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, which 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 our comfortable Paradise Lodge, in the heart of the cloud forest (1,470 meters / 4,821 feet).
- Driving distance: 181 km / 113 miles (6 to 8 hours, including a 3-hour hike)
- Included: Lunch & evening meal