Main Tourist Attractions of San Martin
The Gran Pajatén Archaeological Complex
The Gran Pajaten Archaeological Complex pertains to the Chachapoya culture (1200 – 1500 a.D.), and is located on the right bank of the Montecristo River, at 2,850 m.a.s.l., inside the Río Abiseo (Abiseo River) National Park, declared as Humanity’s Natural and Cultural Patrimony, by the UNESCO, in 1991 and 1992, respectively.
This wonderful complex is situated in a place with dense vegetation, and its constructions extend from the plateau’s flanks, to the sector called Las Palmas, presenting buildings erected on different levels. The edifications mainly have a circular layout and are seated on top of stone platforms, and their walls present designs in high-relief, with geometrical, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motives, as decorative elements. Going on a short hike, one gets to the Los Pinchudos Funerary Sanctuary (2,800 m.a.s.l.), built on an impressive cliff, and the funerary context of which presents colorful friezes and anthropomorphic shapes carved in wood.
The Cataracts of Ahuashiyacu
It is located 14 km. North-west of the city of Tarapoto, on the route to Yurimaguas, on a compacted dirt road (30 minutes by car and a 15 minute hike). That beautiful 40 meter high crystalline waterfall runs on rocks, with thick vegetation on both sides, and ends in a pool of about 12 meters in diameter, in which one can bathe. The depth of the pool is variable, allowing for spaces for children, and in its central part, it is much deeper. The surrounding vegetation, with abundant trees and ferns, adds a special beauty to it, meanwhile one can observe varieties of butterflies, birds and insects, around it.
It is located in the middle of the jungle, South-east of the city of Tarapoto, on the Huallaga River’s right margin. It is a body of water originated by a tectonic collapse or tectonic faults, with an extension of 430.80 hectares. That lake’s shoreline is characterized for always being clean and surrounded by meadows and tourist centers, as well as by Sauce’s inhabited center; the hamlet of Dos de Mayo, and also, the installations of the Fisheries Ministry’s Sauce Fish Nursery Center. The lake’s main Use is for fish breeding and extensive type of fishing, with the introduction of species, such as tilapia, gamitana, paco, bocachico, acahurazu and tucunare.
It has an interesting tourist infrastructure, and in order to ease the access, stay and recreation of Peruvian and foreign visitors, there are jetties and one can navigate on the lake, on motorized boats, water gliders and canoes.
It is a small lagoon of a great beauty, for its crystalline waters, with an average temperature of 27? C, and it is surrounded by abundant vegetation which reflects in the water, like in a mirror. In the lagoon, the tree tops rise above the water surface, as it was formed by damming rain water.
It is interesting to contemplate the canopies of the trees that remained trapped in the reservoir, and come out of the water, as ferns have grown on them, creating ideal conditions for the nests of birds that frequently fly by, feathering the water. There, one can observe wild ducks, paucares, the kingfisher, manacaracos, etc. The lagoon is surrounded by mountains, with abundant vegetation typical of the tropical forest.
The Venice Lagoon
It is an albufera created from the concentration of aguajes (A kind of palm tree) that surround the lagoon, giving it a special beauty. It has an oval shape (60 meters wide and 170 meters long), with a depth of 2.5 meters. It also has a small zoo.
The El Vaquero Rapids
They are located in the middle of the jungle, within the dry tropical forest area, with greenish waters, in the summer, and is muddy, during the flood season. They run at an altitude of 280 to 300 m.a.s.l., with natural forests on their shores, and steep slope areas.
The course of the Huallaga River is torrential and irregular, as it is conditioned by a riverbed that becomes narrower and constantly changes its inclination between Pilluana and Chazuta, in the sector called El Vaquero, where the El Vaquero and Chumia rapids are located.
In that area, the bed of the Huallaga River becomes considerably narrower, as it crosses or cuts into a ramification of the sub-Andean Cordillera, through an irregular canyon, forming rapids called “Mal Paso” (Bad Step), making their navigation difficult. This level of difficulty offers a singular attraction for the practice of rafting and fishing.
Paucaryacu’s Thermal Baths
They are situated 35 km. from Tarapoto (1 hour and a half), on the way to Sauce. There are three pools, with sulfurous, salted and warm waters, with average temperatures of 25? C (77? F) in one, 36? C (97? F) in another and 45? C (113? F) in the last one, to which medicinal properties are attributed.
Carpishoyaku’s Cascades and San José’s Thermal Baths
They are located 36 km. of Tarapoto (1 hour), on the way to Yurimaguas. On a compacted dirt road and after a 20 minute hike, one gets to the thermal baths formed by a set of hot water trickles that sprout from the mountainside, and from there, one can hike for another 15 minutes, to get to a great pool of temperate waters.