The neat riverside town of Nauta on the Marañón River lies 11 km (7 miles) from its confluence with the Ucayali River; where these two rivers meet, the Amazon River is formed.

Founded in 1830, Nauta has been dragged into the 21st century by the recent construction of a paved road to Iquitos. What used to be a half-day river journey is now barely a two-hour minibus ride, and those who have taken local river transport from Yurimaguas or Pucallpa often disembark here to shave a few hours off their passage.

Conversely, people in Iquitos can enjoy the longest road trip available to them – about 100 km (63 miles).

Most visitors to Nauta do not spend any time here, as they are whisked from the riverside to one of the many jungle lodges to be found in the minor tributaries that join the Amazon River between Nauta and Iquitos. 

Among the noteworthy is the remarkable Treehouse Lodge, located on the confluence of the Yarapa and Cumaceba Rivers, and hosting guests in seven cabins built in the trees, several meters above the ground and accessed by a series of canopy walkways. 

Also recommended is the architecturally-stunning Amazon Yarapa River Lodge, with a tropical research laboratory used by Cornell University, which - as the name suggests - lies on the Yarapa River, 130 km (80 miles) from Iquitos.

The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve is a longer speedboat ride away, but some of the lodges in this area also use Nauta as their jumping-off point. 

Amazon cruise passengers immediately embark their boat prior to setting sail for the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. The luxury cruise lines, such as Aqua Expeditions and Delfin, even have their own pier and departure lounge, where passengers are served drinks and a cold towel, before boarding! 

Those that do linger in Nauta, though, should see the main church, which has a superb crucifix carved from a huge tree trunk, and stop by the bustling market.