Nestled in the valley between the rivers of Cumbaza and Shilcayo, Tarapoto is the most vibrant town of the San Martín region in northern Peru. And while there are plenty of fun and interesting things to see and do in the so-called City of Palms, it’s Tarapoto’s Amazonian lures that really make the town worth visiting. Between the sweltering rainforests, exotic wildlife, and gushing waterfalls, Tarapoto might be an ideal gateway for the first-time visitors looking to explore the wilderness of the Amazon. The good news is, you don’t even have to go far! There are a number of tropical getaways dotted around Tarapoto, most of them only a short ride away. If you are still wondering where to head first, here is a list of some of the most exciting spots near Tarapoto where your jungle adventure can begin.
Laguna Azul, or the Blue Lagoon, is one of the most popular spots for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the town. It is located about 50 km from Tarapoto and can be easily reached by either moto taxi or Colectivo. Once you arrive at this slice of paradise, you can swim in the refreshing water or explore the lakeside village of Sauce. Adventure-seekers can try out the zip line, kayaks or horse-riding. If this doesn’t sound appealing, simply kick back in a hammock with a cold drink and enjoy the gorgeous Amazonian backdrop. If you are feeling exhausted from all the Peruvian feats, taking a break at Laguna Azul might provide you with a much-needed relief.
Tarapoto is famous for the numerous waterfalls that are scattered around the edges of the town. By far the most visited one is the Ahuashiyacu waterfall, an all-around popular attraction for local and foreign tourists alike. This wonder of nature, whose name translates to “laughing water” or “singing water”, is around 40 m tall and forms a beautiful lagoon at its bottom. The gushing waterfall is framed with luscious flora that includes various species of ferns and orchids. The water in the pool is crisp and cool, inviting you to take a refreshing dip after a long day in scorching heat.
If you are looking to visit a tropical site that’s a little more off the beaten path, head over to the Huacamaillo, another stunning waterfall that is a slightly less popular with the crowds. Another great thing about this getaway is that you can hike to it, which might make your day in nature even more enjoyable. Your walk to Huacamaillo Waterfalls can begin in the small town of San Antonio de Cumbaza, which is located about 30 minutes from the center of Tarapoto. The path will gradually take you deeper into the jungle, where you will find yourself surrounded by luscious vegetation and buzzing insects. Finally, you will emerge out of the thick rainforest and be greeted by the Huacamaillo waterfall as it thunders into the cool lagoon underneath. Keep in mind that if you are a first-time visitor, you might want to book a guide in San Antonio de Cumbaza as the trek can often be difficult to navigate.
For a truly secluded waterfall getaway, look into booking a tour that will take you to the magnificent Pishurayacu waterfalls. Getting there entails a hike that takes about an hour, during which you will probably have to walk across rugged landscapes, river crossings and even bamboo rafts. Don’t worry, because it’s all worth it in the end – Pishurayacu will astonish you with its silvery cascading waterfall and a refreshingly cool pool of water. Jump in!