If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the urban throng, jump in a mototaxi and take the short ride to the expansive grounds of the Natura Viva recreation complex. Located alongside the Rio Ahuashiyaca, about 15 minutes outside of town, Natura Viva is well worth the S/.5 entrance fee.
Health freaks can do laps in the semi-Olympic pool or play football on one of Tarapoto’s best pitches. If you’re feeling lazy, pull up a table by the recreational pool, order a big plate of regional whatever and knock back a couple of ice-cold beers. And that’s just for starters; there are plenty of little side attractions tucked away on the grounds of Natura Viva.
The recreational pool (above) is the heart and soul of Natura Viva, at least for families with splash-happy kids. The restaurant is just off to the right and there is a fairly well-equipped playground to the left.
If for some peculiar reason you enjoy swimming endlessly up and down in unobstructed straight lines, sneak off to the semi-Olympic swimming pool. It’s also a good place to swim if you want to get away from screaming children. Bear in mind that you will now be at some distance from the bar.
Across from the Olympic pool is the Natura Viva planta de producción, a small plant where Natura Viva bottles its own water. I had a little snoop around before the administrator spotted me, at which point he very kindly gave me a short guided tour. The water gurgles up from a spring near the building, from where it is collected, treated then bottled. I’m not much of a water connoisseur, but it tasted pretty good to me.
Lounging around by the pool is an energy-sapping activity, so at some point you’ll probably need some food. Overall, I’d give the food at Natura Viva 7 out of 10. I’m easily pleased when it comes to food, I have to admit – give me a slab of pork and some patacones and I’m a happy man (S/.12). The menu features a good selection of regional dishes – vegetarians don’t have much to choose from, but the salad is immense.
Take a left as you walk into Natura Viva and you’ll find the botanical garden and miniature zoo. I’m not a fan of seeing incredible creatures in cages, so my fascination was tinged with sadness when I saw these beasts and birdies. Pictured above is Simba the tigrillo, a healthy looking specimen who appears to be well cared for despite his confined lifestyle. You’ll also find a plethora of parrots, two capuchin monkeys named Martin and Pipo, a woolly monkey called Jaimito and a lluicho puma by the name of Panterita.
A lot of work has gone into the creation of Natura Viva, and the results are more than evident. While some Tarapoto recreos are a bit rough around the edges, the Natura Viva complex is well maintained and has enough things to see and do to keep you occupied for a good few hours. Recommended.
This place looks really great it reminds me of the upscale tourist hotel that Tarapoto had many years ago. I remember that it was pretty up-scale, but it hardly made any business. I wonder if this pace will do better
It’s certainly an impressive place, and I didn’t even manage to explore all of it. There’s a lake with bungalows scattered around it to the rear of the complex, but I didn’t make it that far! I’ll post a map of the entire grounds (along with a few more photos) on the TarapotoLife Facebook page (click below).
Great pictures, I visite that place once and this photographs remember me that is a beautiful place, thanks
I’d like to visit Tarapoto Sep or Oct to taking photo of dartfrogs, Is it possible to find frogs around city?
There are definitely dartfrogs in the surrounding area. I’m not sure where the best locations are. I’ll try to find some more information, maybe write a dartfrog post. In the meantime, have a look at this blog:
my english is not good! but I’m so so happy because you’re writte a wonderful things about natura viva!!!!! and the pictures are fantastic whit terrific descriptions !!!
I’m from tarapoto and I’m propietaria of natura viva.
thank’s a lot!!
Hi Jessica, good to hear from you! I really enjoyed my day at Natura Viva, I’ll definitely visit again. You also have some great football fields — I’d love to play a game there one day.
Thank you for sharing this amazing place!
I found it while looking for public swimming pools in Tarapoto and Natura Viva sounds just perfect!
I’m kind of worried though since your article is from 7 years ago and I couldn’t find much other information about Natura Viva besides a site looking for investors for the area…
Can you tell me if the site is still running? And if I, as a tourist, can head there and enjoy the pools on a probably hot and humid afternoon?
Btw I was wondering how swimming is allowed around the waterfalls and lagunas around Tarapoto?
Thank you for you help!
Hi Sandra. I’m pretty sure Natura Viva is still functioning and open to the public. I checked the Facebook page, which is an unofficial page but has quite a few recent posts from people who’ve gone there: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Recreo-Tur%C3%ADstico-Natura-Viva/1631255566938623. As for swimming at waterfalls and lagoons, all of them allow swimming as far as I know. At least, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one that doesn’t allow swimming. Thanks, Tony.
Ohh, awesome news!
Thank you for your quick reply! The Facebook Page is a great help!