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Bahuaja-Sonene National Park

Binational Conservation

Smooth-banded Sister

The name of this massive national park comes from the Ese-Eja indigenous language. Tambopata is Quechua and the Ese-Eja translation is Bahuaja. Heath, a humid highland habitat, is Sonete in Ese-Eja. The Tambopata National Reserve is actually inside the Bahuaja-Sonene.


This Peruvian national park connects with the Bolivian Madidi National Park and also spans two regions: Madre de Dios and Puno. With such diverse ecosystems, Bahuaja-Sonene has as many species as Manu, many of which are endemic to the area. There are over a thousand species of butterflies and more than 600 species of birds. This is an easy place to see 100 bird species in a day!


You can access this area from Puerto Maldonado, Cusco or Puno. There are many local agencies that offer tours. As always, when you’re choosing a tour agency, I recommend doing research on your options. Always ask about their environmental protection programs and how waste is managed while you’re in the jungle. If they claim to have an eco-lodge, ask what makes it eco, since the term is sometimes just used for marketing. Also ask how they give back to or support the indigenous people whose land you will be visiting.

Manu & Madre de Dios

Wildlife & Birding

Peru’s Wildlife In-A-Week

Meet the Amazon

Text © Heather Jasper

Image by Katja Schulz