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Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA)

View from CICRA canopy tower

Our Los Amigos Biological Station, also known by its Spanish acronym CICRA (Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Rio Los Amigos), is located in lowland Amazonian forest at the base of Peru’s southern Andes. The station sits at the tip of a peninsula on a high terrace between the Madre de Dios and Los Amigos Rivers and provides easy access to various forest types and aquatic habitats. The Los Amigos Biological Station was established in 2000, on the conviction that the greatest forest on earth deserves the best research centers in the world.

Los Amigos is also a leading training site for young Amazonian scientists and conservationists. In addition to muddy-boots field experience in the 360,000-acre Los Amigos Conservation Concession (LACC), adjoining the 1,119-acre biological station, these young scientists benefit from regular presentations by visiting scientists, involvement with the station’s long-term ecological monitoring program, specialized training as part of field courses, access to a large scientific library, and immersion in a vibrant scientific community.

Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA) at a Glance

  • Years since establishment: 13
  • Research projects hosted to date: >210
  • Number of grants awarded to work in Los Amigos: 124
  • Taxonomic groups inventoried to date: 31
  • Species recorded to date: 4,369
  • Peer-reviewed papers based on work at Los Amigos: >230
  • Undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral theses: 22, 20, and 10
  • Books about Los Amigos research: 3
  • Number of field courses hosted at Los Amigos through 2012: >50
  • Miles of trails: >60


  • de Luna, Ana G, Sanmiguel, R., Di Fiore, A., & Fernandez-Duque, E. (2010). Predation and Predation Attempts on Red Titi Monkeys (Callicebus discolor) and Equatorial Sakis (Pithecia aequatorialis) in Amazonian Ecuador  Folia Primatol, 81, 86–95. doi:10.1159/000314948
  • Dexter, K. G., Terborgh, J. W., & Cunningham, C. W. (2012). Historical effects on beta diversity and community assembly in Amazonian trees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America109(20), 7787–7792. doi:10.1073/pnas.1203523109
  • Frederickson, M. E., Ravenscraft, A., Miller, G. A., Hernández, L. M. A., Booth, G., & Pierce, N. E. (2012). The Direct and Ecological Costs of an Ant-Plant Symbiosis. The American Naturalist179 (6), 768–778. doi:10.1086/665654
  • Palminteria, S., Powell, G. V. ., & Peres, C. A. (2011). Regional-scale heterogeneity in primate community structure at multiple undisturbed forest sites across south-eastern Peru. Journal of Tropical Ecology27(2), 181–194. doi:10.1017/S0266467410000684
  • Pitman, N. C. A. (2010). Research in biodiversity hotspots should be free. Trends in Ecology & Evolution25(7), 381. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2010.04.002
  • Plata, E. R., & Lücking, R. (2013). High diversity of Graphidaceae (lichenized Ascomycota: Ostropales) in Amazonian Perú. Fungal Diversity58(1), 13–32. doi:10.1007/s13225-012-0172-y
  • Salvadora, S., Claveroa, M., & Pitman, R. L. (2011). Large mammal species richness and habitat use in an upper Amazonian forest used for ecotourism. Mammalian Biology76(2), 115–123. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2010.04.007


CICRA offers visitors the resources necessary for cutting-edge science in tropical wilderness, including:

  • Accommodations and dining facilities for up to 60 visitors
  • Spacious labs and offices
  • A lecture hall and scientific library
  • A resident PhD-level science director
  • >60 miles of well-maintained, geo-referenced trails
  • A 200-foot observation tower
  • A useful plant garden (pdf) with more than 600 marked plants
  • Satellite Internet access
  • Access to online scientific literature and databases
  • A digital database of plant species collected on site
  • In-house field guides to local plant and animal communities
  • Two smaller satellite stations (CM1 and CM2), each with its own laboratory and lodging, are 2 miles and 15 miles from the main station.


2016 Prices




Dorm with shared bathroom




Cabin with private bathroom

All prices above include meals and 18% Peruvian sales tax (IGV). For other lodging options and pricing, please contact .

Volunteers at all 3 stations pay $48/day* (covers food + lodging) and 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

Apply and register for your stay at Los Amigos here. For additional inquiries, email Fernando Araoz at or learn how you can volunteer at CICRA.

More than science is going on at CICRA—learn about the Los Amigos Art Program.



Established in 2000, CICRA has been a leader in scientific production per year of operation among biological stations in the Amazon. The station has hosted more than 213 research projects and produced 223 publications, including biological inventories of more than 30 types of organisms. Most research visitors at Los Amigos are associated with universities in Peru or abroad, and many receive funding through ACA’s and ACCA’s scholarship programs. For more information, see our CICRA Frequently Asked Questions sheet or see more details and forms.

Online database of Amazon research in Madre de Dios

ACA scientists have been working to compile a database of everything ever written about the biology and conservation of the Peruvian department of Madre de Dios. This list of 2,225 references dating from 1567 to 2005 can be searched online through Atrium's Andes-Amazon Bibliographic Search Engine.

High resolution imaging

Winrock International has conducted overflights of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession to test their M3DADI high-resolution aerial sensing method. During these flights, the photo research team took aerial photos of the concession at 50cm resolution and various transects outside of the concession at 10cm. They covered 300,000 hectares and are now using the aerial photo information to develop a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the area.

More than science is going on at CICRA—learn about the Los Amigos Art Program.


CICRA sign

CICRA welcome sign. Photo: Gena Mavuli

View from Tower

View from the communications tower at CICRA. Photo: Gabby Salazar

Photo of researchers and tapir

Researchers with a captured tapir that they’re about to fit with a radio collar. Photo: Mathias Tobler

Photo of CICRA lab

Lab at CICRA. Photo: Nigel Pitman

Luis Felipe on boat to Los Amigos

Former ACA Executive Director Luis Felipe Duchicela (left) and CICRA Administrator Carlos Castañeda traveling along the Madre de Dios River. Photo: Jerry Martinez

The beginning of the stairs up from the river to CICRA. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Photo of group of people in a swamp

Researchers study in a palm swamp at CICRA. Photo: BRIT

Climbing the tower

Researcher climbing the CICRA communication tower. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

red tapestry