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Tarapoto and Lamas, Peru - The Only Castle In The Amazon

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - October 2016   » View Photoset (57 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I didn't come to Tarapoto to do a jungle tour because I planned to do that a week later in Iquitos and I didn't come to see any waterfalls as I had seen a
Peru Photo - Indigenous man plays a wooden flute, nice mural in Lamas.
Indigenous man plays a wooden flute, nice mural in Lamas.
couple in Tingo Maria and I didn't come to Tarapoto to go out on a lagoon because I had done that in Pucallpa. So why did I come here? Because I wanted to do something different which turned out to be a visit to the nearby town of Lamas (the folklore capital of the Peruvian Amazon). Also, I planned to head north from Tarapoto to Yurimaguas to take a ferry to Iquitos. And the other reason was so that I could travel, photograph and document Peru's most notorious road from Tingo Maria to Tarapoto, bandit country!

City of Palm Trees

I found Tarapoto city itself quite unremarkable, little to see, not even a particularly attractive plaza. Known as the 'City of Palm Trees', not that you don't see a million palm trees while in the Amazon by default.

Tour Offices

Around the Plaza Mayor are many tour
Peru Photo - Alien with green eyes, beautifully carved from wood, made in Lamas.
Alien with green eyes, beautifully carved from wood, made in Lamas.
offices offering tours for adventure, nature and wildlife - there is plenty to see and do outside the city that's for sure - rafting, tubing, hiking and camping! I booked myself an afternoon tour to Lamas, leaving at 3pm. Between the morning and then I did my own city tour and came out reasonably empty handed with that.

Tour to Lamas

The 3pm tour turned out to be a 3:30pm tour by the time I was picked up and after picking up a few more people around town and much fluffing around we didn't arrive in Lamas until 4:30pm, nice, the light was fading and it was getting dark on this cloudy grey day. The first thing my tour group did after arriving was
Peru Photo - Bright mural on a street corner with a girls face, Tarapoto.
Bright mural on a street corner with a girls face, Tarapoto.
go into a cafe and have refreshments and coffee, how lovely for them! I wasn't up for this balony at all and broke away and headed out on my own, I thought I had come here to see Lamas! The most famous landmark in Lamas and Tarapoto for that matter is the castle, 'El Castillo de Lamas' (open daily from 9am - 6:30pm). It's a replica of a European medieval castle and was built after the 2005 earthquake that hit the town. Built by an Italian who lives in the area as a way to give the people work. One of the ceilings is painted with 195 birds each with their species name, great for bird enthusiasts! Also in Lamas you can find the museum 'Museo Chanka' full of traditional and cultural stuff. Some nice murals are scattered around the town and of course there's the central plaza, church and monuments too. I was down at the plaza when my tour van came and arrested me and took me back to the castle where everyone else was.

Plaza de la Cultura Wayku

From the castle we went
Peru Photo - Mural of Jesus in blue, on a side-street in Lamas.
Mural of Jesus in blue, on a side-street in Lamas.
down the hill to the Plaza de la Cultura Wayku, a separate part of the main town up the hill. At the Wayku plaza between 5pm and 6pm each day you can see the locals dressed up in traditional clothes and dancing for the tourists. Around the plaza is Lamas's 2nd church, there's arts and crafts for sale, monuments of the culture and friendly locals. Lamas has over a dozen places you can stay (hospedajes), over 20 restaurants, cafes and snack places and half a dozen places that sell indigenous art. It's definitely worth coming to Lamas for the whole day to really enjoy the place, better still, stay the night here rather than in Tarapoto. Lamas is only 22kms from Tarapoto and takes just 30mins to get here, who needs a tour?

Lamas Annual Festival

The annual festival of Lamas is in late August with the townfolk in colorful clothing and dancing to the rhythms of traditional instruments. It's one of the oldest towns in the Peruvian jungle, founded in 1656, it has the influence of the first people of the Amazon!

Co-op Taxi to Yurimaguas

From Tarapoto I headed 2hrs north by co-op taxi to Yurimaguas, it was time to get off the road and get on the river!

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Tarapoto & Lamas (Peru) to:


Map location: Tarapoto & Lamas, Peru. I visited the nearby town of Lamas (the folklore capital of the Peruvian Amazon). It has the only castle in the Amazon! Tarapoto has many tour offices to do jungle tours and see waterfalls etc.
 A : Tarapoto to Yurimaguas - Peru 72 kms 72 kms straight distance | 2hrs 27mins 2hrs 27mins by car (135 kms) | 2hrs 56mins 2hrs 56mins by bus (135 kms) (135 kms)
 B : Chachapoyas - Peru 168 kms 168 kms straight distance | 5hrs 53mins 5hrs 53mins by car (348 kms) | 7hrs 3mins 7hrs 3mins by bus (348 kms) (348 kms)
 C : San Ignacio to Chachapoyas - Peru 262 kms 262 kms straight distance | 6hrs 40mins 6hrs 40mins by car (401 kms) | 8hrs 8hrs by bus (401 kms) (401 kms)
 D : Tingo Maria - Peru 314 kms 314 kms straight distance | 8hrs 37mins 8hrs 37mins by car (490 kms) | 10hrs 20mins 10hrs 20mins by bus (490 kms) (490 kms)
 E : Leymebamba to Celendin - Peru 184 kms 184 kms straight distance | 9hrs 9hrs by car (501 kms) | 10hrs 48mins 10hrs 48mins by bus (501 kms) (501 kms)
 F : La Balsa to San Ignacio - Peru 325 kms 325 kms straight distance | 8hrs 55mins 8hrs 55mins by car (513 kms) | 10hrs 42mins 10hrs 42mins by bus (513 kms) (513 kms)
 G : Cajamarca - Peru 247 kms 247 kms straight distance | 12hrs 48mins 12hrs 48mins by car (657 kms) | 15hrs 21mins 15hrs 21mins by bus (657 kms) (657 kms)
 H : Pucallpa - Peru 284 kms 284 kms straight distance | 12hrs 17mins 12hrs 17mins by car (697 kms) | 14hrs 44mins 14hrs 44mins by bus (697 kms) (697 kms)
 I : Yungay & Caraz - Peru 326 kms 326 kms straight distance | 14hrs 31mins 14hrs 31mins by car (705 kms) | 17hrs 25mins 17hrs 25mins by bus (705 kms) (705 kms)
 J : Cajabamba - Peru 221 kms 221 kms straight distance | 14hrs 24mins 14hrs 24mins by car (737 kms) | 17hrs 16mins 17hrs 16mins by bus (737 kms) (737 kms)
 K : Huamachuco to Caraz - Peru 263 kms 263 kms straight distance | 15hrs 12mins 15hrs 12mins by car (770 kms) | 18hrs 14mins 18hrs 14mins by bus (770 kms) (770 kms)
 L : Huamachuco - Peru 234 kms 234 kms straight distance | 16hrs 9mins 16hrs 9mins by car (789 kms) | 19hrs 22mins 19hrs 22mins by bus (789 kms) (789 kms)
 M : Tingo Maria to Tarapoto - Peru 182 kms 182 kms straight distance
 N : Yurimaguas to Iquitos - Peru 264 kms 264 kms straight distance
 O : Pucallpa to Tingo Maria - Peru 283 kms 283 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Tarapoto and Lamas, Peru:

Alojamiento La Siesta, Tarapoto, Peru - Large Photo
Alojamiento La Siesta, Tarapoto, Peru (October 2016 - 2 nights) - Nice room with tv, wifi and a nice bathroom and bed. The fan was very weak though, not good on a hot day. $40 Soles ($12USD) for my room. Located several blocks from the main plaza, not that there is anything to see at the plaza. Walk 2 blocks up the hill to a restaurant that has a great salad! A good hotel if you don't need to be right in the center.

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Tarapoto and Lamas, Peru - The Only Castle In The Amazon. I visited the nearby town of Lamas (the folklore capital of the Peruvian Amazon). It has the only castle in the Amazon! Tarapoto has many tour offices to do jungle tours and see waterfalls etc.

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