At the foot of the Andes is Tarapoto, the largest city in the province of San Martin and the economic center of the region. The city is located on a plateau of the jungle, which is also known as the “Cloud Forest” and is considered a starting point for trips to the Amazon rainforests.
The tropical climate, lush surroundings with impenetrable jungle, transparent lakes and towering waterfalls, as well as numerous historical attractions make Tarapoto a popular destination for leisure travelers, so there are many quality hotels and restaurants to choose from.
The revenge of the Inca
Where Ayachucha is today, there used to be members of the Pocras and the Chanca, two very old pre-Inca cultures. When the Incas invaded there, the inhabitants, under the command of Commander Ancohallo, planned a revolt which, although initially successful, would end in a bloodbath. The Incas took a terrible revenge on the rebels and those who escaped settled here on the banks of the Mayo and Cumbaza rivers, where today San Martin stretches. That’s how the little town of Lamas came to be, and later Tarapoto.
Tarapoto was officially founded on 20 August 1782 by Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez de Compagnon y Bujanda, who named it after the growing Taraputus palm trees. Today, the city is the economic and tourist center when it comes to the “entrance” to the Amazon region. There is not only a small airport with connections to Lima and Iquitos, but also a road that leads from the Pacific coast via Moyobamba (the real capital of the province of San Martin) to Yurimaguas in the Amazon basin.
The waterfalls in the area of Tarapoto
The most famous waterfall (and also the largest in the area) is the Ahuashiyacu Waterfall. With a drop of 40 meters, a small restaurant nearby and an excellent place to cool off in the fun of bathing, the 45 minute trip to Yurimaguas is definitely worth it. You can book a tour of approximately four hours in Tarapoto for just under $ 35. However, the waterfall is a popular destination and, therefore, can often be very crowded.
If you want a little more “original jungle feeling”, book an excursion to the Huacamaillo Waterfalls, which is much less crowded. However, that’s probably because you have to go through a two-hour walk with several river crossings to get there. The tour costs around $ 85, but you will be rewarded with a unique and beautiful panorama. One of the best places in the area that you should not explore without a guide.