Known for the yearly Quyllur Rit’i festival, it’s hard to believe the area housing the impressive Ausangate glacier and lagoons surrounding it (a total area of 66,000 hectares) was only recently declared a regional conservation area. And it’s not due to lack of interest. Local communities and conservationists have been fighting for this recognition for more than a decade, obvious to the fact that climate change is affecting the area at an alarming rate. The area is also an important space for vicuña conservation.
The Municipality of Lima’s project to unite 5 areas of lush green hills (known as lomas) under one conservation area is now in the final stages of approval. Accounting for 13,500 hectares of lush landscapes, this move will allow the municipality to preserve what are considered some of the best day trip destinations around Lima. Enjoy camping, trekking and the sight of unique flora and fauna.
The vast, beautiful area of the high jungle in northern Peru has yet to become a tourist hotspot. There are natural and archaeological sites known by locals and experts only, for example: El Dorado. Sitting near the more well-known Kuelap, El Dorado is made up of terraces and circular structures constructed by the Chachapoyas people and used by the Incas. Not much more information is available about this structure, but the fact that it was just named Cultural Heritage of the Nation should be reason enough to visit.
Though considered a national park since 2015, it wasn’t until this year that specific plots in the Sierra del Divisor park gained protection from exploitation. Recognizable for a verdant mountain peaking above a forest of trees, the area is home to indigenous communities that live in voluntary isolation. These communities safeguard the area’s vast biodiversity. The protection zones will help conserve the area.
As an honorable mention, and moving west from the Andes and the jungle, there are two areas along the Pacific Coast of Peru that will be established as protected areas by 2021. Up north in Tumbes, the Ministry of Environment announced the plan to create Mar Tropical de Grau Reserve, where Peru’s largest concentration of marine life reproduction takes place. The second will be the Dorsal de Nazca (Nazca Ridge) Reserve. Covering 5.3 million hectares, this reserve will be the country’s largest protected area.
Cover photo: Thomas J Muller/El Taller.pe via Flickr
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