Chazuta is a wonderful village to visit for those with an interest in connecting with an indigenous community in the jungles of Peru. Come for eco-tourism, cacao workshops, traditional papermaking workshops, ceramics classes, and more.
Eco-tourism: trek through virgin jungle, visit waterfalls, visit isolated indigenous communities
The experience of descending from Tarapoto into the jungles of Chazuta is an experience that is not to be missed. Along the way, you make the way from the development of plantations and cities and into virgin jungle. But unlike much of the jungle that lies within the Amazon basin, this part of the jungle is mountainous and vast. The descent alone will take your breath away.
Chazuta makes a great launching-off point for further explorations. One of the most popular and stunning sights is a waterfall known as “Tunutunumba,” which makes a great day hike. In the dry season, the trip can be made in a half of a day. Therefore, if you leave early in the morning, you can be back to Chazuta by afternoon in order to explore more about what the city has to offer.
Chazuta is home to a collective of women who dedicate themselves to the craft of artesinal papermaking. During any day of the week, you can drop in to visit the women and to buy paper that they’ve made. Through their papermaking process they are able to make paper from just about any plant that grows in the area. Some of the most popular types of papers are made from plants such as the ayahuasca vine, banana leaves, and even cacao leaves.
If you want to learn for yourself how to make paper by hand, you can get ahold of the collective in advance in order to organize a workshop for yourself and for your friends. Expect the workshop to take about a half of a day.
Learn how to make pottery
A few blocks down from the paper making workshop, you’ll find a pottery workshop. Though recent decades have seen a huge decline in interest from youth to embrace these ancient techniques, the village is currently in the midst of a resurgence. The pottery workshop space is always buzzing with activity, and there are frequent events.
Beside the pottery workshop, you’ll also find a small museum that houses various archaeological remains that have been found in the village. Most of the remains consist of pottery. It was once a tradition in the village for people to bury their dead inside of gigantic clay pots, and inside of the museum you can find some of these on display.
Learn about organic cacao farming, and how to turn the cacao bean into chocolate.
For the past 2 decades the family-run organization Rio Bosque Chazuta Magico (Magical Chazuta River Forest) has dedicated itself towards recuperating medicinal plants, including cacao. They have various projects to help the community embrace its indigenous traditions, organic farming, and its connection with medicinal plants.
Among the services that they offer, you can attend a chocolate-making workshop with the organization, where you’ll learn how to make mind-blowingly delicious chocolate from the beans that they grow on their farm.
Go to the Joicy V. Barts Cultural Museum
If you’re in doubt about how to start your experience while in Chazuta, go here first. This museum was designed in order to help visitors connect with spirituality and symbology of the Chazuta people. It features an exhibition of masks and sculptures that explore these themes. The cultural center also offers rooms to stay in if you are looking for a nice hotel.