At Viva Air, we believe that one of the best ways to get to know a place’s culture is through food. Food plays an important part in people’s life, because let’s face it you simply can’t live without it. Other more culture related reasons include the ability of food to bring people together and give people identity, among others. Just think about it, people often prepare a meal when having friends over, they go out to a restaurant to bond with their loved ones and food is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think about special holidays or celebrations. They even say that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, which we can probably agree is also true for many ladies. It’s also important to remember that more often than not, our local cuisine has been passed down to us by generations before us, meaning that local cuisine is often truly engraved in a community’s culture. This is no different to Tarapoto, therefore we encourage you to immerse yourself in wonderful experiences and delicious local cuisine while in the city! To help you know what to look for, our Viva Team has prepared an article featuring some of the must try dishes and food related activities in the Tarapoto area. Read on the learn more.

Must Try Dishes:

Tacacho Con Cecina

A divine mixture of flavours and texture, Tacacho con Cecina is a popular dish in the Peruvian Jungle, especially in the Tarapoto area. This dish is comprised of two main parts Cecina and Tacacho (sometimes also local sausage), which could be eaten separately, but are more often than not eaten together. Cecina is a piece of Peruvian style smoked pork, while Tacacho are tasty balls of mashed green plantain. If you’d like to follow traditions, eat this dish as an early morning meal, however, you will be happy to hear that you can find this at all times of the day, even after the sun goes down.

Viva Air Tip: Be careful if you are looking for something vegetarian/vegan! You might mistake Tacacho for being fully plant based, but be mindful that the green plantains are generally mixed with pork lard before being formed into balls.

Juane de Gallina

This savoury dish is prepared with seasoned rice, chicken and eggs and wrapped in a sheet of bijao leaf. Juane is a traditional dish common in the Peruvian jungle area, which receives special attention during the festivities of San Juan (24th of June). Don’t worry though, you will be able to taste this rice dish in Tarapoto all year around.

Viva Air Tip: The Feast of San Juan is the biggest and most important festival in the whole Peruvian Jungle region, and the perfect occasion to try this traditional dish integral to the jungle region’s culture.


One of the lighter meals of the jungle region, which originated from the ancient inhabitants is the Patarascha. It is made from local fish, which is wrapped in a banana leaf and is boiled or roasted. This delicious fish dish is offered with a range of condiments, resulting in a flavourful meal.

Viva Air Tip: Try this dish in a Tarapoto restaurant with a matching name, such as La Patarascha. This woody restaurant is a great place to try this and other regional cuisine.

Food Experiences:

Cocoa and Chocolate Tours

When something is such an important part of a country’s exports as cocoa is for Peru, you can imagine that it somewhat becomes a part of the country’s culture. Tarapoto and the nearby regions are proud producers of premium organic cocoa and chocolates, which you will be able to see if you visit a chocolate factory or a cocoa plantation.

Two Viva Air recommended cocoa and chocolate experiences include;

● A visit to the Orquidea Chocolate Factory, where you will have the opportunity to observe the production process and even taste some delicious chocolate.

● An organised tour, for example one offered by the PumaRinri Amazon Lodge. Such tours will offer you the opportunity to take part in a range of cocoa and chocolate related activities across a few days.