Tingo Maria National Park

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
Trip End Jan 14, 2008

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Saturday June 9th, walks near Tingo Maria
We will tell you what we did, rather than what we were told we could do (which was usually wrong). First, the only maps of the national park that we could find were at the entrance to Cueva de Lechuzas and at the start of one of today's walks, on notice boards.
We walked a couple of kms out of Tingo on the Huanaco road then flagged down a minibus. This dropped us at the start of a walk to Catarata Santa Carmen (not in the national park). The waterfall was 2 or 3 km from the main road, and was worth the hike. Loads of young locals turned up so it must be a favourite weekend spot. There is a restaurant near the falls with beautiful views of the hills, but the food some women had ordered was very slow coming, and did not look appetizing, it was covered in tomato sauce.
Back on the main road, we asked how far to 'Puente 3 de mayo', which a guide from yesterday had told us was the way in to Catarata Quinceanera (lovely on the picture), and were told a long way. So we flagged down another minibus and got off at Puente 3 de mayo. This turns out to be nowhere near Catarata Quinceanera but is at the start of a walk to Catarata Gloriapata, Catarata Sol Naciente and Rio Perdido. The walk to Gloriapata was very pretty, lots of uphill beside the river, and mostly in the shade, and there was a nice waterfall to see. Sol Naciente was just a series of rapids (unless we missed something), and we never found Rio Perdido, we probably turned back too soon as time was getting on.
Anyway, we found a probable round trip through the park, which would take at least half a day. You take a bus from near the market to Puente 3 de mayo, then take the track behind the national park office, which is over the bridge over the Rio Huallaga, and costs you 1 sol to cross!) Walk up to Catarata Gloriapata etc. Keep on walking and if the map is right you cross right through the park and come out near Cueva de Lechuzas. Then walk or flag down a mototaxi to get back to Tingo.
There is also the cave Cueva de las Pavas to visit, with the entrance on the main road between the turnoffs to Santa Carmen and Gloriapata. We never saw any entrance to Quinceanera.
Lots of people live in the national park up on the hill. There were no signs of horses or donkeys, so they must have to carry everything they need up the steep hill. We met one fellow with a huge and obviously very heavy sack on his head and shoulders, with not enough breath to say Buenas Tardes.
We got back to town in a collective taxi that took all of 10 minutes for the 15km. Speed limits ? Huh. There was yet another parade with people in costume outside the hotel, but we have seen too many parades now to take much notice today.
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