Manu Wildlife Center - The Andes to the Amazon

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

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Our most popular trip to Manu, staying 3 nights at the Manu Wildlife Centre. This trip has several major wildlife attractions: The Macaw lick, the world’s only known Tapir lick, ox-bow 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 private family trips

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
  • 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)

FLIGHTS TO CUSCO OR LIMA FROM PUERTO MALDONADO AT THE END OF THE TOUR 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

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.

The Manu Wildlife Center is located in the wild and remote Manu wilderness of Peru along the Madre de Dios river in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The lodge provides a comfortable base for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, birders and those who simply want a truly relaxing rainforest experience. The lodge counts on a tapir and mammal lick, the Blanquillo macaw and parrot clay lick, 2 walk-up canopy towers and floating catamarans on 2 ox-bow lakes for observing Giant Otters and other lakeside birds and wildlife.

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-capped peaks and small Andean farmsteads. We will have time in Paucartambo to look around this picturesque village with its colonial stone bridge, 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 1400 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 Peruvian White-tailed deer 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 Manu Wildlife Centre LodgeWe make 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 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 afterwards continue in our all-terrain bus to the Madre de Dios river. There we begin our journey down the river in our motorized dugout canoes, passing settlements and native communities en route. 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 at Manu Wildlife Centre in time for lunch and a shower (hot water available). 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. In the 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 any one night. We watch them from the comfort of our specially constructed blind, which has mosquito nets and mattresses for comfort. 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 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 which passes through the untouched forest to a lookout point on a cliff over the river. Here we can watch roosting flights of parrots and macaws as the sun sets. Other optional excursions include a visit to the canopy tower or exploring quiet trails looking for primates such as Emperor and Wedell's Saddleback Tamarins and the recently described to science Urubamba Brown Titi Monkey. We have also seen the rare Goeldi’s and Gray's Bald-faced Saki Monkeys in this area. The strange Pale-winged Trumpeter is a regular sighting.
One morning we will 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 comprises a section of the bank of the Madre de Dios river, being some 6 meters high and 250 meters long. Hundreds of Orange-cheeked, Blue-headed, Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrots, as well as 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 but also mammals such as Tapirs, Red Brocket Deer and Colombian Howler Monkey can be seen. The observation platform or blind consist of a platform which is 8 meters high and 50 meters long. This blind/hide is very well located, being only 50 meters from the clay lick wall, allowing extraordinary photo opportunities. Due to the hide's positioning it is possible to take very sharp pictures when the early morning sun illuminates the lick. The blind is equipped with comfortable swivel chairs and a long table which can be used for equipment support. We serve a hearty breakfast in the comfort of this location. We have to arrive early in the morning (5:20 AM) and walk for about half an hour (at a normal pace) along a trail that crosses secondary forest to reach the hide. The noise of the birds at the clay lick alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds is not to be soon forgotten. As the activity at the lick slows down by mid-morning we will head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta, perhaps in the hammock area of the roomy and cool lodge lounge. On the other morning we will head for Cocha Blanco or Cocha Camungo, both old ox-bow lakes, in search of families of Giant Otters that live there. We will explore the lake on our floating platform, looking for other wildlife including the bizarre Hoatzin. Here too are groups of Black Spider and Capuchin Monkeys.
On both days we will take a leisurely lunch at the lodge with time off to swing in hammocks or watch the multicolored hummingbirds as they come to the butterfly bushes and feeders in the lodge garden. Nights at the Manu Wildlife Center B: L: D
Day 5: Manu Wildlife Centre to Cusco or LimaWe make an early morning start and, as flocks of birds pass over the boat, we may see a Capybara, the world's largest rodent. On arrival at Boca Colorado, a frontier gold-rush town, we will take local transport for an hour to the Inambari river and then by paved road to Puerto Maldonado for our flights to either Cusco or Lima. B: BL

Customer Testimonials

Ann-Marie De Dier and Benny Beaten - Belgium.
I would like to thank you for an excellent trip in Peru. We would like to thank Manu Expeditions sincerely
Jackson Family - United Kingdom
This trip will be a benchmark for all future group trips. Excellent organization, food and guides!
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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Comments

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.

This trip will be a benchmark for all future group trips. Excellent organization, food and guides!

I would like to thank you for an excellent trip in Peru. We would like to thank Manu Expeditions sincerely

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