Moyobamba Easter 2015

P1160493Brightly painted wall outside Orquideas Amazonicas

Moyobamba calls itself the ‘city of orchids’. The area is home to over 3000 species of orchids. The temperatures, the altitude, the soil, the perfect combination of sun and rain all make the Province of San Martin and of the city of Moyobamba the perfect environment for orchids and bromeliads to flourish… and they do.

Below: Short video walking through a small part of the orchid nursery in Moyobamba

Moyobamba is also home to naturally heated hot springs ‘aguas termales’.  The municipality of Moyobamba administers and maintains the baths. The very affordable entrance fee makes it possible for anyone in the area to enjoy the benefits of this place. I was there on ‘Good Friday’.  All during ‘Semana Santa’ (Holy week) families get together there, maybe enjoy a picnic lunch, sit in the pools, swim, and just hang out together.  Grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, teens, tots, and toddlers are seen together, enjoying the company of each other. HotSpringsOfMoyobamba 3April2015Above: Aguas Termales de San Mateo. At Left is a small stream. At right/lower are two different ‘pozzo’s (pools) of hot water. Above the pools are showers to be used before entering pools. Upper level is a medium depth swimming pool and a mini pool for toddlers.

I had been here before and was hoping that the hot springs were open.  Was very happy to learn that they were open. As previous posts have mentioned (and shown) mud slides (huayco) and rock slides (derumbles) are a yearly phenomenon in many parts of Peru during the rainy season.  More rain equals more slides. In November there had been a mud slide that washed right through the above hot springs. The people of Moyobamba are hard working folks. Not sure how long it took, but from the following video you know it required a lot of time and effort to clean the place up and repair the damage.

 Scenic views of the Rio Mayo can be experienced a very short distance from the center of town.  There is a ‘mirador’ (scenic overlook) and a pedestrian only walk along a ridge. One can see miles of the river valley and Puerto Tahuishco below. This area is also where a few late night ‘discotecas’ (bar/dance halls) are located, as well as some great restaurants. Known locally as ‘La Boulevard’… or ‘La mirador de Puerto Tahuishco’.  The stairway from the boulevard down to the port has about 400 steps, I counted.

The port area is brand new, completed in late 2014.  There are docks and there are the same kinds of boats as are common on the Amazon river.

I spoke with the captain of a small boat that let off five passengers. I asked if his vessel was a tourist boat. He, of course said it was. Then, I asked where he would take tourists. He said, upriver to a small bridge that crossed the river. I asked how long a ride. He said about a half hour to the bridge. I asked how much. He said 30 soles (10 bucks). I asked if a person could get out at the bridge and get a taxi to town from there. He said no. I asked how does one get back. He said the boat just turns around at the bridge and comes back to Puerto Tahuishco. I asked how much to return from the bridge. He said 30 soles per passenger. So…if I got it right (maybe he was saying 30 soles round trip) it is an hour long tourist boat ride that might be fun, but goes nowhere, and costs either 10 or possibly 20 bucks depending on the interpretation of the captain’s response to my questions. Then I asked what happens if you go downriver. He said that you hit rapids about an hour downriver.

Bottom line is that the new port is skillfully designed and constructed; is  very beautiful, and was only built as a tourist attraction with very little practical need.