Tarapoto

Travel Guide South America Peru Tarapoto

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Introduction

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. 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 metres, the temperatures won't get as hot, usually not above 35 °C, 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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Tarapoto has an airport, which can be flown to directly from Lima. Both LAN and LC Perú fly from Lima to Tarapoto.

By Bus

There are bus services from Lima, which roughly take 24 hours via Trujillo & Chiclayo to Tarapoto.

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Getting 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.

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Sleep

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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Keep Connected

Internet

More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. In Peru, by far the easiest way to check your e-mail and surf the Web is to drop in at the Internet cabinas (booths) that can be found in virtually every city and even small towns. Connections are usually fast, and the service is as little as S/2 per hour.
Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and many hotels nowadays have at least one computer with Internet access.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Peru's country code is +51. Emergency numbers include 105 (Police), 117 (Ambulance) and 116 (Fire).

In all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. Many public phones can be expensive, and an attractive alternative is a Locutorio, or "call-center". Typical rates include .2 Nuevo Sol/minute for calls in the country, and .5 Nuevo Sol/minute for most international calls. Phone cards are cheap and easily available from shops or vendors who hang around pay phones. You'll often see people with a bundle of mobile phones who act as pay phones, they'll be shouting 'llamadas'. Telephone booths are primarily used for making local calls. Calling to other countries from Peru is expensive.

If you have an unlocked cell phone you can buy local SIM cards. Movistar and Claro are two of the phone companies in Peru. You can buy your sim card from these companies and buy a phone card also.

Your best, cheapest bet for making international calls from Peru is to head to any Internet cafe with an international calling option. These cafes have connections to Skype, Net2Phone, or some other VoIP service. International calls made this way can range anywhere from 5¢ to $1 per minute -- much cheaper than making direct international calls or using a phone card. If you have your own Skype or similar account, you just need to find an Internet cafe that provides a computer with a headset.

Post

Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which are faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 13:22 on Dec 7, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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