ne of the most frequent questions that tourists visiting Iquitos ask us at the Iquitos News is, “What was that parade all about that I saw on Sunday morning?” Many erroneously assume that it was merely a military parade, when in reality it is much more. Every Sunday morning in every Plaza de Armas throughout Peru, there is a parade and virtually everyone, not only the military participates. School children, retirees, bands, government employees, local businesses, and the military all participate. Never have I know a people who like to march in a parade more than the Peruvians do. As seen in this Iquitos photo gallery, it seems to be in their blood; young and old alike seem to revel in the opportunity to march in a parade. They do not need special costumes or occasions, and do it at least once, each and every week.
Interestingly, the weekly Sunday morning parade is not the same size every week of the month. On the first week of the month it is the biggest and becomes smaller every week, being smallest the last week of the month. Due to the large number of military personnel stationed in Iquitos in order to defend the frontiers with Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil, the parade usually is dominated by representatives of the Peruvian army, navy, and air force. In other cities, for example Cuzco, school children are most frequently observed in the weekly event. One of my first images of Cuzco, when I first arrived in that city on a Sunday morning, was a wonderful parade on the spectacular Plaza de Armas. Observing the parade from a balcony while sipping coca tea to relieve my soroche (altitude sickness), this was one of my first images of Peruvians and their fascination with parades.
Therefore, if you are fortunate enough to be visiting Iquitos on a Sunday morning, grab a seat on the Plaza de Armas (preferably on a balcony) and enjoy the weekly Peruvian style parade.