Guardians of the Forest, Assemble

Green Tours has always cared. Since 2006, the Peruvian tour operator has gone the extra step to ensure its guests have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but always in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

To further that idea, the business created a sister, non-profit organization, Asociacion Green Tours, to support local conservation initiatives, especially those that focus on endangered species.

Asociación Green Tours operates numerous projects in northern Peru, but none are arguably more important than their Guardians of The Forest initiative.

The Guardians of The Forest can be found in northern Peru. This area enjoys a rich diversity of bird species due to its unique ecosystems–dry, humid and rainy forests, influenced by two large rivers, the Marañón and the Amazon.

Unfortunately, human activities such as large-scale agriculture, illegal logging, mining and more have put these forests and their inhabitants at risk.

In recent years, some local inhabitants (the Guardians of the Forests) voluntarily started conservation work in the area. Over time, they discovered bird watching could provide a way to finance their conservation activities, and even help them to make a living.

These are the main Guardians of the Forest projects that Asociación Green Tours supports along the Alto Mayo route:

The Altamirano Family

The Altamirano family. The Altamiranos live just outside the city of Moyobamba, where they have decided to turn their property into a private conservation area. They built an ecolodge in the forest not far from their house, and named it Waqanki, which is Qechua for a particular orchid. The gardens inside their property are fantastic for hummingbirds, and they also have an orchid garden, with more than 150 distinct species.

Morro de Calzada

Morro de Calzada. The District Municipality of Calzada, near the city of Moyobamba, has established a nature conservation area in a nearby mountain and its surrounding forests. The area is popular among locals for hiking on weekends, but recently, has also become a birding hotspot. Some of the park rangers have become avid birders, and Asociación Green Tours has donated birding books to help them to improve their birding skills.

Arena Blanca Conservation Area. This is a private conservation initiative located near the small town of Aguas Verdes, has 30 acres of white sand forest, and belongs to Norbil Becerra and his family. After three years of hard work, Norbil has positioned Arena Blanca as a major birding destination in northern Peru. His hummingbird feeders are visited by more than twenty species! As the number of birders visiting the area continues to increase, Asociación Green Tours is helping Norbil improve the quality of the services he provides.

Elmer Chuqui

Fundo Alto Nieva Private Reserve. Many years ago, Peruvian conservationsits, Carlos Calle and Ciro Alegria, bought a piece of land in these isolated mountains with the dream of helping to protect the cloud forests of the Alto Mayo and Alto Nieva basins. Today, Carlos lives in Lima, and Ciro in Barcelona, and the man running the reserve is its resident manager Keny Rodriguez. Keny was born not far from the reserve, and knows the cloud forests well. If you want to see the elusive long-whiskered owlet, he is your man.

If you would like to visit the Guardians of The Forest, experience their northern Peru homeland and see a spectacular variety of birds, check out the trip below.