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Manu Extreme Biodiversity

Manu Extreme Biodiversity

Located in the jungles of the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios, the Manu National Park represents the largest natural treasure in Peru, for the number of species it houses and the diversity of ecosystems it protects. Manu is one of the few wild areas in the world where animals abound and live in a totally natural state. The jungle of Manu offers an extraordinarily high density of wildlife, collpas of mammals and macaws where the animals are concentrated and it is easy to observe them. Exotic birds such as the Gallito- Antiguentero Frentirrufo, Cotinga Carinegra. No other area in America offers such excellent sighting of rare or difficult to observe animals.The Manu National Park, Biosphere Reserve and Natural Heritage of Humanity, is ideal for amateurs of nature and the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest; tourism for scientific purposes, bird watchers, flora and fauna; interested in mysticism and native communities and for those who are passionate about navigating the rivers of the Amazon. The traditional way of visiting the Manu, begins in the city of Cusco, with accommodation in a jungle lodge that also provide food, transportation and guided tours in the jungle under the scheme of an all-inclusive tour.It has more than 1,000,000 ha. of extension and a relevant biological diversity that develops between 150 to 4,100 meters above sea level. There are more than 20 thousand varieties of plants, 1200 species of birds, 200 species of mammals and an undetermined number of jaguars, reptiles, amphibians and insects and rare species like the giant armadillo; for this reason the Manu has become a place of research and study for hundreds of scientists around the world. Numerous tribes also live in the park, several of which still have no contact with the rest of the world. In addition, there are archaeological remains not yet studied, as well as others well known, such as the Petroglyphs of Pusharo, in the region of the Palotoa River and the Ruins of Mameria. Among the objectives of the creation of the National Park is to conserve a representative sample of the biological diversity of the tropical forest of southeastern Peru, in order to contribute to regional development through research and monitoring of environmental parameters. It also seeks to develop anthropological programs related to the communities settled in the park.The Manu National Park was incorporated in 1987 on the World Heritage List.The ultimate ecological experience. That extends from the top of the mountains to the Far East. A truly exquisite tour to enjoy the wildlife and to explore in depth the impressive Manu National Park, This tour also gives you the opportunity to observe several species of monkeys quite easily, so you can not miss this opportunity.

Before you go

Quick Itinerary:

Day 1: Cusco to Wayquecha Biological Station

Day 2: Wayquecha Biological Station to Cloud Forest Lodge

Day 3: Cloud Forest Lodge to Amazonia Lodge

Day 4: Amazonia Lodge – Manu Learning Centre

Day 5: Manu Learning Centre – Manu National Campsite

Day 6: Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Campsite ): Cocha Otorongo

Day 7: Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Campsite ): Cocha Salvador

Day 8: Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Campsite) to Tambo Blanquillo Lodge and Tapir Clay lick

Day 9: Manu Learning Center – Tambo Blanquillo Lodge.

Day 10: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Macaw Clay Lick - Camungo oxbow Lake and Observation Tower.

Day 11: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Blanco oxbow Lake – Trails System

Day 12 Departure Day: Tambo Blanquillo to Cusco


Cusco and Madre de Dios. At 1400 kilometers from Lima. It was established as a national park in 1973 on an area of ​​1,532,806 hectares and declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.The park is located in the provinces of Manu and Paucartambo (departments of Madre de Dios and Cusco, respectively), encompassing the eastern slopes of the Andes in the Peruvian Amazon. The limits to the north are the basin that separates the catchments of Manu and the rivers of Las Piedras (72 ° 01'W, 11 ° 17'S), to the area where the south of the Paucartambo road in the north-west is converts into Tres Cruces (71 ° 30 'W, 13 ° 11'S), east of the region on the left bank of the Alto Madre de Dios river to the Pilcopata River, department of Cusco (71 ° 10'W, 12 ° 18'S ), and to the west of the basin that separates the catchment basins of the Manu and Camisea rivers, also the boundary between the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios (72 ° 22'W, 11 ° 45'S). Intangible area, protection of fauna and flora, and of the oriental and amazonian Andean scenic beauty, covers territories from the Andean puna in the department of Cusco to the low jungle in the department of Madre de Dios, crossed by the Manu river, Alto Madre de Dios and its tributaries. Most of its extension is located in the low jungle area, between 200 and 400 meters above sea level. (656 and 1312 feet). The rivers of the jungle area can be navigated in small boats at any time of the year. It integrates elements of exceptional beauty and scientific interest, hosting more than 5,000 species of mammals and more than 1 million species of insects and invertebrates.


It covers a latitudinal variety that goes from the 4,300 m.a.s.l of the high Andean puna to the 200 m.a.s.l of the Amazon plain. 



A road starts from Cusco and leads to the towns of Atalaya and Shintuya (9 and 12 hours respectively), points from where it is possible to start the trip by river (5 to 6 hours). There are also small plane flights that connect Cusco and the town of Boca Manu (30 minutes), from which it is necessary to continue by river (4 to 6 hours). You have to hire the services of the authorized agencies. It is from the city of Lima, by air, or from the city of Puerto Maldonado you can reach the Reserve by land or river. 



Rainy season from December to March, although outside it is not rare the downpours. The months from May to August, with temperatures above 30 ° C, are the most recommended for your visit. The normal climate of this zone goes from 26 ° c to 32 ° c, but in rainy days it is from 13 to 18 ° c.

Flora and fauna:

The Manu National Park is home to a large number of wildlife species. It has registered about 160 species of mammals, more than 1,000 species of birds (mostly residents), about 140 species of amphibians, 50 species of snakes, 40 of lizards, 6 of turtles, 3 of alligators and 210 of fish . Among the large mammals are the otorongo (Panthera onca), the black tiger (Felis yagouaroundi), the sachavaca (Tapirus terrestris), the huangana (Tayassu pecari), the sajino (Tayassu tajacu), the deer (Mazama americana), the river wolf (Pteronura brasiliensis), the ronsoco (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), the monkey boar (Alouatta seniculus), the black maquisapa (Ateles paniscus), woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha), the white machin monkey ( Cebus albifrons) and the black machin monkey (Cebus apella). On the other hand, the number of insects in the National Park is very high. It is estimated that there are about 30 million species. At the same time, more than 1,300 species of butterflies, 136 of dragonflies, at least 300 of ants (more than 40 species were found in a single tree) and more than 650 of beetles have been recorded. As regards the flora, the number of plant species is very high. The various registers indicate that there are at least 162 families, 1,191 genera and 4,385 species identified. In a single hectare, up to 250 varieties of trees were found. The forests of aguajales are one of the most outstanding ecosystems, where the palms of aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) and huasaí (Euterpe precatoria) are the dominant ones. They develop over areas that are almost permanently flooded, especially on the right bank of the Manu River. It also highlights the presence of the cedar (Cedrela sp.), The cético (Cecropia sp.), The screw (Cedrelinga catenaeformis), the chestnut (Bertholletia excelsa), the lupuna (Chorisia sp.) And the jebe (Hevea brasiliensis). 


Manu National Park has one of the most renowned research centers for the tropics: the biological station of Cocha Cashu. Likewise, in the lower basin of the Manu River there are five camping areas, three lookouts or breakwaters, three shelters for cession of use, a metal tower 18 m high in Otorongo lake and a raised path with platform in the Limonal sector. In addition, you can visit the Interpretation Center located at the El Limonal surveillance post.


The Tres Cruces viewpoint, at the southern end of the Park, allows you to appreciate spectacular sunrises over 3,600 meters above the Amazonian plain. Through an optical phenomenon -especially between May and August, when the sky is clear- one gets the impression that the sun appears twice in the same dawn. In addition you can see two opposite panoramic views: the mountainous area to the south and the impenetrable cloudy forest to the north. From this place you can take a pedestrian signaled circuit of approximately 7 km (3 h) of route, from the Acjanaco surveillance post to the Pillahuata farm.

Touristic routes:

In the lower basin of the Manu River you can appreciate the exuberance of the Amazonian plain. Five zones have been allocated for the visit, where a high diversity of flora and fauna is concentrated, these are: 
  • Salvador
  • Otorongo
  • Juárez
  • Pakitza 
  • Limonal. 
In these areas there is a wide variety of circuits and trails to appreciate the beauty of the rainforest. Also noteworthy are the lakes where it is possible to observe species that have disappeared in other ecosystems, such as the river wolf and the black lizard. Another attraction is the forests on both banks of the Manu River, where it is not only possible to observe a great variety of flora, but numerous associated fauna. A landmark of attraction are the colpas, where many species of fauna flock. The aguajales also enable the concentration of typical fauna, such as the macaws. 



Day 1: Cusco to Wayquecha Biological Station.

To start our tour, we will pick you up from your Hotel and drive to Huacarpay Lagoon where we will have our delicious breakfast.Then we will leave Cusco for the route to Paucartambo and then ascend to the Acjanaco pass, the highest point. From there, it's 20 minutes downhill on a stated trail. Finally we will arrive at  Kosñipata valley is considered one of the corners with the greatest biodiversity on the planet. In this place is the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station, a space that was originally intended only for scientific research but that was eventually opened to the public. The infrastructure is impeccable and the trails are well signposted. They have a canopy that runs through the treetops, giving you another perspective of life at the top of the forest.

  • Location: Cusco 
  • Altitude: 2,300 - 3,500 meters above sea level 
  • Environment: Cloudy forest Suggested 
  • Suggested clothing: Coat, raincoat, hat, lightweight and long clothing, boots 
  • Ideal season: May to October


Day 2: Wayquecha Biological Station to Cloud Forest Lodge

Very early in the morning, before sunrise, you will go for a walk through the Cloud Forest of Manu. During your stay you can see the Cock of the Rocks (national bird of Peru), Toucan, Quetzal, Tángara, Motmot, Mono Choro, Capuchin Monkey and Night Monkey. The cloud forests of the Manu are also habitat for the rare Spectacled Bear, Ocelot, Puma, Otter, Squirrels and large families of rodents and bats. After the walk you will enjoy a delicious breakfast and you can rest until lunchtime. In the afternoon your guide will invite you to another walk. In the same way you can stay at the lodge to relax and observe the nature from the terraces of the same lodge or from other viewpoints. The crystal clear waters of the San Pedro River await you for a refreshing swim. After dinner you will experience nature during a night walk.

Day 3: Cloud Forest Lodge to Amazonia Lodge

Amazonia Lodge is located in the tropical rainforest of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, near the village of Atalaya. It is located in the transition zone between the Andes foothills and the tropical lowland rainforest, right on the banks of the High Madre de Dios River. The property comprises more than 350 ha of primary forest and the altitude range is between 500m to 1050m with different kinds of habitats. This range in altitude explains the high diversity of wildlife. Amazonia is one of the best places for bird watching in Peru, with more than 630 bird species recorded so far. It is a peruvian paradise for Birdwatchers, nature lovers and photographers. The comfortable Amazonia Lodge contains 15 rooms and a total of 34 beds. There are 8 bathrooms with flush toilets and solar powered hot water showers.The lodge have a small Hydroelectric plant for 24 hours /day electricity 220 V to recharge batteries; also regular cell phone coverage and a satellite phone. The Lodge offers a nice dining area, great food, lighted walkways at night, flexible schedules, an excellent trail system and super birding right from your front porch. A 45 minute walk from the lodge we have a 25 m observation tower.  

Day 4: Amazonia Lodge – Manu Learning Centre

This day we will arrive at the Manu Learning Centre (MLC) is located within the Fundo Mascoitania Reserve, is a 643 hectare private nature reserve, encompassed within the cultural zone of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest protected areas in Peru. It is home to a variety of rainforest types including lowland Andean, pre-montane, bamboo and high terrace forests. This geographical complexity creates habitats for a diversity of flora and fauna. The Manu Learning Center is operated by the CREES group, a non-profit and business collaboration working towards sustainability for the Manú Region.It serves local schools and communities as well as international researchers and volunteers. It has hosted workshops for the Organization for Tropical Studies, and on behalf of the Manu National Park Guards, as well as research projects from the University of Oxford, Aberdeen, and Glasgow University in addition to the SOAS. The Manu Learning Center has also worked alongside schools from the UK including Southbank International School and Tonbridge School.

Day 5: Manu Learning Centre – Manu National Campsite

This day we will wake up very early at 5:00 a.m to enjoy the nature and landscapes with the song of the birds. To start the day we will go on the boat to observe the activity of macaws, parrots, and parakeets.As the day breaks and the rays of the sun paint the walls of the clay lick with magic colors, the birds display their dances, coming and going in pairs and in flocks, until they leave to continue their day, deeper in the jungle.After breakfast, we will continue our journey down the Madre de Dios River and we will observe some fauna and native communities as the Diamante community. Finally we will arrive at Limonal Station to show permits and visit an overgrown oxbow lake where many parrots and macaws come in to roost before we head to our destination

Day 6: Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Tented Camp ): Cocha Otorongo

Cocha Otorongo lake or MANU Fitzcarrald: This is another lake formed from an abandoned meander of the Manu River, located on the right bank and four hours by boat from the town of Boca Manu, within the Area of ​​Tourism and Recreation Manu National Park. It has a horseshoe shape with an area of ​​about the 6th hectares of water surfaceor Otorongo lake. Among the fauna of interest we can mention the iconic giant otter or nurtured giant, black caiman, hoatzin birds or the white and black spider monkeys machin. The forests in this area are preserved by the presence of Manu National Park, why they are lush and there are many large trees. As in the Salvador oxbow lake, the  opportunities to see some birds and fauna in their natural behavior are very high. This is the second most visited lake in Manu National Park. Peruvian District of Fitzcarrald is one of the four districts of the province of Manu, located in the Madre de Dios Region, part of the Madre de Dios region, Peru. Its capital is the town Boca Manu, located near the mouth of the Manu River.

Day 7:Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Campsite ): Cocha Salvador

On this day, we will visit the most important Cocha in Manu Natural Reserve, we are talking about Salvador Cocha or Lake salvador, this lake is the largest in the area, it covers 3.5 km, also it is home of some of fauna and you will appreciate some families of giant otters, different species of monkeys in the trees, Scarlet, Chesnut-fronted and Blue-and-gold macaws beat a path overhead; a variety of herons and egrets scout the water’s edge; and the reptilian eyes and snouts of caimans, motionless as logs, may be spied beneath the branches.Finally we will observe the giant otters playing and fishing together.



Day 8: Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Tented Camp) to Tambo Blanquillo Lodge and Tapir Clay lick

We set off downriver at dawn. At this hour chances of wildlife encounters are excellent. We return to the Limonal park station, to file our wildlife report before leaving the park. After reaching the turbulent union of the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu rivers and then the village of Boca Manu we continue ninety more minutes downstream we arrive at Manu Wildlife Center the exciting final stop of our journey in time for lunch. After an early afternoon rest we set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take us to the lodge’s famous Tapir Clay Lick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in all the Amazon, our research has identified from 8-12 individual 600-pound Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge. This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. Near the Manu Wildlife Center, rustic Tambo Blanquillo Lodge has rooms with shared and private bathrooms.We will spend the rest of the day in this lodge.

Day 9: Manu Learning Center – Tambo Blanquillo Lodge.

We will wake up very early to take our delicious breakfast, we will prepare to take the boat and jorney down to the Madre de Dios River to its confluence with the Manu River, you will enjoy the view of some scarlet, blue, yellow, red and green macaws flying or pearchinga, herons, egrets, pied lapwings, collared  plovers, night hawks including Orinoco geese will be seen along the river banks.We will pass the native community of Diamante where you will learn about their lifestyle and their traditions.Finally we will arrive at Tambo Blanquillo Lodge.After a welcoming drink they will show your room, help you get settled comfortably and introduce you to the facilities and surrounding installations. We will enjoy an evening freshly meal prepared by our resident chefs before getting ready for your first foray out into the jungle, following the trails winding away from the lodge.


Day 10: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Macaw Clay Lick - Camungo oxbow Lake and Observation Tower.

The Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick is a section of the banks in the Madre de Dios River with a height of 6 meters and a length of 250 meters. This area is an early and daily meeting point of several families of Orange-cheeked parrot (Pyrilia barrabandi), Blue-headed parrot (Pionus menstruus), Mealy parrot (Amazona farinosa) and more small parakeets . A little later in the morning, Red and Green macaws (Ara chloropterus),Scarlet macaws (Ara macao), and the Piping guan (Pipile cumanensis) arrive to the clay lick. Not only birds use this clay wall as a source of needed antacids. Not surprisingly, mammals such as Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), Red Deer (Mazama americana), Howler Monkey (Alouatta sara) can be found. The act of eating clay performed by these animals is mainly to neutralize their pH, which has been acidified as a consequence of eating green fruits and also to absorb various nutrients of this wonderful clay which are not found in their daily diet. After our visit , we will go to Camungo Oxbow Lake a 10-minute ride downstream the Madre de Dios River, followed by a 15 minute walk into a pristine area of the forest will lead you to Camungo Oxbow Lake. In the way there we can look for some Red Deer’s, Capybaras and about six different species of monkeys. In the mirror of water (Oxbow Lake), by riding a Paddle Catamaran, we can are able to spot black caimans, the prehistoric Shansho, Horned Screamer, Hoatzins, Tucans, Jacamars and diverse Taricayas (water turtles). The presence of large populations of fish, enables the big families of Giant River Otters to live with total tranquility, with no problems at all.Finally we will go to The Camungo Observation Tower located just 10 mintues downstream the Madre de Dios river from Tambo Blanquillo Lodge. This observation tower on top of a Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) at 50 meters from the ground is the highest and most stunning of the entire Manu region. A steel staircase leads to the observation deck made out of wood, which from you can see the movement of birds, mainly macaws, early in the morning on their way to the Macaw Clay Lick. Here you can also see rare species frequently, as the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) nesting or better yet, in full hunt as also the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) of the jungle. One of the most spectacular views of this tower is towards the Camungo oxbow lake, another of our attractions, home to a huge number of birds and other species such as caimans and Giant River Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis).

Day 11: Tambo Blanquillo Lodge – Blanco oxbow Lake – Trails System

On this day we will visit the most important oxbow lake in the area. The Blanco oxbow Lake  will offer us the opportunity to spot peccaries and other mammals on the river bank.It’s not uncommon for visitors to spot jaguars sunbathing in the morning sun, after a long night of hunting. At the lake you’ll board our paddle catamaran and navigate the waters teeming with giant otters, caimans and other apex predators. Groups of monkeys are easily seen feeding on the fruiting trees beside the lake, while snail kites feast on the abundance of snails.Also This lake is very famous for the birdwatchers because is house of over 600 species of birds. 



Day 12: Departure Day: Tambo Blanquillo to Cusco

This day we will return to Cusco leaving the lodge very early to arrive at Colorado Village (where we will take our breakfast) .During the journey you will also get to see several lowland native settlements and also the gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River.Finally at Cusco we will say you good bye and appreciate your preference.


  • Transfer assistance from your selected hotel in Cusco to our transportation on the first day.
  • Overland transportation.
  • Accommodations at the lodges (11 nights) according to the itinerary.
  • All meals are included from breakfast on the first day to the Box Lunch on the last day.
  • English and Spanish speaking birding guide.
  • Guided birding tours in accordance with the itinerary.
  • The Overland transportation permit baggage allowance up to 25 kg per person.
  • Transfer assistance to your hotel in Cusco on the last day.


  • Extra services and extra nights at lodge.
  • Extra expenses (Souvenirs)
  • Bar expenses
  • Tips.


  • A pair of long pants. 
  • Boots for walking, shoes or tennis. 
  • Shirts or light shirts. 
  • Long sleeve shirts. 
  • Sweater and a jacket. 
  • Hats (also for the cold) 
  • Waterproof and / or umbrella. 
  • Camera (there are places to download and print your digital photos) 
  • Insect repellent. 
  • Medicine and / or articles for personal use. 
  • If you are missing something do not worry you will find everything in Peru 


Frequent questions:

What is the difference between the National Park and Biosphere Reserve? 

The National Park is a category of Protected Natural Area owned and managed by the Peruvian government as part of the national system of protected areas of Peru (National System of Natural Protected Areas by the State in Peru - SINANPE). Its objective is to protect and preserve intact ecosystems, which may contain a high biological and aesthetic and landscape diversity of relevant interest, where activities of indirect use can be done as: research, education, tourism and recreation. The Biosphere Reserve is a category of UNESCO. It is a representative ecological area with three self-complementary functions: i) 
  • support for education and scientific research
  • conservation 
  • sustainable development. 
Today, the Manu Biosphere Reserve is divided into a nuclear zone represented by the territory of the Manu National Park, a buffer zone and a transition zone.


On the trip to the jungle of Manu, you will spend good time on the bus and the boat (depending on the tour, Example: in the program of the Manu National Park you will spend more time sitting in the boat) and then we will walk. They exceed 3 to 4 hours per departure. You will only need to carry your small backpack for walks. Night walks are optional . Due to heat and humidity some people feel exhausted, tired; generally after lunch we have a nap at noon and also the possibility of staying in the hostel if you do not want to participate in the walks. A trip to the rainforest is not comfortable but if you bring the right clothes (see the list of suggested equipment), you will have an incomparable experience.



  • MALARIA: Malaria risk in Manu is extremely low (less than 0.1%) We recommend you take insect repellent and protect yourself with pants and long pants instead of taking the pills (please check the side effects of these medications!) We are safe either. If you wish, you can bring a "Reservation" in case you get Malaria (which can be detected by a blood test), but you can also get the medication here. In the jungle in Peru not only the type of malaria called Plasmodium vivax which is completely curable. 
  • YELLOW FEVER: It is recommended to have a yellow fever vaccine for Manu. If you plan to fund the rainforest or the cloud forest such as Machu Picchu or Manu it is better to have the yellow fever vaccine, since you are in the Lemon Control booth you will be asked for your vaccination card.  
  • LEISHMANIASIS: The risk of Leishmaniasis or also known in Peru as UTA ​​is very low, the best way to protect yourself is to use repellent against mosquitoes, shirts and long pants. It is very important to check 4 weeks after the trip if you have a wound that does not heal with the medication regularly. Leishmaniasis, check with your doctor. In Peru the treatment is free and uses the medicine Glucantina. 
  • TETANUS: We recommend you vaccinate against tetanus to travel to the jungle or visit Peru.  
  • RABIES: The risk of being bitten by Bats is very low and we will spend every night in rooms that have mosquito nets. 

Where does the drinking water come from? 

Your tour operator will provide drinking water. Some use bottled water that is brought from the nearest cities and others with filters and / or boiling water to purify small streams or the river to make it suitable for human consumption. 


Are there many mosquitoes? 

The amount will depend on the time of day, but as in the entire Amazon region, there will be mosquitoes. We recommend carrying repellent with a minimum of 30% DEET and also long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Is Manu Park open all year? 

No, the park closes in the month of February for rainy season but the rest of the year is open. The best time to visit is between April and November, during the dry season. The rainy season is from February to March, when road access becomes more difficult and when the paths in the forest can be flooded.


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