I invite you to discover a beautiful region staying at a cocoa farm in Chazuta. Chazuta is 260 meters above sea level and has around 6,000 inhabitants. It is known as “the land of friendship”, “tierra de la amistad”.
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What brings us here is cocoa and a rural tourism project, known as Bosque Mágico River. In fact, this region is extremely famous for the quality of its cocoa, among the best in the world!
We have an appointment with the Tapullima Chujandama family and in the first place with the father Heriberto. With his wife they have worked for 15 years on the issue of organic agriculture around cocoa. At first, this idea was not common. In fact, many in the area had to take them for lunatics. Over the years, things have certainly evolved, but slowly. It took many explanations, meetings and presentations. Other farmers have begun to see some interest in this mode of cultivation.
One argument that works is, of course, the economic point of view. Our host explains that every year thousands of new soles are spent on fertilizers, chemical treatments of many Peruvian farmers. Apparently, this amounts to about 5,000 soles per hectare. The agri-food industry is being nourished, but it takes away the benefit of most of the farmers. From this point of view, taking time to make your own compost for the plants, is more time-intensive, but less expensive. And – in Peru time does not have the same value as for us. The financial economy is huge (as well as the environmental one !!)
This is really a family project. The grown-up children support and actively participate in the project.
The family has 3 hectares of cocoa trees of various varieties. Apparently they harvest one ton of cocoa per hectare per year.
In addition to cocoa, there are also medicinal plants.
One goal of the family project is to promote natural food, return to the healthy practices of the ancestors, to simple things. For educational reasons, they receive the children from the schools. Small signs have been made with the names of the plants.
Up the hill is a beautiful waterfall. You can also go to the edge of the Huallaga River. I had the impression of returning to northern Thailand a few years ago. Everything is there! The tropical vegetation, the water, the heat, the children playing on the shore and the noises, in particular those of the boats that bring people from their “chacra” or farm, where they worked further down the river. Simple and beautiful !
We start with a tasting of the products that the Chujudama Tapullima make: chocolate bars, cocoa honey and a little homemade alcohol. We are also ready to try another recipe of cocoa to drink. Without milk, it is really very digestible and excellent.
During our stay, we have halfboard with the Chujandama Tapullima family. The mother, helped by a son and the wife of the latter, will prepare dinner. Let me confirm that the base of the food in the Amazon is the banana.
The accommodation here is basic. The shower is common for the family and their guests. And it is with cold water ! Which in the Amazon is not necessarily an insurmountable obstacle in the afternoon when the heat is not so strong.
The proposed accommodation is also very simple but charming. From a simple wooden staircase, we climb to a cabin where we have installed mattresses and mosquito nets. The cabin is made of wood with a roof made of braided palm leaves. A meticulous and precise work. On the other hand, one should not be claustrophobic: the cabin is small, and the space is further reduced by the mosquito nets.
The family plans to build other cabins, without doubt a little larger and even receive people directly in cabins built in the “chacra”, in the middle of the cocoa fields.
For breakfast, we have some other typical dishes of the Amazon: “Cutacho” and “Tacu Tacu”. Not to mention a good cocoa to drink.
Cutacho is made up of green boiled shredded banana to which grilled peanuts are added, cilantro, garlic, salt, a mixture of which are then made into little balls.
As for Tacu Tacu, it is made in the pan and is made up of onions, rice and red beans. It is served with a boiled egg.
There is a paper factory in the village. It is an association of women of the town that has existed for 15 years. They explain the manufacturing process. Here, the paper is made in the traditional way with banana bark. The result is very interesting. The texture of the paper is thick and makes think of precious paper, which is only used for special documents such as certificats.
In the village museum, you can meet the local pottery ladies who work their art. A really good job done with dexterity.
It is not only useful ceramics, as do the ladies in Huancas, near Chachapoyas. The ceramics of Chazuta are very beautiful. In addition, the succession seems assured: young women are already very involved and focused on their achievement.
In the museum of Chazuta, you can also discover archaeological remains of the region and ancient ceramics.
A few hours from Chazuta (everything depends on your physical condition), there are the thermal baths of Chazutayacu. In the middle of the forest, a waterfall comes out of the rock, there are pools that cleanse and purify the skin. You can also see the cave of the bats.
At about 2 hours from Chazuta, you can admire the Tununtunumba waterfalls and its 40 m high falls. If you want to get there, bring fresh fruit and water to recover your strength at the foot of the waterfall, which can be a rainbow for you. The road can be dangerous for people who have little experience in these types of rocky trails. It is recommended to take a tour guide.
Chazuta is 1 hour drive from Tarapoto, in the San Martin area (40 km away).
From Tarapoto, take the direction of Juanjui, known for its excellent cocoa. Then reach the level of the Colombia bridge, and at the roundabout, take the Chazuta direction.
We follow the valley along the course of the Huallaga River. This panorama of lush vegetation is extraordinary! We are already in the Amazon jungle. It is even lower than Tarapoto and is even hotter. But how beautiful it is here!