With 1 716 295 hectares, the Manu is the largest National Park in the territory. Because of its important natural wealth, Unesco gave it the status of a Biosphere Reserve since 1977, and ten years later it was declared a Natural World Heritage Site. Discover the Peru Jungle Tours and walk the Manu in this post.
How to Get?
The National Park of Manu can be reached from Puerto Maldonado or Cusco. Starting from the capital of Madre de Dios, you can choose a river or land route. Access from the imperial city is the most interesting. Despite being a longer route, it allows you to appreciate the different ecological levels, from the Andes to the Amazonian plain.
From Cusco you must hire private land transport to the town of Atalay or Shintuya. Here we rent boats that will take us to the town of Boca Manu, and then to the National Park.
For a spectacular view it is recommended to reach the Tres Cruces viewpoint and appreciate the sunrise, as well as two opposite landscapes: the Andean mountain range and the cloud forest. It is better to go between May and August, when the sky is clear and allows to see the appearance of the sun twice during the same sunrise, due to a phenomenon of nature. The Manu has one of the most renowned research centers for the Amazon: the biological station of Cocha Cashu, as well as an interpretation center in the surveillance post of Limonal
The National Park has several routes and trails for hiking. They are divided into five zones: Salvador, Otorongo, Pakitza, Limonal and Juárez, where you can visit three impressive lagoons or lakes. These lagoons are surrounded by an important vegetation, inhabited by curious species of animals.
The main activity of the Manu is the observation of flora and fauna, being the most representative species of this area the jaguar, the giant otter and the monkey "leoncito", considered the smallest in the world because it weighs only 100 grams. Also, you can see more than 20 thousand species of plants, a thousand species of birds, as well as hundreds of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
The Manu is the surprising habitat of around 30 million insects, according to Sernanp; with hundreds of species of ants, beetles, dragonflies, among others. Another of its particularities is that it houses several native communities such as Huachipaire, Machiguenga, Piro, Yora and Yaminahua. Other communities, whose number has not been determined, also live in voluntary isolation. You can visit this native communities in an Amazon River Cruise.