A hot, humid slice of jungle, Tarapoto is a buzzy little town that heaves with tuk-tuks, and roads crammed with shops selling everything from tupperware or ovens to shoes and pet stuff.
Getting our chilled tuk-tuk vibes on…
Hardly any tourists visit the town, so we received a warm welcome from locals who wanted to talk to us and ask us why the hell we were there! Unlike so many cities in Peru that have become increasingly poised towards tourism, this felt like a ‘real’ town to us, and we instantly liked it. Travelling everywhere by tuk-tuk (there are hardly any cars) also gave the place a chilled-out vibe (not to mention providing a much-needed breeze!)
A shop specialising in artificial flowers!
Being a ‘real’ town, Tarapoto was also a great place to get stuff done. In our short few days there, we managed to get Sam’s hiking boots fixed (the soles were almost off!), get a new zip in my backpack (about a pound for each), buy jungly things we needed like bug spray and cotton trousers, and do LOTS of handwashing. We found a super cheap room above a shop for about 6 quid, with a very powerful fan and fast internet, so we also spent a lot of time here downloading films, the final Mad Men season (I couldn’t cope with the spoilers anymore!) and doing our usual rum-chugging bedroom parties.
One day we took a really beautiful scenic walk through some jungly forrest to a nearby National Park, but after a couple of hours the heat got the better of us (not to mention malaria fears as we were yet to start our tablets!) so we didn’t make it to visit waterfalls as planned, but hey ho! En route we saw lots of pretty streams and blue morpho butterflies (amongst others) clouding our trail, so we considered that beauty enough.
Our day out walking in the jungle heat
Tarapoto acted as our route into the jungle, and it was from here we caught a collectivo (minivan) to Yurimaguas, which was the starting point for our long boat adventure to Iquitos…!