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Villa Carmen Biological Station and Reserve

Photo of Villa Carmen
Photo by Adrian Tejedor

The Villa Carmen Biological Station is located on over 7,500 acres of land within the spectacular Manu Biosphere Reserve in Southern Peru.  Spanning an elevational gradient of 1,600 to 4,000 feet above sea level, Villa Carmen hosts an incredible array of species found in a variety of habitats, ranging from cloud forest to montane and lowland rainforest.

The station neighbors several indigenous Wachiperi and Machiguenga communities as well as The Wachiperi Haramba Queros Conservation Concession, established with assistance from ACA as the first conservation concession in Peru run by an indigenous community. Villa Carmen Biological Station and  the Villa Carmen reserve serve to promote sustainable agroforestry and aquaculture, host educational programs, serve as a biological research station, and further incorporate local communities into conservation efforts.

The station and reserve supports a wide variety of habitats including old-growth rainforest, lower mountain forest, secondary forests, streams, rivers, waterfalls, and a highly diverse flora and fauna.  Dotted with sparkling streams, rivers, and waterfalls, Villa Carmen is an ideal place to discover the beauty and bounty of nature. 

Villa Carmen at a Glance

  • Established: August 2010
  • Mission: To contribute to the understanding and protection of the greater Manu landscape.
  • Location: 1.5 km north of the town of Pillcopata, district of Kcosñipata, Cusco, Peru.
  • Geographic coordinates: -12.8955, -71.4038
  • Elevation: 520-1200 meters
  • Area of reserve: 3,065 hectares (7,574 acres)
  • Vegetation: Premontane rainforest, lower mountain rainforest, bamboo forest, riparian successional vegetation, secondary successional vegetation, crops and pasture.
  • Percent forest cover: 92%
  • Precipitation: 4000 mm/year; driest in August & wettest in February (rainy season Nov-March). See 2011 and 2012 rainfall data from Villa Carmen.
  • Temperature: Annual average 22°C; maximum temperature 32°C (during sunny days August - November) and down to 10°C (during cold fronts May - August)
  • Prevailing wind: NNE
  • Trail system: 40 km, elevation gain 680 m, easy to difficult 
  • District population: 4,700 inhabitants, 97% of which are Andean colonos, 2% Machiguenga and Wachiperi, and 1% from coastal/northern Peru or other countries
  • Mammal sightings:> See maps of mammal sightings at Villa Carmen from September 2011, October 2011, November 2011, or December 2011.


  • Patterson, B. D., Stotz, D. F., & Solari, S. (2006). Biological Surveys and Inventories in Manu. Fieldiana Zoology110, 3–12. doi:[3:BSAIIM]2.0.CO;2
  • Weirauch, C. (2012). Voragocoris schuhi, a New Genus and Species of Neotropical Schizopterinae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Schizopteridae). Entomologica Americana, (1), 285–294. doi:
  • Whitaker, J., Ostle, N., Nottingham, A. T., Ccahuana, A., Salinas, N., Bardgett, R. D., … McNamara, N. P. (2014). Microbial community composition explains soil respiration responses to changing carbon inputs along an Andes-to-Amazon elevation gradient. Journal of Ecology, 102, 1058–1071. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12247


Currently we offer five double cabins with private bathrooms, a dormitory with shared bathrooms, for a total capacity for up to 60 people.  Wilderness camping is permitted. The Villa Carmen campus also includes a laboratory, a multipurpose meeting space, 24 hour electricity, hot water, and internet access.


2016 Prices




Dorm with shared bathroom




Cabin with private bathroom


All prices above include meals and 18% Peruvian sales tax (IGV). Researchers may also choose to camp at Villa Carmen for $10 per night (food not included), subject to availability and field conditions. For other lodging options and pricing, please contact .

Volunteers at all 3 stations pay $48/day* (covers food + lodging). A minimum stay of 8 weeks is required.

Stay with us as a conservation-minded tourist! Learn more about pricing and this incredible experience here.

Make a Reservation

  • Interested in visiting or conducting research at Villa Carmen? Email
  • Interested in volunteering at Villa Carmen? Also see our volunteer blog
  • Visit Villa Carmen's page on Facebook
  • Read a blog about a day of birding at Villa Carmen (“This was quite probably one of the most enthralling days birding I have experienced in my life.” -Sam Woods, Professional Bird Guide)
  • Potential visitors, see our Visitor's Guide (pdf)
  • Current visitors, download our Visitor Services Manual and Code of Conduct (pdf)

"The tree fern garden was one of the most astonishing things I observed, and a vivid memory of my time at Villa Carmen."

--Dr. Caroline Chaboo, University of Kansas


Photo of macaws

Resident macaws (Ara macao) at the Hacienda. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Clouds over the mountains of Villa Carmen

Clouds roll over the hillsides of Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Jaguar at Villa Carmen

Jaguar caught passing a camera trap at night at Villa Carmen in October 2011. Photo: ACA

Photo of Morpho butterfly

Morpho helenor butterfly at Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Clouds over the mountains of Villa Carmen

Cave Swift Waterfall at Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

red tapestry