Travel & Places Latin America

Lunch and River Views at the Rio Huallaga Hotel Restaurant in Yurimaguas

It’s not easy to find a really good restaurant in Yurimaguas. In fact, I asked quite a few locals for recommendations, and most of them couldn’t think of anything.

After at least two days of questioning, I eventually got a lead on a potential location: “Well, um, there’s an expensive hotel down by the river, just two blocks from the square. They have a restaurant with good views and… food.”

Beggars can’t be choosers, so we headed down to the Rio Huallaga Hotel, assured at least of a good view of the river -- and maybe, just maybe, something good to eat.

I felt a little underdressed as I entered the Rio Huallaga hotel, a modern and surprisingly sophisticated establishment that I honestly didn’t think existed in Yurimaguas. Yurimaguas itself is a nice enough river port town that most tourists only pass through while waiting for the boat to Iquitos or the car to Tarapoto.

The restaurant is located on the second and third floors, the latter offering spectacular views across the Huallaga River, a major tributary of the Amazon. Small wooden boats with spluttering outboard motors slid along below us, and men jumped into the water to retrieve chunks of potentially valuable driftwood that periodically plied their way downriver.

With such stunning views, we almost forgot about the food. Then a polite young waiter appeared with the menus, one of which I opened cautiously. Food in a four-star hotel can be painfully pricey, and this place looked expensive.

But considering the view and the exclusivity of the place, the prices turned out to be fairly reasonable -- not cheap, but far from extortionate.

The Rio Huallaga Hotel restaurant has regional, national and international dishes to choose from, including, for example, tortilla de langostinos (shrimp omelette, S/.25), filete de paiche al ajo (paiche filet with garlic, S/.30) and tallarines a la bolognesa (spaghetti bolognese, S/.20).

If you want to enjoy the view without breaking your budget, there’s also a set lunch menú option for a very reasonable S/.10.

   

My traveling companions both ordered the menú, a two-course meal with a starter and main course, in this instance a salad, soup or papa a la huancaína followed by a tasty tallarín saltado (a stir-fry-style mix of spaghetti, chicken, tomato and onions). For S/.10, ($3.50) it’s an excellent deal.

I decided to splurge and went with one of my favorite Peruvian dishes, picante de mariscos (S/.25 or $8.50, and described on the menu as a “juicy mix of seafood with a touch of chili”). I’ve ordered picante de mariscos in a number of coastal restaurants in Peru, and this jungle-made version was up there with the best of them. It was a rich and well-balanced dish, and the freshness of the ingredients was impressive given Yurimaguas’ distance from the sea.

Taking into account the spectacular river and jungle views, good service and reasonable prices, I can safely say that the Rio Huallaga Hotel restaurant is one of the best -- perhaps the best -- restaurant in Yurimaguas. If you want one last meal before your three-day boat ride to Iquitos, or if you’ve just got off the boat and are craving some tasty food with a touch of class, this is the place to go.

Rio Huallaga Hotel Details:
  • Address: Arica 111 (about two blocks from the Plaza de Armas), Yurimaguas
  • Phone: (065) 353 951
  • Website: www.riohuallagahotel.com

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