Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
The place’s beauty, as well as its biological wealth makes the reserve a particularly important destination for scientific investigators, nature lovers and bird-watchers, located 183 Km southwest of Iquitos City.
Pacaya Samiria “the Mirrored Jungle” with 2 million hectares, it is the biggest National Reserve of Peru, also it is the largest protected flooded forest of the world and one of the richest places in biological wealth on the planet. Between its biological diversity we find 449 of tropical bird species, 102 of mammals, 256 known species of freshwater fish, 69 of reptiles and more than 1000 varieties of plants, as well as species in danger of extinction like the giant otter, the black lizard, the manatee and the pink dolphin of the Amazon.
The reserve covers large parts of the Loreto, Requena, Ucayali and Alto Amazonas provinces, making it one of the largest in the country and the whole of South America. It is also the largest area of protected floodable forest in the Amazon. It is bordered by two large rivers: the Marañón to the north and the Ucayali – Puinahua Canal to the south. There are three river basins within the reserve: the Pacaya, Samiria and Yanayacu – Pucate basins, as well as numerous lagoons, ravines, creeks and streams.
The area has an average temperature of between 20°C (68°F) and 33°C (91°F) and annual rainfall of between 2000 and 3000 mm, which accounts for its large biological diversity: 449 species of bird, 102 mammals (including the pink dolphin), 69 reptiles, 58 amphibians, 256 types of fish and 1024 wild and cultivated plants.
The reserve is a shelter for threatened or endangered species including the Giant South American turtle -charapa- (Podocnemis expansa), the Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles sp.), the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the scarlet macaw (Ara macao) and cedar trees (Cederla odorata), among others.
There are also various projects focused on the protection and management of natural resources, including the repopulation of the Giant South American turtle and Taricaya turtle on artificial beaches in the reserve. Witnessing the final stage of the process, when the animals are released back into the rivers, ravines and lagoons, is a breathtaking moment.
Over 42,000 people live in 94 towns on the edges of the Pacaya Samiria reserve, on the banks of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers, and a further 50,000 live in 109 towns in the buffer zones. The main activities are fishing, agriculture, harvesting and hunting.
Location: 183 Km southwest of Iquitos City. The shortest route is on the Iquitos – Nauta road and by river from Nauta to the 20 de Enero Community (15 hours by boat or 4 hours by speedboat) on the Yanayacu – Pucate basin. To visit, a permit must be obtained from the National System of State – Protected Areas (SERNANP).
Trekking, hiking, camping, caving, bird watching, and flora and fauna spotting.