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Amotapes-Manglares Northwest Biosphere Reserve

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Amotapes-Manglares Northwest Biosphere Reserve

Recognized by UNESCO since 1977, it is located in the departments of Tumbes and Piura. Made up of the Cerros de Amotape National Park, the El Angolo Hunting Reserve and the Tumbes National Forest, it covers an area of 231,402 Ha, its "nuclear zone" being the Cerros de Amotape National Park, with 91,300 Ha, whose habitat it is known as the "northern dry forests". The El Angolo Hunting Reserve, in Piura, has an extension of 65,000 Ha and the Tumbes National Forest, 75,102 Ha. 

Characteristics of the area are the watercourses -permanent or temporary- and some swamps. Among the permanent watercourses is the Tumbes River, whose navigable channel crosses the Reserve from Cabo Inga to Rica Playa. More than 50 species of fish live in this river. 


In 1977, the Northwest Amotapes-Manglares Biosphere Reserve was established, which includes the Cerros de Amotape National Park, the El Angolo Hunting Reserve, both established in 1975, and the Tumbes National Reserve, established in 2006. In 2016, the UNESCO approved its expansion including the Los Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary, increasing its extension to 961,414.52 hectares, and changing its name to Amotapes-Manglares Northwest Biosphere Reserve. 


This biosphere reserve covers 27 districts in 5 provinces of the departments of Tumbes and Piura. In addition, it has two core areas that are the Cerros de Amotape National Park and the Los Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary. 

Distributed among the four protected natural areas, the Northwest Biosphere Reserve protects a great variety of ecosystems and species. One of these is the Equatorial Dry Forest which is found only in southern Ecuador and northern Peru, and as is the case with unique ecosystems, it has many endemic species of flora and fauna. 

The Pacific Tropical Forest is also preserved in the Reserve, which is very particular for the coastal region due to its hilly areas with very dense tree and shrub vegetation, with Amazonian species. Due to the location of its parks and climatic conditions, they inhabit species from both the Tropical Humid Forest, as well as from the coastal desert and high Andean environments. The Coto de Caza is the second protected natural area of national administration with the highest number of threatened bird species, and was internationally recognized as an "Area of Importance for the Conservation of Birds" by BirdLife International. 

El Angolo is the only official hunting reserve in the country where sport hunting is practiced, with the white-tailed deer being the most important species from the hunting point of view. The Hunting, Fishing and Tourism Club has a partial administration position over a sector of the preserve. Its management, by protecting the forest as a deer habitat and promoting regulated sport hunting, has contributed to the protection objectives of the protected area and at the same time favors the surrounding inhabitants, who benefit from the activities associated with sustainable hunting. 


The importance of including the Los Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary lies in the fact that this protected natural area forms the main mangrove forest in Peruvian territory, habitat for dozens of coastal marine species, among which the birdlife stands out; for this reason it has also been recognized as a Ramsar site. 

Its socio-economic importance lies in the fact that it is a source of key natural resources for Peruvian gastronomy, such as the black shell and the red mangrove crab; species used sustainably by hundreds of inhabitants duly registered by SERNANP with the aim of ensuring good extraction practices, respect for closed seasons and minimum sizes. 

This initiative was unanimously agreed during the meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Northwest Biosphere Reserve held in August 2015, in which regional, provincial and district authorities participated, as well as representatives of the producer associations of Piura and Tumbes and associations civilians. 

The Northeast Biosphere Reserve fulfills its mission of promoting conservation, human development and scientific research at the same time through sustainable economic development projects with local populations, research on climate change mitigation and the articulation of social issues with conservationists.

Three Protected Natural Areas in the Northwest Biosphere Reserve 

Biosphere Reserves have three zones: the core or protection zone, the buffer zone and the transition or cooperation zone. At the time of its recognition as such, the Northwest Biosphere Reserve included the Cerros de Amotape National Park as a core zone and as "buffer" zones the El Angolo Hunting Reserve to the south and the Tumbes National Forest (later the former Tumbes Reserved Zone, today Tumbes National Reserve) in the northern part. In said zoning process, transition zones were not defined. The buffer zone consists of Protected Natural Areas for direct use, compared to the core zone -the Cerros de Amotape National Park- for indirect use. This categorization allows only low-impact activities to be allowed in the core zone and activities that are in harmony with conservation to be carried out in the buffer zones. 

In the core zone, the aim is to conserve biological diversity and carry out research, as well as activities with low impact on the environment. The buffer zone promotes the development of activities compatible with conservation, such as: environmental education, research, and sustainable tourism. In the transition zones, the aim is to develop activities that allow interaction between the local communities and the various organizations that provide support and manage the area. An express delimitation is not required, since its functions, as well as the spaces, are adaptive. 

Biosphere Reserves: conservation + development + research 

The Biosphere Reserves are not part of the National System of Natural Protected Areas by the State (SINANPE), but are formed based on the Natural Protected Areas of said system and surrounding areas that complement their objectives. The territories for their recognition as such are proposed by the State and recognized by the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO, becoming a category of protection recognized worldwide. 

Its importance lies mainly in the fact that its territories are recognized as ecologically representative and unique areas in the world. Their main objective is to unify conservation with socioeconomic development, applying the concept of interdisciplinarity; that is, associating various disciplines for decision making. In addition, they fulfill three clearly defined functions that complement and interrelate with each other: the conservation function, the development function and the logistics function that promotes and supports research. All these functions include the local populations as a fundamental part of their fulfillment. 

One of the outstanding characteristics of the Northwest Biosphere Reserve is that it gathers in a relatively small space, a high biological diversity, a high quota of endemic species, as well as important formations of dry forest; and especially tropical forest. The tropical forest exists in Peru only within the Northwest Biosphere Reserve and is a unique ecosystem, of singular importance for hosting species of Amazonian origin on the coast of Peru.

How to get to the Cerros de Amotape National Park?

36 km from the city of Tumbes / 1 hour 20 minutes by car 

The Cerros de Amotape National Park is one of the most unique ecosystems on the Peruvian coast, since in its more than 150 thousand hectares it houses the Pacific Tropical Forest, which resembles the Amazonian forests; and also to the Equatorial Dry Forest. Due to its uniqueness and biodiversity, the Cerros de Amotape National Park is part of the Northwest Biosphere Reserve, a category granted by UNESCO. 

In this protected natural area it is possible to find the Coto de Tumbes Monkey or Howler Monkey, the Northwest Otter, the Grey-cheeked Parakeet, the Añuje and the sloth bear, species that only inhabit this region.

To visit it properly, there are several circuits for walks and navigation through the Tumbes River canyon. The best way to get to know this protected natural area is to contact the people in charge of the National Service of Natural Protected Areas of Peru (SERNANP). 

Among the routes recommended by them, the "Quebrada Las Pavas" one stands out, where it is possible to locate the Tumbes monkey preserve. To observe the diversity of birds, it is advisable to go to “La Poza del Pato” and “Campo Verde”. In "Bocana Carrillo" it is possible to take 13 tours of the Tumbes River and practice activities such as fishing and canoeing. The best area to appreciate the rich flora and fauna of the Pacific Tropical Forest ecosystem is in "El Caucho". There it is possible to walk through humid forests in an excellent state of conservation. 

Current situation and threats 

The main threats to the Northwest Biosphere Reserve are the illegal logging of commercial species (carob tree, guayacán), the poaching of wild species, the invasion of land for agriculture and livestock (the latter generates overgrazing on the land). , as well as contamination through solid waste, since there are no dumps or landfills in the area. The extraction of hauling material (gravel) that modifies the landscape is also present in various areas. 

Additionally, there is little information regarding the real situation of its three PNAs, which limits the possibility of establishing conservation policies in the Northwest Biosphere Reserve. For example, there is no classified climatic data, nor is there a complete inventory of biological species and their degrees of threat. 

The case of the Manú Biosphere Reserve is an example to follow in terms of scientific research. Said BR provides valuable information to understand and comprehend the complex mechanisms of tropical forest ecosystems, in addition to contributing to the sustainable management of natural resources. This example should serve as an experience to promote even more research in the Northwest Biosphere Reserve that contributes to the conservation and management of this valuable unique area in the world. 

On the other hand, the Northwest Biosphere Reserve is an excellent tourist destination that complements the great attractions of the north of the country. In order for its sustainable use to generate development in the region in such a way that it benefits the inhabitants of the area in the first instance, its conservation is necessary in the first instance. This task requires the joint work of municipal and regional authorities, civil society, and especially the local population itself....

Best Tours in Peru

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. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem. 

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