9 Days / 8 Nights
Day 1: Cusco to the Mountains of Manu Cloud ForestsLeaving Cusco after breakfast around 7:00 am we travel through traditional Quechua communities and through the spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes to the village of Paucartambo, passing snow-peaks and small Andean farmsteads. We will have time here to look around this picturesque village with its colonial stone bridge and handsome plaza. We then ascend to the last pass overlooking the Amazon Basin and begin the breath taking descent from 3500 meters to 1600 meters above sea-level to our comfortable lodge in the orchid laden Cloud Forest. This is a spectacular journey passing cascading waterfalls and multicolored birds along the way. In the late afternoon, we'll walk into the lodge to the sounds of Quetzals, Trogons and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens. Night at our selected Cloud Forest Lodge L: D.
Day 2: The Cloud Forest to Pantiacolla Lodge, A pre- breakfast short drive to a nearby spot in the Cloud Forest, where the strange and beautiful Cock-of-the-Rock’s displays at dawn. This is a wonderful sight, as up to 25 bright red-orange males dance and sing, attempting to attract the favors of the duller, burgundy colored females. After visiting this lek we return to the Lodge for a leisurely breakfast and continue in our all terrain bus to the Madre de Dios River and our motorized dugouts and begin our journey down the river, through the last folds of the Andes to the isolated Pantiacolla range. Arriving at Pantiacolla Lodge and after lunch we´ll explore one of the trails at this charming location. There are over 26 kilometres of trail surrounding the lodge. The trails take you through the different forest types. Closer to the lodge, a leisurely 2 hours hike takes you the Petroleo Stream. You will believe you are in a scene of Jurassic Park, with palm trees, tree ferns, enormous rocks, waterfalls, swimming pools etc. The Monk Saki Trail, at intermediate altitude, gives you a chance of viewing this rare monkey species. Night Pantiacolla Lodge. B: L: D
Day 3: Pantiacolla Rainforest Lodge to Cocha Salvador, If there is activity, we may visit a clay lick where many parakeet and parrot species eat clay in the mornings. Also the smaller macaws such as the Chestnut-fronted and the scarce Blue-headed Macaws can be found there. Heading down the Madre de Dios River after breakfast, we’ll pass settlements and native communities during the trip. Just before we get to the village of Boca Manu we pass the native community of Diamante. Their culture is Piro and this is the largest settlement of Amerindians in the area. We turn up the Manu River leaving the relatively clean waters of the Madre de Dios behind; we enter the clay-laden waters of the Manu River. We’ll check in at the park ranger station at Limonal to present our permits and may visit an overgrown oxbow lake where many Parrots and Macaws come in to roost. We are now deep in the pristine Manu National Park and Rainforest. We head upriver – as deep into the park as allowed, to Cocha Salvador. Beaches, especially in the dry season, are loaded with nesting birds and feeding Herons, Egrets, Orinoco Geese, Terns and Skimmers to name but a few. Some beaches will host sunning White and Black Caimans (South American relatives of the Alligators) and breeding Side-necked Turtles. Hundreds of Sand-colored Nightjars roost during the day on logs and beaches and there is a chance of encountering a sunning Jaguar - the world’s third largest cat. In 2014 one in three of our trips saw Jaguar in Manu. We will see some species of primate on this river trip, possibly Colombian Red Howler Monkeys or the smaller Black-headed Squirrel Monkeys. Night at our selected tented camp. B: L: D.
Day 4: Cocha Salvador, A full day at Cocha Salvador. Some of the time will be spent canoeing the lake on floating catamarans observing ox-bow lake animal life from the water. We may encounter an Agami Heron or a Sungrebe and Shock-headed & Large-headed Capuchin Monkeys are usually feeding on fruits nearby. Specially constructed piers that jut out into the lake enable us to look for a family of Giant Otters that live here. These, the world’s largest freshwater carnivores, remain common only in Manu and few other places on earth, having been hunted to extinction throughout most of their former range. Each animal consumes between 4 and 5 kilos of fish daily and often they can be seen eating large fish on logs at the lakeside. This morning we have time to explore the trails in the area and a visit to the lake of Cocha Otorongo is planned, where observation piers and a 20-meter observation tower in the rainforest canopy overlooking the lake are available for observing wildlife. We will also be on the lookout for a large family of Giant Otters that inhabit this lake. Night at our selected tented camp. B: L: D.
Day 5: Cocha Salvador, to Manu Wildlife Centre Lodge We can explore the trail system at the lodge in the morning before heading downriver river to Manu Wildlife Centre Lodge. Your leader will point out plants and trees used by indigenous communities for day to living and more importantly medicinal cures. We should arrive in time for lunch and a shower (hot water) and get to meet whichever researchers (if any) are onsite. The afternoon is set aside to relax or, if you want, to explore a trail through the untouched forest to 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. Those who wish can participate in a night walk with your guide in search of nocturnal animals and visit the Tapir Lick. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammals are frequent visitors with up to 12 animals visiting in one night. We watch them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses from our specially constructed blind. Other nocturnal creatures are always possible. The adventurous, on consulting with your leader may pass the night here and walk back to the lodge at dawn for breakfast. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center. B: L: D
Day 6-8: Manu Wildlife Centre, We have three full days to explore the forest, lakes and trails around the lodge We'll explore trails where groups of Manakins, perhaps the most enigmatic of neo-tropical birds, perform their strange mating dances. We may want, to explore a trail through the untouched forest to a lookout point on a cliff over the river to watch roosting flights of Parrots and Macaws as the sun sets.. An excursion for those who wish perhaps to the canopy tower or along quite trails looking for primates such as Emperor and Wedell's Saddleback Tamarin’s, and we have seen the rare Goeldi's Monkey repeatedly in this area. One morning we'll make an early start for the Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick. This is truly one of the world's great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of Parrots and their larger relatives, the Macaws, congregate at this traditional locality to eat the mineral rich clay that is essential to their digestion. We'll use a comfortable blind (hide) to get close to the birds and breakfast will be served. The noise alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds at the lick is a sight not to be forgotten. As the lick slows down in midmorning we'll head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta in the hammock area of the roomy cool lounge area of the lodge. We'll be on the lookout for Gray's Bald-faced Saki Monkey, an uncommon and rarely seen monkey of the terra firma forest that is occasionally seen here. One morning we'll take an excursion for those who wish, perhaps to the canopy tower or along quite trails looking for primates and the strange Pale-winged Trumpeter we have seen repeatedly in this area.. One morning we'll head for Cocha Blanco or Cocha Camungo, old ox-bow lakes, in search of families of Giant Otters that live there, and canoe around the lake on our floating platform looking for other wildlife, including the bizarre Hoatzin. Here too are groups of Black Spider and Capuchin Monkeys. Each day we'll take leisurely lunch at the lodge with time of to swing in hammocks or watch the multicolored Hummingbirds' coming to the Butterfly bushes and feeders in the garden. We'll explore other trails and perhaps enjoy a last rainforest sunset. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center B: L: D
Day 9: Manu Wildlife Centre to Cusco or Lima, Early morning start as flocks of birds pass over the boat, and we may see a Capybara, the world's largest rodent. Our destination Boca Colorado, a frontier gold rush town, where we'll take local transport for an hour to the Inambari River and by paved road to Puerto Maldonado in order to catch the afternoon Commercial LAN Airbus flight to Lima or, depending on flight scheduled private bus or flight to Cusco. On arrival in Cusco we'll drop you at your hotel B: L
- Pick up at your Cusco Hotel
- Bus and Private Boat Transportation to and from Cusco
- Private Bungalows with en suite bath at the Cloud Forest Lodge, Pantiacolla Lodge, Cocha Salvador Tented Camp and Manu Wildlife Centre
- Some Shared Bathroom facilities at Pantiacolla Lodge and Cocha Salvador Tented Camp
- Entrance fee to the Manu National Park
- All meals and snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 9
- Potable drinking water throughout.
- Bilingual experienced rainforest wildlife guides
- Visits to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick, the Tapir and Mammal Clay Lick, Catamaran excursion on Salvador and Blanco or Camungo oxbow Lakes, access to canopy towers and wildlife trail excursions, including optional night walks.
- Extras and tips