EXPLORE THE BEST AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

EXPLORING MANU NATIONAL PARK VIA ITS TRAILS AND RIVERS IS LIKE DISCOVERING THE ORIGIN OF LIFE

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 Manu River (300 m).

Visiting Peru’s Manu National Park is like going back to the origins of life on Earth. As one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, the Manu National Park in the Amazon is, in the most part, an unexplored paradise with indigenous cultures that haven’t made contact with modern civilization in the last 150 years.

Manu National Park is home to more than 4,000 animal species and 20,000 different plants, which inhabit the Manu’s vast 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres). You can catch the famous otorongo (jaguar) resting on a tree, or experience Ayahuasca like nowhere else in the world, all while living and sharing with the wonderful Machiguengas people who have welcomed you into their sanctuary; seeing the Manu is a privilege very few get to visit. Access to the park is nearly impossible if you’re not traveling with an organized tour.

Tours like the one offered by Andean Great Treks take months to plan as permits are required to enter the sanctuary. The tour begins in Cusco. A van will leave early in the morning, arriving at the Manu National Park gates six to eight hours later. The road is winding and sometimes unpaved, often crossing high peaks, so make sure to take a pill to counteract high altitude sickness.

Two hours later, you’ll arrive at Acjanaco, one of the entrances to the park located at 11,483 feet above sea level. On a clear day, you can see the Manu and the Madre de Dios river from there. Soon, you’ll begin descending, circling mountains for an hour before you get off to see the Gallito de las Rocas, Peru’s national bird. You’ll notice vegetation getting thicker and the climate more humid. At night, you’ll reach a town called Pilcopata, where you’ll spend your first night in the Manu. But the trip hasn’t started yet.

Your last stop before hitting the river is Atalaya port. From here you’ll get on a boat and sail the Madre de Dios river. During the ride you’ll see two types of jungle, upland and lowland tropical forest and the Andes getting lost in the background.

WAY TO EXPLORE THE MANU BIOSPHERE RESERVE

Before entering the Manu sanctuary area, you’ll stay at a lodge close by, which is run by families from the Yine ethnic group who can offer to paint ancient symbols on any part of your body using huito (genipa) ink that will last for about a week. Early in the morning, you’ll take another long boat ride to the ranger’s check point. Notice how the river changes color to a brighter brown: it’s the rich sediment of Manu river and this is where your trip truly begins. It’s important to hire a tour company that has legal permits to access the Manu. This way rangers can keep track of who comes in and out as they watch out for illegal loggers.

During your boat ride into the Manu, pay attention to the animals like capybaras, jungle condors and alligators eating or resting on the beach. The Manu has very few lodges available. One of them is Casa Machiguenga, a lodge two hours in from the checkpoint. It is run by Machiguenga natives, they have  a strong relationship with nature as well as a complex cosmogony that allows them to communicate with all the living things in the Manu. Machiguengas are the biggest community in that part of the Manu and very friendly and curious to outside customs. They live in paradise and they are aware they have to protect it more every day.

You should not be concerned about food or water. Every tour to the Manu includes food and unlimited water in their deals, although some offer better quality meals. Andean Great Treks hires specialized chefs and a team of assistants who travel with the group and cook three meals a day, including appetizers.

Showers can also be a concern, but most lodges have fully equipped bathrooms for visitors. Take a bar of soap and shampoo. Some lodges offer towels but you should carry yours in case they don’t. Cabins can be outdoors, and every bed has a net to protect you from mosquitoes. It is crucial you get a yellow fever shot 10 days before your trip since there have been cases of people getting bitten by mosquitoes that carry it, although organized tours usually avoid areas where cases are known. If you have a phone remember there’s no signal in the Manu, but most lodges can provide you with a charging station.

Tours like the one offered by Andean Great Treks include everyday activities that consist of a morning walk into the wilderness, animal sight-seeing, and spending time with natives. You can even learn how to hunt by using an arch. A visit to Cocha Salvador, a lagoon with a small island in the middle, is a must. You can hear and see howler monkeys, as well as river otters, the black caiman and a wide variety of birds, so it’s essential you bring binoculars.

Ask your tour guide to take you to the Manu’s oldest and tallest tree, the Lupuna, believed to have saved species from extinction after a flood submerged the Earth – similar to the Noah’s Ark narrative. Touch it, hear it breathe. It’s alive and you’ll feel its energy.

MANU AMAZON TOURS

THE BEST AMAZON TOURS & ADVENTURES IN MANU JUNGLE PERU

Peru’s Manu National Park is in the southwestern corner of the vast Amazon basin. It can be reached from Cusco, the former Inca Capital. Manu makes a perfect combination with a visit to the Inca Citadel Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World. Its limits are reached from Cusco after about 4 hours by car down the Manu Road, but then it will still take you an additional 2 days by car and boat to get to its most pristine heart in Manu’s Reserved Zone.

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Manu National Park is an excellent way to experience an intense amazon wildlife.Is the biggest Amazon rainforest in the Americas, its incomparable natural wealth, host the greatest amount of flora and fauna of the world.

wildlife andean great treks
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Manu National Park is located in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. This attraction is one of the few places on the planet that still maintains its great biodiversity of birds, mammals, reptiles and many medicinal plants.

wildlife andean great treks
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