Although Peru is full of vibrant cities and adventurous activities in the mountains, people often overlook how Peru’s idyllic scenery can offer calm, revitalizing moments. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Lima or the traditional tourist activities near Machu Picchu, head north into the Amazon rainforest to Tarapoto for a more calming Peru retreat.

In contrast to the often crowded Sacred Valley, Tarapoto is truly off the beaten path and offers a unique mix of jungle and mountains. Surrounded by Peru’s protected Cordillera Escalera mountain range and full of glistening waterfalls, Tarapoto will appeal to all the senses as you get in touch with Mother Nature. You’ll be able to let your mind and body relax as you experience the natural beauty of Tarapoto.

Although not as well-known as Iquitos, another jungle town in northern Peru, it’s definitely worth seeing what Tarapoto, the “City of Palms,” has to offer. Read on for more information about how to get to Tarapoto, when to visit, and Peru retreat ideas for a refreshing, tranquil experience.

How to Get to Tarapoto

There are two options when traveling to Tarapoto – you can get there by land or air.

By Air
Flights from Lima to Tarapoto (airport code TPP) are just under an hour and a half and cost about $50 USD. Make sure to bring a small bag because many of the airlines only allow for a carry-on. Once there, a mototaxi to the town is less than $3 USD.

By Bus
If you’re looking for a more scenic route, you can travel by bus. Although there are multiple routes, the most common way travels up the coast of Peru from Lima, stopping in Chiclayo and then cutting inland towards Tarapoto.

For those interested in traveling by land, make sure to plan ahead because the bus ride takes 28 hours and costs about $40 USD. You can browse and book bus tickets ahead of time on BusBud.

Since the bus trip takes so long, you should consider breaking up the trip into several chunks so that you can explore some of the towns you pass through. For example, you could take a bus to Chiclayo, stay for a couple of days to go to the beach and visit Pomac Forest then continue on to Tarapoto.

Tarapoto Weather

The best and most common time to visit is during the dry season between May and August, with July being the busiest travel month. With that said, Tarapoto is a small town nestled right at the base of Cordillera Escalera, so it never actually gets that busy.

Temperatures are quite consistent year-round. Between May and August, temperatures range from lows of 70°F (21°C) to highs of 95°F (35°C). Although Tarapoto is in the Amazon rainforest, humidity is surprisingly mild from July to September. When traveling during these months, make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, hats, and swimsuits since most activities include a swim in one of the natural rivers or hot springs.

Find out more about Tarapoto weather here.

Peru Retreat Ideas

If you’re looking for a relaxing experience surrounded by the flora and fauna of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, Tarapoto is the perfect destination. You can choose from a variety of retreats, whether you’re interested in getting in touch with the earth, strengthening your body with yoga, or learning how to spiritually heal through Reiki.

Natural Retreats
Observing the majestic wildlife of the Amazon will leave you in awe of nature and its treasures. You’ll have the chance to see the scarlet macaw soaring through the air, red howler monkeys swinging from the trees, and if you keep your eyes wide open you might catch a glimpse of a jaguar prowling the jungle. Pay attention to the tree branches as well since anacondas can often be found wrapped up in the trees. Ecotourism in Peru is thriving due to the country’s incredible biodiversity.

The best way to spot Amazon animals and discover hidden waterfalls is by getting out into the forest on one of Tarapoto’s hiking trails. Huacamaillo is one of the largest waterfalls in the region at a height of 30 feet (9 m). To reach the waterfall, first go to San Antonio de Cumbaza, about 10 miles from Tarapoto. Once there, you’ll hike about two hours along the Cumbaza River, surrounded by the native animals in the forest, before reaching the powerful falls.

For a less frequented trail, hike up to Carpishuyacu Waterfall, about an hour and a half outside of Tarapoto. You’ll walk one hour through the forest until you reach the falls. Although this waterfall may not be as impressive as Huacamaillo, the path is much less crowded and allows for a more secluded adventure.

If you’re looking for a hike with some bird watching, Shapaja Waterfalls is an easy trail with great quantities of birds. The hike itself is only 40 minutes, but you’ll trek through thick vegetation until you emerge at a crystal-clear pool at the base of the waterfalls.

For nature lovers and travelers looking to go off the beaten path, this 4-day birding and wildlife retreat will teach you about the biodiversity of the region’s lush cloud forest where you can see endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. After each day traveling around the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, unwind in the thermal hot springs and rest for the night in the Tambo Ilusion Retreat Center.

Camping Retreats
If camping is more your style, head to San Roque de Cumbaza for an overnight camping tour. Located only 45 minutes outside of Tarapoto, San Roque de Cumbaza is home to breathtaking flora and fauna. You can also hike up to the Toroyacu Waterfall and swim in the Cumbaza River for a truly serene experience. By spending the night in the Amazon, you will get to see and hear species you wouldn’t normally see during the day.

Along with San Roque de Cumbaza, there are a few different campsites to choose from. Canoas Camping Ecolodge is a campground close to Tarapoto where you can bring your own tent and reserve a spot to stay for the night. Since this is not a common option for many travelers, it will feel as if you have the campsite all to yourself.

Another camping option is Purma Camping. Similar to Canoas, you must reserve a space ahead of time. However, Purma makes reserving a space easy as they book their reservations through Airbnb.

Peru Spiritual Retreat
In addition to appreciating nature, a Tarapoto Peru retreat is also a great opportunity for reflection and spiritual growth. Whatever your beliefs, some peaceful contemplation in the rainforest will certainly inspire you.

For more guidance on your spiritual journey, you can go on this 4-Day Reiki Retreat whose purpose is to enlighten your mental and physical being. Reiki is a type of alternative therapy called energy healing. Learn how to utilize the non-invasive Usui Reiki system to balance the body’s energy centers and promote healing. At the end of this calming retreat and workshop, you will leave with a level 1 Reiki certification and a better ability to use Reiki energy to heal yourself and others.

If you’re considering a Peru spiritual retreat, you may have heard of ayahuasca ceremonies. Ayahuasca is a plant-based psychoactive drink made by shamans. A traditional ceremony can last about 6 hours, as participants consume and experience the effects of the brew, guided by the shaman. Some report profound experiences, but be aware that it can have physical effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. Consult a medical professional beforehand to be aware of the possible effects for you.

Yoga Retreat Peru
To strengthen your body and improve your balance, try a yoga retreat. You can even do yoga on a stand-up paddle board (SUP)! The challenging practice of SUP yoga deepens your connection with your body and physical surroundings.

On this 3-day SUP yoga retreat, you’ll enjoy doing yoga on a glistening freshwater lagoon. Along with yoga, you’ll have the opportunity to hike up to the Ahuashiyacu Waterfall. This waterfall cascades over algae-covered rocks and flows into a swimmable pond where you can cool off after the hike. Whether you’re a hardcore yogi or you prefer other ways to unwind, the Ahuashiyacu Waterfall is a serene place for everyone to check out.

Where to Stay in Tarapoto

There are a number of ecolodges in Tarapoto which are perfect bases for your Peru retreat. Some of them also offer retreat activities such as yoga and hiking. We recommend these lodges, which are all about midrange in price:

Tarapoto is an authentic Peruvian town away from traditional tourist attractions. It is the perfect location for nature lovers looking to relax in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. No matter what type of retreat you are looking for, Tarapoto’s abundant wildlife and natural beauty are sure to provide a tranquil experience.