Discovering Manu National Park

Code: DMP 98
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  • Manu-Cloud-Forest-water
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  • Manu-Nature-Paradise-mosquetero
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  • araña
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  • manu-paradise-lodge-cusco
  • manu-paradise-lodge-campamento
  • Manu-Nature-Paradise-casa
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  • Manu-Indigenous-Communities-gallo
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  • Manu-Cloud-Forest-Room

This 9-day program gives visitors plenty of time to enjoy to the full the beauty and attractions of Manu National Park. More days spent in the forest, on its trails, rivers and lakes, as well as at clay licks, will increase your chances of spotting some of the many rare species that inhabit the park.

Specialist bilingual naturalist guide
Accommodation (8 nights)
Private transportation
Motorized boat with cushioned seats, roof and lifejackets
All meals indicated on the itinerary
No additional charge for vegetarian diets
Drinking water from Cusco
Basic first-aid kit
Specialized books are available during the trip
Personal items and medicines (gear, clothing, laundry service, telephone calls, etc.)
Tips to local staff (we recommend $8-10 per day of service per guide or driver)
Alcohol drinks or sodas in the lodges
1 photocopy of passport
Hiking boots
Lightweight warm jacket
Rain gear (or waterproof poncho)
Long-sleeved cotton shirts
Hiking shorts
Hat / bandana
Sport sandals
Sunscreen and sunglasses
Insect repellent
Pocket knife
Digital camera and memory stick
Camera charger (220V)
Binoculars for wildlife viewing (8 or 10x magnification)
Ziplock bags and garbage bags for keeping clothes and other personal items dry during excursions
01 Person6,557
02 People3,947
03 People3,552
04 People – 07 People2,985
08 People – 10 People2,208
Price per Person


Day 1: Cusco – Manu cloud forest

After an early breakfast, we will leave Cusco at around 8am for the drive that takes us from the high Andes, with spectacular views of the Sacred Valley, down into the cloud forest. In the village of Paucartambo, part of an ancient Inca trading route, we will stop for light refreshment. Here there will be time to experience local Andean culture, including traditional dances, as well as learning about how Andean communities make use of the biodiversity of the forest. Setting off once more, we will soon reach the high pass at Acjanacu (3,850 meters), where the park rangers’ station is located at the entrance to Manu National Park. Given clear skies, it may be possible to enjoy a spectacular view of Peru’s largest national park from here, before beginning the descent through the cloud forest to San Pedro, where lunch will be served. This journey to the lodge involves passing through a number of ecosystems, experiencing dramatic changes in the surrounding landscape. We will arrive at the lodge around 3pm.

  • Driving distance: 181 km / 113 miles (6 to 8 hours, including 3 hours of hiking)
  • Included: Lunch & evening meal


Day 2: Manu cloud forest – Manu Learning Center

Today we will make an early morning excursion into the cloud forest to observe the behavior of one of its main attractions, the cock-of-the-rock, which is Peru’s national bird. The males of the species perform an elaborate mating dance for the benefit of the females, and this provides us with a fascinating spectacle. After a nutritious breakfast at the lodge, we will continue by road, descending further into the cloud forest. During this journey we will be accompanied by the sights and sounds of the forest, including monkeys and some of the enormous variety of bird species found in these forests, which are also home to the spectacled bear and white-tailed deer. We will also visit a coca plantation, where you will be able to learn about the traditional uses of coca leaves and their medicinal properties. After a short stop at the village of Pillcopata, we will continue to the river port community of Atalaya. It is here that we will board our motorized canoe for the one-hour ride to the Manu Learning Center. This will be your first experience of a meandering Amazonian river, the Upper Madre de Dios, one of the southernmost tributaries of the great Amazon River. On arrival at the lodge, you will have time to settle in before lunch, and in the afternoon there will be a chance to explore the local trail system with your naturalist guide, before relaxing at the lodge with the sounds of the forest all around you. During your time as a guest at this beautiful lodge, you can learn from the resident guides and scientific researchers about the history of Manu and the challenges involved in conserving this beautiful and fragile ecosystem. Or you might choose to simply relax and let the world go by, as you sip a cool drink and contemplate the surrounding forest.

  • Driving distance: 71.6 km / 44.8 miles (5 hours)
  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 3: Manu Learning Center – Romero Rainforest Lodge

One of the most interesting activities carried out at the Manu Learning Centre is the monitoring of the clay lick, or collpa, where several species of macaws, parrots and parakeets gather each day in large groups to feed on the minerals essential to their diet. You may choose to leave the lodge at 5:00 a.m. and join the scientists and researchers heading for the hide, five minutes upriver, to observe the activity at the clay lick. At first light, the sun’s rays light up the riverbank and the walls of the clay lick are filled with bright colors as the birds gather in large numbers before disappearing once more into the forest. We will return to the lodge for breakfast, after which we will continue our journey down the Madre de Dios River to the confluence with the Manu River, passing settlements and native communities along the way. Shortly before arriving at the village of Boca Manu, we will pass through the native community of Diamante. This Piro culture settlement is the largest Amerindian group in the region. Not long afterwards, we will leave behind the relatively clear waters of the Madre de Dios as we navigate the sediment laden waters of the Manu River.
We will stop briefly at the Limonal park rangers’ station to present our permits. There will also be time to visit an overgrown oxbow lake where many parrots and macaws come to roost, before we continue for another hour to our final destination, the Romero Rainforest Lodge.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 4: Romero Rainforest Lodge – Aguaje campsite

After an excellent breakfast at the lodge, we will walk at a leisurely pace through the forest as far as Lake Limonal. This is a good trail for spotting black spider monkeys. Your guide will pay particular attention to plant life during this walk, while the rustling of vegetation or the soft sound of fruits falling to the rainforest floor may indicate the presence of animals or large birds. Your guide will explain how the complex rainforest ecosystem functions, and point out some of the medicinal plants used by local indigenous groups. You might even cross paths with a group of peccaries, a species of wild boar, before arriving at the river, where a motorized dugout canoe will be waiting to take you on the one-hour ride upriver to the lodge, for lunch and some free time to relax. After lunch we will head upriver, deep into the national park, to Lake Salvador. The riverside beaches along the way will provide us with the chance to see several species of nesting birds and feeding herons, egrets, Orinoco geese, terns and skimmers. Other beaches may be occupied by black or white caimans, as well as side-necked turtles. Hundreds of sand-colored nightjars roost during the day on logs and beaches and you may even be lucky enough to spot a solitary jaguar. We will spend the night at one of Manu’s best tented campsites, the Aguaje campsite.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 5: Aguaje campsite – Romero Rainforest Lodge

We will get an early start today and begin our trip to Lake Salvador. Aboard small catamarans, we will head out onto the lake to observe the local fauna, which includes Agami herons, sun grebes and brown capuchin monkeys. It is also possible to spot giant otters, which are relatively common in Manu, although they have been hunted almost to extinction throughout most of their range. Each otter consumes between 4 and 5 kilos of fish daily, and they can often be seen eating large fish on logs on the lakeshore. There will also be time to walk through the surrounding primary forest, beneath the canopy dominated by 60 meter trees, where black spider monkeys forage, before heading back downstream, stopping at Lake Otorongo. Here you will have the opportunity to climb a 20-meter observation tower in the rainforest canopy, overlooking the lake, from where it is possible to observe the wildlife below. We will return to the Romero Rainforest Lodge later in the day, where you will spend the night.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 6: Romero Rainforest Lodge – Manu Wildlife Center

We will begin this day by heading down the Madre de Dios River for two hours to the comfortable lodge at the Manu Wildlife Center, located near the macaw clay lick. This strategically located lodge facility is jointly owned and run by Manu Expeditions and a local conservation group. It is also the base for scientific research in the area and a center for visitors who wish to explore the rainforest. We will arrive in time for lunch and a hot shower, after which there will be time to meet the researchers working at the center. You will have the afternoon free to relax or explore the network of trails in the untouched forest around the lodge. There is a viewing point on a cliff overlooking the river, from where it is possible to observe macaws and parrots in the late afternoon. Manu Wildlife Center has a canopy platform and an observation tower. The canopy platform is accessible via a spiral staircase, so everyone can get to enjoy the rainforest canopy. In the evening, after dinner, you may opt to take a walk in the forest with your naturalist guide, in search of nocturnal species.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 7: Manu Wildlife Center

Today an early start will ensure that we arrive at the macaw clay lick in time to see one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles, as hundreds of parrots and macaws gather to feed on the mineral rich clay essential to their digestion. We will have access to a comfortable hide from where we will be able to observe the birds, as well as eat breakfast. This is an incredibly colorful and noisy spectacle. As activity at the lick diminishes, around mid-morning we will head for Lake Blanco, in search of giant otters and the other wildlife it is possible to view from the floating platform. After a leisurely lunch at the lodge, you will have time to explore forest trails in search of emperor and saddleback tamarins, and you may even spot a rare Goeldi’s monkey.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 8: Manu Wildlife Center

Today will be reserved for exploring the forest trails around the lodge. On these trails groups of manakins, one of the most interesting neo-tropical bird species, perform their intricate mating dance. From one of our blinds at a large mammal lick it is possible to observe guans, forest parakeets and parrots. Here too, groups of black spider monkeys visit on occasion, in search of the minerals that aid their digestion. Those who wish can return with the guide to the lodge in the late afternoon, while others may opt to stay at the lick after dark and see what nocturnal creatures emerge. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammal, are frequent visitors, with up to twelve individuals visiting in one night. You will be able to watch them from comfortable mattresses protected by mosquito nets in our specially constructed hide.

  • Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal


Day 9: Manu Wildlife Center – Cusco

Today we will make an early start and head downstream for approximately 3 hours to the village of Colorado. Breakfast will be served on the boat, from which you will have the opportunity to observe the early morning wildlife activity along the river. This river journey takes us past several native settlements and local gold mining operations. From Colorado we will travel overland to Puerto Carlos (a drive of approximately 45 minutes), before crossing the Inambari River (a 15 minute crossing) to Santa Rosa, where our private transport will be waiting to take us to Cusco (a drive of approximately 8 hours).

  • Included: Breakfast & lunch


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