One of the best ways to visit this area is on horseback from Rancho Santana in Pacora, about 45km northeast of Chiclayo.
Brujos play a pivotal role in the pueblos of the jungle. A few kilometers north of Tarapoto, in a small jungle village, you'll find the Takiwasi Centre .
The Madre de Dios ferry , at Puerto Capetania close to the Plaza de Armas, is a cheap way of seeing a little of this major Peruvian jungle river, which is about 500m wide at this point.
Further south, about 70km from Huaraz on the road to Lima and in the vicinity of the village of Pampas Chico, Hatun Machay is a rock-climber’s paradise. The folks at Andean Kingdom have developed dozens of climbing routes throughout this ‘rock forest’ nestled high in the Cordillera Negra.
The Patabamba community tourism association offers a fascinating participative demonstration of the weaving process, all the way from picking the plants to making dyes, to shearing sheep and setting up a loom – with explanations of the meanings of colors and patterns. Campsites and homestays are available with advance notice.
Segundo Celso Acuña Calle is very knowledgeable on the area, and will talk your ear off if you go with him on one of his five-day treks S150 per person per day, guiding only), which take in Inca ruins and trails, pre-Inca sites and lagoons. You might also find him at the town’s little museum, which houses some local archeological pieces, on the Plaza de Armas.
CEDESOS offers fully guided, standard and tailored trips to the Capachica Peninsula communities and others in the area. This NGO works to improve local income and standards of living through tourism. It offers villagers training and cheap credit to ready themselves to receive tourists. Tours are not cheap, but they’re well organized and come highly recommended by many.
The Dutch-run organization Proyecto Yannick offers volunteer opportunities working with children with Down’s Syndrome, and the English-, German-, and Dutch-speaking manager, Susan, also arranges private transportation and tours to the hot springs and local caves. Visit the project office for a map and excellent information about hotels, local sites and transport.
If you’re interested in DIY mountain-biking adventures, visit Cycle World . It rents mountain bikes for S30 per day, including a helmet, puncture repair kit and simple map. You can do several trails in the area, but the most popular one involves catching a colectivo to Portachuelo (S10) and cycling back downhill over three to four hours. A park entry fee of S5 applies.
Englishman Barry Walker, owner of the Cross Keys Pub, is a self-confessed 'birding bum' and the best resident ornithologist to give serious birders plenty of enthusiastic advice. He has also written a field guide, The Birds of Machu Picchu, and runs a tour agency, Birding in Peru, for bird-watching trips all around Peru, as well as into Bolivia and Chile.
About 11km east of town, up the wooded Fernández valley, a natural hot spring has bubbling water and powder-fine mud – perfect for a face pack. The slightly sulfurous water and mud is said to have curative properties. The hot spring can be reached by mototaxi (S35 including waiting time).