Tarapoto’s museum isn’t the most sophisticated of places, but it does house an eclectic mix of regional oddities, archaeological finds and random bits and pieces. In fact, the Museo Regional Universidad Nacional de San Martin is a good place to learn more about the region’s natural, cultural and archaeological diversity.
What’s Inside the Tarapoto Museum?
The one-room basement museum is home to a range of artefacts spanning from prehistory to the recent past. Some kind of logic has been applied to the layout, but don’t be surprised if a short stride takes you from a masterful pre-Inca urn to a poorly stuffed squirrel.
Here are a few of the things you can find inside Tarapoto’s Museo Regional:
- Jungle Myths and Legends – Upon entering the museum, you will see a number of paintings decorating the wall. These are the myths and legends of the region – you will need to break out your best Spanish to understand them, as no English translations accompany the lengthy descriptions.
- Insects – An impressive collection of beetles, butterflies and bugs are kept in a number of glass cases. Great for indentifying the abominable things that terrorize you at night.
- Stuffed Animals – Most of these animals look like they died in a panic before being stuffed in a hurry.
- Funerary Urns – Big ceramic urns with bones in them.
- Skulls – No museum would be complete without a good selection of skulls, and here you will find cranial delights from both humans and animals.
- Petroglyphs of Polish – This is the place to go to get good information about the nearby Petroglyphs of Polish.
- Dinosaurs – Dinosaur bones, to be specific. There is a fossilised Mastodon femur and a bone from a giant sloth. To be honest, the display was a bit confusing and poorly labelled, so I may have got that a bit mixed up.
- Mummy – The museum’s mummy is slightly odd. It is apparently a 450-year-old female mummy, but it looks like a dirty old skull wrapped in a bit of synthetic cloth from the fabric shop down the road.
- Nazca Ceramics – I’m not sure what these Nazca ceramics are doing in Tarapoto, but they are quite good examples.
Tarapoto Attractions – Museum Location, Hours and Entrance Fee
There are many more items on display in the museum, and the S/.2 entrance fee makes it well worth a quick browse. Set aside about one hour if you want to have a good look around. The museum is open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday and is located below the Universidad Nacional de San Martin building on Jr. Maynas 177, just off Tarapoto’s main square.