Tarapoto is another part of the Peruvian jungle, however a little different from Puerto Maldonado as Tarapoto is more mountainous with waterfalls and that, while Puerto Maldonado is considered to be flat. If you want to fly here from Lima, you should be able to get a return flight for under $100USD if you book in time and especially during special offers for a lot less. The flight itself is 60 minutes long, nothing extreme but the heat. This place can really heat up, so best wear hats, long sleeve bright colours as dark colours tend to attract mosquistos more as I was told. Crazy right!
I booked a hotel through booking.com and as most hotels they sent me a list of places to visit in Tarapoto, plus the prices. All full days include lunch and you are always picked up and dropped off in your hotel. I had 3 full days, so I wanted to take advantage of all 3 and decided to go on 3 full days and of course those including waterfalls, thermal baths and a water park.
Tour 1 – Laguna Azul/ The Blue lagoon (S/.65 or $19.5)
This tour is a full day and included transport to and from, a boat ride across the lagoon, lunch up to a certain amount. If you go over the amount yo pay the different. There are about 10 dishes for the price included and mostly typical dishes such as smoked pork with banana. It also includes a horse ride if you have children. Optional is a zipline and jet skiiing if you fancy and there is also a designated area for swimming and a pool if you don’t want to get into the river. I got into the pool myself.
The boat above is Spanish is called a “balsa” it takes about 12 vans to the other side and back after the trip. Everyone must get out of the vans while they go aboard and then people stand to the left hand side. It is quite fun, plus get some nice pics while crossing. The current of the river is amazingly strong, so it needs 3 massive motors to do the job.
Just above the river is a very nice “mirador” or viewing platform of the river, which is an “S” shape in the background. I was able to get the drone up from here, which you can see at the top of the page and the dirt track we took to get to this point. Half the journey is a decent road and half is basically dirt.
So, the minivan drops you off at the top left part of the river and you get taken to a resort on the opposite end of the lagoon. So, here as I mentioned before you can visit the pool:
Some people prefer the river, while others prefer the pool. The pool is a lot cleaner put it that way but, you can jet ski and do the zipline if you fancy at an extra cost.
In the photo below, you can see a jet ski with a doughnut on the back, which is also a lot of fun too.
The tour starts between 8.30 to 9 and finishes around 5ish., when you get picked up from the hotel and it takes about 90 minutes from there to this place, plus another 20 minutes on the boat and any other delays, so lets say 11.30 you arrive. You have until 1 to do as you please, then you have lunch for an hour and at 3 we will start making we start heading back to the boat and back to the minivans. From here depending on the tour, you can either go back to Tarapoto or go to the mud baths. Apparently they are very healthy for the body. In our case we visited the mud baths.
This is optional as the price is S/.40 soles or $13USD. You first have a shower, then get into hot water pool and then a cold one and do this step twice, then you cover yourself in mud and let it stick for 20 minutes. You then get into the water to wash it off you. They say they have millions of small fish in the small pool that eats dead skin or deade cells… Didn’t really understand that part, but this place is apparently world renown for its “therapy”, so ask the hotel if it is included that you might be interested.
I flew the drone above the mud baths and this was the distance between the baths and the lagoon itself. There is a little village/ town place you must go through with dirt roads. Nice place, but when it rains, it must literally turn to mud. From here you head back to Tarapoto, which is usually after 6 due to the time spent in the mud baths. Any other questions just check me out on my Instagram page.
Tour 2 – Alto Mayo/ Moyobamba (S/.90 or $26.5)
The reason why this tour is more expensive compared to the Laguna Azul, is because it is much further away. You will do about 300km in one day, but the views and the tour itself is well worth it. You need to bring your swimming gear as you get to splash in a lot of water.
You will first arrive in Moyobamba and visit an orchid of beautiful flowers and a guided tour of these flowers. I am not really into these type of flowers, but apparently there is a little story behind them. You will spend about 30 minutes here, then on to the main square, like most cities, towns and villages in Peru, they all have a main sqaure or the “Plaza de armas” as it is called in Spanish and it is quite beautiful. However, it is prohibited to park there so we just circled it and then went on to Rioja, which is where there is a nature water park kinda place. It is quite amazing because the water comes from underneath and mountain and into this amazing water park.
You will spend about 1 hour here before going for a lovely lunch nearby. There are many different areas within Tio Yacu to swim and splash about. Some people say the water is freezing, but it is about 12º, for me it was a tad cold but you get used to it and the weather is really hot too! Plenty of mosquitos so bring lots of repellent.
From the park you will then be taken to a nice place to have lunch. As I mentioned before lunch consists of anything up to 15 soles or $5, if you fancy another dish, which is more expensive then you just pay the extra amount.
The place, where you have lunch is quite big and they also have a swimming pool too if you can eat your lunch quite fast, but I would not recommend it as you will go to the thermal baths and this place is quite big itself. I couldn’t get the drone up here to give you an aerial view, but they have pools which are 36º, 42º and 43º and also “showers” which are freezing, so quite nice to get in after coming out of the hot baths themselves.
Here is the main swimming pool, where the water is nice and warm, however, about 20 metres away are the hotter smaller ones and it can be a little too hot for smaller children and babies so if you have some, be very careful, as from what I could see most complained it was too hot.
You will be here until about 5ish and then start heading back to Tarapoto, taking into account that it is a 2 hour ride back and you will be very relaxed and tired due to the hot baths, but all in all, bring a towel, suncream, repellent, and swimming clothes. This, in my opinion, is the more complete trip in Tarapoto.
Tour 3 – Cascadas de Pishurayacu (S/.65 or $19.5)
I am in the white Adidas top and just above my head to the left you can see a stream of a waterfall. We did not actually make it here as the tours are only half days and I did full days. However, I did ask the driver to stop for 20 minutes to fly the drone to give you guys a view from the air.
If you check the group photograph above, there is in fact TWO waterfalls. Can you see them? You can make at least one out. There is a half day tour to visit these are they are very close to Tarapoto. The tours leaves at 10.30am and returns at 1pm. The price is S/.28 soles or $8USD. The name is Ahuashiyacu cascade. Might be worth seeing if you have a half day free. Ok on to the full day to Pishurayacu.
So, after passing the viewing platform for the previous waterfall, about 1 hour from Tarapoto, we arrived at a place to park the minivan and went through the “ticket office” and onto a little jungle trek, the trek in total takes about 25 minutes to walk and is not difficult, but interesting. About 15 minutes into the trek we came to this place and 2 people sitting on the raft get pulled back and forth, which is quite cool. You can also swim across if you want to the current is not very strong at all and the water is cold and refreshing.
Well, you arrived, here you can either climb the wooden stairs and go up to the cascade on top and have some fun. Here you should have a rubber doughnut to sit in and take some photos. You can also jump off the waterfall as it is 10m deep. Would you try? I wouldn’t lol
When you clear the wooden stairs and climb down the other side you need to use this rope as it can be a little slippy. From here you can jump in the water and have some fun and take some pics.
Each group that comes along is given a rubber doughnut to sit in, play, take photos, whatever you wish.
You will spend about an hour here as the water is cold and after a while it is time to move on. Next are the thermal baths. They are not as hot as the ones on the previous tour but 36º is quite nice to jump into after being in this water. You will then make your way back to the raft and there are two small pools with very warm water to jump into for about 20 to 30 minutes, before you head back to Tarapoto. Again, the same with most full day tours, lunch is included and in my case was not that good. I got a stew, which was super dry and was not happy, so I complained lol if you are in Tarapoto and want to visit these places, I have some very good references of cheap, quality tours, nice minivan 2019, AC, good company and great guides, please just send me a message to my Instagram page. I hope I have helped you decide to come to this amazing place!!