The busy port of Pucallpa has a distinctly less jungle-like appearance than other Amazonian towns. Although this is an important distribution center for goods along the broad, brown Río Ucayali, which sweeps past the city en route to join the Río Amazonas, the rainforest feels far away. After all those miles of tropical travel to get here, Pucallpa seems underwhelming and bland, and hasty modern development in the center barely disguises the shantytown simplicity a few blocks further out. Still, it’s a starting point for a spectacular river adventure north to Iquitos and, if time and inclination allow, on to Brazil and the Atlantic.
Beyond the city sprawl, there is a reason for the traveler to linger: the lovely Lago Yarinacocha, with river lodges to relax at and interesting indigenous communities to visit.