Laguna Normandia

Lake in Reserva de la Biosfera y Estación Biológica del Beni

This savanna lake, a 2km walk from El Porvenir, is the reserve’s most popular destination. The sight of one of the world’s largest populations of crawling, rare black caimans – there are at least 400 of them – is truly astounding. Fortunately, caimans have little interest in humans, so it’s generally safe to observe them (but watch out for the snakes on the hike in!).

The reptiles are the descendants of specimens originally destined to become unwilling members of the fashion industry, by providing shoe and bag material for a leather company. When the caiman breeder’s business failed, the animals were left behind, and sadly the majority perished from neglect.