Fundo Alto Nieva, San Martin, Perú
Fundo Alto Nieva is a private reserve in central northern Peru, and is devoted to conserving the flora and fauna of the cloud forests of Alto Nieva, in the Region of San Martín. It is located at exactly kilometre 374 + 200m of the Carretera Belaúnde Terry (the Belaúnde Terry Highway), between the Abra Patricia Reserve and the Protected Forest of Alto Mayo.
The ecosystem is dominated by tropical humid montane forest or cloud forest, and the elevation is between 1,800 and 1,900 metres above sea level.
The vegetation is characterised by short trees that are totally covered by epiphyte plants and also some areas of reeds and ferns. There are also many species of orchids growing in their natural setting, as well as heliconias and bromeliads. Relative humidity can reach 100%.
This is the place to see the rare endemics of this part of Peru: Long-whiskered Owlet, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Royal Sunangel, Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Speckle-breasted Piculet and Johnson's Tody-tyrant. The conservation of these species, and their habitat, is the Fundo’s primary objective.
The following species can also be seen: Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, White-capped Tanager, Crested Quetzal, Uniform Antshrike, White-tailed Hillstar, Ornate Flycatcher, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Cinnamon-Breasted Tody-Tyrant, Inca Flycatcher, Spotted Barbtail, Black-Faced Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager, Cinnamon-Breasted Tody-Tyrant, Green and black Fruiteater, Rufous-Vented Tapaculo, Montane Foliage-Gleaner, Undulated Antpitta, Cinnamon Screech-Owl, Black-Mandibled Toucan.
The commonest species are: Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch, Azara's Spinetail, Yellow-throated Tanager, Bar-Winged Wood-Wren, Bay-Breasted Wood-Wren, Green Jay, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Andean Solitaire.
To make it easier for visitors to observe the birds here, we have installed two feeder zones. One is located in secondary dwarf woodland where you are certain to see the rare and endemic Royal Sunangel after 08:30 a.m. and the other is in an area of primary forest where you can see the rare Rufous-vented Whitetip and Greenish Puffleg. These species are unique and are only found at these feeders where you can also see Bronzy Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, Collared Inca and Tawny-bellied Hermit.
The feeders have perches and other features to make photography easier.
Endemic Yellow-tailed woolly monkey
Butterflies and Moths
How to Get There
The site is very accessible and can be reached in three ways:
By road, if you have your own car, via Chiclayo towards Tarapoto, at kilometre 374 of the Carretera Belaúnde (the Belaúnde Terry Highway). It’s about 8 hours from Chiclayo.
By road, in public transport, from Lima-Chiclayo-Tarapoto. You will need to get off the bus at Florida-Pomacochas (km 325) and from there take a colectivo (shared taxi) to the Fundo as buses do not have a scheduled stop at the Fundo.
By air, via a flight to Tarapoto. From there you can take a colectivo with the company ‘Turismo Selva’, which has its offices on block 13 of Calle Alfonso Ugarte. These go to Pedro Ruiz (which is further along the road than Fundo Alto Nieva) and depart at 07:00 and 11:00. Another option is to take one of the various colectivos to Moyobamba (about an hour north of Tarapoto) and from there take a colectivo with the company ‘Evangelio Poder de Dios’ which run between Moyobamba and Chachapoyas (again further along the road than Fundo Alto Nieva). In either case, you need to be dropped off at kilometre 374 of the Belaúnde Highway.
The entrance to the Fundo is at kilometre 374 + 200 (metres) of the Belaúnde Terry Highway and has facilities such as toilet, shower and electricity. Mobile network coverage is very limited, but you can get a signal in one area. The Fundo has 10 kilometres of trails, which cover the entire area and there are two feeder areas, each with different species.
Near the entrance to the Fundo, and adjacent to it, is an extensive area where you can park, as well as a store with basic goods and a simple restaurant, owned by Señor Nazario.
The climate is very humid with an average temperature throughout the year of 12 to 19 degrees centigrade. As afternoons tend to be wet, it is recommended to visit the Fundo in the morning between 06:00 and 11:00 and the best months to visit are May-October. See the state of the weather in the Fundo here.
Entry for the day costs 20 soles and allows visits to the feeder stations in the company of Kenny and Wilmer, the Fundo’s wardens. Also, if you want to see particular bird species, we offer a guide service through the various paths on the Fundo to look for them in their favoured zones and at special feeders if necessary.
Because the climate is temperate, mosquitoes are not a big problem. Although the paths are mostly stony, we recommend the use of waterproof boots.
The site is very secure.
To visit the Fundo, you should contact us in advance to make arrangements. Night-time visits are restricted and need to be coordinated in advance. On nocturnal visits the use of flash photography is prohibited. To arrange a visit, get in touch with us on the Fundo Alto Nieva Facebook page here.
Translation courtesy of Mr David Wood