Located between the Madre de Dios and Cusco Regions, it is one of the most important nature reserves in the Amazon region that has more than 1,000,000 hectares of extension and a relevant biological diversity that develops between 150 to 4,100 meters above sea level.
There are more than 20 thousand varieties of plants, 1200 species of birds, 200 species of mammals and an undetermined number of jaguars, reptiles, amphibians and insects and rare species like the giant armadillo; for this reason the Manu has become a place of research and study for hundreds of scientists around the world. Numerous tribes also live in the park, several of which still have no contact with the rest of the world.
Considered one of the largest and richest natural reserves in the world, which allows you to make intimate contact with nature in its most primitive and wild state.
Day 01: Cusco to Cock of the Rock Lodge
Day 02: Cock of the Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge
Day 03: Amazonia Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center
Day 04: See the Macaws and Tapirs
Day 05: Appreciate wildlife in a boat tour
Day 06: Departure Day
We departure from Cusco early in the morning. We first visit a mountain wetland habitat teeming with migrant and local waterfowl, before crossing two mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley, to a maximum altitude of 3,900 MASL. Finally, we follow the highway through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs, waterfalls and gorges. We take leisurely stops to see mountain villages, the chullpas (pre‐Inca burial chambers), and the abrupt ridge top of Ajanaco, which marks the final high point where the Andes begin their swoop into the Amazon basin.
After the lunch, we descend through the tropical Andes, observing overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads, and a diverse and teeming birdlife.
Finally, we reach the comfortable Cock of the Rock Lodge in the late afternoon, the best hour to see this famous bird from the nearby viewing platform.
After breakfast we continue our drive, as mountains give way to low rolling hills and farmland. At Patria we visit a plantation of coca grown legitimately for the Peruvian coca leaf market.
At midday we reach Atalaya, a tiny port where the Piñipiñi River meets the Alto Madre de Dios River. Now the rivers become the highways of the rainforest, and henceforth we will travel in large and comfortable canoes.
During normal river conditions we arrive at our lodge in time for exploration and wildlife viewing – which may include toucans, kingfishers, a rare endemic hummingbird and a multitude of butterflies ‐ along one of its many forest trails.
There is time for a short morning hike on the lodge trails before leaving early for Manu Wildlife Center. Then we continue our route along the Alto Madre de Dios River, that offers sightings of new birds ‐ cormorants, White‐winged Swallows, and flocks of nighthawks.
We pass the mouth of the Manu River, the gateway to the Manu National Park. We pause our journey to stretch our legs and visit Boca Manu, the village a short way downriver. After a boat journey of approximately 6 hours, we arrive at Manu Wildlife Center, one of the world’s top ten wildlife lodges.
After a reception and orientation, we move into our private bungalow and rest to escape the midday heat.
Later, we make our first acquaintance with the lowland rainforest, learning about the plants and forest ecology as we explore some of the 30 miles of trails that surround the lodge. We have an excellent chance of encountering some of the 12 species of monkeys, including the Spider Monkey and Emperor Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest.
After a delicious breakfast we walk through the forest for some minutes, where we find the Macaw Lick project. Carry your cameras and binoculars to appreciate the scarlet Macaws, that come flapping in groups of two and three, landing in the treetops. After, we continue walking and exploring on the network of trails surrounding the lodge then we return for lunch.
Later, we would appreciate the vegetation around the lodge. At the afternoon, we arrive to our Canopy Tower. On its platform we will have the opportunity to feel the adrenaline flying like a bird in the middle of beautiful jungle.
Then we set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take us to the famous Tapir Clay lick. Here we will recognize the most active tapir lick known in the entire Amazon, our research has identified from 8‐12 individual 600‐pound Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots. This material absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America.
This experience is unique and exciting because tapir are normally very shy creatures and no visible up close.
We set off early for a lake full of water lilies and sunken logs. As we visit the lake, we might encounter the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of monkeys crashing noisily through the trees. The Wattled jacana step lightly on the lily, dainty Sungrebe paddle across the water, supple‐necked Anhinga air‐dry their wide, black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans for fish from a high branch. Among the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, which look like rust‐colored chickens, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing and grunts. Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets all finally come swooping in to trees surrounding the lake. After lunch at the lodge, we offer an opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank by boat accompanied by our guide.
We leave our lodge very early on the two hour and a half return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village. We will enjoy the breakfast at the lodge or in the boat while you enjoy the wildlife activity around the river. In addition, during the journey we will see several native settlements and gold miners digging along the banks of the Madre de Dios River.
We will stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes, then you will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes boat trip to Santa Rosa, finally the bus will drive us to the airport in Puerto Maldonado City.
Since the area is so close to the equator, the temperature does not very much throughout the year. The rainy season in the Peruvian Andes starts in about December. But the "dry" season does not mean that it does not rain then - it just means that it rains a little less often. It can rain at any time of the year, usually in the afternoon for a few hours.
Yes, we recommend to bring along a good mosquitoes repellent. In case you visit the rainforest during the month of December, January, February or March (rainy season), we strongly recommend a strong especial mosquito repellent. In addition we also recommend you to bring a couple of long sleeve t-shirts; they are very helpful in this case.
If you are just arriving from your country to Lima (sea level) and then to the highlands (Arequipa, Cusco, Huaraz, Cajamarca, Puno), we recommend you to take it easy, do not push yourself too much on the first hours. It is advisable to drink plenty of fluids such as water. What kind of clothing should I bring to the Amazon? Travelling on the Peruvian coast, you may wear light clothing (shorts, T-shirts, sandals) during the day is warm, excepts mornings and nights. During our visit to the Andes we strongly recommend to bring proper warm clothing for the cold and rain (December to April). On the jungle, you will need light clothing.
When you arrive in Perú it is best to do so with U.S. dollars. While most western currency can be exchanged for Peruvian Soles rather easily, any shop, restaurant, or business will take U.S. dollars as payment. This can not be said readily of all other western currency. Be prepared however to receive your change in Soles. It is a good idea not to use bills in excess of $10-$20.00 U.S., as you might find it difficult for the merchant to change anything larger