The Taricaya Ecological Reserve is a 476-hectare (2 square miles) nature reserve on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, approximately one hour from Puerto Maldonado by boat and adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve area.
Since 2004, it has been owned by Projects Abroad, which runs various environmental conservation projects there. The main aim of these projects is to restore the reserve’s biodiversity from human disturbances in the past. The reserve is now considered a wildlife hotspot, recording extraordinary species figures.
The closest lodge to the reserve is Amazon Planet, which will take you on tours of the reserve. For those that wish to arrange a one-day visit to the reserve, contact Amazon Planet directly. If you want to be a volunteer and stay at Taricaya, contact Projects Abroad.
Some of the species that can be easily seen in this area include Brown Capuchin Monkeys, Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys, Mealy Parrots, White-Fronted Toucans, Spectacled Caimans and Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtles. Check out Project Abroad’s website for many more species.
Visits to the Taricaya Ecological Reserve include tours of the following facilities:
Taricaya’s animal rescue centre is the first centre of its kind in Peru. Here, staff look after wild animals that have been confiscated by the Peruvian government to prevent their sale on the illegal pet market.
When the animals have fully recovered, they are released back into their natural habitat. The centre has also recently started a captive breeding program and successfully bred a baby tapir in 2012!
The Taricaya Canopy Walkway is said to be the tallest tree top walk in South America, allowing visitors to enjoy extraordinary views over the Amazon rainforest and the Madre de Dios river. It is 42 metres high at its highest point and 90 metres long and is used by visitors and investigators for bird watching and bird monitoring.
The area also features a trail network of over 50 kilometres to aid research on biodiversity in the area and allows visitors to easily navigate the rainforest.
This project’s aim is to increase populations of the endangered Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle by collecting turtle eggs, transferring them to artificial beaches in Taricaya and releasing the hatchlings into the rivers. So far, over 6,000 baby turtles have been released back into the river system.
The Pilot Farm is an agro-forestry project that aims to help local communities sustainably and productively manage their land, combining modern techniques in livestock management, tropical flower cultivation and crop cycling.
Visitors can visit the farm and see mahogany and cedar trees, plantations of cacao, coffee and tropical fruits and have a taste of what’s in season!
This is a new project whose goal is to research how different species of butterflies reproduce and whether their commercialisation could be a viable and sustainable source of income for local communities.
The House already has an impressive collection of butterflies, including spectacular Blue Morpho Butterflies and Owl Butterflies.