Day 1: Cusco – Paradise Lodge (bus & hikes)
An early start from Cusco gives you limitless opportunities to enjoy Peru’s many jewels. The trip to the cloud forest takes you through Andean landscapes of unmatched beauty; deep valleys and highlands are decorated with rural communities. Along the way you will observe highland birds such as the mountain caracara, Puna ibis and Andean flicker. Cultural sites include the burial towers of the Lupacas pre-Inca culture and the colonial town of Paucartambo, which is known as the folkloric capital of the Cusco region. Here you will visit the church with its image of the Virgin of Carmen, and the Carlos V colonial bridge spanning the river. This bridge has been the gateway to the Manu forests since pre-Hispanic times. After Paucartambo the journey continues by crossing the Acjanacu Pass (3,850 meters/12,628 feet), the official entrance to the Manu National Park. From here the road descends to the cloud forest, passing through Andean grasslands where the sparse vegetation is the habitat of birds such as the Andean guan, white-collared jay, crimson-mantled woodpecker and the endemic Puna thistle tail. You’ll have ample time to walk along the road and enjoy the area’s flora and fauna, which includes the cock-of-the-rock, golden-headed quetzal, blue-crowned motmot, mountain toucan and many tanagers, flycatchers, jays and hummingbirds. South America’s only bear, the spectacled bear, also shares this area with white-tailed deer, butterflies, ferns and orchids. You will spend the first night in the comforts of Paradise Lodge (1,470 meters/4,821 feet).
- Driving distance: 181 km/113 miles (6 to 8 hours)
- Included: lunch & dinner