There are over 80 lakes in the Reserve, the most important ones are the Hatun Cocha, Pastococha, Shinguito, Maldonado, Ungurahui, Yanayacu, Zapote, Yarina, Tamara, Cotococha, Achual, and El Dorado.
The approximately 50,000 people who live in the Reserve most are located in villages along the edge of the Reserve. Only a few villages are found in the interior of the Reserve. The average family has six to ten people and their main food staples are plantains, yucca, and fish. Their houses are made from materials found in the forest.