The Complete Manu Biosphere Reserve Experience

Cloud Forests, The Manu River and Ox-Bow Lakes, Macaw and Tapir Licks, Canopy Towers and The Manu Wildlife Centre


Emperor Tamarin one of 12 primates in Manu

Suitable for Families


This trip is the Complete Manu Experience because we visit all points of interest in the Manu Biosphere Reserve and National Park. From Cocha’s Salvador and Otorongo Ox-bow lakes, to the pristine Manu river, the Blanquillo macaw clay lick, mammal and Tapir licks and walk-up canopy towers. A fantastic combination of comfortable lodges and wildlife attractions. A lot of time is spent travelling on rivers and we see a lot of spectacular scenery and wildlife if the weather co-operates.

NOTE: One activity is charged for extra by a third party and are expensive. A visit to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick. We include this in the tour price $90 USD – if you would prefer to save $90 USD and not participate you may relax at the lodge and we will not charge you for these excursions.

What we include at a glance

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 Cock of the Rock/Paradise Lodge/El Dorado Lodge and Manu Wildlife Centre
  • Some shared Bathroom facilities at Cocha Salvador if busy
  • Entrance Fee to the Manu National Park
  • All Meals and Snacks from Lunch on Day 1 to Lunch on Day 7
  • Potable Drinking Water throughout
  • Bilingual Experienced Rainforest Wildlife Guides
  • Visits to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick, the Tapir and Mammal Clay Lick, Catamaran excursion on Cocha Salvador Oxbow Lakes access to Canopy Towers and Wildlife Trail Excursions.
  • Transport from Manu to Puerto Maldonado for flights to Lima or Cusco.

FLIGHTS TO CUSCO OR LIMA ARE NOT INCLUDED BUT WE WILL ARRANGE THIS BY REQUEST.IF YOU BOOK YOUR OWN FLIGHT ON DEPARTURE FROM MANU THEY MUST BE NO EARLIER THAN 1:00 PM.


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. We will have time here to look around this picturesque village with its colonial stone bridge, its small but interesting museum and handsome plaza. We then ascend to the last pass overlooking the Amazon basin and begin the breath-taking descent from 3500 meters to 1300 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 will walk into the lodge to the sounds of quetzals, trogons and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens. Night at our selected cloud forest lodge (Paradise lodge or Cock of the Rock lodge) L: D.

Day 2: The Cloud Forest to El Dorado LodgeWe take a pre-breakfast short drive to a nearby spot in the cloud forest, where the strange and beautiful Cock-of-the-Rocks display at dawn. This is a wonderful sight as up to 25 bright red-orange male birds 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 which may be attended by Large-headed Capucchin Monkey, Bolivian Squirrel and Tayras ( a mustelid related to the Martens) feeding amongst the Hummingbirds at the garden wildlife feeders. We then continue in our bus to the Madre de Dios river and our motorized dugouts. Then we begin our journey down the river, through the last folds of the Andes and past the isolated Pantiacolla range where the lost gold-mining city of the Incas, Paititi, reputedly lays hidden! Arriving at El Dorado lodge we will explore one of the trails at this charming location. Night at El Dorado lodge. B: L: D
Day 3: El Dorado Lodge to Cocha SalvadorIf 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 Macaw can be found there. Heading down the Madre de Dios river after breakfast, we will pass settlements and native communities. 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 then turn up the clay-laden waters of the Manu river, leaving the relatively clean waters of the Madre de Dios behind. We will 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 up-river, as deep into the park as is 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 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 2019, one in three of our trips saw Jaguar in Manu! We will also 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 SalvadorA full day at Cocha Salvador (Cocha is a Quechua native word that means “lake”. 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. We will look for a family of Giant Otters that live here. These, the world’s largest freshwater carnivores, remain common only in Manu and in few other places on earth, having been hunted to extinction throughout most of their former range. Each animal consumes between 4 to 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 high 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 LodgeWe can explore the trail system near our accommodations the morning before heading down-river to Manu Wildlife Centre lodge. Your leader will point out plants and trees used by indigenous communities for day to day living and, more importantly, for medicinal cures. The afternoon is flexible depending on river levels and is set aside to relax or, if you want and if time, 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. We watch them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses in 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: Manu Wildlife CentreEarly in the morning we will make an early start to 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 itself a section of the bank in the Madre de Dios river, some 6 meters high and 250 meters long. Hundreds of Orange-cheeked, Blue-headed, Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrots and other species of 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 and Colombian Howler Monkey can also be found. Eating clay acts mainly to neutralize the pH of their stomach contents, which have been acidified as a consequence of eating green fruits. The clay also provides various nutrients which are not found in the animal's daily diets. The observation platform/blind is 8 meters high and 50 meters long This blind/hide is very well located, being only 50 meters from the clay lick wall, which allows extraordinary photo opportunities! Due to its positioning, it is possible to take very sharp pictures when the early morning sun illuminates the lick. The blind contains comfortable swivel chairs and a long table used for equipment support. A hearty breakfast is served in the comfort of this location. To enter, we 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 of the birds alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds at the lick is not to be forgotten. Here too are groups of Black Spider and Capuchin Monkeys.
We head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta, perhaps lounging in a hammock in the roomy and cool lounge area of the lodge. In the afternoon we can explore the forest, lakes and trails around the lodge. We will 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 which leads to a lookout point on a cliff over the river where we can watch roosting flights of parrots and macaws as the sun sets. Or we can walk along quiet trails looking for primates such as Emperor and Wedell's Saddleback Tamarins. We have seen the rare Goeldi's Monkey along this trail and the strange Pale-winged Trumpeters have been seen repeatedly in this area. We will also be on the look-out for Gray's Bald-faced Saki Monkey, an uncommon and rarely seen monkey of the terra firma forest, that is also occasionally seen here. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center B: L: D
Day 7: Manu Wildlife Centre to Cusco or LimaWe have an early morning start as flocks of birds pass over the boat, and we may see a Capybara, the world’s largest rodent. Our destination is Boca Colorado, a frontier gold-rush town, where we will take local transport for an hour to the Inambari river and then by paved road to Puerto Maldonado, in order to catch the afternoon Airbus flight to Lima or Cusco. B: BL

Customer Testimonials

Donald Blackwell
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, the guide was very patient with a pretty diverse group as well as very knowledgeable and sharp-eyed. Please say "Hi" and convey my thanks to him.
Lynn Crawford USA
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’ 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’ 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,
Barbara and Dan Mallory
Hi Barry, I just wanted to express our thanks for organizing a terrific holiday for us. In the airport just prior to our leaving, I spoke to several people who had done other tours and they were not happy with the organization or the accommodation provided for them. We, on the other hand, had a great trip and everything went so smoothly. You have excellent staff who really seem to enjoy their work and did a super job to ensure we saw and did some wonderful things. They were all upbeat, happy, caring individuals who worked well as a team. Danny was amazing. He is a real gem and extremely knowledgeable. Dan, my husband, added many many new birds to his life list and seeing the monkeys, jaguar, sloth, giant otters and tapir were all added bonuses. I feel privileged to have been able to spend time in Manu and hope the powers that be realize how important it is to protect. Thanks again
Keith Wade- Great Expeditions
Gustavo and Manu, thanks for a wonderful trip! Your vast knowledge, enormous enthusiasm and helpful and thoughtful care made this one of the best wildlife tours ever! Keep in touch
Wei-Hu
Hello Barry, we just came from the tour. I’d like to thank you and your team for providing such a wonderful experience. We’d especially like to thank David not only for his knowledge and guiding but also for his professionalism and manner, which made us feel very comfortable. Look forwards to coming back to Peru and this area again. Take care.
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Comments

Hello Barry, we just came from the tour. I’d like to thank you and your team for providing such a wonderful experience. We’d especially like to thank David not only for his knowledge and guiding but also for his professionalism and manner, which made us feel very comfortable. Look forwards to coming back to Peru and this area again. Take care.

Gustavo and Manu, thanks for a wonderful trip! Your vast knowledge, enormous enthusiasm and helpful and thoughtful care made this one of the best wildlife tours ever! Keep in touch

Hi Barry, I just wanted to express our thanks for organizing a terrific holiday for us. In the airport just prior to our leaving, I spoke to several people who had done other tours and they were not happy with the organization or the accommodation provided for them. We, on the other hand, had a great trip and everything went so smoothly. You have excellent staff who really seem to enjoy their work and did a super job to ensure we saw and did some wonderful things. They were all upbeat, happy, caring individuals who worked well as a team. Danny was amazing. He is a real gem and extremely knowledgeable. Dan, my husband, added many many new birds to his life list and seeing the monkeys, jaguar, sloth, giant otters and tapir were all added bonuses. I feel privileged to have been able to spend time in Manu and hope the powers that be realize how important it is to protect. Thanks again

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’ 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’ 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, the guide was 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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