Manu Wildlife Center

Premier Wildlife Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon

Bungalow and garden at Manu Wildlife Center

Manu Wildlife Center is an ecotourism project that saves pristine rainforest previously scheduled for timber extraction and market meat hunting. The Center is located outside the eastern border of Manu National Park and abuts the northern border of the new, 400,000-hectare Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, a national protected area. The Center successfully has taken control of timber concessions and used them for tourism and conservation purposes. The lodge staff maintains a presence and directly protects the area, which is the largest uninhabited section of a major river in Amazonian Peru..

The lodge, which has 17 double-occupancy bungalows with hot water showers, flush toilets, overlooks the 350-meter-wide Madre de Dios River. The primary attractions for visitors are the world’s largest and most visited Tapir clay lick, the world’s most visited large macaw and parrot clay lick, two large oxbow lakes harboring families of Giant Otters, two canopy platforms at 100 and 130 feet above the ground, and 10 species of monkeys. Guests watch the macaw clay lick from the Center’s large, floating observation blind. Conde Nast Traveler Magazine called the Center “the most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia”.

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.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS: A clay lick for parrots, parakeets, and red and green macaws; a tapir and mammal clay lick; jungle walks and boat rides for wildlife. Two canopy towers (each having an easy climb up 144 regular stairs), Giant River Otters, 30 kilometers of rainforest trails, 2 ox-bow lakes with floating catamarans, 11 species of primate, over 600 species of birds plus much other mammal life.

The Manu Wildlife Center lodge is owned by Manu Expeditions in conjunction with a Peruvian conservation group, Peru Verde. The lodge is located on the bank of the Madre de Dios river in pristine rainforest, only 60 minutes by motorized dugout canoe from the confluence of the Manu and Alto Madre de Dios rivers. The Manu Wildlife Center is a privately-owned rainforest reserve, which forms part of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. It is located in the Cultural Reserved Buffer Zone, which is set aside for indigenous Amazonian peoples.
Access is by an overland trip from Cusco and exit via Airbus 320 flights to either Cusco or Lima from Puerto Maldonado and then on by road and river. The 17 double bungalows built in the style of, and using the same materials as, the local Amaekaeri indigenous communities. Local wood, bamboo and palm fronds for roofing are used. All materials used have been sustainably harvested or brought in from distant areas. For example, the wood used in the construction is collected from the river as, each rainy season, hundreds of trees are washed into the river as it cuts its ever-changing course. Every three to four years the river actually enters the lodge towards the end of the wet season (around March), therefore all the bungalows are raised and connected to each other and the rest of the lodge facilities by gravel walkways. Each room has good quality foam mattresses and all beds have cotton sheets and quilts (best for hot tropical conditions). Although all the rooms are screened with imported insect netting, the beds are also furnished with individual mosquito nets. Furniture includes bedside tables and writing tables. The bungalows are arranged around a pleasant and well-planned Amazonian garden with plants and shrubs that attract birds, butterflies and mammals. All bungalows are private and separated from each other for privacy and all have large windows facing the forest and garden. All 17 bungalows boast en-suite private toilet and shower facilities. Hot and cold water is always available. The large dining and bar/lounge areas are separate from the other facilities but close to all bungalows and the nearby kitchen area. Food is good and wholesome, if not gourmet, and a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and meats are used for the menu. Our cooks are used to providing for vegetarian diets. A variety of cold non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are always available in the bar/lounge. Wi-Fi is available for some hours each day (around lunch-time and in the evenings), when the lodge generator is running and several charging stations provide energy for charging camera batteries, tablets and e-notebooks. There are no telephones and no cell phone signal at the lodge.

Manu Wildlife Center occasionally has onsite researchers and scientists and we are proud to sponsor their research. As a lodge we actively promote and give a helping hand to students and post-graduates who do various kinds of scientific research in the area. These scientists are always happy to share their knowledge and expertise with visiting guests. The lodge relies heavily on workers from the local Machiguenga and Piro indigenous communities and provides jobs and training that help better the standard of living in the local villages without prejudicing their desired life-style. We offer them choices and opportunities that, prior to tourism, did not exist.

The lodge is strategically located in an area of forest that has the highest diversity of micro-habitats in the Manu area. There are more than 30 kilometers of trails. This means that there are more species of animals, birds, reptiles and insects here than elsewhere in Manu. Terra firma, transitional floodplain, varzea and bamboo forest types are all to be found close to the lodge, plus successional willow and cane stands on beaches and river islands. An astounding 600-plus species of birds have been recorded around the lodge.

The Blanquillo macaw and parrot clay lick is only 25 minutes away by river and we use a blind/hide to get you close to this amazing wildlife spectacle, where up to 200 macaws and many hundreds of their smaller relatives come to eat clay which is essential to their digestion. There are 4 ox-bow lakes in the area and we have floating platforms so that all lakeside fauna can be readily observed. There are 3 family groups of the endangered Giant Otters on these lakes and small streams.
About an hour’s walk through the forest is a large mammal lick where tapirs, the largest South American land mammal, and other mammals regularly come for minerals. At night Brocket Deer and other animals share this necessary ingredient to the digestive system. There is a large, raised, blind here which is equipped with mattresses and mosquito nets for those who want to spend the night or a few hours in comfort observing these nocturnal creatures. During the day several species of small forest parakeets and parrotlets, as well as guans, curassows and Black Spider Monkeys regularly visit the lick.

Canopy access is easy at Manu Wildlife Center. There are two static canopy platforms in large canopy emergent trees that are accessed by a metal, spiral stairway that anyone can use at any time. These are the only accessible canopy platforms of their kind in Peru.

Download the complete list

Download the complete list

Note to visiting birders and researchers:
If you see or hear a species that is not on these lists, we would be very pleased to hear about it. We are constantly updating the lists for the use of future visitors and researchers and you can help us to be more accurate. Any new records should be emailed to Barry Walker

Please indicate the common and scientific name of the bird, where it was seen (which trail and distance along trail). Please also indicate if it was solitary or with other birds, what it was doing, how high off the ground it was and whether a tape recording of its voice or a photo was obtained.