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

Jaguar Sunning on a Log along the Manu River

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, the pristine Manu River, the Blanquillo Macaw Lick, Mammal and Tapir Licks and walk-up Canopy Towers. A fantastic combination of comfortable lodges and wildlife attractions.

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 (not included)


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.

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 (Paradise or Cock of the Rock Lodge) L: D.

Day 2: The Cloud Forest to El Dorado 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 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 past the isolated Pantiacolla range where the lost gold mining city of the Incas, Paititi reputedly lays hidden!. Arriving at El Dorado Lodge we´ll explore one of the trails at this charming location.. Night 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 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 2016 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 SalvadorA 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 LodgeWe 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). 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: Manu Wildlife CentreEarly in the 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. Here too are groups of Black Spider and Capuchin Monkeys. We head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta in the hammock area of the roomy cool lounge area of the lodge. In the afternoon we can 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 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 and the strange Pale-winged Trumpeter e have seen repeatedly in this area. 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. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center B: L: D
Day 7: 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 in order to catch the afternoon Airbus flight to Lima or Cusco or overnight B: BL

Customer Testimonials

Donald Blackwill

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

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’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,

Andrew Spencer

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.

Adam Winer

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.

Kraig Kemper

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!

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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.”

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.

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