Manu National Park was established in 1973 and in recognition of its uniqueness was designated a ''World Heritage Site” ten years later. Manu is internationally acclaimed as one of the most bio diverse areas on earth.
Approximately half the area of Switzerland, the Manu Biosphere is a complete ecosystem with protected watershed embracing Andean montage cloud forest, tropical lowland forest and the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu river drainage systems. The biosphere itself is subdivided into national park and two adjacent zones, one for tourism and the other for cultural subsistence. It is home to over 1000 species of birds, 15,000 species of plants, over 200 species of mammals, and untold numbers of insects. Within its heart of the jungle remain indigenous peoples as yet untouched by our civilization.
Macaw Clay Lick Manu retains healthy populations of jaguar, tapir, anteater, black caiman, giant otter, and among the 13 species of monkey we find the unique pigmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world, and the nocturnal night monkey. Because of Manu's low human population and there is the continual use of traditional hunting techniques. The animals in the park show little fear of man and are more readily approachable than in many other rainforest locations. Manu, therefore, offers unparalleled opportunities to sight animals.
Wildlife aside, however, the journey into the park itself is spectacular and not to be missed. Access to Manu is normally by road. The two day trip from Cusco to the entrance of the Manu Reserved Zone carries you over the Andes mountains to an elevation of 4000 m, past pre-Inca ruins and down through the cloud forest on the eastern side of the Andes, and finally into lush, lowland rainforest. Roads remain largely unpaved and wind their way precariously past cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, and precipices. Manu is truly a complete experience that any tourist will remember for their whole life
Day A : Arrival to Lima – Connect flight to Cusco Hotel
Day 1: Cusco - Rainforest Lodge
Our adventure begins in the exciting Jungle of Manu; we will pick you up around 5:00 am from your hotels in Cusco in our private transport. The first part of our excursion will take us through the majestic Andean mountains and afterwards we will briefly visit the town of Huancarani which contains the funeral towers of Ninamarca, and the cemetery of the Lupacas, part of the precious Pre–Inca culture. We will then travel Paucartambo, a small traditional town, which is known for its folklore. At midday we will arrive at the entrance of Manu National Park and enter into one of the most protected natural areas in the whole of South America. We will continue in our transport down a small road and on through the thick fog from which this section of the forest takes it name in Quechua. Eventually we will come to the home of the exotic Peruvian national bird, the "Cock of the Rocks" you will be amazed by the spectacle, complete with an impressive array of sounds that can only be found in the jungle. On our first night, we will stay at Rainforest Lodge. L: D
Day 2: Rainforest Lodge – Bonanza Ecological Reserve
Very early at 06:30 a.m. we will depart for Atalaya port; on the way we will make a few stops to visit the small local's farmers who are known to be producers of many varieties of jungle fruits including the famous coca plant. Later we will begin the boating part of our journey in a river excursion on the Madre de Dios River, a part of the famous Amazon river. During our day we will have the chance to witness many types of colourful birds such as parrots, oropendolas, vultures and other species. We will make a stop at the natural hot springs, and hopefully get to see some jungle animals such as monkeys or the famous capybaras (jungle rodents that are as much as 2.5 ft long). After that we will start trekking through the jungle to witness the true grace of the Amazon, hear the natural sounds of the birds, and the get visuals of the wildlife such as anteaters, peccaries and many different types of trees and medicinal plants. Towards the late afternoon we will arrive at our next destination Bonanza Lodge, where we will spend the night, arriving approximately at 3:00 p.m. Here there will be showers and other facilities available. We will do some bird watching and then have a night walk in the dark, which is the best time to see creatures like tarantulas, scorpions and snakes. B: L: D
our Tapir Clay Lick. This camouflage house is strategically located near to the mammals clay lick where we will have the opportunity to see Tapirs and Peccaries during the night time , the guide will give you all the information you need and retelling the most famous stories about the rainforest.
Day 3: Bonanza Ecological Reserve – Casa Matsiguenka (Biosphere Reserve)
Well fed and rested we leave Bonanza Lodge, leaving the relatively clean waters of the Madre de Dios River behind and enter the clay laden waters of the Manu river with a brief stop at the park ranger station at Limonal to present our permits. We will travel for about five hours up the Manu river beaches, which, especially in dry season, are loaded with nesting birds and feeding herons, egrets, orinoco geese, terns and skimmers to name but a few. Some beaches will host sunning white and black caimans (South American relatives of the Alligators) and breeding side-necked turtles, hundreds of sand-colored nightjars roost during the day on logs and beaches and there is a chance of encountering a stunning Jaguar (the world's third largest cat) we will see some species of primates on this river trip, possibly red howler monkeys or the smaller squirrel monkeys. We'll have the afternoon to explore some of the trails through the rainforest in the area. Before or after dinner you will have the chance to go on an optional excursion into the forest at night with your guide in search of nocturnal creatures. We will spend the night at the Casa Matsiguenka, a rustic native owned lodge run by the Matsiguenkas themselves, with its own exclusive trail system. There will be modern facilities available; there are toilets and reasonably warm showers, screened twin rooms, with comfortable beds and mosquito nets. B: L: D
About the Casa Matsiguenka
The Casa Matsiguenka was designed using the indigenous people's building techniques and counts on 12 fully screened twin rooms. Beds are furnished with mosquito nets. There is a private trail system and local Matsiguenka guides will accompany you on the trails. Also available is an interactive interpretation center and locally made souvenirs are for sale
Day 4: Casa Matsiguenka – Cocha Salvador- Cocha Otorongo
After breakfast we'll spend the morning at the lake of Cocha Salvador. We plan to ride down the lake on a floating platform observing the animal life from the water. We may encounter an agami heron or a sungrebe, and there are brown Cappuchin monkeys who are usually feeding on fruits nearby and therefore are relatively easy to sight. Specially constructed piers that jut out into the lake enable us to look for a family of giant otters that live here in the world's largest freshwater carnivores. These Otters are only found in Manu, and each animal consumes between 4 and 5 kilos of fish per day. So with that in mind it's most likely that they can be seen eating large fish on logs at the lakeside. After that we will continue exploring the forest we may encounter troops of monkeys. This is a particularly good trail to see woolly and black spider monkeys. We'll pay special attention to the plant life on this walk and take it slowly listening for the rustle of vegetation or the soft sound of fruits falling to the rainforest floor that may betray the presence of animals or large birds. A visit to the lake of Cocha Otorongo is planned, where observation piers and a 20 meter observation tower in the rainforest canopy overlooking the lake are available for observing wildlife. We will also be on the lookout for a large family of Giant Otters that inhabit this lake at night at Casa Matsiguenka B: L: D
Day 5: Casa Matsiguenka – Hummingbird Lodge
Today we'll spend time covering ground in the area in search of some of the 13 species of Monkey found in the forest, and here your guide will explain some of the basics of rainforest ecosystems and point out some of the medicinal plants of the area that are used by indigenous groups. We may cross paths with a group of peccaries, a species of wild boar found here, we will be on the lookout for some poisonous frogs too. After lunch we will be going back downstream at a steady pace in order to spot some animals in and around the water. In the afternoon we will try and spot the majestic Jaguar one of the jewels of the Amazonian wildlife. After 4 hours downstream we will arrive at Hummingbird Lodge which is located near to Boca Manu village to enjoy the sun set. Again there is an optional night walk that you are more than welcome to accompany us on. B: L: D
Day 6: Hummingbird Lodge – Rainforest Lodge
Leaving the lodge we'll head up the Madre de Dios River and travel for around six hours to our comfortable Rainforest Lodge. This superbly located facility is jointly owned and run by Amazon Wildlife Peru, a local conservation area. We should arrive in time for dinner and a shower and after that the afternoon is set aside to relax or if you want, or to explore a trail through the untouched forest and watch roosting flights of parrots and macaws as the sun sets. Those who wish to can participate in a night walk with your guide in search of nocturnal animals. We will spend the night at the Rainforest Lodge. B: L: D
Day 7: Rainforest Lodge – Cusco Hotel
We will leave from Rainforest Lodge early in the morning by van and head directly to Cusco, passing through cloud forest, where we can do some sight-seeing, and arriving in Cusco at approximately 6:30pm B: L:
Day B : Flight from Cusco to Lima