From the city of Cusco, visit one of Peru’s most biologically diverse national parks. This is one of the most complete programs available in the incomparably biologically diverse Manu National Park, taking you from the Andean highlands, through cloud forest, and down into the Amazon basin.
We will make an early start from Cusco and head through Andean scenery composed of fertile valleys, high altitude grasslands and farming and herding communities. In the colonial-era village of Paucartambo, there will be time to visit the local church and view and photograph the historic bridge. We will continue to Acjanaco Pass (3,850 meters / 12,630 feet), the entrance to Manu National Park, with its fine views of the Amazon basin far below, from where the road will take us down into the cloud forest. This ecosystem is rich in flora and fauna: it is the habitat of the cock-of-the-rock, crested and golden quetzals, blue-crowned motmots, gray breasted mountain toucans and many species of butterflies, ferns and orchids. After this magnificent trip, you will spend your first night in the cloud forest at a comfortable lodge.
After a relaxing first night in the cloud forest, you can enjoy a walk before breakfast in the forests around the lodge, where we will be able to observe the remarkable mating ritual of the male cock-of-the-rock, as it competes to attract a female. After returning to the lodge for a good breakfast, we will continue our day by driving to Pilcopata, from where our private vehicle will take you to the river port of Atalaya. Here you will board a motorized canoe for the river journey of approximately 5 hours along the Upper Madre de Dios River to Boca Manu. We will arrive at a typical jungle lodge by nightfall.
Your adventure will continue today with a boat trip along the Manu River as far as our well-equipped campsite within the Manu National Park Reserved Zone. We will register to enter this zone at the ranger station. During this day’s traveling through the forest it is possible to observe toucans, macaws and parrots, as well as mammals such as capybaras, tapirs and peccaries. The river is home to several species of turtles, as well as black and white caimans. We will camp near Lake Salvador, and spend the next two nights camping close to this oxbow lake habitat.
Your first full day in the Reserved Zone will begin with a 3- to 4-hour forest trail walk as far as Lake Otorongo. Here you will have the opportunity to climb a 15-meter high observation tower, from where there are excellent views of the tree canopy that is home to hoatzins and monkeys, bright flowers and colorful butterflies. We will return to our camp by canoe in time for lunch, and in the afternoon we will explore Lake Salvador aboard a small catamaran. We will return to camp in the evening.
An early start today will give us the chance to enjoy a nature walk or visit the lake ecosystem once more. In the early morning, the forest is alive with the sounds of bird calls. As the sun rises, it is possible to observe birds of prey in the treetops. Later in the morning, we will board our boat and travel downstream to Boca Manu, and after visiting the village we will continue along the Madre de Dios River to Blanquillo, located close to a natural macaw clay lick.
Before breakfast, we will take a 15-minute boat ride and a 20-minute walk through the forest as far as the macaw clay lick, where many species of macaws, parrots and parakeets gather on the riverbank. These birds create an amazing spectacle of color and sound as they gather. After this unique sight, we will return to the lodge for an excellent breakfast. The rest of the day will be devoted to exploring a rainforest oxbow lake that is home to caimans, turtles and many other animals and birds, or to visiting a 42-meter high canopy tower. You will also have time to hike some of the local nature trails during the afternoon. Once again, you will spend the night at our forest lodge.
By getting up early this morning, you will have another chance to take a short nature walk, accompanied as always by our naturalist guide. We will then board our boat for the 2-hour river trip to the small mining community of Colorado; a chance to see how illegal gold mining activities have damaged local rainforest ecosystems. From here, we will continue to Puerto Carlos, where we will cross the river. Our vehicle will be waiting for us on the other side of the river to take us to Cusco, passing from rainforest habitat to typical high Andean scenery along the way. In Cusco you will be transferred to your hotel.
CUSCO CITY TOUR Half day
Explore historic Cusco and its major attractions during a half-day excursion: Colonial-era Cusco, with its cathedral and the Inca Temple of the Sun, or Qorikancha. The enormous Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, located at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco’s main square, and other archaeological sites in the hills around the city.
When is the best time to visit Amazon forests?
It can rain at any time in tropical and subtropical forests. For drier weather, the best time to visit the Tambopata and Manu forests accessible from Cusco is between mid-April and the end of October. The driest months are June, July and August. Different species of Amazon wildlife can be seen at any time of the year in the tropical forests of Peru.
Should I get a yellow fever vaccination before going to the rainforest?
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for rainforest trips anywhere in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Is there malaria in the rainforest?
The US Center for Disease Control considers Puerto Maldonado to be a malaria risk area although it is reported as extremely rare. Avoid mosquito bites as much as possible by using insect repellent, long-sleeved clothing and long trousers rather than shorts, and consider taking malaria prophylaxis.
What will we do for drinking water at the jungle lodge?
Drinking water and other beverages such as coffee and tea are provided free of charge at our lodge, and sodas and alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at the lodge’s bar.
Should I pack rubber boots?
At our lodge, rubber boots in a range of sizes are available for use during excursions.
Is there electricity at the lodge, can I charge my electronic devices?
Yes. For example, at our Tambopata lodge recharging facilities for mobile phones, pads, and assorted batteries are available at midday and in the evening between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
Is there a phone available at the lodge(s)?
In the event of an emergency, lodge staff can contact the outside world by phone or internet.
Is a laundry service available?
Remember that it can take a long time for clothes to dry in a humid rainforest environment. Laundry services can be organized in the main towns (Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos) from which our Amazon itineraries depart. Ask our staff for more information.
Is smoking allowed in or around the lodge?
Smoking is not permitted in rooms, dining or communal areas, such as the bar. However, guests can smoke on the terraces of their rooms and in outdoor areas of the lodge.
What happens in the case of a medical emergency?
In the event of a medical emergency which cannot be dealt with by guides and staff trained in first aid, guests will be evacuated to the nearest town with a hospital or other medical facilities.