The great Manu Amazon Experience
A visit to the one of the best protected rainforests in the Amazon
There are very few spots left on our planet that can offer you that raw and off the beaten track feel like the region of Manu National-park in Peru. Visiting the Park becomes an immersive experience into nature and sounds of age old forests and immense rivers that wind their way towards the Atlantic Ocean some 4000 km away. Untouched and primeval nature greets you with every step you take. Even the indigenous communities give you the feel of a wisdom disconnected from our over stimulated intellectual minds and our day to day orientation on material values.
Manu trips are an adventure, an exploration into a beautiful, untouched and natural world. A world that leaves you spellbound and fulfilled. The occasional mosquito bites, the simplicity of shelter and food stop to matter, too impressive are the land- and river scapes with their amazing canopy of sounds and the diversity of its life forms.
Truly a great adventure into one of the last untouched remaining regions of our planet.
Day 1. Cusco / Sacred Valley - Cloud forest
Early morning (3 am!) departure to see the sunrise at Tres Cruces, said to be one of the most spectacular sunrise points worldwide. At Tres Cruces, one stands at the elevation of 3800 Meters and in front of you the mountains drop away into the vastness of the Amazon Basin. From this high altitude vantage point the rising sun drenches hills and valleys into an amazing array of lights, colours and shades. Tres Cruces is already within the borders of the Manu National park and just a short diversion from the road between Cusco and the rainforest.
Around noon one reaches the Reseach station Lodge in the upper region of the cloud forest. Afternoon excursion into the forest, home to the world's greatest diversity of epiphytes, mosses, ferns, lichens and orchids and, in turn, a large number of birds and animals that feed on these organisms or use the forests as a habitat. Cloud forests have shrunk to just 1% of the global woodlands, however it is estimated that they harbour the greatest concentration of species anywhere on land.
Day 2. Cloud forest - Boca Manu
Early morning time to observe the numerous species of hummingbirds dancing in the morning light in the gardens of the Lodge. After breakfast slow travel trough a spectacular road down to the plains of the Amazon and the shore of the Madre de Dios River. During the drive time to look out for the colourful Cock of the Rock and the even more beautiful Quetzal. Around midday we board the boat in Atalaya to journey down the clear waters of the Madre de Dios River to Boca Manu.
Day 3. Boca Manu - Casa Machiguenga Lodge
Today, we leave the clear glacial waters of Madre de Dios and enter the world of the sediment laden and seemingly endless winding and slow meandering Manu River. The last remnants of human settlements are left behind and we enter the untouched world of the primary rainforests. The Manu River is home to the huge black and the smaller grey Caiman and there are great chances to see them bask in the sun on the river banks. Primates, turtles covered with clouds of butterflies, Capybara and maybe even the Tapir and Jaguar can be spotted.
Early afternoon arrival in the Casa Machiguenga Lodge, after settling in we take a short walk into the nearby forest.
Day 4. Excursion Chocha Salvador
Early morning excursion to the oxbow Lake Cocha Salvador, a calm waterbody that was left behind, when the river changed its course.
The Lake offers an abundance of birds, like the Hoatzin, egrets, blue egrets, king fisher, weaver birds, great herons, macaws, toucans and eagles, among others. Spider and Tamarind monkeys can be seen in the trees and the lake is home to a large family of giant otters. Cocha Salvador is one of the most beautiful spots open to visitors in the Manu National park.
Afternoon forest walk and after dinner we take our flashlights and follow our guide into the world of the nocturnal creatures, like three types of poison dart frogs, colourful small snakes and other mostly small citizens of the forest.
Day 5. Macaw sightings and Cocha Otorongo
Morning visit to the Macaw clay lick. Be prepared to spend some time there, the shy and very vocal Macaws are suspicious citizens that warn each other with loud voices if they feel their territory disturbed. But once they settle down on the clay wall, they bring along many more species of their colourful friends, like blue headed parrots, white eyed parakeets, blue headed macaws, etc. Afternoon visit of the Oxbow Lake Otorongo with its watchtower, ideal to observe black Caiman and giant otters. The forest is home to woolly-, spider- and Tamarind monkeys, besides birds and forest mammals, like deer, jaguar and tapir.
Day 6. Casa Machiguenga - Shipetiari
Today we use the early morning to scout the river banks for jaguars, ocelot, capybara and tapir. Picnic lunch on the boat. Later in the afternoon we arrive at the indigenous rainforest community of the Machiguenga at Shipetiari. Since a few years, the Machiguenga have opened their village to tourism and built a lodge to house their guest.
Day 7. The Shipetiari Machiguenga Community
The community share the guest activities between the families, like learning how to make and use bow and arrow, or brew their local beer, called Masato. The village elders tell stories about their faith and vast knowledge on plant based medicines. The indigenous Machiguenga community consists of only about 7700 people, all living in the Amazon Basin jungle of southeastern Peru. They are incredibly kind and lighthearted and happy to share their time with us.
Day 8. Shipetiari - Cloud forest
With a little heavy heart we leave the Machiguanga to make our way back to Cusco. Overnight on the way in the upper region of the cloud forest.
Day 9. Cloud forest - Cusco / Sacred Valley
Return to Cusco or the sacred valley.