National Reserve Pacaya – Samiria with its 2,080 km2 is the largest Peruvian protected area. It is located in the region of Loreto above the confluence of great rivers of Ucayali and Marañon, which after its merge create mighty Amazon. The reserve contains the largest area of protected and periodically flooded rain forest known as várzea throughout the Amazon.
Reservation was established in 1940 to protect paiche (Arapaima gigas), the largest freshwater fish in the Amazon, more than two meters in length. In 1982 it was classified as a National Nature Reserve. This status allows the protection of biodiversity while allowing the use of natural resources by local residents. Several Indian tribes such as Cocama, Huitoto, Bora or Yagua live in the outer parts of the reserve.
The area is one of the least accessible in Peru. The largest city of Iquitos is accesible by ship within two days on the boat and there is no accommodation available in the reserve. Sleeping in hemocks is an absolute necessity and a visit without a guide is not recommended.
In addition to protection of paiche the reserve has a great importance for protection of Amazon river dolphin and Gray dolphins and two species of turtles – Giant South American turtle and Yellow-spotted river turtle and hundreds of species of other animals. It is the land with one of the highest biodiversity in the world. With its 550 species of birds, it is the paradise for birdwatchers.
The official web of Pacaya Samiria: http://www.pacayasamiria.org .