A combination of camping and comfortable lodges makes this a
great adventure into the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Compared to no other Amazon experience Manu offers an
abundance of wildlife, fauna and adventure to make this a trip of a lifetime.
This trip can be combined to another program to suite your time and interest.
Day 1 - Cuzco - Cloud Forest - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Leaving Cuzco after breakfast we travel through traditional Quechua communities and through the spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes to the village of Paucartambo, passing snow-peaks and small Andean farmsteads. We will have time here to look around this picturesque village and visit local craftsmen famous for their production of masks used in local festivals. We then ascend to the last pass overlooking the Amazon Basin and begin the breath taking descent from 3500 meters to 1600 meters above sea-level to our comfortable lodge in the orchid laden Cloud Forest. This is a spectacular journey passing cascading waterfalls and multicolored birds along the way. In the late afternoon, we'll walk into the lodge to the sounds of Quetzals, Trogons and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens. Over night at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge or Paradise Lodge. (L/D) (lodge)
Day 2 - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge - Madre de Dios River - Boca Manu
Pre-breakfast walk to a nearby spot in the Cloud Forest where the strange and beautiful Cocks-of-the-Rock display at dawn. This is a wonderful sight, as up to 25 bright red-orange males dance and sing, attempting to attract the favors of the duller, burgundy colored females. After visiting this lick we return to the Lodge for a leisurely breakfast and continue in our all terrain bus to the Madre de Dios River and our motorized dugouts and we begin our journey down the river, past the last folds of the Andes, to it's confluence with the Manu River. We’ll pass settlements and native communities during the trip. Just before we get to the village of Boca Manu we pass the native community of Diamante. Their culture is Piro and this is the largest settlement in the area. There is a small handcraft shop here, which offers hand painted fabrics, necklaces of seeds native to the region and a small selection of weavings and ceramics. A stop here must be pre-arranged through your guide. Passing the village of Boca Manu we arrive at to the nights destination - a small, locally built and managed lodge. The lodge is across the river from the tiny airstrip of Boca Manu. The two species of Tamarin monkeys are here, the Saddleback and Emperor. The latter with their long, white moustaches are a rare and precious sight. There is as well a trail system we can explore if time permits. (B/L/D) (lodge)
Day 3 - Boca Manu - Manu River - Lake Salvador / Lake Otorongo
After breakfast we leave Boca Manu, leaving the relatively clean waters of the Madre de Dios behind, we 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 travel for about five hours up the Manu. Beaches, especially in the 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 sunning Jaguar - the worlds third largest cat. In 2001 one in three of our trips saw Jaguar in Manu. We will see some species of primate on this river trip, possibly Red Howler Monkeys or the smaller Squirrel Monkeys. After having lunched by the river we arrive at our Tented Camp (or Casa Machiguenga) near the lake of Cocha Salvador. We'll have the afternoon to explore some of the trails through the pristine rainforest in the area. 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. Before or after dinner an optional excursion into the forest at night is available with your guide in search of nocturnal creatures. The lakes are full of eye-shine of the large Black Caiman and if we are lucky we may encounter an Olingo Kinkajou or even an Ocelot on the trails. Certainly the nighttime noise of tree frogs and insects in the forest is an experience not to be forgotten. Night at Cocha Salvador Tented Camp. There are flush toilet and ambient temperature shower facilities and large walk-in tents on raised roofed wooden platforms with cots for sleeping and mosquito nets. Over night at Lake Salvador Tented Camp. (B/L/D) (camp)
Day 4 - Lake Salvador
After breakfast we'll spend the morning at the lake of Cocha Salvador. Some of the time will be spent canoeing the lake on a floating platform observing ox-bow lake animal life from the water. We may encounter an Agami Heron or a Sungrebe and Brown Cappuchin Monkeys are usually feeding on fruits nearby. Specially constructed piers that jut out into the lake enable us to look for a family of Giant Otters that live here. These, the world’s largest freshwater carnivores, remain common only in Manu, having been hunted to extinction throughout most of their former range. Each animal consumes between 4 and 5 kilos of fish daily and often they can be seen eating large fish on logs at the lakeside. The rest of the day will be spent walking the trails in the area in search of some of the 13 species of Monkey found in the forest here. Your guide will explain some of the basics of rainforest ecosystems and point out some of the medicinal plants of the area used by local, indigenous groups. We may cross paths with a group of Peccaries - a species of wild boar found here. A late afternoon swim in the river near the camp as the sun sets . Over night at Lake Salvador Tented Camp. (B/L/D) (camp)
Day 5 - Lake Salvador - Boca Manu
Today we'll walk very slowly from camp for 4-5 hours through the forest to Cocha Otorongo. We may encounter troops of Monkeys. This is a particularly good trail for 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. We'll be met at the river by our cook with a picnic lunch and then board our motorized dugout for the 4 hour trip down river to Boca Manu for the night. The river trip may hold surprises and we'll be attentive for any wildlife on the beaches. Overnight at the Boca Manu Lodge. (B/L/D) (lodge)
Day 6 - Boca Manu Lodge - Manu Wildlife Center
Leaving the lodge we'll head down the Madre de Dios River for two hours to the comfortable lodge facility near the Macaw Clay Lick - Manu Wildlife Center. This strategically located lodge facility is jointly owned and run by our local opperator and a local conservation group and is a base for scientific research in the area and a center for visitors wanting to explore the rainforest. We should arrive in time for lunch and a shower (hot water) and get to meet whichever researchers are onsite. The afternoon is set aside to relax or, if you want, to explore a trail through the untouched forest to a lookout point on a cliff over the river to watch roosting flights of Parrots and Macaws as the sun sets. Manu Wildlife Center has a canopy platform and an observation tower. The canopy platform is accessible via a staircase so everyone can get to enjoy the rainforest canopy. Those who wish can participate in a night walk with your guide in search of nocturnal animals. Overnight at the Manu Wildlife Center. (B/L/D) (lodge)
Day 7 - Macaw Lick - Manu Wildlife Center
Early morning start to the Macaw Clay Lick. This is truly one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of Parrots and their larger relatives, the Macaws, congregate at this traditional locality to eat the mineral rich clay that is essential to their digestion. To get close to the birds we will use a floating blind trying not to disturb them in their feeding frenzy. Their noise alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds at the lick is a sight not to be forgotten. As the lick slows down in midmorning we'll head for Cocha Blanco, an old ox-bow lake, in search of a family of Giant Otters that live there, and canoe around the lake on our floating platform looking for other wildlife. After a leisurely lunch at the lodge we'll explore other trails in search of Emperor and Saddleback Tamarins. Here it is known that the rare Goeldi's Monkey is repeatedly in the area. Overnight at the Manu Wildlife Center. (B/L/D) (lodge)
Day 8 - Manu Wildlife Center
Full day to explore the forest and trails around the lodge. We'll be on the lookout for Monk Saki - an uncommon and rarely seen monkey of the tierra firme forest that is occasionally seen here. We'll explore trails where groups of Manakins, perhaps the most enigmatic of neo-tropical birds, perform their strange mating dances and walk to one of our blinds at a large mammal lick where Guans and forest Parakeets and Parrotlets come for clay. Here too, groups of Black Spider Monkeys visit on occasions for clay to help their digestion. Those who wish will return with the guide to the lodge in the late afternoon, however there is an opportunity to stay at the lick after dark until midnight to see what nocturnal creatures come to the lick. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammal are frequent visitors with up to 12 animals visiting in one night. We watch them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses from our specially constructed blind Other nocturnal creatures are always possible. Overnight at the Manu Wildlife Center. (B/L/D) (lodge)
Day 9 - Manu Wildlife Center - Puerto Maldonado - Cuzco
Early morning start as flocks of birds pass over the boat, and we may see a Capybara, the world’s largest rodent. Our destination Boca Colorado, a frontier gold rush town, where we’ll take local transport for an hour to the Inambari river and by paved road to Puerto Maldonado. Here you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Cuzco. On arrival our staff will be waiting to take you to your hotel. (B)
GROUP DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE.
Permits for Manu ($150 US )are not included in rate noted.
THIS IS A FIXED DEPARTURE TRIP AND LEAVES EVERY SUNDAY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR EXCEPT FOR THE MONTHS OF JANUARY, FEBRUARY & MARCH, WHEN ONLY THE FIRST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH IS A SCHEDULED DEPARTURE.