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Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve


The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is an important nature reserve in Amazon Rain Forest with rather unique ecological characteristics.

Cuyabeno, The Amazing Lakes and Navigable Creeks formation in the Amazon Rain Forest

The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is an important nature reserve that encompasses 655,000 hectares of primary rain forest and boasts and incredible variety of neotropical wildlife like pink river dolphins, tapirs, capybaras, caimans, anacondas, ocelots, monkeys and piranhas are just some of the species recorded likewise over 580 bird species such as the prehistoric-looking hoatzin, umbrella bird, blue headed parrot, white eared jacamar, scarlet macaw or the awesome eight-foot wingspan harpy eagle. Additionally, over 12,000 plants species were identified. The reserve also host unusual ecological characteristics due to its location at the foothills of the Andes that given to the proximity to the mountains is the presence of slightly cooler and wetter climate where different species compositions exist.

Getting Around

Located at the foothills of the Andes, it is different from any other Amazon Rain forest protected area in the world. The area encompasses a poorly drained plain with a network of periodically inundated forests, lakes and creeks. Such conditions are rare so close to the Andes, where the drainage in the foothills prevents the development of swamps and lakes. As all protected areas in the Amazon region, the area has a high biodiversity, but possibly a bit lower than better drained protected areas like the neighboring Yasuní National Park, which is considered the most diverse reserve in the world.

History &Culture

Early History

The boundaries of the reserve shift with the political winds, but the area is substantially larger than it was originally. The reserve was created in 1979 to protect the rainforest, conserve wildlife and provide a sanctuary in which the indigenous inhabitants the Siona, Secoya, Cofan, Kichwa and Shuar could lead customary ways of life. Cuyabeno was opened to oil exploitation almost immediately after its creation. Roads, colonists followed, and tens of thousands of hectares of the reserve became logged or degraded by oil spills and toxic waste.


Cuyabeno is one of the most biodiverse reserves on the planet along with the Yasuní National Park. The Big Lagoon is the largest area and it can reach other smaller lakes. Navigate through this magical territory, from lakes or rivers, is an unforgettable experience.

In the flooded forest we can find from manatees and Caymans to anacondas and otters. In addition to its most representative tree: the huarango, which grows at edges of lakes and channels.