Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms," is located in the District of San Martín, "la tierra de las cataratas" (the land of waterfalls), located on the high jungle plateau in the northern part 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, hotels, Internet 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 readily as well. Few businesses have air conditioning. There are several hotels that have air conditioning, but many do not so it is important to ask.

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; many 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 northern 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 northern 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" atmosphere. 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, the locals 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.

Get in

Get around

A mototaxi looks like a rickshaw with a motorcycle welded onto the front of it and is the most common form of transportation in Tarapoto. Automobile taxis are also available in lesser numbers. Whether using a taxi or mototaxi, tourists should always negotiate the price of the trip before getting into the vehicle, or they might find themselves paying far more than necessary for the ride. Mototaxi drivers are sometimes reckless, so tourists should not hesitate to tell the driver to slow down if necessary.


Not really worth the money (the taxi, not the 3 sol entrance fee). A nice waterfall but the pond is tiny and if you want to swim you have to squeeze through hordes of Peruvians.


Take the "takiwasi" road along the Shilcayo for 2/3 km, then it becomes a small path which goes far into the forest following the river and it is a nice walk. If you have children, they might be interested in visiting Urku (on the left, about 2km from Tarapoto), where they have monkeys and others animals rescued from captivity.


There are many discos in the Morales district. Highlights include Anaconda, Aqua and Bunker. It can be closed at the beginning of the week, but it is open and generally free from Thursday to Sunday.

In the street in front of the restaurant Patarashca, about two blocks from the Plaza de Armas (in the direction of the artesanal market), they are bars with drinks and music at night. I think it is Calle Bolognesi or Calle Lamas.

The musmuki bar is a good address to try some cocktails from the jungle. (about one bloc from the plaza de armas,when you left on the Scotia Bank side in Calle Moyobamba)


A reasonable place to stay in the centre of Tarapoto is the La Posada Inn only 50 metres from the Plaza on Jiron San Martin. It is quieter than some hotels there and has wifi, hot and cold water and a good restaurant.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.