Allpahuayo Mishana blue-lipped forest anole
Blue-lipped Forest Anole

Allpahuyo Mishana National Reserve: What to do and see, and How to get there.

The goal of Allpahuayo Mishana is to conserve biodiversity and the varillal forests habitat on white sand. This national reserve protects a unique combination of ecosystems of different origin and age and is one of the most biodiverse areas of the Amazon.

Biological richness

The Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve is known for its very high levels of biodiversity, several of which are world records: about three hundred species of trees over 10 cm in

diameter per hectare, more than 500 species greater than 2.5 cm per three-quarters of a hectare, and 120 species of reptiles, the largest worldwide registration for a locality. In other groups there are exceptional records: 83 species of amphibians, some of them known only from here, 145 species of mammals and 475 species of birds, more than half a dozen of them specialists in the forests of white sand known in Peru only in the Nanay basin. However, these figures are constantly increasing with the discovery of new species in the area.

Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve has among its more than 1,900 plant species over a hundred species of rare plants, endemic or very restricted distribution, and more than a dozen vertebrates in the same situation, and other rare or endangered, as the rare primates Goeldi’s Marmoset (Callimico goeldii), Collared Titi Monkey (Callicebus torquatus) and Equatorial Saki Monkey (Pithecia aequatorialis), the latter two protected for the first time in Peru in the Reserve.

Allpahuayo mishana plant diversity
Many plants species are restricted the Varillall forest growing on white-sand.

The birds include the recently described Ancient Antwren (Herpsilochmus gentryi), named after the American botanist Al Gentry who was the first to study the white-sand forests in the region and proposed conservation measures. The Mishana Tyrannulet (Zimmerius villarejoi), named after P. Villarejo Avencio; Allpahuayo Antbird (Percnostola arenarum) Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Myrmeciza castanea), the Pompadour Cotinga (Xipholena punicea), a bird of exceptional beauty that is known in Peru only from the Reserve, and Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum), also knonw only from the reserve. Besides these, there are other white-sand forests birds specialist (see list below).

White sand forest trail
Forest Trail: The White-sand can be seen on the forest floor.

Medicinal plant gardens and native fruit

Within the limits of the Reserve Research Institute of the Amazon – IIAP-running research projects: assessment of flora and fauna for exploration and conservation, medicinal plants and native fruit.

The garden currently includes a collection of 247 species of medicinal plants and multiple use of the Peruvian Amazon. These include the collections of both species of Cat’s Claw “uña de gato” (Uncaria tomentosa and U. guianensis), Dragon’s blood “sangre de grado” (Croton lecheri), “ayahuasca” (Banisteriopsis caapi), “Chiric sanango” (Brumfelsia grandiflora) “chuchuasha” (Maytenus macrocarpa ), “ajo sacha” (Mansoa alliacea), and others.

Amazon fruits collection

In an area of ​​about five hectares, is installed a collection of 47 species of Amazonian native fruit, belonging to 22 families and 37 genera. It has a database relating to collection, nursery, planting, biometric measurements of growth, fruit yield assessment, and others. Species are marked with signs which specify the common and scientific names, and family. Additionally, use the trails of primary forest nearby where visitors can find dozens of species of wild fruit identified with their respective posters.

Species of new birds for the science discovered and described in the reserved area

Many of these species are white-sand specialists and are therefore exceedingly rare, due to the scarcity of white-sand forests in Peru. For example, 21 bird species have been found to be associated with white-sand forests in this area, and for several of them, these forests near Iquitos are their only known distribution in Peru.

  • Ancient Antwren(Herpsilochmus gentryi)
  • Mishana Tyrannulet(Zimmerius villarejoi)
  • Allpahuayo Antbird(Percnostola arenarum)
  • Iquitos Gnatcatcher (Polioptila clementsi)
  • Zimmer’s Antbird(Myrmeciza castanea centuculorum)
Ancient Antwren
The Ancient Antwren can be heard and seen along the trails of Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve.


Species of new birds for Peru or very rare discovered in the reserved area

  • Gray-Iegged Tinamou(Crypturellus duidae)
  • White-winged Potoo(Nyctibius leucopterus)
  • Rufous Potoo(Nyctibius bracteatus)
  • Band-tailed Nighthawk(Nyctiprogne leucopyga)
  • Brown-banded Puffbird(Notharcus ordii)
  • Zimmer’s Tody-tyrant(Hemitriccus minimus)
  • Cinnamon-crested Spadebill(Platyrinchus saturatus)
  • Yellow-throated Flycatcher(Conopias parva)
  • Saffron-crested Tyrant-manakin(Neopelma chrysocephalum)
  • Pompadour Cotinga(Xipholena punicea)
  • Cinnamon Tyrant-manakin(Neopipo cinnamomea)

How to get there: 

The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is located only 26.5 (16 miles)south of Iquitos.  The best way to get there is by taking a “collectivo”.  Collectivos are cars servicing the route between the cities of Iquitos and Nauta. Ask for the station where collectives depart for Nauta.  Before you get in the Collectivo, I would recommend to ask the driver to give you the price, individual or for the group, for the ride to Allpahuayo-Mishana.

Allpahuayo sign
Sign at the interpretation center visible from the road.

The collectivo will drop you off at the trail head for the reserve’s office where you will be given the proper guidance about visiting the site. To return to Iquitos after you visit, go back to the road you were dropped off at, and flag a collectivo returning to Iquitos.

By: Alfredo Begazo