Beginning in the historic city of Cusco, this program offers a range of activities as it takes you through colonial towns and jungle villages and into the incredible biological diversity of the Amazon basin. You can also opt to tailor your experience according to your preferences. For the adventurous, there is the chance to take part in mountain biking or white water rafting activities, while those who prefer to relax might choose to enjoy forest walks and study the life of the forest. Whatever you preference, the incredible biological diversity of the cloud forest is sure to delight you, with its abundant plant, animal and bird life.
Day 1: CUSCO / CLOUD FOREST (PARADISE LODGE)
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. Birdlife on this route includes the mountain caracara, Puna ibis and Andean flicker. We will pass pre-Inca Lupaca culture burial towers before arriving at the colonial-era village of Paucartambo, via a route that has been the gateway to the forests of Manu for centuries. Here there will be time to visit the local church and view and photograph the historic Carlos V Bridge. Leaving Paucartambo, 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 here, the road takes us down through Andean grasslands and 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 our comfortable Paradise Lodge
Day 2: CLOUD FOREST ( PARADISE LODGE)
After a relaxing night in our cloud forest lodge, before breakfast we will venture into the forests surrounding the lodge to observe the cock-of-the-rock as the males of the species perform their daily courtship ritual. After a good breakfast at the lodge, we will spend the rest of the day exploring the surrounding forest at a leisurely pace, visiting local farmers on their pineapple and coca leaf plantations and enjoying plenty of bird watching, as we look out for quetzals and motmots, green jays, paradise tanagers, bay-headed tanagers, orange-eared tanagers and golden tanagers. All the while, your naturalist guide will assist you in learning more about this unique ecosystem. The road to Pillcopata is ideal for birders, facilitating short hikes into the forest. Our bus will be available to you at any time to take you to the area’s main attractions. And those seeking more adventure can opt to experience mountain biking through the cloud forest and white water rafting (Class II and III rapids) on the Kosñipata River. The night will be spent at our Paradise Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
Trekking distance: 71.6 km / 44.8 miles (5 hours)
Day 3: CLOUD FOREST - CUSCO
This will be your final day in the forest. After an excellent breakfast you will have time to continue relaxing at the lodge or to explore the surrounding area, before boarding our private bus for the return trip to Cusco. We will retrace our route to Paucartambo, from where we will take the road that follows the course of the Qenkomayo River as far as Colquepata and over the high pass at Apacheta (4,100 meters / 13,448 feet). From here the road descends into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where we will stop along the way to enjoy the scenery and experience the way of life of local villagers. After passing the impressive Inca archaeological site at Pisac, we will continue to Cusco, where you will be transferred to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
Driving distance: 192 km / 120 miles (6 hours)
Specialist bilingual naturalist guide
Accommodation in our Paradise Lodge in the cloud forest (2 nights) and a typical local lodge (1 night)
Private bus transport
All meals indicated in the itinerary
No additional charge for vegetarian diets
Basic first-aid kit
Specialist books are available during the trip
Personal items and medicines (e.g., gear, clothing, laundry service, telephone calls)
Tips to local staff (we recommend $8-10 USD per day of service per guide or driver)
What to bring on the trip
- 1 photocopy of passport
- Hiking boots
- Lightweight warm jacket
- Rain gear (poncho)
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Hiking shorts
- Hat / bandana
- Sport sandals
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Pocket knife
- Camera, batteries and memory stick
- Battery charger (220 v)
- Binoculars for wildlife viewing (8 or 10x magnification)
- Ziplock bags and garbage bags for keeping clothes and other personal items dry on river excursions and in the forests
- Birds of Peru book (optional)
Downhill mountain biking from the Andes into the cloud forest.