Manu Amazon Reserved Zone Tour
This is a Manu Amazon Tour deep into the protected Reserved Zone!
The Manu National park protects several ecological zones ranging from as low as 150 meters above sea level in parts of the Southwest Amazon moist forests to Peruvian Yungas at middle elevations to Central Andean wet puna at altitudes of 4200 meters. Because of this topographical range, it has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any park in the world. Overall, more than 15,000 species of plants are found in Manú, and up to 250 varieties of trees have been found in a single hectare. The reserve is a destination for birdwatchers from all over the world, as it is home to over 1000 species of birds, more than the number of bird species found in the United States and Canada combined. It is also acclaimed as having one of the highest abundances of land vertebrates ever found in Latin American tropical forests.
Short Amazon tour Itinerary:
Day 1: Cusco – Cloud Forest
Day 2: Cloud Forest – Pantiacolla Lodge
Day 3: Pantiacolla Mountains
Day 4: Pantiacolla Lodge – hot springs
Day 9: Blanquillo-Boca Colorado-Cusco
The route includes: Cloud Forest, the Basic Pantiacolla Lodge, Lake Salvador and Otorongo, Macaw Lick.
Manu Amazon Reserved Zone Tour, long itinerary
DAY 1: Cusco - Cloud Forest
Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we begin an 8-hour journey over the Andes by bus, stopping for breakfast at the beautiful colonial village of Paucartambo. Continuing, we climb to the highpoint of the Manu Biosphere at about 4000m before descending to the cloud forest. In these green and moist surroundings we take our first long walk. There are many bird species to be seen among which the beautiful paradise tanager, umbrella bird and the golden headed quetzal. Among its butterflies are clouded yellows and various skippers. The cloud forest has three monkey species: the woolly monkey plus the two capuchin monkeys of Manu. There are plenty of other mammal species, but they are more difficult to see. We end our walk at the lek of the strange looking cock-of-the-rock, to watch the dancing and singing ‘performance’ of the males right under our eyes. We spend the night in the rustic lodge Posada San Pedro (appr. 1,600m).
DAY 2: Cloud Forest - Cocha Machuhuasi – Pantiacolla Lodge
At daybreak we continue by bus to tropical lowland rainforest, stopping along the way to visit a coca plantation and a little rescue center for animals. Arriving at the small village Atalaya at 650m, we change into a motorized canoe to navigate some 40 minutes down the fast Alto Madre de Dios River. Then we take a 30 minute walk to one of the very view lakes on the Alto Madre de Dios River. You can go around this small lake on traditional balsa rafts and from there admire the enormous rainforest variety in aquatic birds, such as the moscovy duck, neotropic cormorant, anhinga, the white-necked and capped herons and the prehistoric looking hoatzin. Usually the water is clean enough to be able to see many tropical fish we may know from aquaria at home. It is common to see squirrel monkeys or others, in the trees around. In the late afternoon we continue down the river to Pantiacolla lodge, right at the foot of the Pantiacolla Mountain Range. The forest of Pantiacolla Lodge is a very special rainforest: this is where the Andes and the lowland tropical rainforest of the Amazon meet and it provides you with a chance to see a good selection of birds and plants from bóth zones as well as endemics to the area. Your first walk will be at night, exploring the forest by torchlight looking for insects, lizards, snakes and the only nocturnal night-monkey, or ‘douricouli’, on Earth. We spend the night in Pantiacolla Lodge.
DAY 3: Clay lick for parrots - Monk Saki Trail
Early in the morning, around the same time the howler monkeys start their howling ritual, the boat takes you to a nearby parrot lick: you can see at least seven species, among which the blue-headed and yellow crowned parrots, the white-eyed parakeet and the small blue-headed and chestnut fronted macaws. Their spectacle is both loud and busy! Afterwards we visit the trails of Pantiacolla to see more of its over 600 bird species, including the pale winged trumpeter, the piping guan and the rare black
tinnamou, its eight monkey species, such as the dusky titi monkey or the elusive monk saki monky, and its other mammals such as the white lipped and collared peccaries, ocelots, squirrels, bats and red brocket deer. Here glass wing butterflies are common on the shady trails and Callicores and Panaceas at the open areas. With luck, one will meet the famous morpho butterfly with its iridescent blue wings. At night we visit Ranacocha, “Frog Lake”, to look for tree frogs, poison dart frogs and others. Overnight in Panctiacolla Lodge.
DAY 4: Pantiacolla Lodge - Hot springs
In the morning we walk on some of the many trails around the lodge, and hope to see more monkeys and maybe coatis or even a tayra hunting for small creatures in the trees. By now, we can start to distinguish some of the trees in the forest, such as the Ceiba (kapok), the capirona (naked tree) and several palm species. After lunch, the boat takes us to the Hot Springs of Shintuya for a relaxing mineral bath. The night is spent again at Pantiacolla Lodge.
DAY 5 & 6: Lake Salvador and Lake Otorongo
With first day light of the third morning we continue by boat to turn up the Manu River for an 8-hour ride into the heart of Manu’s Reserved Zone. From this vantage point we will have great views of riverside birds, such as the black skimmer, snowy egret, yellow billed tern and the exquisite roseate spoonbill, sunbathing black and white caiman, and maybe the enormous aquatic guinea pig, the capybara. We reach our Camping Huts deep inside Manu in the afternoon. This will be our base for this and the next day. During this time, we will walk through virgin forest to be impressed by giant trees such as the shihuahuaca, the mahogany, brazil nut and rubber tree. We will explore one of the most beautiful lakes of the Manu basin, Cocha Salvador, by catamaran, to see a huge variety of colorful birds, such as the agami heron, sun grebe, red capped cardinal, amazon kingfisher, tropical kingbird, yellow rumped caciques etc. Here the big spider monkeys like to hang out in the trees around the lake and with luck, you can see, from the front row, a day in the life of a family of giant otters. There are other trails to walk in this habitat-rich forest near another lake, Cocha Otorongo. The lake also has a 20m high observation platform overlooking the lake. This silt filled lake has a coverage of floating vegetation, and the wattled jacana to walk on top of it. At night we can explore the forest by torchlight or go moonlight caiman-spotting on the lake.
DAY 7: Lake Salvador-Macaw Lick
An early morning start boating down the Manu River gives us a good chance to spot the bigger and rarer animals at the river shores. It could be one of the over 5 meter long black caiman, or a tapir or giant anteater, a sloth swimming across or even the most magnificent of New World cats, the jaguar. Joining the Madre de Dios River we arrive at Blanquillo, near the claylick for macaws. This afternoon we climb the 42-meter high canopy tower, which gives us an excellent view over the resplendent rainforest canopy. We spend the night in the very basic rooms from jungle lodge Tambo Blanquillo.
DAY 8: Macaw Lick
DAY 9: Blanquillo-Boca Colorado-Cusco
Back on the boat early in the morning, we head downstream to the small mining village Boca Colorado. Here you can see the negative effects of human activities on the delicate ecological balance of the rainforest. We take local transportation till after crossing the Inambari River. On the other side, our bus is waiting to take you over a newly paved road, the Interoceanica Road, through beautiful cloud and elfin forest. Near Cusco, you have stunning views of the Ausangate Mountain. Cusco is reached in the evening.
Optional: you can do this tour in 7 days, skipping the itinerary of days 2 and 3 and joining the 9 days tour in day 4. These tours leave Cusco each Friday and cost around 120 US$ p.p. less.
1. Bearing in mind the uncontrollable forces of nature, the program could be subject to changes at any time
2. Every group can contain people who travel for 7 or 9 days
3. Between May and September (high tourist season) we go ahead and confirm the tour if there are 2 people signing up, since it’s very likely we will end up with the minimum of 4 people to cover our costs. The rest of the year, we can confirm only when there are 4 people registered for a tour. For the slower part of the year, we have the passengers sign up and keep them up-to-date if there are others who sign up to be able to confirm the tour.
4. Because the long distance to drive and the expensive flights, we have chosen to only show you the (in our opinion) best value for price tours. These are a bit longer and leave from Cusco to Manu and back with shared tourist busses. Therefore most departure dates are on a fixed day during the week.
Included in this tour and recommended to bring:
Note: because the long distance to drive and the expensive flights, we have chosen to only show you the (in our opinion) best value for price tours. These are a bit longer and leave from Cusco to Manu and back with shared tourist busses. Therefore most departure dates are on a fixed day during the week.
All included in this Amazon tour:
– Naturalist guide in English and Spanish
– Transportation Cusco/Atalaya & Mazuco/Cusco by private bus
– Transportation by private boat: Atalaya/Pantiacolla Lodge/Lake Salvador/Tambo Blanquillo/Boca Colorado
– Overnights in lodges and camping huts, based on two people sharing a room
– Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– Water at any time and warm drinks or lemonades with meals
– Guide book for rainforest of Manu – Talking About Manu
– Entrance fee for the Manu reserved zone!
– If you book this tour alone and want your own private room, then you pay 40 US$ a night additional. If you don’t mind sharing your room with someone of the same gender, then you don’t have to pay thee extra costs.
– international banking fees
1. Full name
2. Nationality and passport number
3. Date of birth
5. Profession (this is what the park authorities ask for)
6. Dietary preferences or restrictions
7. Medical restrictions/problems (please note any allergies or sensitivities to medications, insect stings, etc.)
8. Arrival date and hotel in Cusco, if these are known to you
9. When do you leave Cusco and where are you going after?
10. Your insurance details (name of the company, your registration number, contact telephone number, etc.
11. In case of emergency, who do we notify? (please include name, phone number, etc.)
We recommend you to bring:
– Mosquito repellent (with DEET is more effective)
– Long sleeved shirts (cotton or breathable fabric, but not too thin)
– Cotton socks (long enough to put them over your pants)
– Hiking shoes, ankle high
– Rain gear (rain poncho is good)
– Sweater (for Andes and cloud forest)
– Bathing suit (optional)
– Long pants
– Sandals or light shoes to change/ for bathroom (optional)
– Binoculars (you can also rent them)
– Camera, extra batteries & charger
– Plastic bags for clothes and camera etc.
– Personal things (soap, toilet paper, small towel etc.)
– Cap or Hat
– Sun blocker, sun glasses
– Flashlight, or better a head light (with spare bulb and batteries)
– Water bottle (min. 1,5 liter)
– Day pack
– Rubber boots (provided by ATP, but big sizes might be difficult)
– Passport + copy
– Money (in small Soles bills) for soft drinks, handicrafts and tips
Another option to choose is the 7 days tour:
– Take the first two days of the tour and join the group later.