Los Amigos Biological Station – a hub of biological research in the Amazon rainforest

Los Amigos Biological Station (aka CICRA) sits at the confluence of the meandering Madre de Dios and Los Amigos rivers in SE Peru, high on the terra firme, with more than 60 miles of trails extending in every direction. Getting there is an adventure in itself, and it is a real privilege to be able to live in such a wonderful place.

The view as you gasp, out of breath, at the top of the stairs, and marvel at your new home. Photo credit: Tom Beattie

The forest, despite having been disturbed in the past by logging and mining (and still suffering from both of these in places), still hosts an abundance of wildlife. The trails extend through various habitat types, from bamboo patches to swamps to floodplain, and there are lakes where you can paddle canoes to birdwatch, otter-watch, and anaconda spot.

Cocha Lobo, in search of giant otters

And a sleepy anaconda found in Pozo don Pedro

The facilities are amazing – various accommodation options from shared dorms to private cabins; a large comedor, a communal space and dining room, where 3 tasty meals a day are served; laboratories; a library with desk space for researchers; and of course a football/volleyball pitch.

The library

You can even visit as a tourist, if you want to see what life is like at one of the most active Amazonian research stations. Please do, because you’ll be supporting the protection of this forest, and it needs all the help it can get.

A private cabin for two. Photo credit: Tom Beattie

Living here for months on end is a brilliant but slightly bizarre experience. Communal living with perhaps 15–20 other people, the trials and tribulations of fieldwork, and isolation (internet access aside) make for a close-knit community, sharing highlights, triumphs and disasters from the day in the field over meals.

The enthusiasm of other researchers is infectious, and this lovely short film gives a glimpse of moth diversity at CICRA, and the entomologists that love them.

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