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Tarapoto is a city in the northeast of Peru, located at a height of 250 m.a.s.l on the bank of the Shilcayo River, tributary of the Mayo. It is one of the main tourist and commercial cities of the Peruvian Amazon and it is the 20th city of Peru. It currently has a population of almost 150.000 (2012) inhabitants, and is the most populated city of the department of San Martín. It is known as the City of the Palm Trees


When the Spaniards arrived, the town of Cumbazas existed in the valley of Tarapoto. Its inhabitants were exterminated by war when they presented resistance. According to legend, a family which took part in the fight survived this disaster. Once they were exterminated, their children (a boy and a girl) took refuge in the hills; the Apu God took pity on the orphans, and made the boy a strong and robust bull and the girl a beautiful butterfly; they both took refuge in the forests of the cerro escalera. The pain and sadness produced in them uncontrollable crying. The bull cried so much that its tears became the Shilcayo River. The beautiful and native butterfly came down from the hills to observe the ruin of her town. A Spanish archer was fascinated by her beauty when he saw her and did not hesitate to catch her, and the wounded butterfly fell to the ground becoming the lagoon of Suchiche, which is the origin of Tarapoto.


Tarapoto is 353 m.a.s.l. and the Province of San Martín varies from 120 m.a.s.l. to more than 1,600 m.a.s.l. Due to its height and the mountains that surround the city, Tarapoto has a fresher climate than the other main cities of the Peruvian Amazon. The average daily temperature is 29°C with a variation of 18°C to 34°C. The dry seasons are from June to October and December until February and the rainy season from February until May and October until December with the heaviest rains in March and April and the driest season is in July, August and September.

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