Manu National Park Biosphere Zone 6 days, In order to preserve its huge diversity of flora and fauna and pristine areas, Manu was declared a National Park in 1973, designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and made a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. It covers an area of 1.5 million hectares and is one of the largest protected areas in South America.
It is situated in a spectacular, untouched area of south-eastern Peru and is possibly the sole, accessible piece of pristine rainforest that exists in the world today; a number of indigenous tribes who have never had contact with outsiders also continue to live in the Park.
There is a huge range of altitude in the Park; from high Andes (4200m/13779ft) to cloud forests to lowland tropical jungle (150m/492ft). This altitude variation accounts for the huge diversity of plant and animal species that exist in the territory. It is estimated that at least 10% of plants found in Manu are unknown by science!
There are also about 200 species of mammals, more than 800 bird species, the largest diversity of amphibians in the Amazon basin and more insect species in one tree than the total of insect species registered in the British Isles!!! It is considered one of the most bio-diverse zones on earth!
Apart from the amazing variety of wildlife, the journey from Cusco to the park is spectacular. It is a 2-day journey through mountains, cloud forest and lowland rainforest. The scenery of snow-peaks and glaciers is dramatically beautiful and make the sometimes precarious descents worthwhile!
DEPARTURES: Monday, Thursday and Saturday
GROUP SIZE: 5 (minimum) – 10 people
WEATHER: Dry (May – October) Wet (November – April)
TEMPERATURE: 13°c – 35°c
At about 5.00am we will leave Cusco by bus and start our magnificent journey through the Andean mountains. We make a stop at Ninamarka to see the pre-historical burial towers before we begin our descent to the cloud forest. Here we will take a hike amongst the ferns, orchids and huge variety of plant-life. We also hope to see the majestic, national bird of Peru – Cock of the Rock (Gallito de las Rocas), monkeys and the almost extinct spectacled bear. After this walk, we will continue on the jungle village of Pillcopata where we spend the night in a local lodge.
We leave Pillcopata early in the morning and head in the direction of Atalaya port, having breakfast on the way. At the port we will take our motorized boat and beging sailing down the high Madre de Dios River. During our boat trip we will see a variety of birds and, hopefully, some mammals and reptiles. We will arrive at Amarakaeri Lodge at about midday. After lunch and a rest we will go on a guided tour of the area. We spend the night in the open-air lodge.
After an early breakfast we will start our ecological excursion to the Blanco (White) River. We will arrive at about midday and have lunch. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour into the virgin jungle – a fantastic opportunity to see a huge variety of wildlife in its natural habitat. We will camp near the Blanco River, listening to the sounds of the jungle as we fall asleep!
In the early hours of the morning, we will walk to a concealed spot, near the Blanco River, to observe birds, such as parrots and parakeets, feeding on clay licks. After this, we will continue hiking through pristine jungle in the Amarakaeri Reserve. In the afternoon, we will continue our jungle exploration on a trail leading to Negro (Black) Oxbow Lake.
Here we will take a canoe trip on the lake, hoping to see different animal species; the open area of the lake will give us long-distance, clear views. Tonight, we will visit the mammal’s clay lick, with a good chance of seeing big and unusual mammals, for example the endangered tapir. We will camp in the same campsite as last night.
Today, we will explore the area alongside the Blanco River, the preferred habitat for the world’s larges rodent – the capybara – and a good area to look for bird nests. For fishing lovers, there is the opportunity to do some piranha fishing in the river. We will return to our campsite to collect our personal belongings and make our way back to our open air lodge.
We will take a boat up-river to the Shintuya community and from here our private bus will take us back to Cusco. We will arrive at about midnight.