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A ceremony taking place in the central square of Tarapoto
A ceremony taking place in the central square of Tarapoto
Flag of Tarapoto
Nickname(s): City of Palms
Tarapoto is located in Peru
Location of in Peru
Coordinates: 6°29′S 76°22′W / 6.483°S 76.367°W / -6.483; -76.367
Country  Peru
Region San Martín Region
Province San Martín Province
Demonym Tarapotino(a)
Founded 1782
Elevation 356 m (1,168 ft)
 • Estimate (2015)[1] 144,186

Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms", is a thriving commercial hub in northern Peru, an hour by plane from Lima, situated in the San Martín Province of the San Martín Region, located in the high jungle plateau to the east of what is known as the selva baja (low jungle). Although Moyobamba is the capital of the region, Tarapoto is the region's largest city, and is linked to the Upper Amazon and the historic city of Yurimaguas by a relatively well-maintained newly paved (2008–2009) transandean highway.[2]

Tarapoto is at an altitude of approximately 356 metres above sea level on the high jungle plateau, also called the cloud forest.[2] Founded in 1782 by Baltazar Martínez Jiménez de Compagnon, Tarapoto has a population of 63,484 (downtown) and over 117,184 inhabitants with the outlying Morales and Banda de Shilcayo districts, according to the 2007 census.

Tarapoto is often used by tourists and local visitors as a "jumping off" point for excursions into the vast Amazon Rainforest. The region's main activities are tourism, commerce, agriculture and a thriving illicit "shadow economy" including the production of coca leaves, the extraction of lumber and the trade in land concessions.

Tarapoto is home to the Universidad Nacional de San Martin, an important center of higher education serving the professional and technical needs of the bio-diverse region [1]. With its active night-life, Tarapoto offers a wide variety of hotels and restaurants in and around the city. Moreover, beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, lagoons, and adventure tourism, such as river rafting and hiking in the tropical Andes, attracts numerous visitors to the "City of Palms".


Tarapoto was founded August 20, 1782 by the Spanish bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez de Compagnon y Bujanda. Its beginnings date back to the explorations of the Pocras and Chancas (old cultures of the Ayacucho region) who, when being conquered by the Inca Empire, headed a revolution led by the commander Ancohallo; a revolt that, when defeated, forced their tribal members to escape from terrible Inca vengeance. Eventually settling down in the valleys of the Mayo and Cumbaza rivers in what is now the San Martin department, they possibly formed the town of Lamas, before establishing a satellite in the valley of the rivers Cumbaza and Shilcayo, having as a central nucleus the Suchiche Lagoon (dried up in the colony). In this lagoon grew abundant Taraputus palms, a name that the Spanish bishop would later use when founding the city in this area of hunters and fishermen.

Founded September 14, 1906, Tarapoto is the main tourist and commercial hub of this part of northeastern Peru. The city is located in the valleys of the Cumbaza and Shilcayo rivers, and is the center of the terrestrial networks and areas between the mountains, the coast and eastern Peru.


Climate data for Tarapoto (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.9
Average low °C (°F) 20.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 97.7
Source: NOAA[3]

Access and transportation[edit]

Tarapoto one hour by air from Lima and is served by the Cad. FAP Guillermo del Castillo Paredes Airport. Nationally speaking, the Tarapoto-based airport is the third in importance in flow for passengers and cargo. It operates flights to and from Lima on a daily basis, as well as it is a stopover to other cities such as Iquitos and Pucallpa from Lima.

Lima can be reached by bus in approximately 28 hours. The route runs through Moyobamba and Pedro Ruiz before passing through the coastal city of Chiclayo.

Moto Taxis and motorized rickshaws are extremely prevalent as an inexpensive mode of transportation throughout Tarapoto. Due to the types of the engines used in many motor taxis, main intersections in Tarapoto are extremely noisy, especially in times of high traffic. Recently however, there has been a push to certify rickshaws which abide by noise pollution standards.


Tarapoto offers a variety of hotels and guesthouses for tourists and businessmen, both within the city and its surrounding area. A number of resorts also provide for more upmarket tourists.

Local culture[edit]

Tarapoto is the site of the headquarters of the National University of San Martín, and the center of the cultural activity of the San Martín region.

Local food[edit]

In Tarapoto one can enjoy the most varied food typical of the jungle region. The area is famous for juane , made with rice, egg, olive and chicken, all wrapped up in leaves of bijao. Cured pork products are also common, most notably cecina and chorizo sausage.

Nearby tourist attractions[edit]

The spa of Cumbaza, the archaeological remains of the petroglyphs of Polish (Bello Horizonte)[2], abundant plant and animal life, the waterfalls of Ahuashiyacu and the Venice Lagoon are just a few of the area's attractions. Visitors can enjoy a landscape blessed with a wide variety of flora and fauna, numerous waterfalls and opportunities for adventure tourism (such as white water rafting, jungle expeditions and treks).


For the top level university, Tarapoto has the Universidad Nacional de San Martín with 15 professional careers: Accounting, Agroindustrial Engineering (Juanjui), Agroindustry, Agronomy, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Ecology (Moyobamba), Education-Primary and Secondary (Rioja), Economics, Languages, Management, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, Systems Engineering, and Tourism Management. The National University of San Martín includes an important museum, the Museo Regional-UNSM, which is operated through FUDES (Fundación Para el Desarrollo de la Selva-Universidad Nacional de San Martín). The Regional Museum of the National University of San Martin has a notable anthropology section, which includes both ethnographic and archaeological collections from Peruvian Amazonia.

The Universidad César Vallejo offers careers in Accounting, Law, Psychology, Management, Systems Engineering. Other schools are the Universidad Peruana Union, the Universidad Alas Peruanas, the Instituto Superior Público de Tarapoto, the Instituto Superior Tecnológico Nororiental de la Selva, and numerous private vocational education centers. For special education, Tarapoto has the Education Centre No. 001 for children with Mental Retardation and/or physical limitations and Education Centre No. 002 or Blind Rehabilitation Center (CREC) for the visually impaired.[citation needed]

Use in popular culture[edit]

In the fictional Harry Potter Universe, Tarapoto is the hometown of the professional Quidditch team the Tarapoto Tree-Skimmers.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perú: Población estimada al 30 de junio y tasa de crecimiento de las ciudades capitales, por departamento, 2011 y 2015. Perú: Estimaciones y proyecciones de población total por sexo de las principales ciudades, 2012-2015 (Report) (Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática). March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Tarapoto.com Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Tarapoto.com" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Tarapoto Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ Whisp, Kennilworthy (2001). Quidditch Through the Ages. WhizzHard Books. pp. 31–46. ISBN 1-55192-454-4. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°29′S 76°22′W / 6.483°S 76.367°W / -6.483; -76.367