Manu Amazon Tours is located in southeastern Peru, is one of the largest parks in South America. It is located among the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios. Manu Jungle protects over 2 million hectares (4.5 million acres), The flora and fauna in this part of the country is extremely varied and around 800 species of birds have been recorded, as well as more than 200 mammals and 100 species of unique plants.
Manu Amazon Rainforest also contains 10% of the world’s vascular plant species, including several species of figs and palms, as well as countless species of medicinal plants that scientists are currently cataloguing. A single hectare of forest in Manu can have up to 220 species of trees, while a hectare of temperate forest in Europe or North America may only have 20 tree species. This makes it one of the most biologically diverse parks on the planet.
This trip is rated as easy. Participants should enjoy short walks on trails full of moisture, mud and heat, in the wild jungles of South America. In many of the circuits that our guides will take you are close to the lodge, there will be days when we will have to do our walks with some rain. Weather conditions and remote locations are a combined physical stress that can make this activity a bit more challenging than it normally would be.
Be prepared to face large rivers, in small motorboats, and taste unique food from the region. Usually you do not need to be a tourist with experience in hiking, since the attraction is approximately 500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not very steep. The probability of seeing wildlife is very varied, since there are days when we will have more chances, than others; Remember that this tour goes to a wild place where animals are not in the same location. The best recommendation is to have a lot of patience and teamwork with the route guide.
Confortable Local Amazon Lodges, 6 nights.
On this tour you will spend the night in rustic lodges, in the jungle, where you will have a unique experience with nature, and feel the true spirit of the Amazon forest. Our lodges have comfortable beds and mosquito nets. And bathrooms with showers. During the tour, access to electricity is restricted, only for communication equipment. We recommend bringing a solar panel, for your own use.
Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we begin an 8-hour journey over the Andes by bus, stopping for breakfast at the beautiful colonial village of Paucartambo. Continuing, we climb to the highpoint of the Manu Biosphere at about 4000m before descending to the cloud forest. In these green and moist surroundings we take our first long walk. There are many bird species to be seen among which the beautiful paradise tanager, umbrella bird and the golden headed quetzal. Among its butterflies are clouded yellows and various skippers. The cloud forest has three monkey species: the woolly monkey plus the two capuchin monkeys of Manu. There are plenty of other mammal species, but they are more difficult to see. We end our walk at the lek of the strange looking cock-of-the-rock, to watch the dancing and singing ‘performance’ of the males right under our eyes. We spend the night in the rustic lodge Posada San Pedro (appr. 1,600m).
At daybreak we continue by bus to tropical lowland rainforest, stopping along the way to visit a coca plantation. Arriving at the small village Atalaya at 650m, we change into a motorized canoe to navigate some 40 minutes down the fast Alto Madre de Dios River. Then we take a 30 minute walk to one of the very view lakes on the Alto Madre de Dios River. You can go around this small lake on traditional balsa rafts and from there admire the enormous rainforest variety in aquatic birds, such as the moscovy duck, neotropic cormorant, anhinga, the white- necked and capped herons and the prehistoric looking hoatzin. Usually the water is clean enough to be able to see many tropical fish we may know from aquaria at home. It is common to see squirrel monkeys or others, in the trees around. In the late afternoon we continue down the river to Amazon Eco lodge, right at the foot of the Mountain Range. The forest of Amazon Eco Lodge is a very special rainforest: this is where the Andes and the lowland tropical rainforest of the Amazon meet and it provides you with a chance to see a good selection of birds and plants from bóth zones as well as endemics to the area. Your first walk will be at night, exploring the forest by torchlight looking for insects, lizards, snakes and the only nocturnal night-monkey, or ‘douricouli’, on Earth. We spend the night in our Lodge.
On our boat we go to the parrot clay lick, a clay wall of the river where different species of parrots like the blue headed parrot white eye, among others, go every morning to extract and lick clay pieces. Upon completion of this activity, we will stop at the Limonal, which present the necessary documents for the control of entry to the reserve. Continue travel by Manu River upstream, leaving all traces of civilization toward the heart of the reserve for about 4 hours until our lodge which has Grooming shared services such as showers and toilets. This is where we spend the next 2 nights. During this journey you will see countless species of birds, alligators, turtles and mammals often sunning on the beaches or feeding in the surrounding trees. This tour shows the immensity of our jungle. After lunch we spent our time walking and visit the Cocha Otorongo. where there is an observation tower strategically located 15 meters from where we have the opportunity to appreciate the scenery of the surrounding primary forest. And from this place is where you can see some alligators and giant otters in families or lonely. Then at night we will have evening activities, go in search of insects or other animals wildlife in this pristine jungle .
At dawn we’ll probably wake howler monkey declaring its territory to others. Before breakfast we will walk morning because the temperature at this time makes it common to find animals for food. then return to the camp where our staff is waiting to offer a refreshing breakfast. After a short break we will explore some trails near our camp.
In the afternoon we will go to explore another lagoon and cross a primary forest with greater diversity of species explore the Cocha Salvador using the catamaran, and from this catamaran you can see some wildlife species such as the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) a species are endangered, important inhabitant that can be seen fishing, playing or swimming, and just as the Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the Hoatzin (Ophisthocomus hoatzin), the Spider Monkey (Ateles paniscus), etc. and flora of their surroundings; then back to our hostel we can find some other species of monkeys. At night and with the help of our flashlights we will walk along the banks of the river and we can see some alligators out in search of their prey.
With first day light of the third morning, we return to Boca Manu from Manu’s Reserved Zone. From this vantage point we will have great views of riverside birds, such as the black skimmer, snowy egret, yellow billed tern and the exquisite roseate spoonbill, sunbathing black and white caiman, and maybe the enormous aquatic guinea pig, the capybara. We reach our Camping Huts deep inside Manu in the afternoon. During this time, we will walk through virgin forest to be impressed by giant trees such as the shihuahuaco, the mahogany, brazil nut and rubber tree.We will see a huge variety of colorful birds, such as the agami heron, sun grebe, red capped cardinal, amazon kingfisher, tropical kingbird, yellow rumped caciques etc. Here the big spider monkeys like to hang out in the trees.
We will be checking out of the lodge quite early in the morning. Then we will travel on Madre De Dios river for six hours to our Amazon Eco Lodge. We will spend a relaxed afternoon amidst the beautiful jungle setting. In the evening, we will hike to the pristine areas of the jungle to a viewpoint on a cliff. From here you will have a beautiful view of roosting flights of parrots and macaws at sunset.
We will then return to the lodge for dinner. After dinner, we will do a night tour in the reserve to spot some nocturnal creatures.
Unfortunately this day Waking up very early and after our last breakfast in the jungle continue the trip by river to the port of Atalaya. Where we will catch our bus back to Cusco Turning again by the mysterious cloud forest where we can find some last activities and can also do some short walks. Arriving in Cusco at about 18:00 where we will stop at your hotel.
The preparation for your stay is when the emotion and anticipation really begins. But if you never have time spent in the Amazon Rainforest, you may not be sure what to pack. We have prepared this list to help with some guidelines and suggestions. This list is only intended to provide ideas and suggestions about what you may want to bring and nothing on this list is mandatory.
The Amazon Rainforest is close to the equator and the average annual temperature is approx. 26 °C (80° Fahrenheit). Due to the fact that the weather changes very rapidly, it’s crucial to be well prepared for your Amazon tour. A trip to the Amazon rainforest is the trip of a lifetime. It’s the kind of adventure that most people only dream about. The Amazon is known as “the greatest expression of life on Earth”.
Now you’ve decided to set out on such an Amazon Rainforest Tour, the next step is to think about what to pack for these rainforest climates and conditions. It’s a good idea to have an overview of the types of some things you’ll need to pack for a hike in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest Tours.
Keep your luggage to a comfortable minimum. Number one on the list is to bring a valid passport! Safari quick-dry clothes or drip-dry cotton—including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sweater or pull-over. Also pack hiking shoes or sneakers with good treads, (the paths of the jungle are often with mud, so shoes get wet and muddy), raincoat or plastic poncho. Include insect repellent, medications, toiletries, sunglasses, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, binoculars, sandals, and a bathing suit. It’s wise to take extra clothes and extra socks, as clothing does not dry in the humid rainforest climate.
For an Amazon adventure trip everyone should pack accordingly. Except for the occasional internal flight, we’ll be taking canoes, kayaks, jeeps, vans and our own feet between destinations. A sturdy internal frame backpack is convenient for this form of travel; a strong duffel bag works well, and some people get by fine with a rolling suitcase (although we don’t really recommend the latter). Remember, we may have to carry our bags short distances and if you can put everything on your back you’ll be happiest! Besides a pack or duffel bag, a small day pack is advised.
Are you looking for some answers to your questions about Manu Amazon Rainforest Tours? Maybe looking for information regarding our Manu National Park tours, how to prepare for your Amazon trip or if the weather will affect your tour?
Here we will answer the most common questions we have been asked by our visitors. If you don’t find your question answered here please contact us and we will do our best to help you out.
Manu National Park is one of thirteen National Parks in Peru. It is located in Cusco and Madre de Dios, extending from the highlands in Cusco (4000m) to the Amazon floodplain at the mouth of the Manu River (300 m).
The park was established on May 29th, 1973, with an area of 1,532,806 ha. In 2002, the entire lower valley of Manu, which used to have the temporary status of Reserved Zone, was annexed; since then it has an area of 1,692,137 ha. Manu National Park is unique in Peru’s National System for Protected Areas (SINANPE) as being the only National Park which protects an entire watershed. It also includes a complete sample of Andean-Amazonian landscapes of southeastern Peru and a huge number of species of flora and fauna.
This Park is also home to the native people of Matsigenka, as well as other poorly known groups, known as the Mashco-Piro or Nomole, which live in voluntary isolation inside the park.
In 1977, UNESCO declared Manu National Park and adjacent areas as a Biosphere Reserve with an area of 1,881, 200 ha. Ten years later, in recognition of its outstanding natural value, UNESCO added the Park to the list of “World Heritage Site.”
It ranges from 300m at the confluence of the Manu River with the Alto Madre de Dios River, to 3,800 meters at the summit of the mountain Apu Kañahuay. Some researchers believe that in the virgin areas of this reserve is found the Païtiti or the lost city of the Incas.
Inca – colonial. Manu area has a history marked by the arrival of foreign people, since the times of the Incan Empire and since the Inca Pachacutec and Tupac Inca Yupanqui annexed this area to their empire, until the arrival of the Spaniards soon after the invasion of Cusco they founded Paucartambo, where they established farms and parcels and where also the king Carlos III of Spain ordered the construction of a bridge to facilitate trade of local products; and this how this valley began to supply products Cusco as coca, sugar, cotton, pepper, wood and others.
In March 1567, the Spanish Juan Alvarez Maldonado who was charge of the province of Mojos started a journey of 37 days to make the first expedition from Paucartambo to the current location of Pilcopata. In May of the same year, Manuel Escobar mounted a second expedition that followed the course of the Alto Madre de Dios River to the Manu River.
Republic Era of Manu National Park
In 1861, Colonel Faustino Maldonado embarked on a new expedition from Paucartambo to the Madre de Dios River. It was after him that 30 years later, the rubber man, Carlos Fitzcarrald baptize the mouth of the Tambopata River to Puerto Maldonado, the actual capital of the department of Madre de Dios.
In the lowland forest, indigenous people were affected by extractive activities in the late nineteenth century, the rubber boom ushered in companies like bold Fitzcarrald, one of the most famous of that time. However, Manu area was partially exploited. Rubber activities ceased in the 20s when the resource, unable to recover to intensive exploitation and competition from the prosperous and less expensive crops in Asia started to decline.
Between 50 and 60, the construction of the final section of the road began the logging of cedar and mahogany and the work in the “haciendas” and then extraction of fine skins (jaguar, ocelot, and Giant otters). More recent are the oil exploration activities. Meanwhile, in the Andean region, agricultural activities were affected by the agrarian reform initiated in 1969.
Since the twentieth century, the religious presence became more significant. In 1902 the Dominicans founded their first mission in Asuncion. In 1908 they installed the second missionary position, San Luis del Manu, at the mouth of the Manu River; after leaving it, they settled in Pantiacolla mission, which after being washed away in a river flood the finally stablish in Shintuya in 1958.
In the Biosphere Reserve of Manu Park there is evidence of ancient cultures, such as petroglyphs Pusharo, a set of prints of those who still could not explain its origin and meaning, which were first reported by Father Vicente de Cenitagoya in 1921 and are located on the right blank the Shinquivenia tributary of Palotoa river; other petroglyphs are found in the Queros river on a great rock wall “Xinkiori” which is legendary for Huachipaeris. Similarly, we are aware of an archaeological site in the area Mameria located in the headwaters of the Piñi Piñi River.
Creation of Manu National Park
In 1967, at the initiative of Celestino Kalinowski, son of a famous Polish naturalist who came to Peru in 1887, and the report of the British advisor Ian Grimwood, the Peruvian state was recommended the creation of a National Park in Manu. In 1968 it was declared a National Forest and subsequently the Manu National Park was established on May 29, 1973, by Supreme Decree 0644-73-AG, in order to preserve its natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of present and future; determined for the same purpose by UNESCO recognition of the Biosphere Reserve of Manu which today covers an area of 1,881,200 ha (18,812 square kilometers) in the provinces of Paucartambo in Cusco and Manu in Madre de Dios. Its boundaries were drawn by applying the principle of natural boundaries and river tributaries. However, the boundary of the park in the same river Manu had to stop at the confluence with the river Panahua because there was an oil exploration.
The National Park is a category of Protected Natural Area owned and managed by the Peruvian government as part of national protected area system of Peru (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado en el Perú – SINANPE). Its objective is to protect and preserve intact ecosystems, which can hold a high biological diversity and relevant esthetical and landscape attractions, where indirect use activities can be done like: research, education, tourism and recreation.
The Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO category. It is a representative ecological area with three self-complementary functions: i) support for education and scientific research, ii) conservation and iii) sustainable development. Nowadays, the Manu Biosphere Reserve is divided in a nuclear zone represented by the Manu National Park territory, a buffer zone and a transition zone.
Yes, it is open the whole year. The best time to visit is from April to November during the dry season. The heavy rainy season is from February to March, when access by both road and air becomes more difficult and when trails in the forest can become flooded.
The Grass land: In its vast territory, from the high plateaus of 3500 m, covered with grass, where the dry air and temperatures vary as is the sun or under the shade, and depending on the month reaching -9 ° C to 22 ° C between the months of September and April and times of snow or hail rains between October and April; is down a long stretch of transition called “wooded thicket or matorral boscoso ” that descends to about 2,600 meters from where the vegetation forms a forest, which to date have identified about 450 species of plants and area where rainfall can reach between 500 and 1000 mm.
The Forests “Montana Baja”: takes place between 2200 and 1650 m; there are found trees up to 25 m in height covered with orchids and ferns growing families on the walls of the deep precipices. These can be found Araceaes broad leaves and tree ferns that characterize the place, covered in these cloud forests there is a cold climate and landscape between shadows and penumbras which is constantly wet.
The “Rainy Montaña” forest: This area is also known as “cloud forest” and is an almost magical place located between 600 and 1650 meters, the fog is constant and covers the beautiful landscape full of greenery, trees here are up to 30 m height which are overgrown by orchids, and ferns forming a dense forest interrupted only by small streams and waterfalls that are born and are lost in the vegetation. At present it is estimated that this area contains no less than 200 different species of trees with a density that can exceed 700 per hectare. Here the temperature varies between 20 ° and 25 ° C at night can drop to 16 or 18 ° C.
The “tropical humid forest”: This area is also called “lowland” and spreads over the vast Amazonian plain from 300 to 600 meters. This is undoubtedly the most representative area of the Reserve. Here at Manu area meandering river, the trees have a gigantic height; on the high tops of these, only two species emerge beyond the wall or ceiling canopy of the forest: the robust shihuahuaco (Dipteryx micrantha) and kapok (Ceiba pentandra) which are the highest of the forest trees and can exceed 60 m tall and has a crown up to 50 m in diameter.
The Nucleo Zone: The Nucleo Zone or Manu National Park area is dedicated to the protection and only anthropological and biological research are allowed, limited to the observation of life and ecological processes in their natural form; in the Park is found the Cocha Cashu Biological Station, one of the most important research centers in tropical forests. The place is intangible and to visit it you should have a special permission.
In this same area there are human populations of native Amazonian belonging to different ethnic groups that inhabit from time immemorial, whose number is estimated at about 1000 indigenous; however, there is also a Quechua population of approximately 200 people in the area Callanga.
The Reserved Zone: Manu Reserved Zone is located in the lower part of the Manu River, in this area tourist activities (organized by authorized agencies) and research with minimal manipulation are allowed. You may observe a rich natural landscape by the large number of flora and wildlife visible from the rivers and the “lakes” (meandering river that close and are isolated from the mainstream, forming ponds that hold a wealth of fauna). The visits are controlled. It extends from the Panagua River to Boca Manu.
The Cultural Zone: The cultural area is formed by the basin of Alto Madre de Dios River and the Andean territories bordering the southern part of the reserve, the dividing line between the National Park and the Mapacho River. This area is dominated by settler populations who develop agricultural, livestock and forestry activities and who have basic health, education and development, although incipiently. Conducting environmental activities is permitted.
Around the Manu Biosphere Reserve there are other areas such as State territorial lands in favor of Ethnic Groups Kugapakori and Nahua, the Megantoni Sanctuary and the Amarakaeri Reserved Zone; because the expansion of these territories plus the basin of Mapacho river expanded of the existing cultural area later called (Multiple Andean and Amazon use area) are considered within studies and proposals for integrating them into the Biosphere Reserve of Manu.
Arriving at 3650 m, you can see the puna and the cloud forest that are home to unique species of flora and fauna such as; orchids, bromeliads, ferns, spectacled bears, pumas and brightly colored birds. Around the Acjanaco checkpoint and the Tres Cruces viewpoint you can take walks and enjoy wonderful landscapes. At the Tres Cruces viewpoint you can see the sunrise between the months of June to August. Hundreds of people come in the months of June and July to appreciate this phenomenon that occurs during the winter solstice. The area is accessed by a 13.5 km road. from the Acjanaco Control Post, which is the registration place for visitors to enter the Park through the high Andean area.
Located in the basin of the river Palotoa (500 m). In this area, the enigmatic “Petroglyphs of Pusharo” stand out, figures that have been engraved on immense rocks, representing one of the most important manifestations of cave art in the Peruvian Amazon.
Access begins on the Alto Madre de Dios River, from the towns of Atalaya, Santa Cruz and Shintuya. In the area there is a tourist lodge managed by the native community of Palotoa – Teparo near the petroglyphs.
Between the Limonal and Pakitza Posts (300 m). Along the river it is possible to observe jaguars, shore birds, turtles, macaws, among others. Its oxbow lakes (lagoon in Quechua), habitat of the river wolf, black caiman, and a large birdlife stand out. Another tourist attraction is the various forest associations on the banks of the river, where you can see trees over 40 m. of height and great variety of flora and fauna. One cannot ignore the collpas (salt land in Quechua), which are walls with a high concentration of salts and minerals where numerous species of fauna flock.
Tourist activity in the Manu Biosphere Reserve is mainly influenced by the presence of the Manu National Park, within which you can find facilities such as shelters, services provided by SERNANP, access to trails and lakes, among others.
Despite this, for some travelers the time it takes to visit this natural wonder is certainly a long time and they choose to develop a large part of their activities in shorter times in the Buffer Zone of the Manu National Park, which belongs to this Biosphere Reserve.
Nature is relatively well preserved to be able to develop activities in it and you can also find accommodations with different services and at different prices.
Biodiversity in the Manu National Park
The Amazon can have a mysterious nature for first-time visitors.
We’ve made this Amazon Rainforest travel guide to help you find the best areas to visit. The guide will help you make the most of your experience.
We will cover the best areas to visit for deep rainforest adventures and where to go on short tours of 3-days. We will also mention areas of the Amazon better for certain animals and plants. For example, clay licks provide fantastic places to see macaws and other parrots. These are only found in certain regions.
Rainforests contain impressive animals and plants. In total, the world’s rainforests cover only 7% of the Earth’s surface but contain 50% of all land-living species.
And the Amazon is the world’s largest container of wildlife. The Amazon Rainforest covers 40% of the South American continent. This vast forest contains some of the world’s most untouched tropical wilderness.
The next largest rainforests of the Congo in Africa and the island of New Guinea can fit comfortably inside the vast expanse of Amazonia.
Within the Amazon Rainforest, you can find an incredible diversity of animals and plants. There are also wildlife-rich oxbow lakes and beautiful scenery to enjoy.
For example, the Manu National Park in southern Peru contains 10% of all the world’s bird species. It’s usual for national parks and reserves in the Amazon Rainforest to have more species of birds and other animals than entire countries.
For nature lovers, adventure seekers, or simply people looking for a different vacation, this makes the Amazon a perfect place to visit.
The Amazon also makes a great add-on to other South American attractions, such as the Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu.
Amazon Rainforest Attractions
There are some fascinating attractions in the Amazon Rainforest. You can find oxbow lakes, clay licks, canopy towers and tall emergent trees.
Not limited to the lowland rainforest, you can also explore the mysterious cloud forests on the side of the Andes. Differing in altitude and climate, these forests are home to a completely new set of animals and plants.
Oxbow lakes are areas where tributaries of the Amazon River once flowed but have since changed direction. This sometimes leaves behind oxbow-shaped bodies of water known as oxbow lakes. The lakes become very attractive for variety of animals and plants drawn by the water.
On tours of oxbow lakes, you can find many different animals. These often include the favorites Amazon animals. You can see giant river otters, black caiman, water birds, giant Arapaima fish and lake-visiting animals. These include many different monkeys, which feed from trees around the lake.
One of the most common animals around the oxbow lakes are the strange hoatzin birds. These are a chicken-sized bird that digest food by fermentation in a similar way to cows. Strangely, young hoatzins are born with a claw. This is used to cut through the shell of the egg but also to climb their way through the thick lake-side vegetation.
The lakes are also often surrounded by palms. And these are ideal nesting habitat for scarlet macaws and other parrots. This means you can often see different macaw parrots on short walks around the lakes.
Some great lodges in Peru to visit oxbow lakes include the Posada Amazonas Lodge, Refugio Amazonas Lodge.
Macaw Clay Licks
Clay licks are areas of exposed river bank where different animals come to feed on the clay itself. Over 50 different animals worldwide are known to use the licks. And the clay not only contains much needed salt, but also neutralizes toxins found in unripe fruits and seeds.
In South America and the Amazon Rainforest, one of the most iconic animals that visits the clay licks are the fantastic macaws.
Hundreds of macaws gather at the clay at one time and they present visitors with a fantastic display of sound and color. You can see all types of birds at different clay licks. Some of the licks are best for seeing scarlet macaws and other for the blue and gold macaws for example.
The rainforest of Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru is fortunate to contain the most clay licks of anywhere in Amazonia. This has created one of the most developed tourism industries in Amazonia.
Clay licks can be found throughout the Puerto Maldonado rainforest and the different protected areas. For example, for macaw clay licks, one of the best to see is the Chuncho clay lick in Peru’s southern Amazon. This is accessible from both the Tambopata Research Center and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge.
Nearby, there are also smaller clay licks for mammals, which you can also see from the Refugio Amazonas Lodge. Parakeet clay licks for small parrots can be been from the Posada Amazonas Lodge.
In Peru, here’s a graph showing the different lodges and the most common mammals that visit the nearby clay licks.
The Cloud Forest
Cloud forests are defined as tropical forests at altitude dispersed with cloud cover. The Andean forests are home to one of the highest levels of species on Earth. And they are abundant with birds, including the world’s highest diversity of hummingbirds.
On tours of the cloud forest, you can find many different weird and wonderful animals and plants. As well as birds, see one of the highest diversities of orchids and epiphytes. Watch the different hummingbirds and visit the dancing ground of cock of the rocks. You can also see different mammals, including woolly monkeys, capuchins and even spectacled bears.
To visit the cloud forest, some fantastic tours in Peru, you can visit the cloud forest of the incredible Manu National Park accessible from Cusco.
Manu National Park is a globally renowned haven of terrestrial biodiversity at the meeting point of the Tropical Andes and the Amazon Basin in Southwestern Peru. As a vast, geographically and economically isolated watershed, the still roadless property has been spared from most human impacts and is difficult to access to this day. The originally inscribed area was extended to 1,716,295 hectares in 2009, spanning the complete altitudinal gradient of the Eastern slope of the Andes from around 350 to above 4,000 m.a.s.l. The in some places precipitous transition includes high Andean Puna grasslands, mountain cloud forests, Yunga forests and lowland rainforest. Fed from numerous whitewater creeks in the mountains, the Manu River meanders through the lowland forests, before it joins the mighty Madre de Dios River at the Southern edge of the property. As evidenced by Incan and Pre-Incan ruins and petroglyphs, there is a long history of indigenous occupation. The local legend of Paititi, according to which the “Lost City of the Incas” is located within what is today the property, has lured researchers and adventurers alike. Today, various indigenous peoples are the only permanent inhabitants. Some of them are sedentary and in regular contact with the “modern world”, while others maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle as hunter-gatherers in so-called “voluntary isolation” or “initial contact”, respectively.
The immense variety of Manu National Park in terms of altitude, microclimate, soils and other ecological conditions results in a complex mosaic of habitats and niches. There is a broad spectrum of plant communities, ranging from the seemingly homogenous but highly diverse Andean grasslands to a range of mostly pristine forest types. Estimates of plant diversity range between 2,000 and 5,000, with some scientists even assuming considerably higher numbers. Records of fauna are similarly impressive with well over 1000 vertebrate species, including at least 200 species of mammals and more than 800 species of birds. Among the mammals are the Giant Otter, 13 different species of primates and eight felids, including Jaguar, Puma and the elusive and endangered Andean Mountain Cat. The wide range of estimates in various taxonomic groups of fauna and flora illustrates how little is known, let alone understood about the diversity of life in the property. In the medium and longer term developments in the surroundings of Manu National Park such as gas extraction and road construction may affect the still mostly pristine property in various ways. Careful planning and management is needed to balance development needs with the integrity of a global conservation gem.
Manu National Park has a remarkable location at the meeting point of the Tropical Andes and the Amazonian lowland forests. The massive altitudinal gradient has favoured an extremely broad range of ecological conditions and the evolution of highly diverse species and ecological communities. The landscape diversity ranges from high Andean grasslands to various forests types, including pristine montane cloud forests and lush lowland rainforest. The combination of topography, ecological conditions and isolation have permitted the almost undisturbed and ongoing evolution of an extraordinary diversity of life at all levels and a high degree of endemism. In addition to the diversity of life, Manu National Park is also known for an unusually high abundance of fauna across many taxonomic groups.
The extraordinary biodiversity combined with the large size and excellent conservation state makes Manu National Park a protected area of major and global biodiversity conservation importance. More than 200 species of mammals, 800 species of birds, 68 species of reptiles, 77 species of amphibians and impressive numbers of freshwater fish imply a diversity of vertebrates matched only in very few places of the World. Numbers in other taxonomic groups are at least as impressive, for example the more than 1,300 recorded species of butterflies out of probably several hundreds of thousands of arthropods. Thousands of higher plant species are distributed across the diverse ecosystems, habitats and niches. Hundreds of tree species have been identified, often jointly growing within very small areas. For decades, the property has been among the foremost references for scientific research in tropical ecology. As such the property has significantly helped our understanding of tropical forest ecosystems. Even seasoned researchers are overwhelmed not only by the diversity of life but also by the impressive abundance of vertebrates, including mammals. Despite the major record of research, even today taxonomic studies invariably reveal species unknown to science, including vertebrates, clear evidence that Manu continues to hold many of its biodiversity secrets.
Located in the Madre de Dios and Cusco regions of Peru, the nearest city to Manu National Park is Cusco. The center of the Inca Empire and home of Machu Picchu, Cusco is the most popular tourist destination in the country, thus making Manu National Park conveniently located for those wanting to see both the Amazon and Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu.
Manu National Park can be accessed by road from Cusco, though the only access to the lowlands is by boat up the Manu River. The bus from Cusco to Shintuya or Atalaya takes about 10-12 hours, then requires another 8 hours by boat to Boca Manu. From here, it’s another 8 hour journey to reach the entrance of the “reserved zone” of the National Park. This remote location is what has enabled it to remain so well preserved.
For those on a shorter timeframe, it is also possible to fly to Boca Manu from Cusco (or elsewhere in the country), and then all that remains is the 8-hour drive to the National Park Entrance. All-encompassing tours are recommended to make this journey as comfortable and easy as possible, with minimal time wasted traveling.
All of the Amazon lodges are constructed of traditional materials designed to minimize the impact on the local environment and maintain the ambiance of the rainforest. Accommodations vary from simple and rustic to quite comfortable. All of the lodges offer running water, showers and flush toilets. The most remote lodges have shared bathrooms and do not have electricity or hot water. They are a great choice for adventurous travelers interested in truly getting away from the distractions of modern life and experiencing the rainforest in the most authentic way possible.
Slightly less isolated lodges such as Refugio Amazonas , Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica include many more creature comforts. They have private baths, hot water, electricity, and fans in the room. These are great options for travelers of any age, providing an authentic rainforest experience without sacrificing all of the comforts of home.
You will have a pre-departure briefing at your hotel the day of your arrival or one day before at 6:00 pm, we will send you one of our tour guides who will explain you all the manu jungle tour program day by day, also he will answer any remaining questions about the tour, then you can finalize the payments of your balance.
The Manu National Park is divided into three parts: cultural zone , reserved zone or core zone and the intangible zone. The cultural zone and the reserved zone are for tourist use. The intangible zone is used exclusively for scientific studies and with special permits.
Manu Amazon Jungle is a relatively remote area with little human population, and is has an extremely high biodiversity and very good opportunities to observe animals in the rainforest (especially at the clay licks), which is not very easy due to the dense vegetation.Manu offers ideal conditions for nature and animal lovers, photographers and ornithologists.
You will not find mass tourism here. In August (high season) there are most visitors around, so it gets a bit busy.
Please note that it is not always possible to exactly stick to the program on a rain forest tour and small changes to the program may occur. In case of unusual situations caused by the weather (for example ) our guide will look for the best alternative and always try to include all activities of our program. The guide will explain the situation to the group and you are welcome to ask questions.
Both tours, the Manu Biosphere Tour and the Manu Cultural Area, take you to the lowland rainforest of Manu and you visit
A.- MANU CULTURAL AREA
In the cultural zone of Manu, you can see two types of ecological floors, the first place to visit will be the cloud forest, where two species of Monkeys can be seen, and the national bird of Peru. And it is also a good place to observe endemic birds, such as trogon, quetzal, eagles, owls, and several species of hummingbirds. You can also see a variety of orchids, begonias and medicinal trees. Then a boat tour is made to the lodge inside the jungle, where walks are made to identify mammals such as sachava, monkeys, alligators, jaguars. And also take the opportunity to visit the parrot and macaw collpa.
It is called a cultural zone or buffer due to its proximity to the native villages that inhabit the Manu National Park such as Matsiguenka, Nanti, Yora, Haranbut, Yine and Quechua divided into the towns of Callanga, Huacaria, Keros, Shintuya, Diamante and Palotoa and they feed on house and fish therefore there is not much diversity.
On the Manu Cultural Zone you can enjoy the unique scenery of Rio Manu’s primary lowland forest. Inside the Reserved Zone (Tourist Zone) we visit the Machu Wasi lake to observe Giant Otters, birds, Mamals, Macawclaycliks, several insects. The scenery on Rio Manu is impressive and chances to observe wildlife on the river banks are very good. (If we are lucky we may see a jaguar.) But we spend considerably more time into the deep rainforest.
This tour is designed in activities of 3, 4 and 5 days.
B.- MANU RESERVED ZONE
The Manu Biosphere Tour is the more active tour, we spend more of 5 days in the area of Limonal and Blanquillo and we have plenty of time for walks on the trails. Our program is flexible and we have good opportunities to see a variety of animal species. Direfent lakes (to observe Giant River Otters), the big Macaw Clay Lick at Blanquillo as well as the Mammal Salt Lick, located at walking distance from our Lodge.
The trip to the area reserved by boat is approximately 7 to 8 hours every day and by bus only the first and last day according to your itinerary. Our company pays the Peruvian state for nature conservation, for the entry of each tourist, for each passenger and annually and this same money is for payments of the park guards of the Manu National Park. Each group of Andean Great Treks visits the Machiguenka house to buy their handicrafts that are made by themselves with plants, fruits and natural colors and we support in this way to generate economic income for the subsistence of the population of Tayacome and Yomibato. We also work directly with the natives of tayacome, yomibato, Diamante as crew members and boat riders in our company as connoisseurs guarantee our safety in the rivers of Alto Madre de Dios and Manu. Since they are native of the jungle.
300 to 400 soles should be taken for additional purchases on the tour such as handicrafts, soft drinks, moisturizers, beers and tips for the staff (motorcyclist, crewman, cooks and guides).
Andean Great Treks is peruvian a local tour operator, offering an unforgettable experience since 2008 that works with social and environmental responsibility. Pay the Peruvian state to conserve nature to the National System of Protected Natural Areas. .All the guides and drivers are very knowledgeable professionals of the jungle that guarantee 100% their safety because they studied in the Peruvian jungle and specialized in Cusco.The company’s teams guarantee 100% YOUR SAFETY AND COMFORT. The prices are reasonable quality and price. Your trip is 100% guaranteed. If you travel with us you will be helping to protect the environment and therefore the economic sustainability of the native communities mentioned above.
On our Manu tours the maximum group size is 10 people per guide. This way everybody can hear what the guide says and the group is not too big to observe animals. If there are 8 to 12 participants on a tour we take one more guide to divide the group in two while walking on the trails, but you may be sharing the bus and/ or boat. If there are more than 12 participants on the same tour we split in 2 groups, each with its own guide and boat.
Our tour guides are very well prepared, they use all of their senses listening for small sounds like the breaking of a branch or fruit falling from the canopy, sniffing for animal odors, scanning the leaves above and below for motion. With this heightened attention and care to make little noise, the chances of observing large and small creatures is greatly increased.
The Manu Amazon Jungle has the greatest collection of life on earth, and so understandably, many visitors to the Manu Amazon Jungle expect to see lots of mammals. But it should be kept in mind that the story of the Manu Amazon Jungle is that it has high diversity, but low density. So on our trip we will see lots of kinds of creatures but not very many of each kind. But the beauty of this place is how the flora and fauna have evolved the wonderful and bizarre adaptations to thrive in this wilderness. With this perspective, travelers can directly experience and appreciate the infinite variability.
The dry season is a good season to see the birds. The most likely reason for them to come together and eat the clay is because at certain times of the year there are hardly any fruits available for them, just seeds. Seeds in general have a toxic layer, exactly to prevent animals eating them. If the macaws eat them anyway, they have a build up of poison in their stomach. To neutralize the acids that the poison produces in their stomachs, they eat the clay. In the rainy season up until the beginning of the dry season (May) there are many fruits. So the macaws eat fewer seeds and more non-toxic fruits and feel less necessity to eat the clay. Usually it means there are fewer macaws present in the beginning of the dry season. In the middle of the dry season there may be about 100 to 150 macaws visiting the clay lick in one morning, whereas there may only be 10 to 50 at the end of the rainy season/beginning of the dry season.
There is not a lot of walking in the sense of going far. All walking is done slowly. This is because most of what you find in the manu amazon jungle is vegetation and to be able to pick out the animals you have to take your time to look around, and listen as well.
For the manu amazon jungle 7-days tour, there are the following walks: The first day of the tour has an afternoon walk of about two hours. The second day is mostly spent looking for birds and animals on the Alto Madre de Dios River, with less walking than the other days. The third and fourth days feature a short walk to Lake Salvador, and various different walks in the Reserved Zone and on trails around the accommodation. The 5th & 6th day you walk maybe one or two hours in the Blanquillo area. The seventh day there is no walking at all.
Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides everything you need to know about this adventure and more.View Essential Trip Information
The best time to visit Peru is during the dry season, between May and November, when the weather is dry and bright, with more frequent rainfall occurring between November and April.
To book this tour, a minimum of $ 500 USD per person is required, the remaining balance will be paid upon arrival in Peru, at the Cusco office.
Any other additional information, please coordinate with your travel agent.
Vaccines recommended for travelers to the Amazon often include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and yellow fever. Visit your doctor four to six weeks before your trip for the latest recommendations and requirements for your destination. You may be advised to start taking malaria pills around this time.
The US Center for Disease Control is an excellent resource for detailed information on preventing travel related illnesses.
To stay safe in the Amazon, travelers should eat sensibly, dress appropriately and apply repellent to minimize the chance of getting bitten by mosquitos, and take the necessary vaccinations, medication and precautions as recommended by your doctor.
When hiking, canoeing, and enjoying other jungle activities you should always stay with your group and follow your guide’s advice. We also recommend that you leave valuable jewelry, watches and electronics at home, and where possible use a money belt and any room safes at your disposal to store passports and important documents.
Bring comfortable walking shoes, light-weight long pants, and long-sleeved tops, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, extra socks, mosquito repellent with DEET, bathing suits and of course, waterproof ponchos with hoods to protect against rain your camera, with charger and extra batteries on excursions. Binoculars are very important to enjoy the wildlife. Do not forget to include some items that you can give away to the locals (t-shirts, pens, and paper are especially prized, and perhaps some chocolates or candies for little kids). During meals in the dining room, we ask our guests to wear casual clothing and shoes. We provide rubber boots for wetland excursions and wet landings, and recommend taking comfortable walking shoes.
Travelers are strongly advised to purchase trip cancellation insurance which will reimburse the cost of air tickets and other non-refundable trip payments. International medical, baggage loss, and delay insurance are also recommended. Unfortunately, if you miss the Amazon tour because of a weather-related flight cancellation, we will not reimburse the cost of the reservation since flight cancellations are beyond our control and we have to comply with our schedules.
To enter the countries in the Amazon Rainforest, you will need a valid passport. However, visitors from most countries do not need a visa, provided their visit will be shorter than 90 days. If you plan to stay longer, you will need to request a visa in your home country.
Yes. The food is simply world class. Our guests enjoy a menu of fresh, delicious Peruvian fare (with a bit of continental influence). Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner each day promises to be a culinary feast for the senses, paired with select South American wines or perhaps a freshly pressed juice. If you have special dietary requests, please inform Andean Great Treks at the time of booking, or at least by 30 days prior to start the Amazon Tours, because some items may have to be ordered from local markets in advance. Every effort will be made to cater to special dietary needs and to accommodate special requests, subject to a given products’ availability in Peru.
Amazon wildlife is abundant, but you have to know where to look. Many creatures are weary of humans and often camouflaged. Our expert naturalist guides will help you spot and identify animals with their local knowledge, tracking experience, and remarkable eagle-eyesight and trained ears.
Many can even mimic bird and monkey calls to attract them! In general, the longer you spend in the region and deeper you can travel into the rainforest, the more chance of spotting wildlife you see. A decent set of binoculars will also go a long way to help.
Taking vitamin B12 is a more natural way to gain some resistance to mosquitoes. It can be ingested as vitamin pills or found in some foods with high levels of B12 such as shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels), fish, crustaceans (crabs), soy products (milk, tofu), bran cereals, red meat (lamb, beef), low fat milk, select cheeses, and eggs. We suggest taking B12 supplements around 2-3 weeks before arriving in Amazon Rainforest.
Yes. We warmly welcome families with children aged 7 or older. Our lodges are comfortable to receive families with their children. Additional accommodation for one child is available in some Lodges. Our naturalist guides are very friendly with kids and all of our staff will provide the necessary care for your family. We also have survivor jungle trails, piranha catch-and-release fishing experiences in Iquitos, and meal menus for kids.
Every Andean Great Treks holiday has been thoughtfully planned and crafted by our specialists. They draw on their own extensive travel experience and the guidance and expertise of our local partners to create superb holidays. Our specialists are committed to making every aspect smooth and enjoyable; they genuinely want to ensure that the holidays they create leave you with wonderful lasting memories.
Every Andean Great Treks traveller is accompanied by an experienced tour guide, you will be immersed in Historic cities, ancient ruins and unfamiliar landscapes are all brought to life by our carefully selected local guides. They want to share their expertise and help you make your own discoveries too; their sole mission is to ensure you enjoy every moment.
Giving you the freedom to make your holiday even more memorable. We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday and we pride ourselves on the choice and flexibility that we offer to enhance every aspect of your experience. Whether it’s getting to the airport, upgrading your room or booking an additional excursion, we can help.
Our guides are the stars of the show; it is their unrivalled knowledge, passion and expertise that will transform your tour experience from good to truly extraordinary!
Because the have grown up in the area and know it like the back of their hand, so they can help you experience whichever aspects most interest you. They’re passionate about sharing their corner of the world with you, and as you explore together, they’ll open your eyes to the intricate details, provide background to enhance your understanding of what you’re seeing, and share stories that will bring everything to life.
“Your inspiration for a trip can be a single word or a highly evolved outline, but it’s the conversations we have that help us understand the experience you’re looking for. Meanwhile, I’m looking back on the time I spent at the destination.
‘The great thing about working with a specialist at Andean Great Treks is how they take your complete jumble of ideas and turn them into something absolutely spectacular.’
As you begin to share your ideas with your specialist, it will connect them immediately back to a time in their own travels. Conjuring a picture of the rest time they made that same discovery, reminding them how it felt.
Your specialist understands that, when the journey is right, it has the power to excite your emotions in the most profound ways after all, that was the effect on them.
They carry a treasure box of moments, captured over many journeys, into every suggestion they’ll share with you, as they ask you how you want to feel on your trip.
EXPERIENCES THAT CALL TO YOU
It’s what you do in a destination that helps bring it to life. It’s why we strive to choose experiences that help you connect to a place, absorbing a little of its complex character. Wherever your passions lie, we’ll recommend experiences that speak to you, and we’ll recommend the guide or local expert who’s most qualified to help you explore. Packing your holiday full of special experiences means some early starts and long days, but you can be sure that you’ll return home with many incredible memories! Read our Tours and check the Physical Ratings to see if the pace and activity levels are right for you.
STAYS WITH DIFFERENCE
We know that where you stay is a cherished part of your travels. So, we go to great lengths to find places to stay that exceed expectations, or go above and beyond the ordinary, whether in their character, hospitality, or location. Over the years, we’ve discovered the very best properties, trying and testing them, so we can choose the right one for you. We’ve nourished long-standing relationships with these establishments and the people who founded them, and we’ve stayed there many times often, we’ll even know which rooms have the best views (and reserve them for you).
Our style of travel — authentic, thoughtful, and focused on building meaningful connections to the people and places you visit — is inherently respectful and considerate of the destinations we love. We design each aspect of your trip exactly as you want it, which includes its sustainability. That might mean choosing a train journey instead of a flight, staying at eco-friendly wildlife lodges, or opting for experiences that give back to the communities you’re visiting. The choice is yours.
Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do. First and foremost, because it gives you the best experience, but, also because it helps to preserve the communities and landscapes you visit. This isn’t new for us we collaborated with local communities and outside experts so we can grow to be better ambassadors.
The most authentic and interesting experiences often directly benefit the local people. We prefer to buy local products that are produced in the organic farms, we also have alliances with local artisan organizations who provide us with souvenir items for our clients, your money directly benefits the local economy.
‘There’s a saying: we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. When we show you our country, this philosophy guides everything we do. It’s our responsibility to preserve the environment and wildlife, and support communities. That means using slower modes of transport, like cycling, employing local people, and working with communities who’ll benefit directly from your visit. This also gives you the best, most authentic impression of the places we want to share with you.
We prefer to buy local products in ecological bags, to avoid the use of plastic bags, likewise we teach the use of soaps and ecological products in each tour that we organize. We also work on reforestation projects with local communities who take care of landscape resources such as communal reserves, national parks.
Our 3-day Ayahuasca program in the Peruvian Amazon jungle is perfect for those who do not have much time available; but who seek to have a genuine and intense experience with their inner being and the energy that surrounds us. Make your Ayahuasca retreat; in a magical, immersive, safe, authentic and unforgettable place.
The Manu Jungle tour goes to one of the largest life biosphere reserves in the World. You will enjoy wildlife, traditional villages, with the best specialized guides.
Discover the majestic Amazon rainforest of the Manu National Park. This protected area is in Peru, it is one of the largest ecosystems on the planet, due to its great diversity of birds, insects, plants and mammals.