Los Tarrales Private Nature Reserve

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

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.

Azure-rumped Tanager
This Puma was photographed at night-time with a motion sensor camera.

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.

Azure-rumped Tanager
School kids in front of Los Tarrales private school. The mural by Erick Bustamante depicts some of the birds of Los Tarrales.
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.

Los Tarrales forest
Cloudforest on the upper slope of Atitlán volcano.
Los Tarrales forest
Cloudforest at 1400 m altitud.
Los Tarrales forest
Rainforest at 900 m altitud.
Los Tarrales coffee plantation
Coffee plantation nestled between humid broadleaf forest.

Partners of Los Tarrales

Los Tarrales is part of the national network of protected areas, administered by CONAP (National Council of Protected Areas)...

... and member of the Association of private protected areas in Guatemala.

Forest cover is well preserved on the south-eastern slope of Atitlán volcano thanks to the conservation efforts also by neighboring fincas and private nature reserves (Los Andes, San Jerónimo Miramar, Santo Tomás Perdido and Santa Teresa).

PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program

PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring maintains the checklist of bird of Los Tarrales and studied in collaboration with Los Tarrales the distribution, habitat use, nesting ecolog, and vocalizations of the Endangered Azure-rumped Tanager. See details and list of published papers.

Los Tarrales is a site of the National Institute for Sismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) for measuring climatic data. Climatic data of Los Tarrales.


Cayaya Birding taught local birding guides, promotes Los Tarrales as birding destination, and organizes the Atitlán Volcano Christmas Bird Count.

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