I can advise you to fly with LAN Peru from Lima directly to Iquitos. It's a very safe airlines and costs about 280 dollar round-trip.
I wouldn't spend much time in Lima. It's really a noisy, hectic and also dangerous place. If you need to stay overnight I recommend you to search a Hotel in Miraflores - the richest district of Lima. For someone with your travel expirience it's probably routine.
Because there is no street connection the only possibility to get to Iquitos besides flying, is by boat. But this takes weeks!
Probably that's one of the reasons, why it's a very safe place.
You can walk there almost everywhere without having any fear, even during the night. There are a few execptions like the Belen district.
In common the people are very friendly and not officious. In my eyes it's a very special place. I've already been to a few countries in Latin America..but this is my personal favourite place! I just went back from my third trip. If you need some advices for a hotel just write me a mail.
Walking around the city I came across this building, which I liked by its simple architecture. Getting closer I found out that it was the Spanish Consulate. It was closed, so I couldn't go in and say "hello" :-)
the amazon is life
the amazon is the lifeblood for the city of iquitos and its people. a small cruise in a boat had us seeing so many local people using the river - for transportation, for washing, for fishing and much more. yet this lifeblood is slowly dying...
when we were in iquitos (august 2010) the amazon was at its lowest in over 40 years! this has affected the locals badly. some of the river is so shallow and dried up, that transport boats cant get through to iquitos! of course, iquitos being a city you cannot get to by road, the people rely on the river to get all their supplies!! add to this the downturn in fishing as well, and you have a basic food source becoming harder to find.
it was so sad to see. i dont know if global warming and all that climate change stuff is to blame, or if its just one bad season of rain, but whatever it is, the people of iquitos and the peruvian amazon are suffering.
a village, a diesel power generator (broken)... Felice, our guest that was the "alcalde" of the village proposed several time to set up some solar cells as in his hut....
hmmm solar cell? porque mas?
porque mas literaly means " why more?" but means more than why more!
we are provided with a diesel power generator, if the generator breakdown omeone will fix it sooner or later... having solar cell will mean to clean them and to switch it from cell to batteries each day.... we don't need power after all....
"Authentic" Amazon River Expedition
While I was at a jungle camp called Amazon Wilderness Expeditions (AWE) (sign up across the street from the Yellow Rose of Texas) I met Octavio and Mi who were my guides for four days. I talked with Octavio about wanting to meet "authentic" Amazon people and he asked if I wanted to put together a small expedition to visit his ancestral family down the Amazon off a small tributary at a lakeside village. I said, "Absolutely!" and we arranged a trip in a dugout canoe with his cousin. It was the highlight of my Amazon experience!
Mi is a yong man working his way through school as a guide in Iquitos and trying to save money to help his siblings also improve their education. He said he would like to take me to see his family when I return to Iquitos someday. I have his email address and I plan to take my grandson with me next time I go to the Amazon.
Ask at AWE about Octavio and Mi if you want learn about the "real" Amazon.