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(Altitude: 182 m / 593 ft, Population: 70,575, City Code: 065)

Yurimaguas, nicknamed La Perla del Huallaga (The Pearl of the Huallaga) is the end of the Corredor Transoceánico. This town perches at the confluence of three rivers: the Shanusi, Huallaga and Paranapura. Boats for Iquitos and other destinations up- and downstream depart from the eight ports along the rivers’ banks. An increasingly popular route with foreign travellers is to boat from Pucallpa to Iquitos, then upstream to Yurimaguas (or vice versa).

Boats also depart for Lagunas, a village 98 kilometers (60 mi) northeast of Turimaguas. This settlement gives easier access to Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria (2 hr by trail or 0.5 hr by pickup), rather than visiting that national park from Iquitos.

The town of Yurimaguas does not have much to offer. Travelers whiling away the time waiting for a boat can sit in the shady Plaza de Armas and people-watch. On one side of the square is Catedral Virgen de las Nieves, designed by French architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Another place to check out the local scene is at the market at Puerto El Vado, where merchants arrive from all over the jungle to sell their wares.

Outside of the city lie more interesting attractions, like indigenous villages Munichis, which has a fine beach and botanical garden (14 km / 8.5 mi away), and Cuipari (45 km / 27.5 mi southeast), with hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Five minutes from Yurimaguas by pequepeque (motorboat) is Apangurayacu, a community devoted to floriculture; the best time to visit are Thursday and Friday 3-5 p.m., when flowers are harvested. Balsapuerto (60 km / 36 mi northeast), whose indigenous populace still maintains many of their traditions, has hiking to waterfalls and petroglyphs.


Other places nearby Yurimaguas: Santa Rosa, Tarapoto, Lamas, Iquitos and Moyobamba.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

26 Aug 2012

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