Loreto, the largest department of Peru (135,000 square miles) and one of the least populated (2005 population 919,505), encompassing most of the Peruvian Amazonian rain forest. Loreto has only one major highway, which links its western boundary with Tarapoto and Yurimaguas. The department's capital, Iquitos, is the easternmost port in Peru, a major tourist attraction, and the region's most active commercial center, with 40 percent of Loreto's population. Located between two affluents of the Amazon, Iquitos has no highway connection with other Peruvian provinces but has an international airport. With a population estimated at 367,000 in 2000, it is often considered to be the world's largest city that cannot be reached by road. Iquitos has traditionally traded mostly with Peru's neighbor, Brazil, especially since its impressive growth due to the rubber boom of the early years of the twentieth century. Loreto's production includes timber, rubber, agricultural products (yuca, rice, corn), and oil from the area of Trompeteros, which is linked to the coast through a system of oil pipes. Approximately 60 percent of Peru's oil is extracted here. The region also draws tourism.
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Alfonso W. Quiroz