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Tarapoto at a Glance

Located at the doors of the jungle, Tarapoto is one of the largest cities in the Peruvian Amazon. ignored by tourists during a long time, this city is rich in activities and is gradually opening up to tourism and the arrival of foreigners.

 History and Culture

Tarapoto was founded on August 20, 1782 by the Spanish bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez de Compagnon y Bujanda. Its effective beginnings date back to the explorations carried out by the Pocras and Hanan Chancas (ancient cultures of the Ayacucho region) who, conquered by the Inca Empire, led a revolution commanded by the caudillo Ancohallo.

This revolt led to a defeat that forced the tribal population of the region to flee from the terrible Inca revenge. They settled in the valleys of the rivers Mayo and Cumbaza in the department of San Martin forming, eventually, the city of Lamas.

In this region a palm tree named Taraputus or barriguda was abundant. Later, the Spanish bishop used that name to found the city of Tarapoto.

 Where to stay in Tarapoto

Budget: Lamas Hospedaje – Modern and clean guest house in Tarapoto. The owners are very friendly and will make everything they can for you to enjoy your stay!

Mid-range: Colina de Montalva Hotel – Comfortable, brand new hotel featuring a garden, an outdoor pool and a restaurant.

Splurge: Coconut Tarapoto – Eco Bungalows & Lagoon Pool – Quality hotel in a lovely and quiet environment in Tarapoto.  

 When is the best time to visit Tarapoto

Tarapoto’s climate is warm and pleasant. The average temperature always remains around 25°C (77°F) and the rainy season takes place in February, March and April.

The months of greater affluence in Tarapoto are July and August and also at the end of the year.

  Tarapoto Tours: What to Do?

Visit the City: The first thing you normally visit wherever you go to Tarapoto is the Plaza de Armas. Tarapoto’s is small but it’s surrounded by restaurants, and a craft market. You can also go to the Cathedral which, although super simple, is truly charming.

Take a retreat in the Amazon: it can be a great option to get to know the local communities, have some rest and disconnect from everything during a few days. Check out our tours in the Amazonian jungle.

Visit the town of Lamas: 23 km (14 miles) away from the centre of Tarapoto is the city of Lamas, which is divided into two parts. On the one hand the neighborhood of Wayku in the lower part, where there are still indigenous men who conserved their customs and clothes (they even invite you to try them on!).

In the high part of the town are the mestizos. There you can enjoy a beautiful view in the Mirador de la Cruz and you can also visit the Lamas Castle, built by the Italian Nicola Felice Lamas.

Catarata de Ahuashiyacu: This 40 m high waterfall is beautiful. Its name means “singing water” or “water that laughs”. To reach it you will have to follow a path in the middle of the jungle where you can hear the sounds of animals, see butterflies of all colors flying around you, see birds, orchids … it is like entering another world.

Orquideario de Moyobamba: Nearly 2 hours from the center of Tarapoto is Moyobamba, the “City of Orchids”. Capital of the San Martín Region and cradle of more than 2000 varieties of orchids that grow in its forests. Get lost in this world of orchids of all colors!  

Get to know the chocolate production process: Peruvian jungle is known worldwide for its cocoa production and around Tarapoto you can find local chocolate productors. There you can a tour to see the chocolate production process, as well as have a beautiful view of the valley and see up close the cocoa trees and their fruits.

 The Keteka difference

Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.

 How to get to Tarapoto

Land – you can reach Lima in twenty-four hours (S/110, $33)  or the coast and the cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo via Moyobamba, Chachapoyas. A journey from Trujillo takes at least 16 hours and costs from S/75 ($22).

Air – Tarapoto airport offers daily flights to Lima, Iquitos and Pucalpa. Flights from Lima take 1h30 and cost from $43 for one way.