Today I would like to talk to you about Chazuta, a little village in Northern Peru, more precisely at about one hour from Tarapoto in the San Martin Region. Tarapoto is the biggest city in San Martin and a great spot to start your discovery of the region. Personally, Tarapoto is not my favorite city, too hot, too loud, too many moto taxis, but it is just the perfect place to start!
Tarapoto (Photo: Philippe Capel)
What is it about?
Chazuta is already part of the Peruvian Amazonia and lies on the front of river Huallaga. You can not only take a tour on the Peke Peke to more remote areas but also learn about organic chocolate farming and production, fine ceramic and indigenous communities.
But let me explain all of this a little more in detail!
Pottery tradition in Chazuta
Just next to the Museum “Museo de Ceramica Tradicional Wasichay” is the workshop where local people produce fine ceramics with traditional designs. If you have time, you might want to do a little class and try your dexterity in ceramics.
Ceramic making, Chazuta (Photo: Philippe Capel)
Did you know that you can make paper out of banana bark? Well, this is what the women association in Chazuta does. The bark is first boiled before it is mashed to a kind of dough that then ends up in the molds to dry. What comes out is a thicker paper that goes perfectly with diplomas or other important documents. The ladies also prepare little paper boxes and bags out of the material and sell it to visitors, which makes them a supplementary income.
Chazuta, Paper fabrication (Photo: Philippe Capel)
Chocolate production at Rio Bosque Magico
This family business is a great place to visit! Pioneers of organic agriculture, Heriberto, and Maria Elena started their chocolate production already 15 years ago. Today they are well known for their natural way of farming and their great chocolate. Heriberto will show you the “chakra” where they grow cacao beans, but also several medicinal plants and their nursery. Maria Elena is in charge of the transformation from the chocolate beans to the final chocolate, all without adding any fat or sugar, the final product is delicious!
If you choose to stay with them, Maria Elena will prepare you amazing dishes, based on plantains, with different condiments and products from their own garden.
Chazuta, Maria Elena in the kitchen (Photo: Philippe Capel)
How to get to Chazuta
First, you will have to get to Tarapoto, which is not a problem! You would take one of the many flights from Lima to Tarapoto and one hour fifteen minutes later you’ll arrive at Tarapoto airport.
Tarapoto is a bigger town with lots of noise and moto taxis. You can either stay one night there or, depending on your arrival time, you’ll take a Collectivo from Tarapoto to Chazuta. The ride will take another hour.
Where to stay in Chazuta
We recommend the homestay of Heriberto and Maria Elena at Rio Bosque Magico. You will get a real immersion including typical great food and first-hand information about organic chocolate! Be aware – the water in the shower is cold!
What to bring and wear
Chazuta is already in the Peruvian Amazonia, it will be hot there. You better be prepared with sun screen and mosquito repellent and light clothing. You absolutely have to bring a bathing suit in case you want to swim in a waterfall lagoon. Don’t forget a hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
This article was written by Martina Capel, co-founder of PHIMA Voyages, a tour operator based in the Chachapoyas, Amazonas region, in Northern Peru that specializes exactly in these regions – “off the beaten path”. Small group tours and catered packages are offered covering a wide variety: archaeology, nature, experiences, and encounters.