Known locally as “La Perla de los Andes”, TARMA is by far the nicest mountain town in this part of Peru, with warm temperatures and an abundance of wild and farmed flowers, sitting on the edge of the Andes almost within spitting distance of the Amazon forest. The town makes a good living from its traditional textile and leather industries, and from growing flowers for export as well as for its own use. Although connected with the Juan Santos Atahualpas rebellion in the 1740s and 1750s, today Tarma is a quiet place, disturbed only by the flow of trucks climbing up from the Amazon Basin loaded with timber, coffee, chocolate or oranges. The town is particularly famous for an Easter Sunday procession, starting from the main plaza; the streets are covered by carpets of dazzling flowers depicting various local, religious or mythic themes.
The scenary around Tarma consitutes one of Peru’s most beautiful Andean regions, with green rather than snow-capped mountains stretching down from high, craggy limestone outcrops into steep canyons forged by Amazon tributaries powering their way down to the Atlantic. It’s nevertheless always a good idea to check with your embassy in Lima for up-to-the-minute intelligence on this area, since the occasional terrorist column has been known to be active in its remoter sectors.