One of the most visited tourist places in Tarapoto (the article on this tropical paradise is available HERE) is the Blue Lagoon, which gained its name thanks to the fact that when the sun is shining the waters of the lagoon turn blue. The trip to the destination is an amazing experience, seeing the nature around and crossing the Huallaga river, which forms a part of the Amazon basin, on a simple wooden ferry.
The colectivo van from the Tren Bala Express station in Tarapoto will cost you 20 soles one way. If you go in a private car, make a stop at the Punta del Gallinazo viewpoint which offers some incredible views over the river.
The trip to the lagoon surely should not be a one day go and return thing (not even on a tour). Choose from the hotels around and enjoy your vacation doing some kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding or even zip lining.
I honestly affirm that the best stay is offered by Las Jawas Lodge, especially if you are coming not to enjoy a concrete-style hotel but a rustic-like eco-lodge situated in lush nature which, nonetheless, offers full comfort and luxury, including a swimming pool, a gym, a playroom etc. What I love is the fact that Las Jawas is built by the lake but slightly uphill, so there are marvellous views offered which some other hotels, especially those located right by the busy and noisy central part (where you arrive on a colectivo) cannot offer.
This place is one of the best hotel complexes I have ever been to! I am serious. There only are about 12 bungalows and the guests are required to be thoughtful of others and not to disturb their peace – especially at night (NO loud music playing, thank you so much) so you literally bathe in tranquillity, a feeling of privacy and intimacy.
The breakfasts are delicious, regional, truly substantial, and I also enjoyed the lunches and dinners which you can order in the lovely dining hall from the day´s menu (circa 35 soles a dish). The rooms are spacious with really hot water (gained via solar panels) and there are umbrellas ready for use at the patio outside of your room.
The hotel has a wooden pier right on the lagoon, which is perfect for meditation and yoga practice, and offers kayak rental and paddleboard rental.
There is a well-maintained path going alongside the lake so you can just walk down the hotel and enjoy some trekking. In 20 minutes of walking you easily reach the central part of the lake where you can buy some local liquor, jungle herbs and other medicine, and other artisanal products, and in less than one hour you can reach the Don Grimaldo thermals (of course there are motos going there too).
When you get tired of trekking and swimming and kayaking (I went along the lake in about two hours) you can just sit on the patio of your bungalow, observing hummingbirds (they really come as close as a few metres distance) sucking the flowers of a massive patch which the hotel maintains especially for them (there are drinking fountains for them too) or the starry night sky above. There are two dogs and two parrots at the property so the place is animal-friendly too.
A one-day trip you can easily take from Laguna Azul is that to the Cataracts of Pucayaquillo. They are situated about a 50-minute drive away from Tarapoto and a two-hour drive from Laguna Azul which is why many choose to visit the cataracts when leaving Tarapoto for Laguna Azul – or when staying at Laguna Azul. There are trips to the cataracts organized by the hotels at Laguna Azul or you can go on your own in a taxi – the return, 2-hour waiting included, will cost you about 100 – 120 soles per taxi.
The whole place has an atmosphere of a real paradise, surrounded by trees and plants and flowers. An absolute top choice from all the option around the lagoon.