A handful of agencies in Tarapoto offer excellent, reasonably priced tours to the area, which include lunch and have a three-passenger minimum.
Puerto Palmeras (Carretera Marginal Sur, Km 3, tel. 042/52-3978, www.puertopalmeras.com) has well-maintained Land Rovers that head to Lama, Huacamaillo, and Ahuashiyacu waterfalls; Lago Lindo; Yurimaguas; or as far as Chachapoyas and Kuélap. It can also arrange rafting trips down an eight-kilometer section of the Río Mayo, downstream of the town of San Miguel.
From Puerto Pericos, its lodge in Yurimaguas, this company also offers trips to Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria (with a minimum of two people). An eight-day trip allows one full day at remote Lake Pastococha and includes all meals, camping, and shaded canoe. Check the website for current rates and customized travel packages.
Adventure options include guide César Reategui, owner of hostel and restaurant La Patarashca (Lamas 261, tel. 042/52-8810, www.lapatarashca.com). He is willing to go anywhere, including out-of-the-way river spots and visits to [node32155 link Tingana, near Moyobamba]. He also leads backpacker treks to Pacaya Samiria.
The best rafting outfitter in town is Los Chancas Expeditions (Rioja 357, tel. 042/52-2616), which organizes day trips on the Río Mayo, which gets up to Class III during the rainy months of November–March. This agency also organizes trips into the Pacaya Samiria and longer, six-day trips down the Class IV waters of the lower Río Huallaga July–October.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition