Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Protected Natural Areas in Loreto

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

The World's Nature Reserve
The mighty Amazon River, the longest river in the world that unites the people that live in the heart of the rainforest, crosses this region. Its forests grow on white sand and are home to an extremely diverse array of flora and fauna. Loreto has exotic scenery in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which is home to pink dolphins, and the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, with its huge variety of orchids and butterflies.

Protected Natural Areas in Iquitos and Loreto

In the territories of Loreto also are located the Matsés National Reserve, Güeppi Reserved Area, Pucacuro Reserved Area, Santiago Comaina Reserved Area, Sierra del Divisor Reserved Area.

Some of them with facilities for visiting tourists, to enter this protected areas, prior authorization from SERNANP is required.

All expeditions must be accompanied by an official guide. See Exploring the Jungle

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).

Photo Gallery Birds of Pacaya Samiria


Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve

A reserve covering 58,000 hectares, it protects the largest known concentration of white-sand forests in the Peruvian Amazon, where many unique species of plants and animals live. The reserve also protects an example of the region's unique flood forests, flooded by the dark waters of the Nanay river.

It holds enormous and unique biological wealth, with many animal and plant species that are both endemic and subject to restricted distribution, many of which still lack scientific description. Up to the present day, over 1,780 species of plant have been recorded, as well as 522 species of butterfly, 155 fish, 83 amphibians, 120 reptiles, 476 birds and 145 mammals, among which two endemic species of primate stand out: the Equatorial Saki (Pithecia aequatorialis) and the black titi (Callicebus lucifer).

Among the bird species, there are two that stand out as they only inhabit the white-sand forests and were previously unknown in Peru: the Pompadour Cotinga (Xipholena punicea) and the Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum). Related to white-sand forests, four new types of bird have been identified by science in recent years (three species of Antbirds - the Herpsilochmus gentryi, Percnostola arenarum and Myrmeciza castanea) and a flycatcher (Zimmerius villarejoi); there is also a fifth that is currently still being classified (Polioptila clementsi).

Location: Southwest of Iquitos City, the main entrance is located at kilometer marker 26.5 of the Iquitos - Nauta road (30 minutes by car). 3 hours away, starting from the port of Bellavista Nanay, depending on the engine's horse-power.

Amazon River

The Amazon River
  • Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Pacaya Samiria National Reserve - Pucate River

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

    Pacaya Samiria National Reserve - The Mirrored Jungle

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Pink dolphins

    Pink dolphins (Inia geoffrensis)

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Capibara

    Capibara or Ronsoco (Hydrochoerus capybara)

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Masked Crimson Tanager

    Masked Crimson Tanager (Ramphocelus nigrogularis)

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Black-capped Donacobius

    Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobius atricapilla)

    © J. Mazzotti