New adventures in San Martin

There are some trips that are not planned. It all starts with a simple conversation about a conserved area, a boat trip, a night of camping and a waterfall that is extraordinary. The starting point, just two hours from Tarapoto. Go and see for yourself, that everything is just beautiful. Then, on your way back, you say, “This is something I have to tell everyone about.”

Today I will take you down a special route, perfect for adventure and nature lovers. It all begins in JuanjuĂ­, 2 hours from Tarapoto. The province of Mariscal CĂĄceres is still one of the busiest places on the Peruvian tourist map. Here, the shadow of drug trafficking once lived for many years. However, in 2006, the cocoa from the Alto El Sol Community (1 hour from Pachiza JuanjuĂ­), was recognized as one of the best in the world according to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, and things began to change.

The first great surprise: there is a very comfortable hostel in JuanjuĂ­, with a small swimming pool, impeccable rooms, tropical gardens and hammocks awaiting your arrival. El Capricornio is the ideal place to spend the night before surrendering to the adventure.

The next day, take a seat in the boat, go up the Huallaga River and then up the Huayabamba River. Stop to visit the Santa Rosa Botanical Garden and try the tree bread stew, near  the village known as 2 de Mayo. Can you see the lush hills in the background and the division that appears? That’s where the home of the Association of Community Forest Protection of Dos de Mayo-Alto Huayabamba can be found. There are 27 partners, farmers who began to take care of their primary forest. There sits the Control Station of Pillco, offering an interpretative path of the medicinal riches of their forest. This is the secret door to an amazing tour of the Conservation Area of El Breo.

The plant maze between large waterfalls

the boat enters the Huansanache Canyon, everything changes: the air is cooler, there is denser vegetation and the river grows stronger. The rock walls are full of vines and mosses; they outline a narrow hedge maze, where the drops of dozens of waterfalls fall. It was there that three Military Macaws (Aras) took flight. Pure magic.

Adventure lovers will not be disappointed as the boat moves across some very choppy water that soaked us all, as if it were a water park attraction. The driver must be very skilled, we recommend ours, Lizardo Castle (Lisha). The goal was to reach the intrepid waterfall of Breo. There are bathrooms, changing rooms and a well-marked trail with ramps that take about 30 minutes to complete. Above the mighty waterfall of Breo, water flows through a rock like string threading a needle. You can bathe in one of its natural pools, loaded with vitality.

Before nightfall, we reached the end of the trail: the Cañón de Soledad.  These hills, part of the OrquĂ­dea « Zapatito del Rey Â», are over 400 meters high. The river is narrow and rocks are everywhere.

A little further up, the Amazon region and its cloud forest can be found. We are just in time to set up our tents on the beaches of Martin Sagrado, a sanctuary for animals and fishing. The night is lit by the stars and is spent around the campfire.

If you want a chance to see animals, you are in the right place. Walking the cloud forest silently, you can observe deer, tapirs and armadillos. The hundreds of the butterflies of Urania are visible, they settle on the banks of the beaches.

On the way back, we pass through the Yacu Rumi waterfall. It’s smaller, making it an ideal spot for a swimming pool, perfect to bathe in, jump into or to take pictures of, under the thousands of drops of water falling from the rocks. Did I tell you that you can also kayak through this beautiful place?

Discover the Conservation Area El Breo, supporting the Association of Community Forest Protection of Dos de Mayo-Alto Huayabamba, which has an important role in curbing illegal logging in the area and conserve its biodiversity. After this adventure, there is no doubt in how important the work they perform is.


The route: Departure from Puerto Grau by boat. 3 hours to the checkpoint in Aproboc, if you are traveling directly. Full Day excursions are available. We recommend two full days. Prices vary, depending on the number of passengers.
Lodging: Hostal Capricornio. The Matrimonial room is available since S/.80 – S/.120 with AC. Tel: 042 545056.
Best time: From May to December, before the rainy season.
Agencies: Tesoros del Pajaten and APROBOC.
Other attractions: Archaeological and Ethno Museum (Museo ArqueolĂłgico y EtnohistĂłrico) based on the Chachapoyas culture in the Great Pajaten. Route of Cacao (Ruta del Cacao), Alto El Sol Community.

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