Few people associate Tarapoto with 21st-century art, but the truth is that there is a growing community of exceptionally talented painters and sculptors in and around the city. Information about these artists is posted on the Puerto Palmeras website.
Of the six most prominent painters, Juan Echenique stands out for his Picasso-like paintings, ranging from political satire to nudes, and Savrín has a well-known series of Dali-esque ayahuasca hallucinations. The paintings are exhibited at Puerto Palmeras (Carretera Marginal Sur Km 3, tel. 042/52-3978, cta [at] puertopalmeras [dot] com, www.puertopalmeras.com) and at Hostal La Patarashca (Lamas 261, tel. 042/52-7554, lapatarashca [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.lapatarashca.com), where contact information for the artists can be obtained. There are some handicraft stores at the corner of Delgado and Pimentel and at Artesenía Riojas (Rioja 357, tel. 042/52-2616, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily).
To buy high-quality cigars, head to Tabacalera del Oriente (Martínez de Compañón 1138, tel. 042/52-7911, www.tabacaleradeloriente.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily), a factory with a fancy shop that makes the best puros (cigars) in the region.
If you need inexpensive though high-quality clothing, the city is teeming with stores hawking jeans, surfing shorts, and shirts imported up the Amazon from Brazil. The best place to go bargain shopping is Jimenez Pimentel, near the southwest corner of the Plaza Mayor.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition