Peruvian pearls: the Sanctuary of Santiago Comaina
High up in northern Peru, on the border with Ecuador, is the Santiago Comaina Sanctuary, which not only serves as a refuge for numerous exotic animals, but also preserves peace in the region. He is one of the so-called “Peace Parks” and his counterpart of the El Cóndor National Park in Ecuador. The formerly tense region is now a popular destination for touring the rainforest, especially for ornithologists and fans of colorful butterflies.
Retreat for many endangered species
The Santiago Comaina Conservation Area covers an area of almost 398450 hectares and is located in the province of Condorcanqui, Amazon region, one of the most sparsely populated regions of Peru. The park consists mainly of rainforests with numerous cedar trees and palms. Various waters permeate the area and provide a lush and varied landscape, especially in the mountainous area around the mountains of El Condor.
Main objective of the reserve is the conservation of the Cordillera del Campanquiz, in a complex geological formation and one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Landes, with ecological and evolutionary conditions interacting with the Amazon basin.The Santiago Comaina reserve is located in the region of the high forest and the beginnings of low forest, framed by the low foothills of the eastern Andean slope, and consists of humid tropical forests. It borders the Pleistocene Refuge and the center of the Marañón and is home to one of the highest livestock varieties in the country.The landscape is typical of the mountain forest ecoregion of the Real Oriental Mountains in its zone of contact with the Amazonas plain. Members of the Jibaro family, including the Shuar and Ashuar groups, the Aguaruna and the Huambisas, also live in the area. In terms of biodiversity, there are many species of flora and fauna that are new to science, as well as endangered species.
The sanctuary is home to numerous mammals, such as jaguars (which, however, are rarely seen, and then come to light in the twilight or darkness), skulls and monkeys crowned with gold or red deer.
But mainly it is the flying inhabitants that attract tourists. Here you can find several birds in danger of extinction, such as the brush or the Karunkokokko, and also the famous Andean condor that runs through the area. In addition, the park hosts more than 450 different species of butterflies that bloom in a humid and warm climate.
And the world of plants is unique in its kind in the Santiago Comaina Conservation Area: if you’re looking to find more than 40 different types of orchids, especially in the El Cóndor mountains, which bloom in every imaginable shape and color.
What is a Peace Parc?
Even if you have not noticed much here in Europe, but not even 20 years ago, more precisely in 1998, there was almost a renewed war between Peru and Ecuador. The reason for this? Borders regulated in an uncertain manner that repeatedly led to skirmishes and skirmishes between Ecuador and Peru. To stop the fight and “save” the region culturally rich and, above all, important for the landscape, the neighboring states of Brazil, Chile, Argentina and also the United States intervened and mediated between the fights.
Therefore, the controversial area was opened as a Peace Park in 1999, along with the lie on the Ecuadorian side of the El Cóndor National Park. These cross-border parks were meant to safeguard peace and protect nature: successfully, because since the opening of protected areas, there have been no more disputes. Meanwhile, diplomatic relations between the two countries have improved markedly.
Getting to Santiago-Comaina
The sanctuary of Santiago Comaina is located high in the Amazon region in the province of Condorcanqui. If you want to arrive from Lima, you have a very nice track, especially a very demanding one. The bus usually takes less than 24 hours by bus, and then you are in Chachapoyas,
, the capital of the region. From there you have to book a tour to the protected area in one of the travel agencies, and the trip also takes several hours. Therefore, a one-day excursion is only recommended conditionally.
If you do not want to spend the whole day on the bus, you can also fly to Chiclayo on the coast and take the bus from there (12 hours by car, usually during the night).
The rainy season lasts approximately from November to March, and at that time, many of the roads that are improvised anyway are impassable. Not only is it flooded, but roads sometimes break completely.
It gets drier in the spring, around April. Although there is still a very high humidity (especially in the jungle), but the rain decreases noticeably.
Zona Reservada Santiago Comaina