The MANU NATIONAL PARK EXPLORER7 days
This tour gives you a complete rainforest experience, including the Reserved Zone of Manu. You travel through the cloud forest and over the famous Manu road and explore the lowland forest's oxbow lakes and salt licks.
We travel through lush cloud forest with abundant bird life and enjoy great scenery when travelling downriver to the lowland and exploring the Manu River inside the Reserved Zone of Manu National Park. Here we visit Salvador & Otorongo oxbow lakes. We also visit the big macaw lick and the mammal salt lick. Return via Colorado and the Transoceanica road.
Manu National Park Tours 7 or 8 days
day 1: CUSCO - CLOUD FOREST - BAMBOO LODGE :
Starting early from Cusco we begin our 8 hour journey by private bus ascending to the high mountain area at 3900 m (13,000 ft). After a short stop in Ninamarca, to see the pre-Inca cemetery, and the colonial village of Paucartambo, we descend the eastern slopes of the Andes through cloud forest with lush vegetation (ferns, orchids, bromeliads etc.) We enjoy spectacular views of the Andes and can see wildlife such as our national bird: the bright red Cock of the Rocks (Rupicola peruviana) showing his mating dance. Brilliantly colored Tanagers, Quetzals, Trogons and Hummingbirds can be seen and possibly the first monkeys, such as Woolly Monkeys. In the afternoon we arrive at Bamboo Lodge (900 m), where we spend the night (double rooms & private bathroom). After dinner your guide will brief you about the activities of the following day.
- double room & private bathroom
day 2: BAMBOO LODGE - ATALAYA - PANTIACOLLA LODGE or HUMMINGBIRD LODGE:
After an early breakfast we continue with our minibus: we pass the village of Pilcopata and cross the river of the same name to get to the small port of Atalaya (550 m). On the way we stop at an animal rescue station and to look for orchids. We also go on a walk along the road to look for monkeys and birds. From Atalaya we navigate for about 4- 5 hours in a 15-meter motorized canoe down the Alto Madre de Dios River. Today we enjoy the changing landscape and have the opportunity to see wildlife along the rocky banks of the river, such as Fasciated Tiger Herons, Purplish Jays, Skimmers, Vultures, caimans and some of the 13 species of monkeys that live in Manu. In the early afternoon we reach the Pantiacolla Mountains, which form the transition zone between Andes and lowland forest. We explore some of the trails to observe typical animals of this habitat, night at the Lodge. Evening night walk to see insects, frogs, snakes etc.
- double room & shared or private bathroom
day 3: PANTIACOLLA LODGE or HUMMINGBIRD LODGE TO ALBERGUE CASA MATSIGUENKA / MANU RIVER :
Very early we take the boat to a nearby parrot clay lick: here we can observe the Chestnut-fronted Macaw (Ara severa) and the rare Blue-headed Macaw (Ara couloni) as well as parrots. Afterwards we continue our boat ride downriver towards the lowland forest and to travel into the Reserved Zone of Manu. We reach the mouth of the Manu River and after a stop at Limonal Guard Station, where our permit is checked we travel upriver into the Manu Park. During this boat trip the scenery and wildlife viewing along the banks of the Manu River is fabulous. White Caimans (Caiman crocodylus) sunning on the beaches, turtles, capybara and plenty of colourful birds may bee seen. And there is always the possibility of seeing larger animals such as Tapir and Jaguar. In the afternoon we arrive at Albergue Casa Matsiguenka, where we spend two nights in double rooms. The lodge is built in typical machiguenga style. Optional night walk (to see insects, frogs, snakes etc.).
- double rooms & shared bathroom
day 4: EXPLORING COCHA SALVADOR AND OTORONGO / MANU PARK :
Today we leave early for a day excursion to explore trails through virgin forest of the Reserved Zone of Manu Park. As a highlight we visit the beautiful oxbow-lake Cocha Salvador by catamaran looking for Giant River Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and to observe caimans, monkeys, hoatzins and other birds. In the afternoon we go for a walk on the trails of the opposite side of the river. We climb the 18 m observation tower overlooking Cocha Otorongo – an ideal place to observe birds. After a final walk through this biodiverse forest we return to Albergue Matsiguenka, where we have the chance to meet the Machiguenga Indians. We can go for a night walk after dinner.
- double rooms & shared bathroom
day 5: CASA MATSIGUENKA TO MAQUISAPAYOJ LODGE :
We start at first light to travel 6 hours down the Manu River. Dawn and dusk are ideal to see wildlife on the river banks. Capybaras, caimans, birds and with luck one of the big cats may be seen. We make a short stop in Boca Manu village, the main settlement in Manu called after the confluence of the sediment rich Manu River with the wider Madre de Dios River. Further downriver we reach Maquisapayoj Reserve (Place of the Black Spider Monkey”; double rooms with private bathroom), home to numerous monkey species, including the rare Tamarin Monkey and Monk Saki Monkey. After a short rest we go for a walk to the mammal salt lick, where we look for monkeys, deer and other animals who visit the lick. After returning to the lodge we explore the forest on a night walk to see insects, frogs, snakes etc., optional night on the platform at the salt lick.
- double rooms & private bathroom
day 6: BIG MACAW CLAY LICK & MAQUISAPAYOJ TAPIR LICK :
At daybreak we take the boat to the big Macaw Clay Lick in Blanquillo. From a platform we have an excellent view to observe flocks of colourful macaws (Ara chloroptera, Ara macao), parrots and parakeets congregating to eat the clay, which is essential for their digestion. Looking through the spotting scope we can see all the details of the birds. Breakfast at the blind. After the spectacle we travel upstream to return to Maquisapayoj. After a short break at the lodge we walk into primary rainforest for about 1 ½ hours to the Mammal Salt Lick, where we spend the night on an elevated platform (with mats and mosquito nets) to observe tapirs or other mammals during the night. Your guide will help spotting the tapir with a light. If you prefer you can stay in double rooms at the lodge close to the river.
- double rooms & private bathroom or tapir plattform
day 7: TRAVELLING TO COLORADO AND BACK TO CUSCO :
After an early breakfast at the lodge we travel downriver by boat to Colorado (2 ½ hours), a small gold mining town. Together with the guide we take a car to Puerto Carlos (1 hour). We cross Rio Inambari to the small town of Santa Rosa, where our bus is waiting for us to drive back to Cusco. We travel on the paved Transoceanica through cloud forest and up to the Andes, with a spectacular view of the Ausangate Mountain. We arrive in Cusco in the evening; transfer to your hotel.
4 - 7 persons
- Professional naturalist guide in English, with binoculars & spotting scope, who has done 3 months conservation work in Manu Park
- Transport by private bus and private boat & car to Puerto Carlos
- Entrance fees to Cock of the Rock observatory & Tapir lick
- Entrance fees to Manu National Park, Salvador & Otorongo lakes
- Cook & all meals (mainly nutritious vegetarian food*), drinks, drinking water
- Overnight in Lodges and on the tapir observation platform
- First Aid Kit, extractor (for venom)
- Radio communication
- Rubber boots
- * We support local farmers and buy regional products. Large areas of tropical rainforest are being destroyed for soya and oil palm plantations. Soya is used to produce animal food to industrial livestock farming - We want to help protect the rainforest. You can also help!
- Binoculars (for rent at our office)
- Optional: entrance fee to the Macaw clay lick (80 US$ p.p.)
- Optional: room with private bathroom at Casa Matsiguenka (25 US$ p.p. per night)
- Optional: daily meal with meat (25 US$ p.p.)
- Alcoholic drinks, personal expenses etc.