The 5 days /4 nights Manu Paradise & Macaw program begins in the city of Cusco: It offers a whole range of activities, including visits to colonial-era Andean villages and native tropical forest communities. More adventurous travelers can add mountain biking and river rafting excursions to their program. This is an excellent itinerary for those keen to experience the biological diversity of the cloud forest, which is home to many endemic species of fauna and flora, and it also includes a visit to a clay lick to observe mixed species flocks of parrots and macaws.
The cloud forest is accessed from Cusco, and our journey begins with an early departure from the city. The drive offers the chance to see spectacular Andean scenery, and we will pass through rural communities, all the while on the lookout for bird species, such as Andean falcons (Caracara). Before arriving at the Andean village of Paucartambo, we will visit a series of pre-Inca burial towers. From Paucartambo the road climbs to the high pass at Acjanacu (12,628 ft / 3850 meters), which forms the entrance to Manu National Park. From here, we descend into the cloud forest, and we will walk part of the route in order to have the chance to observe local fauna and appreciate the cloud forest vegetation. Bird species include the cock-of-the-rock, golden-headed quetzal and mountain toucan. This is also the habitat of South America’s only species of bear, the Andean –or spectacled- bear. Our first night will be spent at our comfortable Paradise Lodge (4821 ft / 1470 m).
Driving distance: 113 miles / 181 km
Driving time: 6 to 8 hours
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Today begins with an early morning walk in the forest, to observe the colorful mating display of the cock-of-the-rock, Peru’s national bird. We will then return to the lodge for a good breakfast, before hiking into the forest to observe species of birds, mammals, plants and insects, many of which are endemic to the cloud forest. You will even have time for a relaxing swim in the clear waters of a forest stream. After boarding our private bus, we will head for the river port of Atalaya, where we will take a boat downstream to our lodge. After a delicious evening meal, your guide will escort you on a walk in the forest to observe nocturnal wild life.
Driving distance: 44.8 miles / 71.6 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Our day begins with a nourishing breakfast at our lodge. We will spend today observing bird species, including large-billed terns, snow egrets and tiger herons, as well as other animals, including caimans. After visiting the village of Boca Manu, we will continue to Blanquilllo to appreciate the reserve’s fauna and flora. After dinner in the reserve, we will take a nocturnal trip into the forest around Lake Blanquillo to observe caiman, all the while listening out for the calls of nocturnal species such as owl monkeys (Aotus nancymae).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Very early in the morning we will take up position opposite the clay lick to observe the mixed flocks of parrots and macaws arrive and feed on the mineral deposits essential to their diet. We will be less than 30 meters from the lick when the bird species begin to arrive. Visiting species may include Red-and-Green Macaws; Blue-headed, Orange-cheeked and Mealy Parrots; Dusky-headed, Cobalt-winged and Tui Parakeets. After this unforgettable experience we will return to the lodge for a good breakfast. Today we will also explore Lake Blanquillo, where it is possible to observe caimans, giant river otters and turtles. You will also have a chance to walk the lakeshore at night, and take a canoe trip in search of nocturnal caiman.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After our final breakfast in the forest, we will board our boat and head for the village of Colorado, where we will board the private bus that will take us as far as the Inambari River. After crossing the river, we will continue by bus to Puerto Maldonado airport and we will take the last flight to Cusco or to Lima. We will transfer you from the airport to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Things to bring on the trip