Located in the San Martin department, Tarapoto is an appealing jungle destination for travelers. The alluring geography, climate and accessibility add to its attractiveness.
Boasting beautiful forests and natural wonders, as well as a city full of fun and festive initiatives, Tarapoto brings together people from all over the world.
Tarapoto is located in the high jungle plateau (or cloud forest) of Peru’s Amazon, and is surrounded by three valleys.
Southeast of Tarapoto, along the Mayo and Huallaga rivers, you will find a lush valley home to the village of Chazuta. It is the main ceramic-producing village in the San Martin region, as well as one of the best organic chocolate production sites. Chazuta is also the starting point for other adventures, like visiting the popular and stunning waterfall known as Tunutunumba. Learn more about Chazuta here.
The second valley is ample and full of light, with a landscape defined by crop fields and pastures. It takes us up the north Interoceanic Highway to the villages of Lamas and Moyobamba.
Lamas was established during colonization, and is currently made up of various Quechua-speaking Amazonian communities. Villagers live in adobe houses, and work with colorful clays. Moyobamba is known for its excellent gardens, which exhibit a wide variety of plants collected from every corner of the forest – the stars of the collection being the incredible assortment of orchids.
The third valley is more hidden, as it is flanked by a magnificent and imposing mountain range called Escalera, which houses a number of a gorgeous waterfalls and diverse fauna. Many local tour agencies offer opportunities to explore the Cordillera Escalera, a remarkable protected area.
The beautiful, fresh Cumbaza River flows down the valley, surrounded by boulders and sandy beaches. Within the valley lay three small villages, all named after saints: San Pedro, San Antonia, and San Roque.
Every Sunday, these villages converge and hold small, excellent food fairs. The three valleys come together in Tarapoto, as do some of the most important highways in northern Peru.
Highways to the jungle
The Interoceanic travelers from Piura, in the Pacific coast, to Yurimaguas in the Amazon jungle, where the Paranapura River opens into the Huallaga River.
Another highway begins in Lima going through the Andes, past the central jungles of Tingo Maria and Jauja, and arrives in Tarapoto.
Tarapoto: an international town
People come from all over the world to enjoy this incredible place, and many internationals now call it home. There are Italians who run restaurants and a cigar factory; French doctors who offer alternative therapies using sacred plants; Spanish people who run lodges in the thick of the forest; people from Lima who liven up the city’s night life with their fun bars and music halls; Germans who run yoga centers; American retirees who have moved to the jungle to enjoy their freedom; Greek people who manage Buddhist centers; natives from 15 different ethnic groups.
Tarapoto is a unique cosmopolitan Amazonian world.
Source: Ultimate Journeys
Cover photo: Paul Alexander/Flickr
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