Yurimaguas (population 40,000 ) is the nearest major port to Iquitos and the one with the most frequent water transportation. It is the biggest port on the Rio Huallaga, but still very minor compared with the likes of Iquitos and Pucallpa. The market is quite lively in the mornings before 8am. You can organize treks in the surrounding jungle through one of the tour agencies on the plaza.
Getting To Yurimaguas
- By River The port of La Boca is where all the larger boats leave, such as the ones to Iquitos. The port is located some fifteen to twenty minutes’ walk from the center, or a few soles in a moto-taxi. Trips last about 3 days and leave every other day. You can buy hammocks for the trip at the market about $10. See the Iquitos section for more information.
- By Bus To Tarapoto (140 km, 6 hours) try Expreso Huarmanga, which has one daily bus at 7am leaving from its office outside the center. Or try the mini buses that line up on Tacna and Huallaga and leave when full beginning at 4am.
Where to Stay in Yurimaguas
- Puerto Patos – San Miguel 720, 35-2009, www.puertopalmeras.com.pe/pericos. To the north of the city, this quiet Includes continental breakfast. Rooms overlook the river and are airy, but still hot. They have private baths and hot water showers. The hotel will help arrange trekking, mountain biking, and general transportation.
- Hostal Luis Antonio – Jauregui 407, 35-2065. This is a good budget minded option where you can add on things like TV and A/C for a slight increase. There is also a small pool on the grounds.
Day trips from Yurimaguas Lagunas, 12 hours upriver from Yurimaguas, is a small village with basic accommodations. Boats between Iquitos and Yurimaguas stop there, as to more frequent boats that travel sole between the two points. You can arrange canoe trips of several days through with the locals there where there is a good variety of wildlife. Lagunas is also a could place to begin exploration of the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve. Estpel is the official guides association and calling there is a much better option (and safer) than taking a tour with someone on the street.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.