Amazonia Expeditions and the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve
Amazonia Expedition’s exclusive access to the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo reserve provides you with the opportunity to experience an unmatched variety of wildlife. The site has more species of monkeys than any protected park or reserve in the world. Scientists have also documented the greatest diversity of species of mammals and birds of any site studied in the lowland Amazon basin. We also have two species of freshwater dolphin, sloths, giant river otters and much more.
Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve
The most megadiverse region in all of the Amazon may be the Area de Conservación Regional Comunal de Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo (ACRCTT), and only Amazonia Expeditions has tourist facilities with access to this magnificent reserve. As Peru’s first state reserve, it covers an expanded area of precious, ecologically diverse western Amazonian rainforest. The reserve exceeds 1.1 million acres; it’s approximately 1,600 square miles covers appreciably more land area than does the state of Rhode Island (1045 sq. mi). The ACRCTT was originally designated a reserve by the Peruvian government in 1991 to protect the range of the rare red uakari monkey, an orangutan-looking monkey with a bright red face.
Subsequent scientific research has found the reserve to be home to one of the world’s richest collections of plants, amphibians, reptiles and birds. In 2003, Chicago’s Field Museum’s Rapid Biology Inventory #11 found more species of mammals and trees in the ACRCTT than any other documented natural area in the entire world. Scientists studying birds, amphibians, and plants have found the respective species assemblages to be “outstanding, unusual and exceptional.”
To learn more about the reserve itself click here.
Within the ACRCTT, there is an outstanding amount of biodiversity, but the variety in the primates here is one of the central focuses of many guests. There are more species of primates here than have been recorded in any other protected park or reserve in the world. In addition to our usual conservation efforts, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the species of primates in the region here, and support the research efforts of biologist Janice Chism regarding a possibly undescribed species of saki monkeys. To learn more about the Saki Monkey project and how you can participate, click here.
The region surrounding our lodges is also home to an enormous amount of birds. Based on survey data that has been collected from the Tahuayo River area in Loreto, over 600 different species of birds are known to occur in the reserve. To view our list of species that have been observed in the area, click here.
Much of the wildlife in the Amazon is based around the vast array of rivers that weave throughout the land. A wide variety of animals find their home in the waters. Included within their numbers are fishermen favorites like the peacock bass, piranhas, and arapaima, but also less expected species such as the pink river dolphins, caiman, giant river otters, and amazonian manatees. Scroll through our gallery to view a collection of some animals you may see on your journey to the Amazon.
In addition to having access to the incredibly biodiverse ACRCTT, Amazonia Expeditions has also worked to develop a series of trail grids that can tap into the scientific potential of the reserve. Our trail grid behind the research center lodge covers 55 miles (+70 km) which are spread over more than 1000 acres. Not only is our trail system the largest in all of the Amazon, it is also the best known for allowing hikers to view primates in their natural habitats. To learn more about our trail grids, the species of animals that can be seen there, and about the scientific research conducted using them, click here.
Within the ACRCTT there is a wide variety of different ecosystems to see. Depending on the time of year and day, the conditions of each of these ecosystems can be considerably different, but below is a brief description of some of the ecosystems you will be guided through during your stay.
Varzea Forest: Found all along rivers within the Amazon, these regions are nutrient rich and are seasonally flooded from mid March through early June. Some animals that are often seen here are pygmy marmosets, owl monkeys, yellow-crowned brush tailed rates, wire-tailed manakins, and barber bees. Some less common sights are black tamarins, saddle-backed tamarins, and trogons.
Terra Firme Forest: The Terra Firme forest is one of the few sections of the rainforest that is never flooded. This creates a unique ecosystem that supports wonderful little poison dart frogs, harlequin toads, and tamarins.
Tahuampa Forest: Also known as the the flooded forest, this region is mostly flat and is flooded year round This ecosystem is populated by giant ficus trees and is home to hoatzin birds, horned screamers, and wattled jacanas. To explore this region a canoe is necessary as the water level reach well above ground level.
Cocha: Also known as an Oxbow lake, these bodies of water are the result of the change in a river’s course over time. When a river forms a meander that is too wide which gets cut off, it leaves behind these lakes that are in the shape of the bow pin of an oxbow. Some animals that can be found here include pink dolphins, capped herons, and yellow-headed caracaras.
River tributaries and streams: From the research center lodge you would have access to many different river tributaries and streams. Within these ecosystems, guests can see Tucuxi dolphins, giant river otters, caiman, and black-collared hawks.
High Restinga: Restinga forests are formed on nutrient-poor soils, and depending on their elevation they are impacted differently by annual rainfall. High restinga forests are sometimes flooded from mid April to mid May, and are home to the rare Saki monkeys, and capuchin monkeys.
Low restinga: Restinga forests are formed on nutrient-poor soils, and depending on their elevation they are impacted differently by annual rainfall. Low restinga forests are guaranteed to be flooded from April to May, and are home to Titi monkeys, uakaris, and tamanduas.
Bajial: This ecosystem is made up of lowland floodplains which are flooded from March through June. Bajials are home to tree runners and smooth fronted caiman.
Aguajal: Also known as palm swamps, Aguajal ecosystems are wet year round and can have anywhere from a few centimeters to half a meter of water throughout the year. These swamps support such organisms as Blue and Yellow Macaws, and Mauritia palms.