Accessed from Cusco, Manu National Park is one of the best places in Peru to experience the flora and fauna of the Amazon basin. The 4 day / 3 night Manu Nature and Culture program enables visitors to observe an incredible variety of bird species, including the blue-crowned motmot and cock-of-the-rock. During walks in the forest, your guide will be on hand to teach you about medicinal plants, and you will visit the forest community of Santa Rosa de Huacaria. This is an excellent program for those seeking a relaxing and fascinating tropical forest experience.
We will pick you up early from your hotel to begin the drive by private bus to our Paradise Lodge. On the road through typical Andean scenery, we will pass high plains and fertile valleys. Along the way, it is possible to spot highland birds such as the Cara Cara, or Andean falcon, and the Andean flicker, a species of woodpecker. Another attraction is the series of pre-Inca burial towers on the road to Paucartambo, a beautiful village where we will have time to visit the charming local church and elegant colonial-era bridge, before continuing our journey towards the Amazon basin. The official entrance to Manu National Park is the high pass at Acjanaco (12,630 ft / 3850 m), from where we will descend into the cloud forest, an ecosystem rich in endemic species of flora and fauna, including orchids, ferns, the cock-of-the-rock and blue-crowned motmots. Our first night will be spent in the comfort of the Paradise Lodge, in the heart of the cloud forest at an altitude of 4821 ft (1470 m).
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Today we will make an early start, leaving the lodge before breakfast for a walk in the surrounding cloud forest, to observe how the males of Peru’s national bird species, the cock-of-the-rock, perform an elaborate display in order to attract a mate. After a good breakfast back at the lodge, we will begin our excursion in the Pillcopata river valley, visiting papaya and pineapple plantations and looking out, with the help of our guide, for local fauna, which includes brown capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys and bird species such as plumbeous kites and black vultures. We will spend the night at our lodge in the Pillcopata valley. (An optional river rafting excursion can be organized on request.)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Driving distance: 44.8 miles / 71.6 km
Driving time: 5 hours
Today we will visit the local native community of Huacaria, home to members of the Machiguenga ethnic group. We will leave our lodge after a good breakfast and begin our approximately 2-hour hike, during which it is possible to spot macaws and parrots. There will be plenty of time for a refreshing dip in the clear waters of the Huacaria River, after which you will visit, accompanied by your guide, the forest gardens maintained by the local community, where they cultivate medicinal plants. Returning to Pillcopata, our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to the Paradise Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
On our final morning in the cloud forest, we will have another chance to observe the remarkable mating display of the cock-of-the-rock. After breakfast, we will board our private bus for the return journey to Cusco, taking a different route this time after passing the village of Paucartambo. Here we will follow the course of the Qenqomayo River and enter the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where there will be time for a short hike in the picturesque countryside (you can also opt to spend the night in the valley at a local hotel). Returning to Cusco, you will be escorted to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Driving distance: 120 miles / 192 km
Driving time: 6 hours
Things to bring on the trip