Introduction to the village of Lamas

Lamas is a town of colours, and a land of cocoa and coffee. It is also recognised as the folkloric capital of the San Martin region. This is by virtue of its significant contribution to national and regional history for preserving their ancestral traditions and cultural elements since colonial times. It is located in the district and province of Lamas in the San Martin region, 30 minutes from the city of Tarapoto, at an altitude of 814 meters above sea level, with a minimum temperature of 18°C and a maximum of 31°C. Lamas sits on a mountain, which is composed of three clearly distinguished plateaus. For this reason, during his visit, the researcher and geographer Antonio Raimondi called it "The city of the three natural plateaus". Lamas has two sectors, on the one hand, the lower zone where the native community is located and the upper zone where the mestizo population is to be found.

Within Lamas there is the Kechwa Native Community, El Wayku, which still preserves their ancestral customs intact, as well as their language (Quechua) and clothing. The rituals for falling in love, marriage and the first haircut stand out. It should be noted that the knowledge, wisdom and practices of the Kechwa people of Lamas associated with the production of ceramics have been recognised as National Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture. That is why the community associates its cultural heritage to two important aspects:

- Pottery, made by women who make utensils for daily life and agricultural work, made with an ancestral process and with inputs from the area. 

- The textile art, with ancestral technique and iconography expressed in designs of "chumbes". These are thin waistbands used by women to hold the baskets to pick cotton and men as a belt to hold their pants. They also make bags, purses, cell phone holders and others handy products and are produced under the collective brand "Warmi Awadora" or weaver woman.

That is why Lamas attributes its main sources of income to agriculture, handicrafts and tourism; currently, it has 366 years of history contributing to our country with its folklore, culture, tourist attractions and ancestral knowledge and has a festive calendar of national and international roots. 


Cultural information

Lamas, the "Folkloric Capital of the San Martin region" is the only Amazonian town of Andean origin, keeping alive its ancestral culture. This is expressed in dances, rituals, clothing, festivals, language, architecture and gastronomy. 

Within the Kechwa El Wayku Native Community, the typical clothing of men and women stands out. The men are characterized by wearing: rolled up black pants, a tuft, tacshacotón, white bividi, chumbes, shacapas and multicolored scarves. The women wear a black skirt, petticoat, white blouse with Chanca decorations, combs, necklaces, and multicolored scarves. Another aspect that attracts attention are the red dots on the cheekbones of the women's faces, which depend on their sentimental situation, as well as the ritual of falling in love, marriage and the first haircut. The local beliefs and superstitions are still being applied in the design of the houses, as is the case of the facades without windows. The Lamistas believe that evil spirits pass through the streets of the community during the night and try to enter the houses through the windows in the form of wind, for this reason the houses lack windows.


Top tips for your stay in Lamas

Lamas is one of the quietest, safest and most beautiful cities that can be found in the San Martin region.

It is advisable to bring a hat, sunscreen and a light coat, since being very close to the Cordillera Azul its temperature tends to go up and down. Comfortable shoes will be necessary to walk around the city and its surroundings.

Traditional drinks are undoubtedly an important product that should be tasted and be seen as part of the tourist experience. The Indanachado is a typical drink of the area. For the chocolate or coffee lovers we know you will need to keep space in your luggage to take a treat home with you, after all Lamas is known as the land of cocoa and coffee. 

The tourist tours offered by travel agencies and tourism are varied, you could take the tourist route: Lamas, Barrio Kechwa Nativo El Wayku, Museo los Chankas and/or tours Lamas, Plaza de Armas de Lamas, Mirador Lamas, the Ethnic Museum and the Castillo de Lamas. It is also recommended to visit the Oro Verde S.A.C. Industrial Cooperative, which currently offers tours of its farms and production plants, as well as coffee tasting through different preparation methods in its main store in the Lamas Main Square.


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Transport to the village of Lamas

Visitors who wish to reach the town of Lamas can do so via the main highway from the city of Tarapoto, through the Fernando Belaunde Terry Highway, a 30-minute drive on a paved road. There are also paved or asphalted secondary roads connecting the towns which are alternative routes to Lamas:  Shanao, San Roque de Cumbaza, and Cacatachi-Rumisapa. There is also public transport from Tarapoto to the city of Lamas and vice versa, with a regular departure frequency and schedule.

Getting around the area

It is easy to get around on foot, by public transport, motorcycle taxi or car due to the well surfaced roads and paths. It is advisable to use a travel agency from the city of Tarapoto, there is also a travel agency established in the town of Lamas too.


What’s good to eat in Lamas?

Corpus Christi is the main religious festivity and one of the oldest that is still practiced in Lamas. During this event, a gastronomic festival is held, which revalues the local cuisine in its different versions (food, beverages, liquors, sweets, etc.). Among the most traditional dishes are the 'picadillo de paiche' or pork, the handmade breads known as 'wawas', exquisite sweets such as huawillo, biscochuelos and puchco, and, of course, the traditional drinks such as punch, masato, mistela, ventisho and uvachado, among others. These typical dishes and traditional beverages can also be found in most of the restaurants in Lamas, which offer a varied menu, using mainly Amazonian and native ingredients, as well as fusing traditional food with other influences.

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    Best things to do in the village of Lamas

    Lamas offers a variety of activities suitable for all types of age groups and fitness levels. The hiking and trekking to the Toroyacu Waterfalls or Sunipi kausani Waterfall in Quechua are highly recommended. Rumicallpa Waterfalls, located 30 minutes from the city, in the native community of Rumicallpa, also has a beautiful waterfall surrounded by vegetation. In its flow, form several pools which are similar to natural hot tubs. The Chapawanki Waterfall, set on a rocky base divides into two streams about 4 meters high, falling in to a 2 meter deep pool.  If you enjoy walking and waterfalls be sure to check out at least one of the waterfalls in the area.

    There is a natural viewpoint, located in the highest part of Lamas, at an altitude of 860 meters above sea level. Mirador de la Cruz is a wonderful place to clearly observe the three floors of the town and, on the horizon, the Mayo River valley as well as the Kechua El Wayku Native Community and the city of Tarapoto.

    If you prefer something a little less active why not try the tasting of the famous cocoa and coffee at the Industrial Cooperative Oro Verde S.A.C. and Castillo de Lamas. Here, you can buy some gifts for family and friends, or even for yourself! More shopping can be done for handicrafts and souvenirs when you visit the Community Based Organization: Yuyay Llakta Artisan Association of the Kechwa El Wayku Native Community.

    Lamas is characterized by its lively culture, nature, gastronomy and nightlife, which is ideal for those who love walks in the middle of nature; to know and interact with the native culture of the area and varied nightlife.

    Visitors can participate in national and international festivities such as the Lamista Carnival (January and March), Corpus Christi (second week of June), Patron Saint of the triumph of the Santa Cruz de los Motilones (July 1 to 16) and Patron Saint Santa Rosa Raymi (August 22 to 31).

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