Manu Cultural Zone 4D/3N
This tour takes you to the cloud forest, the foothills of the Andes and the beginning of the Manu lowland.
Breathtaking scenery and lots of wildlife, great area for birdwatching!
DAY 1: CUSCO – CLOUD FOREST – BAMBOO LODGE :
Starting early from Cusco we begin our 8 hour journey by private minibus ascending to the high mountain area at 4000 m (13,000 feet). We make a stop in Ninamarca, to see the pre-Inca cemetery, and in the colonial village of Paucartambo. Then we descend the eastern slopes of the Andes through cloud forest with lush vegetation (ferns, orchids, bromeliads etc.). We enjoy spectacular views of the Andes and can see wildlife such as our national bird: the bright red Cock of the Rocks (Rupicola peruviana) showing his mating dance. Walking along the road brilliantly colored Tanagers, Quetzals, Trogons, Tucanets and Hummingbirds, as well as hawks can be seen and possibly the first monkeys, such as Woolly Monkeys. In the late afternoon we arrive at Bamboo Lodge (950m), where we spend the night (double rooms & private bathroom). After dinner your guide will brief you about the activities of the following day.
double rooms & private bathroom
DAY 2: BAMBOO LODGE TO RIO DE ORO LODGE :
After an early breakfast we continue with our minibus: we pass the village of Pilcopata and cross the river of the same name to get to the small port of Atalaya (600 m). On the way we stop for some walks to observe birds and to visit a local orchid garden. Before reaching Atalaya we enjoy a great view of the river basin from a lookout point. At the port we embark on a half hour journey in a 15-meter motorized canoe down the Alto Madre de Dios River. We have the opportunity to see wildlife along the rocky banks of the river, such as Fasciated Tiger Herons, Purplish Jays, Skimmers and some of the monkey species that live in Manu. In the afternoon we walk on the trails near the lodge and visit Machuwasi Lake, on the opposite side of the river. We use a wooden raft to explore the lake and observe the birdlife. In the evening we can go caiman spotting at the river or go on a night walk. We spend the night at Rio de Oro Lodge (double rooms & private bathroom).
double rooms & private bathroom
DAY 3: EXPLORING AROUND RIO DE ORO LODGE :
At dawn we travel downriver by boat to the parrot clay lick. This is a special place where parrots, parakeets and small macaws, including the Chestnut fronted Macaw and the rare Blue headed Macaw, come to eat minerals which help them with digestion. After the natural show we walk on the trails to see more animals and you have the option to climb up to a lookout point for a spectacular view over the Alto Madre de Dios River. Another trail takes us to a huge Ceiba Tree. Later we can go fishing or have a bath in the river. The night is spent at the lodge. Optional night walk to see insects, frogs, snakes etc.
double rooms & private bathroom
DAY 4: RIO DE ORO LODGE TO CUSCO :
After breakfast we take the boat back to Atalaya. Here our bus is waiting for us for our return trip through the cloud forest and over the Andes back to Cusco. We can stop whenever we spot animals. We have lunch on the way and arrive around 6 pm, transfer to your hotel.
group size : 3 – 8 persons
- Mar19, 26
- April2, 9, 16, 22, 24, 30
- May5, 12, 19, 26
- June4, 11, 18, 25
- July2, 9, 16, 23, 30
- August6, 13, 18, 22, 27
- September3, 10, 17, 24
- October1, 8, 15, 22, 29
- November5, 12, 19, 26
- December3, 10, 17, 24, 31
- March4, 11, 18, 25
- Professional, English speaking naturalist guide, with binocular & spotting scope
- Transport by private bus and private boat
- Entrance fees to Cock of the Rock observatory & Machuwasi Lake
- Cook, all food (vegetarian on request), drinking water
- Lodge accommodation
- First Aid Kit, extractor (for venom)
- rubber boots
- Alcoholic drinks
- personal expenses
Packing list for Manu Cultural Zone Tour
- Mosquito repellent
- Long sleeved shirts (cotton or breathable fabric, not too thin)
- Long pants
- Cotton socks (long enough to put them over your pants)
- Hiking shoes (best ankle high)
- Rain gear (rain poncho is good)
- Sweater (for Andes and cloud forest)
- Hat (or handkerchief)
- Sun blocker & sun glasses
- Flashlight (with spare bulb and batteries)
- Bathing suit (optional)
- Sandals or light shoes to change/ for bathroom (optional)
- Binoculars (important! can be rented at our office)
- Camera, extra batteries & camera charger
- Plastic bags for clothes and camera etc.
- Personal things (soap, toilet paper etc.)
- Water bottle (min. 1,5 litre)
- Day pack
- Rubber boots (provided by ATP)
- passport copy (or passport)
- Some money in Soles for soft drinks, handicrafts and tips
- Luggage limit: 12 kg per person
Frequent Asked Questions Manu 2016
- Do I have to be fit for a Manu Trip? Are the walks challenging? ………………………………………….. 1
- What kind of vehicles do you use to travel to Manu? …… 1
- What are the boats like? ……………………………….. 2
- Is there a luggage limite?…………………………………. 2
- Where do we stay overnight during the tour?……………. 2
- Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?……………………. 2
- Is there electricity at the lodges in Manu? …………………. 2
- How to decide between the Manu Biosphere and the Manu National Park tour?……………………… 2.
- Will we always see birds at the big macaw clay lick in Blanquillo? ……………………………………….. 3
- Is there Malaria and Leishmaniasis in Manu? …………… 3
- Which vaccinations do I need? …………………………. 4
- Is there communication when I am in Manu? Can I find a doctor in case of an emergency? ….. 4
- Is drinking water provided?…………………………………… 4
- What happens to the waste we produce during the tour? ……………………………………………….. 4
- How big are the tour groups? …………………………….. 4
- What are the temperatures in Manu? …………………… 5
- Are there flights from Manu to Cusco? …………………… 5
- Why are there 2 routes for the return to Cusco? ………… 5
- Can I directly fly back to Lima at the end of the tour? ….. 5
- Should I bring binoculars? ………………………………… 6
- What do I need to do to book a tour? How do I pay? …… 6
1. Do I have to be fit for a Manu Trip? Are the walks challenging?
Manu tours can be done with normal fitness by people of all age groups. If you are travelling with children, please let us know in advance for further recommendations, depending on the age of the children. On a Manu tour you spend some time travelling by bus and on the boat – this varies according to the tour (e.g. on the National Park Tour you spend more time in the boat) and we do walks that usually do not exceed 3 to 4 hours at a time. We don’t have to cover big distances on the walks; we will often walk slowly or stop to observe animals and plants on the way. Sometimes we need to listen, wait and have patience… You only need to bring a day pack on the walks. Night walks are optional and usually take about 1 hour. You are not expected to carry your luggage to the lodge, but help is appreciated. Due to the humidity and warm temperatures some people may feel a bit weak or faint, but there is always a short ‘siesta’ at midday and the possibility to stay at the lodge instead of participating in a walk. A rainforest tour is not a ‘comfortable tour’, but if you bring appropriate gear you will have an incomparable experience (see packing list for details).
2. What kind of vehicles do you use to travel to Manu?
We own two Toyota minibuses with a capacity for 12 and 8 people, which have been prepared for the unpaved Manu road. Our drivers are experienced and know the route well.
2 In Itinerary
3. What are the boats like?
Our boats are 15 and 16 m long, they have wooden seats with cushions and backrests as well as a
roof. When travelling on the river in the rain you may still get wet. So you should have your rain gear at hand, our boat staff will also provide plastic covers to protect you. There is no toilet on the boat, please just let your guide know if you need to use a bathroom, so he can stop the boat.
4.Is there a luggage limit?
Please bring a maximum of 12 kg of luggage per person on your tour. Especially during the dry
season (approx. from June to September) the water levels of the rivers are low; therefore we try to reduce the weight of our boat to make headway better and faster. During the Manu Tour you can store the rest of your luggage at your hotel or at our office in Cusco.
5.Where do we stay overnight during the tour?
All nights on our standard tours are spent in lodges. Most lodges are our own lodges with basic, but clean private double rooms and private bath rooms with showers. Sheets, blankets, towels and mosquito nets are provided. At the Maquisapayoj Reserve we have the unique chance to visit a mammal salt lick, which is located just 1 h 15 min walking distance from the lodge. Our groups usually spend one or more nights on the elevated observation platform, which means you spend the night on mattresses and under mosquito nets – similar to camping. This gives us the best chance to observe tapirs during the night. The overnight stay on the platform is optional and you can always stay at the lodge instead. During the Manu National Park Tour, we spend two nights at Albergue Casa Matsiguenka. This lodge is built in the typical Matsiguenka style and there are double rooms with shared bathrooms and showers. As in all other accommodations, sheets, blankets and mosquito nets are provided.
6. Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
You don’t need a sleeping bag for our standard Manu tours. All lodges provide sheets and blankets as well as mosquito nets. There are also blankets at the observation platform at the mammal salt lick.
7. Is there electricity at the lodges in Manu?
Electricity is not available in the Manu lowland, but our Maquisapayoj Lodge has a generator so you can charge batteries for a few hours in the evenings. Make sure you bring enough spare batteries for your camera and flashlight for the tour. We recommend to leave your cell phone, laptop or IPad in Cusco.
8. How to decide between the Manu Biosphere tour and the Manu
National Park tour? Both tours take you to the lowland rainforest of Manu and chances to see animals are similar, we can see the same animal species on both tours.
3 In Itinerary. On the Manu Biosphere Tour we spend more time in the area of the private reserves of Maquisapayoj and Blanquillo and we have plenty of time for walks on the trails. We visit the Camungo and Blanco oxbow lakes (to observe Giant River Otters), the Mammal Salt Lick at Maquisapayoj and the Macaw Clay Lick at Blanquillo, both situated 30 km (19 miles) south of Boca Manu. On this tour you have more time for walking on the trails, especially the 7 day tour has one day (day 5) for walks and visiting e.g. the mammal salt lick. The group can also decide what type of animal you would like to search prospect for again. This day is especially rewarding for bird, tapir and monkey observation. On the Manu Biosphere Tour we can visit the mammal salt lick up to 3 times. In case of bad weather conditions we are flexible enough to modify the itinerary according to our needs and to have more options to see animals.
On the National Park Tour you spend more time on the boat – travelling up on the Manu River into the “Reserved Zone” of the Park and coming back 2 or 3 days later. The scenery on Rio Manu is impressive and chances to observe wildlife on the river banks are very good. If we are lucky we may see a jaguar. But for some visitors the boat rides may be very long, especially for younger/ active people. We spend 2 nights at Casa Matsiguenka, a typical lodge run by the Machiguenga Indians. Inside the Reserved Zone we visit the Salvador and Otorongo oxbow lakes to observe Giant Otters.We also visit Maquisapayoj and Blanquillo macaw clay lick, but only stay for 2 nights.
Note: the big Macaw Clay Lick is situated outside the “Reserved Zone”, this means we spend more time travelling if you want to go into the “Reserved Zone” of the National Park AND visit the Macaw Clay Lick. Chances to see wildlife are similar on both tours. The more time you spend in the rainforest the better the chance to see a bigger variety of animals.
9. Will we always see birds at the big macaw clay lick in Blanquillo?
The macaw clay lick in Blanquillo is the biggest clay lick in Manu and has easy access. Activity is in the mornings and we observe the birds from a special, elevated wooden platform. The parrots and macaws come to eat the clay because they need the minerals to neutralize toxins they have assimilated when eating seeds. During and towards the end of the rainy season (approximately until April) the forest offers more fruits and the birds eat less toxins, this is why there is less demand for eating the clay. So when the dry season begins the birds need to eat more seeds which increases the necessity for them to visit a clay lick. This means that activity at the clay lick is often lower during the first months of the year and it later increases. Until the beginning of the dry season (approximately May/ June) you may see between 10 and 60 birds whereas in the dry months you may see as many as 100 to 200 individuals at the lick. But of course these numbers can still vary throughout the whole year. Other factors that lead to temporary fluctuation of activity at the clay lick are the presence of birds of prey, rain or other animals that disturb the macaws’ activity.
10. Are there mosquitos and is there Malaria and Leishmaniasis in Manu?
You need to be prepared for mosquitos in the lowland of Manu. Please bring long sleeved clothes and mosquito repellent. Malaria: The Malaria risk in Manu is extremely low (less than 0.1 %). Taking prophylaxis is a personal decision, please consider that taking malaria prophylaxis is not very secure (and please check for the side effects of this medication !!). If you want you can bring a ´stand by´ medicine in case you get Malaria (which can be detected by blood analysis), but you can also get, 4 Itinerary. this medication here in Peru. In the south Peruvian rainforest there is only the Malaria type named ´Plasmodium vivax` which is completely curable. Leishmaniasis: The risk to get Leishmaniasis on a short stay in Manu is very low; the best form of protection is to wear long sleeves.
11. Which vaccinations do I need?
Yellow Fever: It is recommended to have a Yellow Fever vaccination for the Manu rainforest. If you plan to visit the Reserved Zone of Manu (on the National Park Tour) the Yellow Fever vaccination is obligatory because it is usually controlled at the guard station in Limonal. Tetanus: You should have a valid tetanus vaccination for the rainforest and for Peru in general. Rabies: We spend all nights under mosquito nets therefore the risk of being bitten by a bat is very, very low
12. Is there communication when I am in Manu?
Can I find a doctor in case of an emergency?
When visiting Manu you should be aware that you travel to a remote area. In case of an emergency and for receiving short reports by our guides we have radio communication at the lodges. There is a satellite telephone in Boca Manu. There is no internet access in Manu and only sometimes there is mobile phone access in Boca Manu village. Along our route there are 3 small hospital wards, apart from this the guide will carry a first aid kit throughout the tour. In case of severe illness, a transport back to Cusco might be necessary. Please be sure that you have good travel health insurance.
13. Is drinking water provided?
Please bring a big water bottle for the first day (min. 1,5 l) as usually it is complicated to get out water for you during the first day’s bus ride. Then please keep your water bottle and you can refill it every day in the morning or evening. We bring bottled water from Cusco for the whole tour.
14. What happens to the waste we produce during the tour?
All waste of our tour is gathered at the lodge and only organic waste is buried in Manu. All inorganic waste is returned to Cusco by our bus. Please help gathering all waste and do not throw any waste on the trails or roadside (including cigarettes).
15. How big are the tour groups for Manu?
On Manu tours the maximum group size is 8 people per guide. This way everybody can hear what the guide says during the walks and the group is not too big to observe animals. If there are 8 to 14 participants on a tour we take one more guide to divide the group in two while walking on the trails, but 5 In Itinerary. ..you may be sharing the bus and/ or boat. If there are more than 14 participants on the same tour we split in 2 groups, each with its own guide, cook and boat.
On our fixed departure dates, we operate the Manu Biosphere tour with min. 3 participants and the Manu National Park tour with a minimum of 4 persons. If we have fewer bookings, it is possible to carry out the tour with an extra charge or change your booking to a different tour (on the same date).
16. What are the temperatures in Manu?
During the first night you can expect temperatures between 12 and 16°C (53 to 60°F), and reaching the lowland forest you can expect between 26 and 33°C (78 to 91°F) during the day and around 20 to 24°C (64 to 75°F) at night. On some occasions we can get a cold front “friaje” from the south, this occurs mainly during the months of May to July/ August (dry season). When these winds reach the lowland forest, temperatures may go down as far as 10°C (50°F), which feels colder due to the humidity in the rainforest. On the first day of your tour we travel over the Andes, where you should have a sweater and windproof jacket, but in the afternoon, reaching the cloud forest temperatures are more pleasant.
17. Are there flights from Manu to Cusco?
Unfortunately flights from/ to Boca Manu are not operating at the moment due to the lack of an appropriate plane for this route and the small airstrip. Therefore we have opted for the return route via Colorado and on the Transoceanica which allows us to return from Manu to Cusco in one day. The closest airport is at Puerto Maldonado, which can be reached from Colorado on the last day of the 5 day Manu Biosphere tour and of the 7 and 8 day Manu National Park tours.
But we also offer the 7 day Manu Biosphere tour with return via Atalaya and the Manu road.
18. Why are there 2 routes for the return to Cusco?
In 2011 the paved Transoceanic road was completed, this is the road we mainly use for the return to Cusco. At the beginning of the tour we travel to the lowland on the Manu road through the cloud forest, and after our excursions, on the last day of the tour we take the boat downriver on Rio Madre de Dios from Maquisapayoj Lodge towards Colorado, a small gold mining town. From here, together with our guide we take a car or pickup for approx. 1 hour to get to the village of Puerto Carlos, where we cross the Rio Inambari. On the other side our private minibus is waiting for us to take us to the Transoceanic highway via Mazuko, travelling on paved road up over the Andes – passing by the Ausangate Mountain – to get back to Cusco in the evening. It is a long trip but we can get back from the remote Manu lowland to Cusco in one day. On the 7 day Manu Biosphere Tour we travel in and out via Atalaya and through the cloud forest. This route is more interesting for animal observation and for the scenery, but it takes one more day. Due to lower boat costs we can offer the 7 day Manu Biosphere tour at a relatively economical price.
19. Can I fly back directly to Lima at the end of the tour?
In case you are short on time AND you plan to return to Lima right after your rainforest tour you may consider asking us for the option to return via Colorado and then be transferred from Puerto Carlos to Maldonado town. This would be on the last day of the tour.
From here it is possible to catch a commercial flight to Lima in the afternoon (!). An early start is required, but this way you can be in Lima on the last day of our tour (day 5, 7 or 8). Please contact us for further details about this option.
20. Should I bring binoculars?
Binoculars are essential for a Manu tour: to spot animals and get a closer view of them. 8x 40 or 10 x 42 magnifications are recommended. Quality binoculars (Zeiss, Eschenbach, Leica, Minox und Nikon brands) can be rented at our office in Cusco for 5 $/ day. Just let us know before the trip.
21. What do I need to do to book a tour? How do I pay? Please read the tour program carefully before you book a tour, if you have any questions we will be happy to answer them.
Please consider that changes in the itinerary may occur, due to the natural circumstances in Manu.
We need your full name, address, age, profession, passport number and nationality to make a reservation. To secure your booking we require a down payment of 200 US $ per person.
The deposit can be made to our bank account in Cusco/ Peru, or via Western Union. We then confirm reception of the deposit and your tour booking. There is the possibility to make payment in the US. Please contact us for further details. Please also read our Booking and Cancellation Policy:
The balance of your tour price is due at our office in Cusco, usually 2 days, and at the latest 1 day
before your tour departure (please let us know). You can pay in cash (Soles or US $) or bring US $
Traveller’s cheques. To cash traveller’s cheques from 2012 you need to go to Interbank or Scotiabank to cash them, the fee is about 3 to 4 %.
We recommend checking credit card conditions (limits for ATMs) with your bank before coming to Peru. There are ATMs at Banco de la Nacion, Scotiabank and Banco de Credito where you can withdraw about 2000 Soles (aprox. 730 US$) per day or more. During the tour (e.g. for snacks, souvenirs) you can only pay in Soles.
Please note that damaged US$ bills are not accepted in Peru, as it is foreign money! Please contact us to agree upon a time for your tour briefing which takes place at our office on the day prior to your departure.
If you have any further questions you are welcome to e-mail us or contact us via Skype (peruvianhighlandtrek)!