Pucacaca History PDF Print E-mail
Written by ABOFOA   
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 01:45

The town of Pucacaca, San Martin, Peru, was officially recognized on August 10, 1936. (That makes it one year older than I am!) My sister and I were there for the 2010 celebration of the anniversary of the town. In late 2009, Pucacaca, at my request, named itself the City of the Crown of the Angels, because Platycerium andinum is native there. When the celebration was supposed to take place, the electricity went off.  The starting time of the celebration was delayed to 10 pm, but only if the electricity went back on.  At 10:05 pm, the electricity went back on. (Peru uses 240 volt, 60 cycle electricity.)  Finally, about 11:45 pm, the celebration started. (On the basketball court of an elementary school)  Around half an hour later, the electricity went off again. The ceremony was changed to the next night. That night the electricity stayed on.

Part of the ceremony was what we would call a beauty contest. Young ladies had a bathing suit, evening gown, and special dress contest, plus each answered a random question.  A 15 year old girl, Lolibeth Rengifo, daughter of the couple we were staying with, wore a special dress made of the long fertile fronds, and shield fronds of Platyceriun andinum.  She also had bands of Quinilla bark as part of her dress, and as wrist bands.  She won second place, which in Peru is "Miss Tourism."

Miss Tourism, and Roy Vail


The town has a kindergarden, an elementary school, and a secondary school they call a college. Although the town has plumbing in the homes, and appears to have a sewer system, it only receives water, from Picota about 8 miles away, once every ten days.  For the rest of its water, citizens go down to the Rio Huallaga and either bathe, wash their clothes, or bring back large plastic cans of water for home use.


There is a VERY large island in the Rio Huallaga at Pucacaca. It is VERY cultivated, by all natural methods. They have a certificate, from Italy, which says the FINEST chocolate in the world is what is grown on their  island. (We tried it. It is GREAT!) A very small part of the Rio Huallaga flows on the Pucacaca side of the island.  There is a bridge to the island that is wide enough for Mototaxies to cross. They carry the fruit. At the front tip of the island is the Viejo Rancho or old ranch.  It is a nice tourist refreshment place, but we did not go there.


The name Pucacaca is Cathauan, -an indian language which I am sure I miss-spelled.  The  "caca" part of the word means valley or barranca. The "Puca" part of the word means red.  So  the name Pucacaca means red valley, which does describe the Rio Huallaga Valley.


In the afternoon of Sunday, August 8, 2010, I was given the honor of planting five Quinilla trees in the Plaza of Pucacaca. They have the potential of becoming very large and giving the plaza a forest effect.  They also can be the place where Platyceriun andinum can be planted, for all visitors to see.


Part of the planting ceremony. Holding the Peru flag, William, the president of the Association.

With the US flag, Roy Vail

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 November 2010 00:57