We leave Cusco early in the morning in one of our vehicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as "Chullpas". We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2,000 and 3,500 m.a.s.l. and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. We have lunch in the route. Overnight at our “Orquídeas de San Pedro Lodge”.
Today we wake up very early to looking for the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange, and as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue in our vehicle (*1) down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward the town of Pilcopata (*2) and then to Atalaya Port we have lunch then we board our covered, outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 40 minutes toward our private reserve of “Erika” a comfortable / rustic lodge owned also by Manu Adventures where we will hike through the interesting trail system that this transitional area between high and low jungle offers. Overnight at the lodge.
*1 Free Option: Here in Pilcopata town we will make the final settings for a 1 ½ river rafting (class I and II) trip down the Koshñipata River where we will have the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq Canyon.
After breakfast we leave Erika Lodge and board our canoe ride down the Alto Madre de Dios River to Boca Manu Village during our voyage we may see bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as: Black Skimmer, Pied Lapwing, Capped Heron, Jabiru Stork, and several species of kingfishers, swallows and flycatchers. Boca Manu’s village is situated a short distance from the confluence of the Manu River with the Alto Madre de Dios River place where you can buy your last fresh supplies and cold drinks before setting off again in the canoe toward Boca Lodge where we will spend the night. Option to do a short nigh walk.
*2 Free Option: Canopy zip down: At Erika Lodge, our guests traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables zip lines), as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the rain forests and explain what’s going on around you from the time you leave the ground, until you rappel back down to the forest floor.
Very early and after a ten minutes boat ride, we will arrive to a Parrot Lick “Collpa”, which is a wall of clay in the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the blue headed parrot, the white-eyed parakeet, the dusky-headed parrot the chestnut fronted macaw and others feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. After registering in the official tourist logbook at Limonal, the Park Rangers Headquarters and eating an early breakfast, we will continue travel up the Manu River for 4 hours approximately into the pristine heart of the reserve; we will leave the final traces of human habitation behind us. We arrive Salvador Lake, our base safari campsite (screened dining room, toilets / showers, solar panel system for some electricity and with radio communication available). Differences in wildlife abundance will be noted immediately we will begin to sight macaws, herons, kingfishers and cormorants frequently and improve our chances of encounters with capybaras, caimans, monkeys, and other wildlife, you will often see animals sunning themselves on beaches, or foraging for food in the trees lining the riverbanks. This canoe ride gives us the opportunity to observe the immensity of the rainforest. We arrive early in the afternoon and have lunch before setting off on a jungle trail although at this time of day mammals and birds are not as active as in the early morning, we will concentrate on the forest itself and discuss general rain forest ecology, return to the campsite.
We rise early in the morning, as the forest is awakened by the Red Howler monkey (Aloatta seniculus) declaring its territory. A morning walk before breakfast is a great way to catch wildlife in the pursuit of food, as the temperature is very pleasant at this time of day. We explore Salvador Lake by paddling quietly along on a catamaran, giving us the opportunity to observe unique species of birds, monkeys, caimans and with luck the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). This endangered species can be seen swimming, fishing, eating and playing. After we enjoy lunch, we cross the river to walk a trail to another oxbow lake called Otorongo. This forest, which is estimated to be 200 to 300 years old and includes truly huge Ceiba trees and Strangler figs, and it, is home to several mammals that are occasionally encountered: Saddleback tamarins, Squirrel, Spider and Brown Capuchin Monkeys, the Collared and the white lipped peccaries. At the lake a strategically located observation tower rises 15 meters above the lake and the jungle floor, from the top you not only get spectacular view of the lake and the surrounding forest but also excellent opportunities to observe birds from the canopy, this also gives us more chances to observe wildlife including the Giant Otter. Back at Salvador Lake, late in the afternoon we will use the catamaran and with the help of flashlights we can observe the black caimans rise from the depths of the lake and begin their search for prey. Return to the safari campsite.
Once again we wake up early, enjoy walking around Salvador Lake and then pack up and slowly go down stream the interesting Manu River. We continue to Boca Manu’s Village, situated a short distance from the confluence of the Manu and Alto Madre de Dios rivers. From here we descend the Madre de Dios River arriving Boca Lodge and spend one more night in this magical Amazon jungle. Possibility to do a short night walk through the forest to observe American bullfrogs, horned frogs, tree frogs and an incredible variety of colorful insects.
Around mid morning or before, we continue up the Alto Madre de Dios River to camp on an appropriate beach in the Cultural Zone if for some chance we cannot arrive Erika Lodge and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle for one last night.
Waking up very early, we continue the trip by boat to Atalaya, where the bus will be waiting for us and drive back up and out of Manu, arriving to Cusco very late. END OF OUR SERVICES.
Own transportation, own boat transportation (covered motor boats), Specialized and bilingual guides, 01 night in Orquideas de San Pedro Lodge, 02 nights in Erika Lodge, 02 nights in Boca Manu Lodge, meals (vegetarian option is available), first aid Kit, paperwork and payment for Park permits, radio communication equipment in all lodges and campsites, and as additional service we offer safety box for values and storage for luggage in Cusco’s main office.
A) PROGRAM 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS (in and out by bus from Sunday to Sunday)
OPTIONS:Leaving on Monday
B) PROGRAM 7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS (in and out by bus from Monday to Sunday)
NOT INCLUDED: Entrance fee to the Reserved Zone of Manu National Park US$ 65 per person.
Not included: Sodas, alcoholic drinks, tips, mineral water for the first day, first breakfast neither last dinner.