soles to visit Fundo Pedrito, the cayman and paiche farm, or up to 20 soles to visit Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage. These places deserve your support, because their animals are well taken care of.

Of course you could also visit the Acobia Dwazoo Manatee Rescue Center, where you pay a donation of whatever you feel is appropriate. You can find a special website about their incredibly important work here:

Enjoy your stay in Iquitos, be sensible about your money and about how you spend it. Don’t buy any animals, dead or alive, nor souvenirs with animal skin, fur, teeth or other body parts. If you do, you help maintain the illegal killing and trade of several endangered species.

9 John Adams May 12, 2011 at 4:11 am

Many thanks for the tips, great post, my man. But like Linda says, nothing there is free – everything has a prize, high or low 🙂

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