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Finca Las Piedras

Finca Las Piedras is the ASA's research and education center in Peru's Madre de Dios region, in the southern Peruvian Amazon. The site provides access to thousands of hectares of diverse Amazonian ecosystems, including 'terra firme' or upland rainforest dominated by Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and other tropical hardwoods and aquatic habitats ranging from streams to Mauritia palm swamps ('aguajales' locally). These habitats contain the full complement of top predators including 5 cat species and countless species of plants and other animals, thousands of which have been documented by our team.

 

 

Comfortable facilities for living and working on site and easy accessibility from the regional capital, Puerto Maldonado, make Finca Las Piedras the ideal base for exploration, research, and education in the Amazon.

Finca Las Piedras at a glance...

Location

Madre de Dios, Peru (lat. -12.226348°, lon. -69.112599°)

Distance to regional capital

Puerto Maldonado; 48 km, ~1 hr by car

Living facilities

Shared dorms, private rooms, laboratory space, dining hall, shared composting toilets & cold showers

 

Meals

7am, 1pm, 6:30pm in the common dining hall

Electricity

220 V provided by solar panels

Where are we?

The Madre de Dios region is formally recognized as Peru's 'Biodiversity Capital', and is home to more plant and animal species than nearly anywhere else in the country – and, indeed, the world. Not only that – in addition to unmatched biodiversity, a number of rare and charismatic species that are declining elsewhere throughout the Amazon can be found here in relatively high numbers. For instance, to name just a couple, jaguars are commonly seen resting on river beaches during the dry season and endangered giant otters are easily observed in the region's numerous oxbow lakes. This incredible biodiversity supports a number of traditional, rainforest-based livelihoods throughout the region and attracts many visitors – researchers, students, and tourists – from all over the world.

Finca Las Piedras is located in the center of the so-called 'Brazil Nut Corridor' in Madre de Dios, a roughly 1 million hectare area (about the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut) where Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is among the dominant canopy tree species. The trees' nuts are harvested sustainably each year from this area by 'castañeros', who protect their groves from other forms of resource extraction. The Brazil Nut Corridor, therefore, is an important de facto conservation unit, which the ASA has shown through our research and monitoring projects to be of exceptionally high biodiversity value. Furthermore, the Corridor serves as a critical biological link connecting plant and animal populations in the region's most important protected area complexes, including the Manu-Alto Purus-Amarakaeri complex to the northwest and the Tambopata-Bahuaja Sonene-Madidi complex to the southeast.

Map SE Peru Finca Las Piedras

Visit us in the Amazon

Finca Las Piedras is open to researchers, students, and anyone else who would like to experience the rainforest and the work done by the ASA to study and conserve Amazonian biodiversity and other natural resources.

Researchers

Finca Las Piedras is an active center for research on Amazonian biodiversity and provides researchers with good food and comfortable accommodations, workspace, and access to extensive and diverse rainforest habitats. In addition, researchers can leverage the ASA's existing databases, biological collections, extensive local contacts and knowledge, and region-specific expertise spanning biology and social sciences to facilitate their work.

Student Groups

Finca Las Piedras is an ideal site to host a field course, service learning project, or other group in the Peruvian Amazon. Easy accessibility and good wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as comfortable facilities and excellent food, ensure a productive and unforgettable experience. The ASA can assist visiting groups in every aspect of logistical planning and academic programming, including participation in our own ongoing research and monitoring projects.

Birders

With nearly 400 species registered at the site to date, birders will have plenty to do and see (and photograph) here. A few highlights include 9 species of manakins, several with known leks and guaranteed sightings of white-bearded manakin, 10 species of owl, 3 potoos, 6 species of macaw and many other parrots, semi-collared puffbird, pavonine quetzal, and lots of birds of prey—ornate hawk-eagle, crested eagle, and 5 species of forest falcon, to name just a few.

Film Crews & Content Producers

Our site is the ideal field location for filming or photographing an endless variety of stories related to Amazonian wildlife and biodiversity. Finca Las Piedras offers comfortable accommodations, good food with flexible schedules, and easy access to diverse rainforest ecosystems that contain more species of plants and animals than anywhere else on Earth. However, the main advantage of filming here is our deep local knowledge—if it lives here, we can help you find it and film it.

Independent Visitors

If you are looking for a place to hike rainforest trails, observe Amazonian plants and animals, learn about research and conservation in the Amazon, or just escape the city and commune with nature, Finca Las Piedras is the place you're looking for. We host visitors from all over the world, ranging from amateur naturalists, nature photographers, and other individuals to families looking for a fun and educational experience.

2022-23 visitor fees

Group size

Daily Fees per Visitor

Shared room (dormitories)

1+

1 night

$55/night

<1 month

$50/night

>1 month

$45/night

Private room (shared bathroom)

Single

1 night

$70/night

<1 month

$65/night

>1 month

$60/night

2+

1 night

$65/night

<1 month

$60/night

>1 month

$55/night

Private room (private bathroom)

Single

1 night

$75/night

<1 month

$70/night

>1 month

$65/night

2+

1 night

$70/night

<1 month

$65/night

>1 month

$60/night

Daily fee includes:

  • Lodging & three meals per night stayed

  • Snacks & hot drinks 24 hrs

  • Access to forest trail network

Daily fee does not include:

  • Transportation to and from station

  • Guide or dedicated field assistance (researchers)

*Please read our Cancellation Policy, as well as our Terms and Conditions before making a payment. Contact us for course group rates and student discounts.

Biodiversity

Taxonomic group

Species registered to date at Finca Las Piedras

Amphibians

Arachnids

Birds

Fishes

Insects

Mammals

Plants

Reptiles

TOTAL

65

58

355

30

1,187

41

470

65

2,317

Finca Las Piedras is located in the Madre de Dios Department of osoutheastern Peru, where the Andes Mountains meet the vast Amazon basin.

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Madre de Dios is among the most biodiverse regions on the planet—more than 1,300 species of butterflies alone have been recorded to date.

Finca Las Piedras is the ASA's research base in Madre de Dios, and provides access to varied Amazonian habitat that shelter more species of plants and animals than anywhere else on earth.

Most of the site is covered in upland, 'terra firme' rain forest. Bertholletia excelsa—the source of Brazil nuts—is a dominant canopy species.

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Orchids comprise the most diverse family of plants in the world and are especially abundant in the rainforest canopy at Finca Las Piedras.

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Students on a field course help plant native trees for reforestation in the ASA shadehouse.

Seedlings of copoazú,Theobroma grandiflorum, grow in the ASA's shadehouse. This is one of numerous native species that we are working with to enhance the biodiversity value of the rain forest-agricultural matrix that surrounds us.

Many of these species were documented using iNaturalist - check out the Finca Las Piedras project page here:

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Finca Las Piedras is a bird hotspot in SE Peru - check out our species list on eBird:

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Other Resources

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We're a proud member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations, a global consortium of field stations and organization that manage them for research, education, and outreach.