One of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites inscribed for both its cultural and natural characteristics, Rio Abiseo National Park is a 274,520-hectare property located on the Eastern slopes of the tropical Andes in North-Central Peru. Beyond the impressive fact that at least 30 pre-Columbian archaeological sites are located within the park, Rio Abiseo National Park is also home to at least 7 climate zones and a world of biodiversity.
The park’s greatest claim to fame came with the rediscovery of the thought-to-be-extinct Yellow-Tailed Wooly Monkey. Upon this discovery, Rio Abiseo National Park was created in 1983 to protect the fauna and flora of the region, most of which is endemic. Scholars believe the rainforests of Rio Abiseo National Park date back to the Pleistocene Era, meaning much of the flora and fauna within the park survived and evolved during repeated glaciation phases.
The more than 30 archaeological sites within Rio Abiseo National Park span eight millennia of human history, painting a solidly good picture of pre-Inca civilization. The first evidence of civilization in the park dates back to 6,000 B.C., during the pre-Ceramic period. Features of many of the ruins include rock shelters, roads, domestic and ceremonial structures, storage buildings, fences, platforms, agricultural terraces and burial sites. Among the known archaeological sites, the following are worth visiting: La Playa, Las Papayas, Los Pinchudos, Gran Pajatén, Cerro Central, and Manachaqui Cave.
The declaration of Rio Abiseo National Park as a protected area is significant for global conservation and science. Beyond the critically endangered Yellow-Tailed Wooly Monkey, there are a host of other rare and endemic species living in the park, including Spectacled Bear, Giant Armadillo, North Andean Deer, Jaguar, primates, and hundreds of bird species, not to mention more than 5,000 recorded plant species.
Rio Abiseo National Park was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1990. Although the park has been closed to tourism since 1986, visitors can enter the park to visit some of the archaeological sites with a visitor permit from Peru’s Park Service (SERNANP). The easiest point of access is via Tarapoto. From here, you’ll drive three hours to Juajui, then board a speedboat to reach the Abiseo River and park entrance.
Although beyond reach for many travelers to Peru, a Kuoda Travel Designer can pull together an action-packed itinerary for you to Rio Abiseo National Park. Get in touch with us today to begin planning your northern Peru journey.