Also called Quistococha Tourist Park, this beautiful white sand complex is on the map as a great entertainment site in Iquitos, Peru. About 13 km south of the city, it is considered one of the most notable tourist landscapes in the region with its 369 hectares of natural Amazon forest.
The only tourist park in Loreto, this complex with an artificial beach was officially named National Tourism Park and belongs to the National Tourist Reserve System of Peru for its landscapes and entertainment offers. Surrounded by native vegetation, this complex reveals large palm trees that make the Amazonian flora a unique landscape.
The Quistococha Complex is one of the most popular natural reserves every weekend for those who enjoy organizing a picnic, taking rowing boat rides or simply enjoying tourism in Iquitos. Located near the Quistococha lagoon, the site has also been the scene of complex research, reforestation and conservation work.
The Quistococha Tourist Complex is a notable tourist attraction in the region. It is an entertainment center about 13 km south of the city of Iquitos. It is the only tourist park in the department of Loreto and is officially designated as a National Tourism Park within the National Tourist Reserve System of Peru (Sernanp). It is located on Departmental Route LO – 103 and is a notable tourist attraction in the region.
The complex occupies an area of 369 hectares of Amazon forest and covers the Quistococha lagoon. It contains an artificial white sand beach called Tunchi Playa, where visitors can swim, sunbathe and enjoy its white sand and beautiful landscapes. Tourists can also enjoy pleasant walks around the lake in rowboats, as well as tours of its surroundings, surrounded by vegetation composed mainly of large palm trees and Amazonian flora.
Tour the Botanical Garden. This forest nursery houses multiple ornamental, timber and fruit species, in addition to the medicinal plants that the site offers.
Visit the Quistococha Zoo. About 150 wild animals live here, in preserved and large areas, in addition to the 70 rescued Amazonian species.
Swim and rest at Tunchi Playa. This area of artificial white sand is ideal for sunbathing and swimming surrounded by the best tourist landscapes in Iquitos. It is also possible to take a boat ride.
Take a walk around the fish hatchery. Here it is possible to meet the second largest freshwater fish in all the rivers in the world: the Paiche fish.
Rent a canoe. From the dock, you can paddle to the other side of the lake and enjoy the landscape that makes up the varied wildlife of the area.
Visit the museum. This site houses an important collection of taxidermy of Amazonian fauna. It is possible to find several species of stuffed animals such as fish, reptiles, big cats, birds and rodents. There are also animal fetuses that are studied today for their uniqueness and eccentricity on a biological level.
From Iquitos, it is only possible to access the Quistococha Complex by vehicle. Although there are many travelers who venture into hitchhiking, the easiest and safest thing is to take the buses that leave from Próspero and Alfonso Ugarte streets, or from the corner of Moore and Bermúdez, next to Plaza 28 de Julio. The taxi is also an option, both to go on a private trip or to share with other people heading to the same destination.
Check opening hours before arranging your visit: doors open Monday to Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. m. to 5:30 p.m. m.
Keep in mind that entry to Quistococha is not free. To enter, adults must pay 3 soles and the little ones 1 sole.
If what you are looking for is silence and peace, during the week the park is practically empty. If, on the other hand, you prefer to enjoy the tourist landscape as a community, it is best to undertake the visit during the weekend.
Given the size of the park and the amount of information there is about its tourist landscapes, it is worth hiring a local guide to make the experience richer.
If you are going boating or enjoying the white sand beach, it is always good to have extra, comfortable clothing. In addition, sunscreen and insect repellent will be key allies that cannot be missing from your bag.
Quistococha is primarily a place for local families to enjoy weekends. Attractions include picnic areas, rowboats, an aquarium, a trail around the lagoon, a zoo with exotic animals and jungle fish, a serpentarium, an aviary and a fish hatchery – populated by the famous paiche, the second largest freshwater fish in the world. There are also several restaurants in the park, as well as casual food stalls set up near the entrance.
The site has also been used for important research, conservation, reforestation and botanical gardening work. It has a natural nursery and a museum with a taxidermy collection of Amazonian fauna.
According to a local indigenous legend, a long time ago there was a mysterious island that was located in the middle of the beautiful lagoon. This haunted island was inhabited by evil spirits and many brightly colored macaws. Whenever something bad happened in the nearby city, the macaws would start squawking and the island would move with powerful earthquakes caused by the spirits.
Being terrified by the earthquakes, the natives asked a priest to perform an exorcism to rid them of the evil spirits that occupied the island. After carrying it out, the priest threw a crucifix into the lake. The normally calm waters of the lagoon were unexpectedly stirred and the island shook as the terrified villagers watched.
The people fled shouting “Cristo Cocha” (which translates as “the lake of Christ”) and, at the same time, a huge black snake emerged from the lagoon and began to swim away. The villagers could hear the snake making moans with a hissing sound, as if it were injured. The exorcism was a success and the departure of the snake represented the elimination of evil spirits from the island.
As time passed, the name Cristo Cocha became Quistococha. According to this legend, today this lake is the charming lagoon that exists in the Quistococha Tourist Complex.
The zoo is home to many species of animals that are endemic to the Amazon basin, including alligators, tapirs, rodents, pumas, jaguars, monkeys, snakes, giant otters, and a magnificent collection of macaws and other native birds. There is even a group of wild monkeys that live in the trees surrounding the lake. In addition to the animals, there is a nursery with many labeled tree specimens and a collection of medicinal plants.
One could complete a quick visit to the Quistococha Zoo in just an hour. But to really get to know it, set aside at least 3 to 4 hours, especially if you want to learn about local legends and participate in activities other than the zoo.
Optional activities include hiking the rainforest trail (insect repellent recommended), enjoying lunch next to the beautiful Tunchi Beach, swimming, and sampling local cuisine at one of several restaurants located within the park. To fish the 60-hectare lake, it is recommended to arrive early in the morning and avoid the high midday temperatures.
From the dock area, you can rent canoes and paddle to the other side of the lake and explore the rich wildlife that surrounds it. Additionally, there is a hiking trail that leads to the Itaya River, which is located a few kilometers from the park.
A visit to Quistococha is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to become familiar with the Amazon and its wildlife before embarking on an excursion deep into the Amazon rainforest.
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