A Port Town in the Jungle
The Huallaga River Capital of the Alto Amazonas Province in the Loreto Region of northeastern Peru, Yurimaguas is a prosperous rainforest port town situated at the confluence of the Huallaga and Paranapura Rivers. The last urban outpost linked by paved road to points west in the Andes, this city of 64,000 people serves as a gateway to Iquitos and the wonders of the Amazon. It's a culturally diverse town with a friendly, laid-back feel known as the Perla del Huallaga (Pearl of the Huallaga) for the beauty of its natural lowland jungle setting where rainfall is abundant and the average annual temperature is 79°F (26 °C). Yurimaguas is also the principal port of the Lower Huallaga and an important economic center, where hardwoods and petroleum are traded and farmers sell sugar cane, bananas, cotton, tobacco and manioc.
The town is said to have gotten its name from the Yuri and Omagua tribes from Brazil who first settled here and were later proselytized by Jesuit priest José Jiménez, who in 1710 built the first church. Following the country's victorious struggle for independence in the early 1800s, floods of immigrants came pouring into Yurimaguas from Tarapoto, Lamas, Rioja, Moyobamba and Chachapoyas, leading to the town's growth into a city known as the Historic Capital of the Peruvian Amazon.
Today Yurimaguas is an attractive tourist destination where visitors can get a taste of Amazonian culture and explore the beauty of the rainforest. The most popular time to visit is during the annual Catholic festival of the Assumption, August 5th through the 15th, when neighboring villages converge on the city and it erupts in music, dance, fireworks, craft fairs, sports events and parties. But a visit wouldn't be complete without sampling native cuisine and immersing oneself in the splendor of its surrounding lakes and forests. Regular boat service also makes it easy to get to places further downstream, such as the Pacaya-Samiria National Park and Iquitos.