Manu Short and Sweet

The Andes and Cloud Forests, the Madre de Dios River and Ox-Bow Lakes

Hoatzin by Alex Durand

Photographer: Alex Durand

This trip is a short and sweet visit to the mountains and foothills of the Manu with a boat trip along the Madre de Dios River and a visit to a wildlife filled Ox-bow Lake and an orchid laden river canyon.

What we include at a glance:

  • Pick and drop off at your Cusco hotel
  • Private bus to and from Cusco
  • Private boat on the Madre de Dios River
  • Private bungalows with en suite bath at all Lodgings
  • All meals and Snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4
  • Potable drinking water throughout.
  • Bilingual experienced rainforest wildlife tour leaders
  • Raft excursion on Machuwasi oxbow Lake and wildlife trail excursions, visit to the Cock of the Rock Lek.

Day 1: Cusco to the Mountains of Manu Cloud ForestsLeaving Cusco after breakfast around 6:00 AM we travel through traditional Quechua communities and through the spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes to the village of Paucartambo, passing snow-capped peaks and small Andean farmsteads, Inca terraces and old colonial haciendas. 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 (Ajcanacu) 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. It is not unknown to see Andean Bear or Gray’s Wooly Monkey on this drive. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at the lodge accompanied by the sounds of quetzals, trogons and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens. Night at our selected cloud forest lodge (Cock-of-the-Rock or Paradise Lodge) L: D.

Day 2: The cloud forest to Villa Carmen Lodge and reserve We will make a pre-breakfast short drive to a nearby spot in the cloud forest, where the strange and beautiful Cock-of-the-Rocks 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. We may also bump into a troop of Gray Wooly Monkeys. After visiting this lek we return to the lodge for a leisurely breakfast (often accompanied by Large-headed Capuchin Monkeys and Bolivian Squirrels in the garden) and afterwards continue in our bus to the Villa Carmen biological station, located within the spectacular Manu Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses over 7,500 acres of land in southern Peru. Spanning an elevation gradient of 1,600 to 4,000 feet above sea level, Villa Carmen hosts an incredible array of species found in a variety of habitats, ranging from cloud forest to montane and lowland rainforest. We will settle into our spacious rooms, each having one wall made of glass, overlooking overgrown ox-bow lakes. Currently there are Eight double cabins with private bathrooms. The Villa Carmen campus also includes a laboratory, a multipurpose meeting space, 24-hour electricity, hot water and Internet access. The station neighbors several indigenous Wachiperi and Machiguenga communities as well as The Wachiperi Haramba Queros Conservation Concession, established with assistance from Amazonian Conservation Association, as the first conservation concession in Peru run by an indigenous community. Villa Carmen Biological Station and the Villa Carmen reserve serve as a biological research station and further incorporate local communities into conservation efforts. The station and reserve support a wide variety of habitats including old-growth rainforest, lower mountain forest, secondary forests, streams, rivers, waterfalls and a highly diverse flora and fauna. Villa Carmen is an ideal place to discover the beauty and bounty of nature. B: L: D
Day 3: Villa Carmen biological station and Machuwasi ox-bow lakeAfter an early breakfast we will drive through the village of Pilcopata to the Madre de Dios river. On route there is spectacular natural look-out point, revealing our upcoming journey. On reaching the river we embark on a half-hour journey in a 15-meter motorized canoe down the Alto Madre de Dios river. We have the opportunity to see wildlife along the rocky banks of the river as we go, such as Fasciated Tiger Herons, Purplish Jays, skimmers and some of the primate species that live in Manu. We will visit Machuwasi lake where we use a balsa raft to explore the lake and observe the wildlife including the bizarre Hoatzin. After this lake excursion we return to Villa Carmen, pausing to cruise an incredibly beautiful orchid and waterfall-laden canyon, see a Coca plantation and then relax in our luxurious accommodation before an optional night walk in the forest. B: L: D
Day 4: Villa Carmen biological station to CuscoWe take a pre-breakfast walk in the pristine forest, maybe taking a look at the abandoned Antanov plane on the old airstrip which is now home to two species of bat! After a leisurely breakfast we travel back up the east slope of the Andes, returning to the Inca capital Cusco where we drop you off at your hotel. B: L
 

Customer Testimonials

Yve Morrell
I wanted to write you and thank you for putting together an incredible trip to the Manu Biosphere and for coordinating our added itinerary in Lima and Machu Picchu. From the moment we arrived in Lima until we left, everything went as planned. I have taken many organized trips and I have to say that this was the most well-organized. This trip required an incredible amount of coordination. Manolo’s smiling face waiting for us at the Lima airport set the tone for the entire trip. All of your people were professional, prompt and accommodating. I have already sang your praises on social media but will also recommend you to anyone who asks. Thanks again,
Liao Yiming
Dear Madam / Sir, All the group members enjoyed the tour leaded by Mr. Fuerte and learnt a lot about the rain forest, thank you for all your arrangements.
Harry Mount

We had a wonderful time - Manu is a brilliant place!, best wishes, and good luck with your company in the future

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Comments

We had a wonderful time - Manu is a brilliant place!, best wishes, and good luck with your company in the future

Dear Madam / Sir, All the group members enjoyed the tour leaded by Mr. Fuerte and learnt a lot about the rain forest, thank you for all your arrangements.

I wanted to write you and thank you for putting together an incredible trip to the Manu Biosphere and for coordinating our added itinerary in Lima and Machu Picchu. From the moment we arrived in Lima until we left, everything went as planned. I have taken many organized trips and I have to say that this was the most well-organized. This trip required an incredible amount of coordination. Manolo’s smiling face waiting for us at the Lima airport set the tone for the entire trip. All of your people were professional, prompt and accommodating. I have already sang your praises on social media but will also recommend you to anyone who asks. Thanks again,

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