The Manu National Park is a jungle reserve with an area of 1.8 million hectares. It is the largest national park in all of Peru, and definitely one of the best places in South America to observe a wide variety of jungle wildlife. Many biologists believe that the Manu has the greatest biodiversity of all the jungle reserves in the world, covering an area from the eastern slopes of the Andes to the low jungle, thus converging a wide range of jungle and low jungle.
The Manu, located between the Andes and reaching the Brazilian jungle to the Atlantic, has virtually not been touched by the wood extraction industry and is one of the most incredible virgin forests on the planet. This fact, together with the impressive variety of birds are two of the main attractions of this national park. In total more than 15,000 plant species have been recorded in this exciting region, and almost 250 varieties of trees have been found on a single hectare of this rich reserve. It is also a popular destination for ornithologists, as it houses more than 1000 different species including skimmers, terns, herons, egrets, Orinoco goose, parrots, macaws, even the elusive Cock of the Rocks.
Within the reserve there are several hostels where guests have the opportunity to explore the jungle that surrounds them and participate in a variety of activities. Explore trails that lead to viewpoints above a river where you can see flying flocks of parrots with the sunset in the background, or find a group of monkeys swinging in the trees. Go down to the river at night in a canoe to find nocturnal inhabitants of the forest. Visit the nearby collpas, one of the most amazing wildlife shows in the world, where you can observe hundreds of parrots, and their larger relatives, the macaws, congregate in this traditional locality to eat the clay that is so essential to your digestion.
Day 1: Cusco to Wayquecha Biological Station.
Day 2: Wayquecha Biological Station to Cloud Forest Lodge.
Day 3: Cloud Forest Lodge to Amazonia Lodge.
Day 4: Amazonia Lodge – Manu Learning Centre.
Day 5: Manu Learning Centre.
Day 6: Manu Learning Center – Tambo Blanquillo Lodge.
Day 7: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Macaw Clay Lick - Camungo oxbow Lake and Observation Tower.
Day 8: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Blanco oxbow Lake – Mammals Clay Lick
Day 9: Departure Day
The Manu National Park hosts around 160 species of mammals, more than a thousand species of birds, 140 of amphibians, 50 of snakes, 40 of lizards, 6 of turtles, 3 of alligators and 210 of fish. Some animals that make up the varied fauna are the manatee, the sloth, the opossum, the puffin and choro monkey, the ronsoco (the largest rodent in the world), the juaguar, the Andean deer, the bear with spectacles, the tapirs, the cock of the rocks (species in danger of extinction), jungle geese, herons, boas, bats, the river wolf, the maquisapa, among many others.
As for the flora, the Manu protects 10% of the plant species in the world. A single hectare of the forest can hold more than 220 species of trees. The aguajales forests are one of the most outstanding and abundant ecosystems in this national park. The visit to the Manu National Park is restricted, but the public can access certain areas and feel the strength of the vigorous Manu River and enjoy the immense diversity of flora, fauna, climates and landscapes.
The Manu is one of the few areas in the world that still houses groups of people living ancestrally and in harmony with their environment. Some of these Amazonian ethnic groups are the Machiguenga, Piro, Yaminahua, Amahuaca, Yine, among others.
In addition, there are 30 peasant communities that still maintain Quechua as their mother tongue. There are even groups that have not had contact with the modern world.
Our trip begins with the pick-up from your hotel in Cusco, and we head to the Huacarpay lagoon, where we will try a delicious picnic breakfast enjoying the clean and fresh air of the area. The lagoon is surrounded by Inca and pre-Inca ruins. Here you will see a variety of high Andean waterfalls that include puna, yellow beak and yellow-billed cinnamon, yellow-billed duck, Andean duck and other wetlands associated with birds. Depending on the time of year, migratory shorebirds (wading birds) may be present. You may see birds of prey such as the Falcon Falcon, the Cinerefino Harrier, the Variable Hawk and the Black-breasted Buzzard Eagle. Continue the trip making a couple of selected stops in the intermontane valleys for two endemics. You will have a picnic as lunch while the sun hits the hillsides and colorful Quechua peasant people passing by with a peaceful pastoral scene. Here, our goal is to observe the chestnut-colored mountain finch. Your next stop is the Andean pass Ajcanacu. During the tour, if the sky is clear, you can observe the Amazon basin, from the top of the Andes, as the Incas used to do, worshiping the sun that rises above the jungle. In the afternoon you will explore the upper limits of the eastern slopes. Navigating the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becomes more continuous and you will spend the afternoon watching birds at our accommodation at 2,800 meters above sea level above Pillahuata.
At dawn, you will be greeted with a varied chorus of typical birds from the area, which will awaken you for breakfast.
This day we will dedicate it to observe birds in the biological station at 2800 meters until our next stop at 1300 meters. This is a pristine forest on a little traveled road. Some of the special birds in this stretch that you will look for include: Mustachioed Pet Dander, Golden collar tanagers and Puna Ponytail White Ringleaders, Teal Tapacles, Green Tangaras, Hooded Mountain Tangaras, Barred Fruiteaters, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulets and many more.
If we are lucky, we see Peruvian Tree Hunters, Golden Feather Parakeets or Scythebilland Eagles and Chestnuts, Andean Guans, Scaly-Naped Parrots, a variety of Hummingbirds including Chestnut-Breasted Coronetas, Violet-Throat Start Fins and Amethyst Sunflowers, Purple Back Thornbills, Scaly Metaltails, White Belly Woodstars, Crimson Mantle Woodpeckers, Belly Woodpeckers, Endemic Marcapata Spinetails, White-throated Antpittas, Barred and Band Fruteaters, White-throated Tyrannulets, Flycatchers Ocher-Breasted Chest, Barred Becards, Pale-Legged Swallows, Mountain Wrens, Warble Citrine and many Tanagers.
At the end of the day, we arrive at the Cock of the Rock Lodge, located at 1300 meters above sea level.
Cock of the Rock Lodge is located in the pristine cloud forest of the Manu Mountains just minutes from a spectacular viewpoint of Cock of the Rock, which allows us to observe these colorful birds during their morning mating rituals. The Lodge facilities include 12 spacious and spacious en suite bungalows with hot and cold water, bathrooms and two single beds in each room, plus several rooms with shared facilities. The private bungalows have their own private balcony. Lighting is provided by candles and flashlight, but there is a small generator available to charge the batteries. There is a large dining room and living room overlooking a feeding station for Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Tayra. Feeders for hummingbirds attract several species directly to the dining room, sometimes including Brilliant-webbed Brilliants. There is also a trail system behind the lodge, which allows you to explore the Cloud Forest first-hand and makes it easy to see some species that you probably do not see from the road, such as chestnut-headed wrens, scaled antpittas, rough-chested shorts In addition, orchids abound with 80 species registered around the lodge.
Today we left San Pedro and boarded a boat to Puerto Fluvial. Pay attention to the forest of the tropical zone, which surrounds us all the way, which has already disappeared in a large part of the Andes slopes in South America due to its suitability for commercial crops such as tea, coffee and coca, but in this part of Peru the forest remains intact.
Meanwhile in Patria, you will visit a coca plantation legitimately grown for the Peruvian coca leaf market. Around noon you will be in Atalaya, a small port where the Piñipiñi River meets the Alto Madre de Dios.
Now begins the part of the low jungle of our trip. During normal river conditions, you will arrive at our lodge in time to explore wildlife views that may include toucans, kingfishers, a rare endemic hummingbird and a multitude of butterflies along one of its many forest trails.
There is time for another short morning walk in the lodge before boarding the trails to take a canoe and leave early to the Manu Learning Center.
While we follow the broad and fast course of the Alta Madre de Dios River passing the last foothills of the Andes, its ever changing route will offer sightings of new swallow birds, cormorants, white-winged swallows and flocks of nightjars thrown from their day lairs by the sound of our engine. Splashes of bright yellow, pink and red foliage dot the forest-covered slopes all around us, and the breeze is laden with the intoxicating perfumes of the rainforest. A half-hour walk to the Manu Learning Center gives you the second impression of the meander of the Amazon River, the Alto Madre de Dios, one of the southernmost tributes of the legendary Amazon River.
Upon arrival, we will make a tour around the lodge before lunch. In the afternoon, explore the system of local trails with their naturalist guides, before relaxing in the hostel with the sounds of the forest. During your stay in this beautiful hotel, guests can learn about the human history of Manu and the challenges to preserve this beautiful and fragile environment, talking with the guides and researchers in the place. Or maybe you want to relax and let the world go by having a cold drink and watching the sunset in the Amazon.
After dinner that night, enjoy a presentation that helps put into context the work we do on sustainability and conservation, and learn more about the ongoing work the foundation does to help preserve the region.
One of the most interesting activities in the Lodge is to visit the collpa, where the blue-headed macaw is observed and studied, since it is part of the endangered species of the world.
At 5:00 am. in the morning, we got together in a boat and headed five minutes upstream to observe the activity of macaws, parrots and parakeets. In the clay lick, the birds show their dances, come and go in pairs, in flocks, until they leave to continue their day, deeper in the jungle. Then, we will return to the center to have breakfast.&}
On our way back to the forest we can visit part of the sustainable bio-garden project of the center this garden has some spectacular hummingbirds such as coquettes of reddish crest, golden-tailed sapphires, sapphire emeralds, violet-headed hummingbirds, blue-tailed emerald, etc. From here we go through different terrains to experience various types of forests, finding squirrel monkeys. With more than 13 different species of monkeys, a large and strong mammal (jaguar, puma and tapir) is present.
The Bio Garden project serves as a model for small-scale subsistence agriculture and reforestation. They will teach you about the different crops and will be involved in planting them. It will help the villagers to implement new and sustainable agricultural techniques, such as planting, that are planted next to young trees in the same bed. The crops protect the trees in their most vulnerable stages and by the time the garden has been harvested for several seasons, the trees have been established and we will spend the rest of the day in the forest, trying to see the local wildlife.
With more than 24 kilometers of trails there is a large exploration area and we will make frequent stops to observe mixed flocks of ants, antelopes, antipodes, foliage gatherers, flytraps that travel in the flocks and this is a great place for the scarlet beard with hood , the ant with pointed wings (brown-eared anthill), the red-billed tanager with the slate-billed bill and the flocks of mixed canopy species.
After a full day on the trails, we returned and freshened up for a delicious home-cooked meal. After dinner, there is also the possibility of going for a night walk to observe all the nocturnal species, common pot, big pot, black owl and crested owl are some of the nocturnal birds that call all night.
After breakfast, you will prepare for your next destination and take a boat again, continue the boat trip to the Madre de Dios River until it meets the Manu River.
Just before reaching the village of Boca Manu we will pass to the native community of Diamante. Its culture is Piro and this is the largest settlement of Amerindians in the area. Many parrots and macaws eat to sleep before we go an hour and a half more on the famous Madre de Dios River, so this region was called. During the trip along the river we will enjoy a packed lunch and we will start to observe some of the renowned wild animals of the area, including the sand-colored nightjars, the goose of the Orinoco and the capybaras, the largest rodent in the world.
Upon arrival, we will receive a warm welcome to Tambo Blanquillo Lodge. After a welcome drink, we will show you your room, help you settle in comfortably and introduce you to the surrounding facilities and facilities. We will enjoy a dinner freshly prepared by our resident chefs before preparing for our first day in the jungle, following the trails that move away from the lodge.
Another early start, is followed by a short boat trip downstream. It will take a 20 minute trail through the palm plantations to a cutting channel on the river, where we will find the macaw limpet. A large space provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for cameras and binoculars is our front row seat for what is usually a great show. You will enjoy a full breakfast here while waiting for the arrival of the main actors. The clay lick installation has been custom built for an optimal bird watching pleasure, a large blind located just 50 meters from the clay clay lick for the best possible show, so close you will not even need to zoom in. the camera. As the sun rises over ancient trees, an explosion of life and color will burst before your eyes, with hundreds of parrots and macaws. In groups of two and three, scarlet macaws arrive, landing in the treetops and seeing the main stage below the eroded banks of the river's clay and the occasional villain, like a threatening and unwelcome black hawk.
After this truly unique experience, you will return to the lodge and enjoy a tasty lunch and some time to relax in the lodge, read or enjoy a well-deserved siesta. That afternoon he will go back to one of the most biodiverse lakes in the area: Lake Camungo, home to giant river otters (extinct in almost all of their other habitats in Peru), kingfishers, flytraps and some rare neotropical birds, such as the colorful agami heron. You can enjoy the ride in one of our personalized facilities, a paddle catamaran that will transport you silently around the lake to capture photographs of the undisturbed wildlife.
After the lake you will visit the Camungo Observation Tower, 50 meters high, is the highest observation tower in the Peruvian Amazon. From the top you will see the hunting of jacamars, hanging monkeys and mixed flocks of up to 100 species of birds that pass right by our side. You will see macaws again when they return home after the clay collision.
Returning to the lodge, you will enjoy another hearty meal and spend the afternoon relaxing with our fellow guests, enjoying a beer and playing games in the shared spaces of the lodge.
Enjoying a start a little later, after breakfast we will go to visit the most important lake in the area, White Oxbow Lake, 10 minutes by boat from the lodge that offers the opportunity to observe peccaries and other mammals on the banks of the river. On the lake, you will board our rowing catamarans and sail through the waters full of giant otters, alligators and other predators. Groups of monkeys are easily seen feeding on the trees by the lake. This lake is famous among birdwatchers as home to more than 600 species of birds.
After the lake, you will return to the lodge for lunch and have the opportunity to recharge your batteries. That afternoon you will head to Lake Blanquillo Oxbow, from here you will have the option to walk the surrounding trails or take our canoes to explore the canals. Upon returning to the hostel, you will enjoy our last evening among new friends, with a little wine or beer under the incredible scenery, a splendid moon and the jungle night cacophony. Soon you will arrive to our private mammal lick, in the place, a great attraction for several species of monkeys, the giant tapir, huangana, ronsocos and even the powerful jaguars, they all visit the lick regularly.
You will wait in our nature designed for the purpose to detect carps and see which of our mammal neighbors pass in front of you. After a couple of hours in the lick, you will return to the cabin and enjoy a deep and comfortable sleep to recharge batteries and prepare for the next day's adventures.
We leave early in the morning for the town of Colorado, for a trip of 2 and a half hours. Breakfast will be served on the boat, enjoying the ride and taking advantage of the wildlife activity along the river. You will disembark in the mining town of Colorado to begin your trip by land to Puerto Carlos, which lasts approximately 45 minutes and then cross the Inambari River to Santa Rosa, another 15 minutes before it finally takes you to the bus. To Cusco, our crew team and your guide of bird watchers will assist you to your hotel where our birding adventures end.