Manu Wildlife Center - Andes to the Amazon

The Andes to The Amazon Cloud Forest, Macaw and Tapir Licks, Canopy Towers and Ox-Bow Lakes


Our most popular trip to Manu staying 3 nights at the Manu Wildlife Centre This trip has several major wildlife attractions – the Macaw lick and the world’s only know Tapir lick where in the comfort of mattresses and mosquito nets you may watch the largest of all South American Land Mammals visit mineral a lick, plus Oxbow Lakes with floating Catamarans for observing Giant Otters and other lake-side wildlife and two walk-up canopy towers to get you into the rainforest canopy. Suitable for families.

What we include at a glance:

  • Pick up at your Cusco hotel
  • Bus and private boat transportation from Cusco
  • Private bungalows with en suite bath at all Lodgings
  • All meals and Snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5
  • Potable drinking water throughout
  • Bilingual experienced rainforest wildlife guides
  • Visits to the Blanquillo macaw lick, the Tapir and Mammal clay lick, catamaran excursion on oxbow Lakes, access to canopy towers and wildlife trail excursions.
  • Transport from Manu to Puerto Maldonado for flights to Lima or Cusco (not included)


NOTE: Two activities are charged for extra by a third party and are expensive. A visit to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick and one catamaran excursion on Blanco or Camungo ox-bow Lake. We include these in the tour price $90 USD and $50 USD respectively. If you would prefer to save $140 USD and not participate you may relax at the lodge and we will not charge you for these excursions.

Day 1: Cusco to the Mountains of Manu Cloud ForestsLeaving Cusco after breakfast around 6:30 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. Cock of the Rock or Paradise Lodge. L: D.
Day 2: The Cloud Forest to Manu Wildlife Centre LodgeA 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. 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 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. One evening 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 3-4: Manu Wildlife CentreWe have two 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 the recently described to science Urubamba Brown Titi Monkey, 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. The Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick is a section of the banks in the Madre de Dios River 6 meters high and 250 meters long. Hundreds of Orange-cheeked, Blue-headed parrot, Mealy and Yellow crowned Parrots other species parakeets attend. A little later in the morning, Red and Green and Scarlet Macaws arrive. Not only birds use this clay wall as a source of needed antacids. Mammals such as Tapirs, Red Brocket Deer Colombian Howler Monkey can be found. Eating clay is mainly to neutralize their pH, which has been acidified as a consequence of eating green fruits and also to absorb various nutrients of clay, which are not found in their daily diet. The observation platform or blind is a platform-observatory 8 meters high and 50 meters long This blind/hide is very well located only 50 meters from the clay lick wall, which allows extraordinary photos and due to its positioning, it's possible to take very sharp pictures when the early morning sun illuminates the lick. The blind counts on comfortable swivel chairs and a long table used for equipment support. A hearty breakfast is served in the comfort of this location. To enter, you have to arrive early in the morning (5:20 am) and walk for about half an hour (at a normal pace) through a trail that crosses secondary forest. 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 5: Manu Wildlife Centre to Cusco or LimaEarly 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 for flights out. B: BL

Customer Testimonials

University of North Carolina USA
The UNCG-JBQ group is back and has literally just graduated, after an absolutely amazing trip inside the Rainforest. By all accounts your team of guides were wonderful and the experiences they had there proved to be both educational AND fun! I understand our herpetologists may even have converted one of your ardent ornithologists and he now sees the charm of frogs!! From an organizational perspective, you and your colleagues were fantastic and it was a real pleasure to work with you all to make this tour happen, so I sincerely hope we will have an opportunity to send students to you again in the not too distant future.
Diane Heimlich/Peter Lobel and Family USA
The Manu Biosphere Reserve Adventure was fantastic. I think we managed to see every animal/bird mentioned and pictured in the description, thanks to our expert and wonderful guide, David. Among other things, he sighted two very camouflaged jaguars - we watched them for almost an hour. David made the trip informative, fascinating and fun. The food was fabulous and the drivers/boatmen were exceedingly skilled, very reassuring. A very memorable trip; thank you all.”
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I was on the Northern Peru Birding tour your company organized and I need to say I was blown away by the quality of the ground crew supplied for us, as was everyone else in our group. They went far above and beyond the call of duty.

Barry - Kathy and I wanted to thank all of you for a great October trip to Tumbes and Northern Peru. Besides great birds (Lemon-rumped Tanager, Marvelous Spatuletail Plain-tailed Warbling Finch,etc), interesting habitats and spectacular landscapes (view of the Maranon from Abra Barra Negro), the trip was made even more special by your staff. Guillermo, Hilmar, Ramiro, Raul, and Fortunato were wonderful; they were always courteous, helpful and supportive in addition to providing great food and excellent driving. Having had my own business now for 25 years, I know I am only as good as the staff representing me and you are fortunate to have such staff!

I just got back from the Barbet camp...and from a great experience there! The birding there was excellent, and I got a number of barbets, pictures of barbets, and recordings of barbets. Other interesting things include: Andean Laniisoma, Roraimain Fly, Jet Manakin, many Scarlet-breasted Fruiteaters, Yungas type Manakins (lots of Ocellated WC and some Long-tailed WC, and in general excellent flock birding. Again, a huge thanks for all your help with this! That was a dream bird for me, and I'm so happy to have finally caught up with it.

Manu Expeditions excelled in getting us “out there” to maximize wildlife and in providing an outstanding guide, David. They take the “expedition” part in Manu Expeditions seriously and gave us every opportunity to enjoy and appreciate what Manu had to offer. No napping at the jungle lodge! A few little things that added to the trip: Our first meeting together at Cock of the Rock lodge we had mini Pisco Sours, a nice, authentic touch. Our chef prepared many delicious lunches on the boat where the captain just slowed down a little so we could eat, but we did not pull over or stop, so we could cover more ground and improve our timing. One day David forgot his water bottle, and we did not even know it until our morning outing had ended at almost noon. The final day when we had an early afternoon plane to catch, the importance of Manu Expeditions’s outstanding coordination was evident as we made many flawless connections of various modes of transport with drivers/boat captains waiting for every leg of the journey over the course of about 6 hours. Bing, bing, bing and we arrived at the airport about an hour earlier than planned. Manu Expeditions's drivers were also excellent, whether it was the van driver or boat captain. That second motor provided confidence too, should anything go wrong with motor #1. Nothing did. I think Manu Expeditions attracts fun and interesting people who like the outdoors, just by the type of trips the company offers. It was an outstanding trip. Hi again to David! Muchas Gracias,

I just wanted to let you all know that I really enjoyed my trip to Manu Wildlife Center. As I think back on the trip I realize now more than when I was there how many monkeys and macaws there are around the MWC, not to mention the Oropendolas. The people running the lodging do a great job. Also, Waldo is very patient with a pretty diverse group as well as very knowledgeable and sharp-eyed. Please say "Hi" and convey my thanks to him

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