Tarapoto to Yurimaguas

Tarapoto Travel Blog

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The pickup..not remotely full
I left for Yurimaguas today, at first waiting for a collectivo van but with only 5 passengers waiting around for the 13-person conveyance to leave, it could have taken hours, so the few of us there decided to go to the other terminal and see if there were a pickup truck or car going to Yurimaguas instead.  It turned out we had a lot of options and there was one pickup filling up that we got into.  We were more fortunate then many of the later arrivals who had to make do with standing in the back of it for the three hour ride.  The road is being paved and only on Sunday is the work suspended, allowing free traffic all day long.  On the other days, you have to catch a ride at either 4 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon, to get through before the construction work starts.
Now we're ready to go!
  It was hot but not that uncomfortable, even though we were 4 adults and 3 children in the back of the cab.  Nothing out of the normal for Peru.  They can pack in twice the number of people we’re used to accommodating.  And in the bed of the pickup there must have been another 15 people, in addition to all the cargo and luggage.  Two in the front seat plus a driver brought the total up to about 25 for a normal pickup truck!  The scenery was breathtaking on the way up.  Thickly forested sheer hills rose up in front of us as we weaved our way up and out of the valley.  I was surprised to see how high the mountains were here, thinking that we had left those high hills behind on the western and central part of the Andes in Peru.  But these were more than hills.
The back seat..ultimate comfort
  The difference was in the climate and vegetation.  The hills were all covered with palms and trees and plants and I felt really good there.  I was traveling with a mother and her two little girls and the older one, who was about 3 years old, was very high spirited and was talking the whole way.  At a certain point, she started chanting, “hey gingo” and everyone was laughing very hard.  She was referring to me but where she got that from I don’t know.  It was adorable to hear her trying to say “gringo” but missing the “r” and I didn’t mind at all.  Dusk started to fall and the road got steeper and a little more treacherous, as the newly paved road gave way to mud and clay and I wondered what the trip must be like in the rainy season.
Lush higher rainforest
  It would add a couple more hours on I’m sure.  Night fell and a light rain started.  The standing room only travelers in the cab must have gotten anxious but soon the rain stopped and we started descending into flatter and warmer areas.  We were nearing Yurimaguas.

What a total letdown after Tarapoto!  Yurimaguas is a small port city that just exists as a stopping point between Iquitos and Tarapoto.  It’s hot and sticky and dead here.  There were only a few restaurants open and I got some over-salted chicken with the usual soggy, greasy, barely warm fries and some shredded cabbage.  At least the beer was cold and I was able to get the food down because I was so hungry.
Playing on the construction site
  At the internet café it was hot and sweaty and the ceiling fans either didn’t work or weren’t turned on.  The dingy lighting made it hard on the eyes to look at the screen and pages took forever to load and programs were crashing.  I wasn’t having a good introduction to Yurimaguas.  Since it’s Sunday no boats are running so I’ll have to see what is leaving tomorrow.  Monday is a good day because after a day without departures, there are supposed to be a morning and evening departure for Iquitos.  I don’t want to spend any more time here than I have to.
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The pickup..not remotely full
The pickup..not remotely full
Now were ready to go!
Now we're ready to go!
The back seat..ultimate comfort
The back seat..ultimate comfort
Lush higher rainforest
Lush higher rainforest
Playing on the construction site
Playing on the construction site
Small village
Small village
Tarapoto
photo by: yadilitta