Tarapoto Travel Guide

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If you can't find it in the market in Tarapoto, you just didn't look long enough. 2006.05.17

If you can't find it in the market in Tarapoto, you just didn't look long enough. 2006.05.17

Jeffrey Maxwell

Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms," is located in the District of San Martin, called "la tierra de las cataratas" (the land of waterfalls) located on the high jungle plateau in the northeastern section of the Republic of Peru.  At latitude 6 30' 5 S and longitude 76 21' 56 W, Tarapoto sits in the valley where the two rivers, the Cumbaza and Shilcayo, meet.  Bordered by the cities of Morales (on the West) and Banda de Shilcayo (on the East) Tarapoto is the commercial center of the District and one of the larger metropolitan centers in the Amazon Rainforest.

While Tarapoto is sometimes overlooked by tourists heading to Iquitos, visitors will find that because of its cloud forest location at an altitude over 350 meters, the temperatures won't get as hot, usually not above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and perhaps more importantly, the humidity is not generally as high as the low jungle.  Many day trips within a half-hour to a two-hour drive from Tarapoto include some of the most spectacular natural beauty anywhere, historic wonders, and some of the places have cooler weather than in the city.

  There are scenic outlooks, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, fauna and flora of all sorts, and some of the most interesting people in the world live in this area.

Tarapoto has many restaurants, hotelsInternet cafes, markets, and other attractions that would interest tourists from all walks of life.  With a rich cultural heritage and many historic landmarks nearby, it is a great place for people who want something more than just a hammock and a tropical drink -- although the latter can be found fairly easily as well.  Don't expect too much in the way of air conditioning in businesses and hotels, although there are a couple of hotels that have air conditioning. 

Another thing travelers should be sure to ask about before checking into a hotel -- unless they don't mind a cold shower -- is if the room has hot water; most do not.  In most neighborhoods, there is no running water during the early afternoon and early morning, so it is also wise to ask about the hours of availability of water -- although many hotels and restaurants have their own holding tanks for water which makes it no problem.

One of the things that makes Tarapoto attractive to travelers who have discovered this city is the fact that it is a great central location in the northeastern part of Peru.  The mountains (high sierra) to the west, and the jungle (selva) to the east, make Tarapoto a good place to call home-base when visiting the northern part of Peru.  A modern airport makes travel to the major cities fairly easy, if only somewhat dependable, with daily flights to and from Lima.

In many ways, Tarapoto still has a "small town" attitude.  While it is always necessary to keep alert when traveling anywhere, Tarapoto is a place one can relax more.  Europeans and North Americans are not targets of crime as much as in the other places like Trujillo, Cusco, and Lima.  Since there aren't as many tourists around Tarapoto, they don't see too many foreigners.  So expect to be noticed if you don't look like a Peruvian, but tourists generally find themselves treated very well in Tarapoto. 


December 07, 2006 change by approaching genius (11 points)

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