Located between the regions of Puno and Madre de Dios, in the south of the Peruvian Amazon, this National Park dazzles with its natural beauty and enormous biological wealth. Within its more than one million hectares, it is home to 20,000 species of flora and nearly a thousand animals, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish, making it a true paradise.
If you are one of those who like to discover new places, enjoy nature and go deep into the forest, Bahuaja Sonene is the ideal destination for you. Join us on this tour and be encouraged to visit this unique ecosystem in Peru.
The Bahuaja Sonene National Park preserves a mosaic of habitats that is home to a great diversity of flora and fauna, represented by elements from both the south and the north of the Amazon. It protects unique elements in Peru, such as the humid tropical savannah (Pampas del Heath), the habitat of species such as the marsh deer and the maned wolf, and the Candamo valley formations.
Inside, the cultural processes of the Ese’eja culture, an original ethnic group ancestrally linked to these territories, are also protected. Likewise, its establishment contributes to the sustainable development of the Madre de Dios and Puno regions.
It is located in the ecoregion of the humid forest of the southwestern Amazon and presents typical habitats of this forest and the tropical premontane humid forest. The area has lakes or oxbow lakes, palm swamps and seasonally flooded areas. Among the habitats that stand out are the Pampas del Heath, which motivated the creation of a sanctuary in 1983 for its conservation.
This large plain covered with grasses up to 2 m high has small agglomerations of palm trees that become islands when the pampas are completely flooded between December and April. In addition, its presence determines the southern limit of the continent’s tropical forests, which from here are transformed into the vast Beni savannahs.
The area occupied by the Bahuaja Sonene National Park is the ancestral territory of the Ese’eja ethnic group, belonging to the Tacana linguistic family, who today are concentrated in the communal property areas of Infierno, Palma Real and Sonene, adjacent to the Park. A fourth neighboring native community, Kotsimba, corresponds to the Pukirieri ethnic group, of the Harakmbut family.
The Bahuaja Sonene National Park is the link that connects the protected natural areas of Peru with those of Bolivia (adjacent to the Madidi National Park), in the proposed Vilcabamba Amboró Conservation Corridor. Visiting this corner of the country offers anyone the reasons to preserve our biological and cultural diversity. Knowing this and other places in our Amazon makes us see small elements within a complex system that has always worked perfectly and dazzles us with its beauty.
It protects the only example of the tropical humid savannah ecosystem of Peru and its characteristic fauna, such as the maned wolf and the marsh deer.
On July 17, 1996, through Supreme Decree No. 012-96-AG.
It is located in the provinces of Tambopata, Carabaya and Sandia, in the departments of Madre de Dios and Puno.
It was established as a National Park on July 17, 1996. The main objective of this territory -still largely unexplored- is to protect the representative ecosystems and the important extensions of humid savannah. Its climatic conditions have allowed for millions of years to form various species of flora and fauna, and for these to evolve in an extraordinary way.
It offers humanity an abundant flora, food products, medicinal plants and multicolored flowers of exotic hues. A lush territory where the rivers are noticeable day and night accompanying the choir of insects and birds. Bahuaja Sonene is a suitable setting for ecological tourism and a great place for research; As a result, National Geographic has considered it one of the areas with the most biological diversity in the world.
The extensive territory that comprises this National Park makes up one of the few areas of the Peruvian Amazon free of human contact, which means that endemic and representative species coexist in perfect harmony with nature; An example of this are the blue-yellow macaws, anteaters, giant otters, river otters and the harpy eagle, in addition to the thousand species of butterflies.
Before being annexed to Bahuaja Sonene, this area was a National Sanctuary. It is here that moist grasslands, also known as tropical moist savannah, are found. Its ecosystem is characterized by being a plain covered with grasses that reach two meters in height, similar to those found in the African plains. In the season of greatest intensity of rain, between December and April, the area is flooded and becomes a huge swamp.
Various Aboriginal peoples have inhabited the place since ancient times. These belong to two ethnic groups, the Ese’eja and the Pukirieri. According to estimates, there are about 6 thousand people who live on the banks of the park distributed in four native communities: Palma Real, Sonene, Infierno and Kotsimba.
In the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, the presence of more than 600 species of birds has been reported —378 of them in the Heath River sector— among which 7 species of macaws, the roseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), the condor of the jungle (Sarcoramphus papa) and the harpy eagle (Harpya harpyja). In turn, it is estimated that more than 180 species of mammals live in its interior, among which the bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), (Cerdocyon thous) and (Atelocynus microtis), the giant otter or river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) and the rare maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus); These last two are emblematic species of the Heath pampas that do not exist anywhere else in the country.
Likewise, there are also species such as the anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), the black maquisapa (Ateles paniscus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca). Among the reptiles and amphibians, the presence of more than 50 species has been determined, where the black alligator (Melanosuchus niger), the anaconda (Eunectes marinus) and the taricaya (Podocnemis unifilis) stand out; In addition, there are 5 endemic species of frogs. The presence of 180 species of fish and 1,200 species of butterflies has also been reported.
The Bahuaja Sonene National Park protects the only portion of humid tropical savannah that Peru has, where palm trees such as the aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) abound, forming islands on the dozens of species of grasses that grow in the floodplains that are the refuge of fauna highly specialized. In the area of the Candamo river basin you can find palm trees, rubber (Hevea guianensis) and screw (Cedrelinga cateniformis).
In the highest part there are dwarf forests made up of shrubs and small trees. The high diversity of plant communities in all sectors of the Bahuaja Sonene National Park also includes several economically important forest species such as cedar (Cedrela odorata), mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), chestnut (Bertholletia excelsa) and various palm trees such as the pona (Iriartea deltoides), the huasaí (Euterpe sp.) and the ungurahui (Oenocarpus bataua).
The area occupied by the Bahuaja Sonene National Park is the ancestral territory of the Ese’eja ethnic group, belonging to the Tacana linguistic family, who today are concentrated in the communal property areas of Infierno, Palma Real and Sonene, adjacent to the protected area. A fourth neighboring native community, Kotsimba, corresponds to the Pukirieri ethnic group, of the Harakmbut family.
The Bahuaja Sonene National Park is the link that connects the protected natural areas of Peru with those of Bolivia (adjacent to the Madidi National Park), in the proposed Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor.
Visiting this corner of the country offers anyone the reasons to preserve our biological and cultural diversity. Getting to know this and other places in our Amazon makes us see small elements within a complex system that has always worked perfectly and dazzles us with its seductive beauty.
Bahuaja Sonene has short routes for lovers of trekking. These go through all the corners of the forest where a large number of birds can be seen, as well as mammals and plants native to the area. If you want more adrenaline, do not forget to practice rafting or canoeing, which consists of descending rivers through an inflatable boat.
Adventure tourism (rafting and other activities) can be done on the Tambopata River between June and September. Along the river you can camp on its beaches from where you can appreciate the variety of flora and fauna present. You can also visit the Heath clay lick, 7 hours from Puerto Maldonado navigating the Madre de Dios River and the Heath. There you can see a great variety of multicolored macaws, parrots, parakeets, capybara among other animals.
To get there, you must take a trip to Puerto Maldonado, capital of the Madre de Dios region. You can do it by plane from Lima whose ticket cost is approximately 200 soles. If you are in Cusco, every day buses leave for this destination for a price of 50 soles. Once there, you can buy different types of tours at travel agencies that offer full-day tours and others for 3 days or more.
The Bahuaja Sonene National Park is located in a place where the humid tropical climate and the subtropical Amazonian climate converge. The area receives annual rainfall equivalent to 2,400 mm. The average temperature is 30° C, but in the summer it can reach up to 38° C or drop to 8° C.
The ‘friajes’, occasional Antarctic winds that enter the area, produce the low temperatures between June and July. With the rains from December to March, the pampas are covered with water forming a huge swamp.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.