Aquicuana Reserve

The Aquicuana Reserve (Área Protegida y Reserva Natural Aquicuana) is an area of incredible biodiversity is located about 20 kilometers from the city of Riberalta in the Beni Department of the Bolivian Amazon. It is home to Lake San José, the plant-medicine retreat center Pisatahua, and two rural communities: San José and Warnes. Its name, Aquicuana, comes from the Tacana native language, meaning ‘land of the giant trees.’

History of the Reserve:

  • 1995: the municipality of Riberalta put in place the first law to protect the San José lake.
  • 2004: The Municipality expanded protection of the area to 1,600 Hectares
  • 2016: Sustainable Bolivia, Pisatahua, the Riberalta Municipality and the communities San Jose and Warnes work together to expand protection of the Reserve.  The group formally establishes the Aquicuana Reserve, providing protection to more than 20,000 hectares of rainforest.
  • 2018: A toll of 2 Bs ($0.30) is instituted at a checkpoint to allow the community of Warnes to monitor activity within the reserve and prohibit fishing and hunting. The 2016 initiative is approved by the government and signed into law. 

Inauguration of the Aquicuana Reserve (2016)


The twin organizations Sustainable Bolivia and Fundacion Amazonia work hand-in-hand with local communities to safeguard the natural heritage of the Reserve. The main objective is to protect the area from agricultural expansion and intensive livestock farming, deforestation, mining and extraction of its natural resources while supporting the local communities’ goals of improved living and economic conditions.


Environment and Climate

Meanwhile, nature dictates its law here. Both communities live in the dry and wet season and all activity must be adapted to it. Whether it is agriculture or tourism, the pace changes depending on the season. During the dry season it is possible to wander through the jungle to explore the flourishing nature of the reserve. It is a little more difficult during the wet season when parts of the reserve are not accessible.

This reserve ensures the protection of nature but it also allows its observation. It is possible thanks to the years of work of both associations and communities to observe a multitude of animals of the Amazon in a natural and protected environment. It is an ideal place for the observation of the fauna (fish, birds, mammals and insects) and the flora.

Sustainable Bolivia’s work in the reserve

With its 11 years experience in Bolivia, Sustainable Bolivia now works directly with the local communities in the reserve. The projects of the association aims at setting up projects of environmental remediation and permaculture. This includes toilets construction, well chlorination, health and environmental education workshops and agroecology projects, to mention only a few. In addition, the association wants to build a place to cook and serve meals and an information point for tourists wishing to visit the reserve.

There are also volunteering opportunities in the reserve itself in the areas of environment, education and health. Contact us for more information!