Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru
 
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru

When you think of Peru, instantly, huge untouched parcels of land spring to mind. Pacaya Samiria is one such piece of land and is one of the largest protected areas in the whole of Peru and the Amazon region. Located approximately 180 kilometres from Iquitos, it is said to cover over 2,000,000 hectares. The purpose of the reserve is to preserve the human, animal and plant population for future generations to come.

Inside the national reserve, there are three river basins (Pacaya, Samiria, and Yanayacu-Pucate) as well as many lakes, gorges, creeks, and canals. Pacaya Samiria is known as the ‘Mirrored Forest’ due to the large pools of water and is accessible only by boat.

This fertile area is home to many Amazonian mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and plants which make it a destination worth visiting, particularly for those who enjoy a spot of bird-watching or exploring. From playful monkeys to pink dolphins and a myriad of colorful butterflies, the panorama is spectacular. Alert visitors have also been known to spy the slow sloth and the sleek jaguar in the jungle; while night time brings caiman and capybara spotting to the forefront.

During October through to April, the area experiences the rainy season and the waters naturally rise, flooding a large part of the rainforest. This period is known as the crescent, and the mammals take to the higher branches. Reflex is from May to September when the rain decreases, and the water levels drop; large beaches are formed during this period and the charapa and the taricaya aquatic turtles come to these areas to lay eggs.

Due to its remote location, the best way to experience the beauty of the Amazonian rain forest is through a guided tour. Whether you opt for an excursion during the wet or the dry season, your visit will be stimulating for all the senses.