Rioja is known for its countless natural attractions and the famous Rioja Carnival.
The source of Tio Yacu is a beautiful tourist recreation where the sources of a river called Yacu are located. The source is nourished by underground currents that emerge to the surface and form the beginning of the river. The stream that is formed is flanked by charming trees that provide shade, forming a paradisiacal and typically jungle image. The waters have an intense turquoise color and, as they come directly from the subsoil, they are clean and transparent. Also, for the same reason, they are quite cold but generally the hot climate of the area encourages bathing. In addition, the reserve rents floats to tourists to slide down the light current of the river and play in its waters. The flow is usually not very strong and in many areas it does not cover much, so it is also suitable for people who do not know how to swim and is ideal for going with the family.
The province of Rioja, in the San Martín region, is one of the most touristy in Peru. It is located 2 hours and 20 minutes (140 km) from the city of Tarapoto. It hides numerous natural attractions for those looking for a different alternative, a place that has not been affected by the hand of man. And one of its greatest charms is the Source of the Tío Yacu River.
This place is located 20 minutes from the city of Rioja, in the town of Jerusalem. To get from Lima to this city, the bus ticket costs approximately 100 soles. The trip takes 8 hours on average.
The source is located in the High Forest, on the slopes of a small mountain. It is a natural site with crystal clear and greenish waters. It is fed by underground waters that emerge in a kind of large pool and that form the beginning of the Tío Yacu River.
One of the most attractive details of the area is the incredible landscape that surrounds the spring. It is made up of abundant vegetation typical of the jungle, which gives the place a wild and magical appearance. The source of the Tío Yacu River is known by many as a paradisiacal destination, whose waters are quite clean. Tourists have no problem cooling off in the intense heat.
It is not necessary to request the services of a tourist agency to arrive and tour the place as everything is properly signposted. In addition, from the city of Rioja they can inform you of the exact route to arrive.
The authorities call the spring a “tourist recreation” because travelers' reason for arriving is not only to admire nature, but to have a fun time with their loved ones. For this reason, in the surroundings of Tío Yacu, floats are rented and, with them, tourists can slide through the river current. It should be added that this is gentle and not dangerous, so children can also enjoy the experience.
The section of sliding along the current is short and leads to the source of the river itself. The depth of the water does not exceed one and a half meters, making it ideal for children and people who do not know how to swim.
The waters are quite cold, but not freezing. However, the typical hot climate of the jungle is perfect for contrasting with the waters. Thus, all tourists prefer to bathe, even for a few moments.
The hygiene of the place is very well preserved. Therefore, it is important not to throw any waste and take care of the surroundings. We must help the nature of the place to remain as impeccable as until now.
In the surroundings you can also find tambos, wooden seats to rest, changing rooms, toilets and a small restaurant where you can try some typical dishes of the jungle gastronomy. In addition, there are some photography experts who rent their services, as well as filming and excursions to explore the nearby landscapes. Remember that it is an ideal place to observe the flora and fauna of the region.
Are you a photography lover? Do not hesitate to immortalize the moment through your camera, with your loved ones, with a photo on the wooden bridge near the Tío Yacu River. This is one of the most symbolic images you will have of your visit to the San Martín region.
An important tip is that you calculate your travel schedule well to arrive at the source on time. The best thing will be that you take advantage of the morning and the sun to enjoy the cold waters and the vegetation more. Therefore it is advisable to leave first thing in the morning. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a hat and other items that will help protect you from the sun.
The average weather throughout the year in Rioja is 32 degrees, with clear skies. The town is characterized by abundant rain and excessive heat, so not many travelers are used to sightseeing in these conditions. However, it is not an uncomfortable heat, but rather warm and humid, not suffocating at all times.
The months between April and December are the best if you want to avoid the rains. This will make your walks in natural places easier to do and, on the other hand, you will have a better view of the landscapes. However, if you want to save on your budget, between the months of January and May, tickets and tourist routes usually cost much less. The reason is that rains and storms are quite constant at this time. For those who don't mind this detail and even find it attractive, this is a good season.
The province of Rioja offers a wide variety of typical dishes, drinks and desserts. These enjoy an excellent reputation throughout Peru; For this reason, the jungle is a gastronomic destination par excellence. In addition, the food of the region is characterized by the exotic flavors that you can find.
Both in the city of Rioja and around the natural tourist sites you will find unique dishes such as the Juane Rioja wasp. This is a dish prepared with ground meat, rice, Creole chicken and some seasonings. In addition, the wrap is prepared from the bijao plant, with banana rope.
On the other hand, you can also try juane de yuca, which is prepared with pig meat, ground yucca, cilantro and other seasonings. Also, don't leave without trying the chonta salad, tacacho with cured meat, shirumbi bean, inchicapi and patarashca.
It is located 20 minutes from the city of Rioja. Its crystalline waters vary in color depending on the temperature in which they are found. It is surrounded by abundant vegetation and typical jungle fauna. There you will see charming birds such as herons and kingfishers.
They are ideal locations for experiential tourism and getting to know part of the culture of the people who still keep the traditions of yesteryear alive. You will learn about the social and economic activities of the natives and you will be able to participate in their daily tasks.
It is one of the great attractions of the Alto Mayo Protection Forest, a cave that is easily accessible and not suitable for claustrophobics. It stands out for its environments where stalagmite and stalactite formations can be seen, although it also has very high spaces with natural columns of up to 15 meters, with limestone formations of curious figures. If you love trekking and adventure, this is the ideal destination for you. It is located about 58 km from the city of Rioja.
Another attraction of the Alto Mayo Protection Forest. This waterfall consists of four waterfalls, two of which are easily accessible via a half-hour walk. However, the other two are for the most daring, as the walk takes more than 2 hours and is done through a more difficult path. These water falls vary between 20 and almost 60 meters in height.
Do you want to experience the biggest and most famous party in the Peruvian jungle? This carnival has its central days at the end of February and beginning of March, and it is one of the most joyful and commemorative traditions in the San Martín region. Not for nothing is it considered the greatest jungle attraction for both national and foreign tourists.
During the festival you can enjoy troupes, typical dances, games with clean water, food festivals and performances by musical groups. In addition, a beauty pageant is held: the Señorita del Carnaval.
It is located about 60 km north of the city of Rioja, in Aguas Claras. It has calcareous formations inside, which offer a brilliant natural spectacle. In addition, in the surroundings you can see coffee fields and buy one of the finest beans in nearby stores.
This is one of the most characteristic rivers in Rioja, just 1 km from the city, because during the summer months the river forms long beaches on the banks. They are perfect for relaxing in the middle of nature.
If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu entrance tickets in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.