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Villa Carmen Biological Station

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 1,700 to almost 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 Amazon Conservation as the first conservation concession in Peru run by an indigenous community. Villa Carmen Biological Station serves to promote sustainable agroforestry and aquaculture, host educational programs, and further incorporate local communities into conservation efforts.

The station 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 the Amazon. 

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 Kosñipata, 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: 22miles/35 km, elevation gain 680 m, easy to difficult 



Our Villa Carmen campus can accommodate up to 100 people.  Wilderness camping is permitted. Our facilities and services include:

  • 11 Double cabins with private bathrooms
  • Two dormitories with shared bathrooms
  • Three delicious, organic meals a day made with local ingredients and coffee, water, and tea available throughout the day
  • Large multipurpose meeting spaces
  • Laboratory with equipment, tables and benches
  • A scientific library including in-house field guides to local plant and animal communities
  • Limited internet
  • 24 hour electricity
  • Restrooms and hot showers
  • Access to 35 km/22 miles of well-maintained, geo-referenced trails
  • Easy access to the nearby town of Pillcopata
  • Access to two indigenous communities (with prior approval)
  • A sustainable agriculture program, including kitchen garden for farm-sourced meals, and on-site fish farm



Current Prices



Dorm with shared bathroom



Cabin with private bathroom


All prices above include meals and 18% Peruvian sales tax (IGV).

If you are not a researcher or course but would like to bird or explore the Amazon with us, visit this site for more information!

Sample Publications Featuring Research Conducted at Villa Carmen

  • 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

Interested in
Doing Research or Conducting a Course at Villa Carmen?

  • Email us for site availability and logistics questions at
  • Email our Science Director Aimy Cáceres, PhD for any science and research related questions at
  • Visit our social media pages to see the latest of what is going on at Villa Carmen! Follow us at our Villa Carmen 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)


Student dorm

Resident macaw (Ara macao) at the station. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Student dorm Clouds roll over the hillside of Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Student dormJaguar caught passing a camera trap at night at Villa Carmen in October 2011. Photo: Amazon Conservation Staff

Student dormMorpho helenor butterfly at Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Student dormCave Swift Waterfall at Villa Carmen. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Student dormStudents from a course pose in front of a large tree in our trails. Photo: Jessica Suarez

Student dormA researcher walks our trails at Villa Carmen. Photo: Jessica Suarez

Student dormA researcher leaves our dining hall at Villa Carmen for a day in the field. Photo: Walter Wust


red tapestry