RIO ABISEO NATIONAL PARK
Rio Abiseo National Park is located in the San Martin Region, one of Peru's 24 regions in the north and central part of the country, occupying high jungle areas. On its western edges some sectors reach the high Andean plateau. The region occupies the mid-sector of the lush Huallaga River valley.
The weather in this region is predominantly hot and wet, varying as one goes up to pleasantly temperate and even to cold in the high mountain border areas and on the eastern edge of the Andean plateau.
Rio Abiseo National Park is part of the eastern Peruvian Cordillera, so its landscape is predominantly mountainous. The pre-Cambrian rocks of the area are the remnants of old cordillera chains, at the time that the Americas were one continent with Africa, Oceania, India and the Antarctic. Some scientists claim that part of the Pleistocene refuge of Huallaga is located in this area. The Park, whose exact location is the district of Huicungo, Province of Mariscal Caceres, was created on August 11, 1983. Its surface is 274,520 hectares and its altitude varies from 350 to 4,349 meters above sea level.
Man's presence in this protected zone dates from the pre-Inca period (1,000 to 400 BC), and the remains testify to the existence of roads, shelters, agricultural terraces, homes and ceremonial buildings.
One of the most important monuments is the De los Pinchudos Mausoleum, whose walls are of stone and adobe painted ocher, yellow and black, where wooden idols representing naked figures were found hanging from the beams, these being the only pre-Hispanic idols that have been found intact in their original setting.
The ruins of Gran Pajaten are located within Rio Abiseo National Park and, due to their relative inaccessibility remained hidden until 1963; this group consists of three circular buildings decorated with animal and human figures with stairways in front connected with small stone paved plazas.
To get to this hidden wonder, there are two access routes:
- Eastern Side
From Lima by air to Tarapoto (1 hour), then by land Tarapoto - Juanjui (3½ hours), then by river Juanjui - Huicungo (1½ hours), finally Huicungo - El Churo (2 hours); along the way you will find hotels in Tarapoto and Juanjui, from there onward you will have to camp out in the area.
- Western Side
From Lima by air to Trujillo (45 minutes), then Trujillo - Chagual by air (45 minutes) or by land (24 hours), then by land Chagual - Pias (3 hours) , Pias - Ventanas (3 hours)
The most notable areas are:
This sector contains sites with tourist attractions such as Del Churo Gorge, featuring scenic beauty and water fauna; we also find Timon Waterfall, Cocha Farallon Gorge and El Churo Alto Gorge, the latter with its beautiful views and abundance of parrots and guacamayos. Here we also find De Los Franceses Cave and Del Otorongo Cave, both full of bats and nocturnal birds such as guacharos.
Most of the archaeological and monumental sites in the Park are located in this area, the most important being the Gran Pajaten Complex, the De los Pinchudos Mausoleum, the remains of Paredones, Apisuncho (Tumac River), the Inca Road, El Mirador, Pueblo Viejo (Condormarca); there are also numerous beautiful lakes which harbor many fish, among them Quisar, La Empedrada, Cinturona, Corneadas, Celeste Lagoon, Negra Lagoon, Verde Lagoon and Colorada Lagoon, with its beautiful waterfalls.
Ecologically Rio Abiseo National Park features two well-differentiated sectors, the western and eastern Andes Cordillera, with altitudes varying between 4,200 and 350 meters above sea level.
The forest flora features a strong presence of epiphytes on tree branches and rock mosses, as well as orchids and bromelias. There is a wide variety of medicinal ferns and other plants in the area, such as oje (Picus antihelmintica), sangre de grado (Croton lechleri) and uña de gato (Uncaria Tomentosa).
The fauna is extremely varied. Among the mammals we find Mono Choro de Cola Amarilla (Lagothrix flavicauda), the taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis), the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatos), the jaguar (Panthera onca), the Maquisapa cenizo (Ateles belzebuth); among the main birds are the Condor Andino (Vultur gryphus), the buitre real (Sarcoramphus papa) , the Loro de Cabeza Amarilla (Amazona ochrocephala); as well as a wide variety of fish, reptiles and insects.
Bear in mind that before you come you must obtain an access permit in Lima.