nature reserves in peru

The amazing Peruvian territory offers numerous archaeological zones, protected areas, and wildlife reserves, among other great attractions. From dozens of national parks to numerous nature reserves, they constitute a little more than 10% of the Andean territory.  Of course, they offer a great window into the different natural wonders. Therefore, the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru have thought of a small list of the most accessible nature reserves for you! We focus on bringing together the most accessible and rewarding parks and reserves for the traveler. Because most of these parks and reserves have few services or facilities suitable for tourism.

Even, though some of these Reserves and Parks require special permits to enter. But, don’t worry, together with one of our organized tours, we can take care of these administrative details.

The most surprising Nature Reserves and National Parks you can find in Peru

1. The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

nature reserves in peru pacaya samiria

The Pacaya Samiria is considered a beautiful pristine section of flooded forests in the Amazon rainforest of Peru north. You can get there from the nearby city of Iquitos. This city is one of the largest in the world inaccessible by road. And it is also the main gateway to most Amazonian adventures. Being an incomparable flooded forest, the best way to enter it is through a cruise on the different tours in Peru.

This Nature Reserve covers an astonishing 2 million hectares and is one of the largest nature reserves in the country. Inside it, you’ll be able to enjoy some luxurious and exclusive Top-Quality cruises (gourmet cuisine, fine wines, and unparalleled comfort).

On the different cruises, you will have the possibility to spot a large number of wild species. We can mention to black caiman, the mysterious pink river dolphins, Charapas turtles, and manatees, among others. In addition to experiencing private excursions in the surroundings. Without a doubt, it is one of the most surprising Amazonian experiences in Peru.

2. The Tambopata National Reserve

nature reserves in peru tambopata

The Tambopata National Reserve contains one of the greatest diversity of animals and plants. It covers an amazing territory of some 274,690 hectares of rainforest. Thus, you may be able to appreciate an abundance of wildlife. We are talking around 20,000 plant species, 600 bird types, and 1200 butterfly types inter alia. In addition, the Reserve is home to the best sighting or hiking tours in the Amazon. Furthermore, enjoy learning from the different native communities or simply marvel at the abundant nature.

This Nature Reserve receives its name from the Tambopata River (the main tributary of the Madre de Dios River). Also, it is very close to the Peruvian south city of Puerto Maldonado. It means that the tours are quite accessible from Cusco, Arequipa, or Puno. You don’t need long boat trips to begin to appreciate nature or animals. Even this natural reserve has more accessible areas for ecotourism than Manu.

3. The Tamshiyacu Tahuayco Reserve

nature reserves in peru tamshiyacu tahuayo

It is located at the headwaters of the Tamshiyacu and Tahuayu Rivers. Both rivers are tributaries of the Iquitos River, north of Peru. Just next to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and it is a much smaller protected area of 1600 square miles.  This Reserve is home to an incredible diversity of species of wild animals. Among the fauna is the fantastic Uakari monkey or the endangered Wattled Curassow.

This is due to the geography of the place; floodplain forests of the Amazon highlands. Therefore, if you are looking to enjoy tourism in Peru here, the Tahuayo Lodge is the only lodge with access to the reserve.

Inside the lodge, you will be able to enjoy numerous photographic tours, camps, and other incredible experiences. Of course, these experiences always include a private guide. Enjoy one of the greatest regions with one of the biggest diversity of primates in Peru.

4. The Manu National Park

nature reserves in peru manu national park

Manu National Park is one of the best-protected parks in Peru. And it is one of the greatest biodiversity of animals and plants worldwide. We can point to macaws, giant river otters, jaguars, pumas, and more than 200 mammal species and 1,000 bird types! It has approximately 1.7 million hectares of the Peruvian jungle distributed from 492 feet to 13,780 feet. This wonderful park is located over the eastern slope of the Andes within the south Amazon basin. Specifically, it is in the Cusco and Madre De Dios Regions. In this sense, you will take a walk by lowland tropical forests, amazing montane forests, and incredible grasslands. In fact, it’s not allowed to visit the park itself. But you can visit the no less wonderful Manu Reserved Zone on certain private tours. Even, it is one of the best places to visit the large and colorful macaws.

5. The Huascaran National Park

nature reserves in peru huascaran national park

The Huscaran National Park protects a territory of about 340,000 hectares of the central Andean region of the Cordillera Blanca. This protected park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Natural Park protects some Peruvian animals, plants, and habitats threatened by the continuous influence of man. Therefore, inside there are numerous species of birds (around 100 species) and mammals in danger of extinction. We can mention the famous Andean condor, Andean cats, and the spectacular spectacled bear, Vicunas, among others. Also, the impressive landscapes and lagoons around it create one of the most amazing natural regions of Peru.

It is home to hundreds of glaciers (around 600 with altitudes around 19700 feet). Also, it hosts more than 300 glacial lagoons. Without mentioning one of the highest mountains in Peru, Mount Huascarán, with a height of 6,768 meters (22,205 feet). You can practice trekking, rappelling, skiing, and mountain biking there. All of them are developed over routes between 8202 to 22 205 feet. The itineraries can go from 2 days to 2 weeks!

6. The Paracas National Reserve

nature reserves in peru paracas national reserve

The Paracas National Reserve is located in southern Lima (the capital of Peru), on the Paracas peninsula. It protects a large region of the mainland as well as more than 200,000 hectares of coastal waters and islands.

Within the reserve, numerous artifacts belonging to the Paracas culture have been found. Thus culture was one of the first cultures of the Americas (700 BC). Even, humans rest from 8,000 years of antiquity are still being studied in the place. In this sense, more than 100 archaeological sites have been identified in their surroundings. This evidences the great archaeological importance of the region.

Also, you can also find more than 200 migratory birds that visit the region throughout the year. For this reason, the marine fauna is one of the richest in all of South America. We can mention sea lions, whales, otters, seals, and Humbolt penguins, among others! One of the biggest tourist attractions in the area is the Ballestas Islands. There you can have a boat tour to spot the numerous animals described lines above.

7. Cerros de Amotape National Park

nature reserves in cerros de amotape

The Cerros de Amotape National Park is located in the northwest of Peru. Specifically, it is close to the main cities of Tumbes and Piura. The area host hills of tropical dry forests, where the endemic fauna and flora are just amazing! However, the hills receive more humid winds due to their location at the east of the park. For this reason, you will be able to see Jaguars, condors, spectacled bears, anteaters, parrots, deer, crocodiles, and howler monkeys.

Without mentioning around 100 different types of birds. Consequently, the national park is a paradise for Birdwatching lovers. The trekking routes start from Rica Playa, a town situated behind the National Park. But pay attention, the visitor will need special permission from SERNAMP and an official tour guide. The SERNAMP is the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State. For this reason, we recommend visiting it with a travel agency.

8. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Historic

machu picchu nature reserves

Machu Picchu is not only an amazing Inca stone city, ancient alleys, and impressive mountains. It is also a nature reserve of 33 000 hectares. These hectares surround it with different microclimates from cloud forests to Andean grasslands. Let’s remember that Machu Picchu is located at the Jungle eyebrow of Cusco, south of Peru. In this sense, you will be able to combine the unforgettable cultural visit to the citadel with the adventure trekking of its surrounding footpaths.

of around 8203 feet of altitude. There, you will see good-natured spectacled bears, elusive vizcachas, timid lizards, fearsome tarantulas and snakes, and even imposing Andean condors. The perfect combination in the middle of the Peruvian jungle!

9. Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve

nature reserves salinas and aguada blanca

Salinas and Aguada Blanca is a National Reserve located in Peru southern, between Arequipa, Caylloma, and General Sanchez provinces. Also, it has around 1400 square miles and represents a real paradise for hikers and wildlife. The Reserve shows stunning landscapes of desert plains and beautiful wetlands. All of them are over 14108 feet. Let yourself be amazed by giant rocks carved by the hard Andean winds, and by the fauna. You will see pink flamingos, and herds of Vicuñas, Alpacas, and Llamas running free through the grasslands. In addition, volcanos like the Misti, the Chachani, Picchu Picchu, and Ubinas will decorate your postcards!

10. Cordillera Azul National Park

nature reserves cordillera azul

The Cordillera Azul National Park is one of the largest in is typically around the world. It is located between Huallaga and Ucayali rivers. Over the confluence of the regions of San Martin, Loreto, Ucayali, and Huanuco, the jungle center of Peru. Its lands extend around 1,3 million hectares on the frontier between the Andes and the Amazon ecosystems. For all these reasons, the National Park fauna is just unbelievable! 600 bird types, 80 mammal species, 200 fish classes, and much more! You can take a walk through one of its well-signed footpaths. During the walk, you can find Otorongos, pumas, spectacled bears, red deer, and river otters among others. But the flora is not far behind. Lianas, orchids, bromeliads, and ferns, among other more than 6000 species of plants represent this category.

Also, there are native ethnic groups like the Shipibos, the Mushuck Llacta, and the Cacataibo – Camano. They maintained their traditions and costumes to show to visitors. The most visited attractions in this park are the Cinco Puntos mountains, the macaw clay lick, the Manashahuemana hills, and La Laguna del Mundo Perdido (lagoon of the worst world)


We hope together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru to have summarized our most important nature reserves. We try to list those most accessible and rewarding for the traveler in search of new routes. If you want to know more about our private tours within the reserves, don’t hesitate to consult with our qualified advisors.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!