Getting Around in Tarapoto

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First time visitors often take notice of the number of three wheeled mototaxis that look like rickshas with motorcycles welded to the front of them.  There are approximately 5,000 of these vehicles in Tarapoto, and they far outnumber the automobile taxis and other cars and trucks.  Many local people also ride motorcycles which are also abundant, but there are only a very few in town for rent to tourists. 

Mototaxistas are notorious for being wild drivers, and as a result, mototaxis are not allowed by city statute to come within one block of the Plaza de Armas because of the large number of pedestrians -- although all other vehicles, including auto taxis are allowed.  Mototaxis can be found lined up on the side street one block off the Plaza in any direction waiting to take a fare.

Passengers must always negotiate the price of the taxi or mototaxi ride with the driver before getting into the vehicle.  This is very important, because if the driver and passenger are not settled on the price, the passenger will end up paying much more than necessary for the ride.  Also, don't hesitate to tell a driver to slow down if he is moving at too fast a pace; he will normally comply.

Those who choose to drive, or ride a motorcycle, in Tarapoto are very brave indeed, because traffic laws are really just guidelines.  But once outside of the main commercial district, traffic is not so hectic.  There are many one-way streets in Tarapoto.  All the one way streets are called Jirons, and use the abbreviation "Jr."  The Avenedas, or "Av.", are two way streets.  One might be surprised at the lack of bicycles in Tarapoto, but when he or she relizes that there are so many hills, it is apparent that bicycles aren't practical there, thus the vast variety of motorcycles. 

Harley Riders will be disappointed to find that there are no American motorcycles here.  They are too expensive.  The main brands of motorcycles found in the selva are Japanese -- Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki -- and the cheaper Chinese motorcycles, of which there are too many brands to name.  One area for growth in Tarapoto is in the transporation business -- so tourist transportation may improve in time. 

Contributors
December 15, 2006 change by approaching genius (1 point)

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