Los Tarrales is a private protected area, declared by the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP, resolución 060/2001) in 2001. The reserve comprises 1300 ha. Read here the brief history of Los Tarrales.
Los Tarrales Reserve is located at Atitlan volcano in southern Guatemala. The area protects pristine forest from the upper volcano slope at 3000 m (9800 ft) down to 700 m (2300 ft). Cloud forest occurs above 1800 m (5900 ft). Lower areas are covered by humid broadleaf forest, interspersed with coffee plantations. Mean annual rainfall is 3400 mm. The reserve protects a watershed which provides drinking water to several communities.
Los Tarrales Reserve is an important area for conservation in Guatemala. It is home to several globally threatened and regional endemic bird species such as Horned and Highland Guan, Azure-rumped Tanager, and Pink-headed Warbler. Los Tarrales is part of the Atitlán Important Bird Area (IBA GT015), designated by BirdLife International.
Because hunting is not permitted in Los Tarrales since three generations, it is easy to see animals such as White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra) and Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens). Also signs of Puma (Puma concolor), droppings and scratches, are seen frequently. To see the cat requires some good luck.
The reserve is private and autosustainable, costs for its conservation are covered from income in the zone of multiple uses (coffee, ornamentals, and honey) and through providing tourism services.
Los Tarrales Reserve provides income to 60 Maya Kaqchikel families, which live within the protected area. People work in production of coffee and ornamentals, as forest rangers, and in tourism.
Our tourism program has become an important support for the area. Several enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides show the bird and wildlife to our visitors and explain the production of coffee and ornamental plants.
Los Tarrales is providing social services for the people living within the protected area. A private primary school is run in order to ensure the children's education. Classes in nature science and conservation are included in the educational program. The administration is organizing sessions of medical care provided by specialized national and international organizations.