Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: Why is it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world?

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: Why is it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world?

17 August 2023

Did you know that more than 60% of the Peruvian territory is made up of jungle? For this reason, when we think about visiting the Amazon, it can be difficult for us to choose the destination that we would like to visit the most. To help you a little with your decision, today we are going to tell you about one of the most exciting destinations in Iquitos and the jungle of Peru: the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.


The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve will celebrate, this February 25, its 51st anniversary as a natural area protected by the State, being the second largest in Peru. Why is it considered one of the places with the greatest biodiversity in the world and why is it called the "Jungle of Mirrors"? Next, we will clear up both questions.


Where is Pacaya Samiria located?

The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is located in the department of Loreto, 308 kilometers from the city of Iquitos. This place occupies more than 20,000 square kilometers and is one of the largest reserves in the entire Amazon. In addition, in 2015 it was named the second best place in the world for wildlife, so its fauna and flora are simply amazing.


What will you find in Pacaya Samiria?

Pacaya Samiria, classified as floodable tropical humid forest, is a paradise for nature lovers. During your days in the jungle you will feel like a true adventurer touring unparalleled landscapes and navigating the rivers that flow into the Amazon. And the best of all this is the company: a great variety of mysterious animals and striking plants.


The diversity of Pacaya Samiria is exciting: up to 1,000 species of animals and 965 plants have been found in this national reserve. In every corner of Pacaya Samiria you will find something new that will make you fall in love with this place at every step.


Among all these species, the paiche stands out, the largest freshwater fish in the entire Amazon, which is used as one of the main ingredients in the gastronomy of the area. Do not leave Pacaya Samiria without trying a plate of this delicious fish!


What activities can be done in Pacaya Samiria?

This national reserve has countless activities to do: you can either spend an afternoon fishing to get your own food, or go on excursions through rivers inhabited by alligators, take a bath in enigmatic lagoons or sleep under a true blanket of stars.


Although we know that once you arrive at Pacaya Samiria you will want to stay for weeks exploring the deepest corners of the jungle, we are also aware that normally the time tourists have to visit this destination is limited.


Therefore, we are going to tell you the main places that you have to know when you visit this national reserve.


Crossing the waters of the Marañón River: one of the main axes of Pacaya Samiria is the Marañón River, a large tributary of the Amazon that will become your highway during the days you are in the jungle. Take advantage of the trip that you will make along this river to the different tourist attractions of the jungle to meet the inhabitants of the Marañón, such as alligators, turtles and piranhas.


The magic of the El Dorado Lagoon: although in this area of Peru you will find a large number of lagoons, such as Yarina, Fortuna and Ungurahui, among all of them El Dorado stands out, a place where you will see one of the best sunsets of your life.


Yanta Lake Adventure: One of the destinations with the most activities to choose from is Yanta Lake, a place where you can take a walk, receive a master class in plant identification, enjoy an entertaining canoe ride or launch yourself to its waters in a bath with the most beautiful landscape of your life. Choosing what you prefer to do will be a difficult choice!


Visit to a native community: in Pacaya Samiria there are more than 200 populated centers in which around 120,000 people live. The way of life of these families is totally different from our day to day, so it is very enriching to visit them and learn all about their customs.

A cruise in the middle of the jungle: who said that a trip to the jungle could not be synonymous with luxury? Some companies offer an experience on another level, getting to know the jungle from the comfort of a cruise. You can navigate the waters of Pacaya Samiria aboard a large boat and make stops at some tourist attractions in the national reserve. A different way to explore the Peruvian Amazon.


Animal sighting: as we have mentioned before, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is one of the areas in Peru with the greatest diversity of fauna. In places like Quebrada Yanaquillo you can meet animals as curious as squirrel monkeys and adorable sloths. In addition, in Yanaquillo are the giant Lupuna trees, up to 70 meters high.


When you walk through Pacaya Samiria you cannot miss any detail, pay close attention because in the blink of an eye you can find the most impressive animals walking, swimming or flying around you.


A night walk through the jungle: if it is already exciting to walk the depths of the jungle during the day, imagine doing it at night with practically no light. This experience, only suitable for the most adventurous, will test your courage and let you discover the Amazon from an even more enigmatic and intrepid point of view.


What to bring to Pacaya Samiria?

  • Backpack from 40 to 60 liters to carry the things that you will use during the tours.
  • 25-liter backpack for short walks that you will take during the day.
  • Comfortable clothes.
  • Long pants.
  • T-shirts or long-sleeved shirts.
  • Waterproof pants and jacket.
  • rain poncho
  • Trekking shoes.
  • Water.
  • Snacks.
  • Sun hat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Binoculars.
  • Headlamp.
  • Towel.
  • Personal hygiene items.

How to get to Pacaya Samiria?

Although the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is quite far from Iquitos, the best way to get there is through this city in the Peruvian jungle.


To do this, the first thing you have to do is go to Iquitos by plane or boat. These are the only means of transportation you can get there with as this is the largest city in the world with no road access.


Once in Iquitos, you must go to Nauta. In this small port town you will get on a boat where the real adventure begins: for 35 minutes you will travel the waters of the Marañón River, one of the tributaries of the Amazon, in one of those experiences that are recorded in your memory for a lifetime .


As is the case with practically all excursions to the Peruvian jungle, to get to know Pacaya Samiria you must hire a tour and do the entire trip with a specialized guide. This is mandatory since the jungle is a very difficult place to travel, with very similar paths that are difficult to follow without getting lost.


The best destinations in Perú

Once you decide to visit Palccoyo Mountain, you could add the best destinations to combine the history and experience for your trip to Peru. Peru offers the most beautiful destinations, culture and naturals. we recommend to extend your holidays and choose these best destinations and prepare your itinerary:

Best Peru Treks


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