UNESCO officially recognizes this natural paradise as a world heritage site. In 1977 they designated Manu as a World Biosphere Reserve because it contains the best existing example of biodiversity in protected areas of rain forest, as well as endemic areas of cloud forest.
Humans have altered the majority of forests in the world. Fortunately, Manu has remained intact and untouched by civilization. Thus, we can observe a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including: Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the majestic Jaguar (Panthera onca), the strange Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the Ocelot (Felis pardalis), 13 species of primates, and an estimated one thousand species of birds including seven species of Macaws (Ara sp.).
Manu 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.
Manu National Park may be the most biologically diverse and protected park on the planet.
DAY 01: We leave Cusco early in the morning in our specialized overland vehicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting Pre- Inca tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as “Chullpas”. We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2000 and 3500 meters above sea level and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our Orquideas de San Pedro lodge.
DAY 02: Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange and about 5:00am. as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a ritual mating dance in a comfortably installed on an observation platform called “Lek”. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue by bike down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward Pilcopata town (*1) for 2 hours approximately (*2). A 30 minutes bus ride to the port of Atalaya where we will board our covered outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 30 minutes toward our private reserve of “Erika Lodge” where we will spend the next two nights. Short walk around the lodge.
(*1) Optional (only for experienced people): Descend with mountain bikes from the Cloud Forest (1,700 m.a.s.l.) - to Pilcopata town (700 m.a.s.l.). (*2) Optional: At Pilcopata town we will make the final settings for a 1 hour tropical jungle river rafting down the Kosñipata River having the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq Canyon.
DAY 03: Erika Lodge is located in a transition zone between high and low jungle (600 m.a.s.l. to 1,150 m.a.s.l), encompassing different habitats. This altitude range explains the high diversity of wildlife found around this lodge, so immediately after breakfast, we will start walking near the riverbanks, during the hike our guide will talk about insects, medicinal plants, trees, reptiles, mammals, etc. This afternoon we board our boat, and after five minutes, we will walk for another 30 minutes approximately though a very nice trail to observe and talk about the interesting flora fond such as sensitive plants, heliconias, fruit plantations, etc. until we arrive to Machuwasi Lake where with the help of a telescope we can observe great egrets, tucanets, carpenters, Keskadees, cardinals, etc. Short night walk to observe American bullfrogs, horned frogs, tree frogs and an incredible variety of insects.
New!!! Canopy tour: Our guests traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables, as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the virgin rain forests and explain what’s going on around you, from the time you leave the ground, until you rappel back down to the forest floor.
DAY 04: This day we will get up very early to board our boat again for only five minutes down river to a Parrot clay Lick called “Collpa” on the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the blue headed parrot, white-eyed parakeet, feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. Immediately after we continue to Atalaya Port where the bus will drive us to Cusco city, arriving late in the night.
SERVICES INCLUDED: Specialized and bilingual guide, 01 at Orquídeas de San Pedro Lodge, 02 nights at Erika Lodge, meals (vegetarian option also possible to offer), first aid kit including anti-ophidian shots, all land and river transportation, captain and river rafting equipment, mountain biking equipment, special guide for the Canopy Zip down and required equipment, safety box for values and storage for luggage at Cusco’s main office..
THINGS YOU SHOULD BRING ALONG ON A TRIP TO MANU
Binoculars, camera and films (ASA 200 and 400 for the inner forest)
Warm clothing, long sleeve shirts and long pants (cotton) wide brim hat and sun glasses for sunny days
100% waterproof rain gear (long poncho or rain wear)
Insect repellent (at least 50% Deet), sunscreen lotion
One pair of lightweight ankle height boots and sandals
Flashlight, enough batteries (alkaline) and bulbs
Towel, swimming suit, Personal medicines and/or supplies (liquid for contact lenses for example) a day pack and one back pack or duffel bag of luggage