With 2011 coming to end, I’ve finally found some time to post some photos of the Miss San Martin 2011 beauty pageant.

To be honest, it wasn’t quite as fun as Miss San Martin 2010. It was a more formal affair this year: the venue was more sophisticated and ticket prices were higher, so a smaller crowd. The between-rounds entertainment was good (especially Tarapoto’s break-dancing group, an incredibly talented bunch of guys), but there was a distinct lack of humour.

Last year, we had the risqué and very funny Thalia Tarapotina, a local drag queen of some repute. She/he was “unavailable” this year, following his/her arrest for child prostitution. Very odd.

Miss San Martin 2011 in Photos

Anyway, the beauty queens were the main attraction, and they were as smilingly wonderful as ever. I edged my way into the press pit at the side of the stage, settled in and waited for the show to begin…

And there it was… In a blaze of light, music and denim shorts, the contestants shimmied onto the stage, teeth gleaming through bouyant smiles.

miss-san-martin-2011-2       miss-san-martin-2011-3












Following on from the initial introduction was the swimwear round, an eternal crowd-pleaser of universally accepted good taste. It was immediately evident, at least from where I was standing, that the 18-year-old Miss Moyobamba (pictured above and known in the real world as Karen Caro López) was a strong contender for the crown.














After the bikini session, the ladies took to the stage for the eveningwear round. Hands on hips, the contestants strode up and down the stage in an elegant but slightly seductive manner.


Once again, Miss Moyobamba (second from right) was on top of her game. Nice dress, not too frilly, and a posture fit for British high society (she must have been balancing books on her head during training). With the ladies all back in line, it was now time for the dreaded — albeit enlightening — speaking round.

Miss San Martin 2011 was being broadcast live on TV, and the added pressure seemed to have had an effect. The first speaker (above right, microphone in hand) blanked out completely after about three words. The stuttering silence that followed was hard to watch — I could feel her nervousness turn into blank terror as the words just didn’t come. Being terrified of public speaking myself, I felt truly sorry for her. She gave up in the end, but received a “well done for trying” round of applause.

Miss Moyobamba was next; she did a good job, but the nervousness had filtered down the line. Of the 10 contestants, at least 5 struggled to remember their previously rehearsed responses to questions such as “How can we save the jungle?” and “If you become Miss San Martin, how will you save the world?” You gotta love beauty contests…


In the end, the enchanting Miss Moyobamba was crowned Miss San Martin 2011. Hurrah! She walked off with an oversized cheque for S/.1,000, and will now take part in next year’s Miss Peru Universo. Good luck to you, Karen Caro López! What a gal…

  • For more photos of Miss San Martin 2011, head over to the Tarapoto Life Facebook page (and don’t forget to “Like” it while you’re there).