This trip constitutes an exceptional approach to observing the diversity of ecosystems present in the extremely vertical stratification of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes: one can explore sections of highland, the transitional fringes descending into the vegetated zones, followed by the wide range multiplicity of the cloud forest and follow the seemingly constant environmental progression through the high and low Jungles in the area of Manu National Park. Enjoy gentle and enlightening adventure in the Easters slopes of the Andes and its natural and cultural features.
Manú National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional del Manu) is a biosphere reserve located in Madre de Dios and Paucartambo, Cusco. Before becoming an area protected by the Peruvian government, the Manú National Park was conserved thanks to its inaccessibility. The park remains fairly inaccessible by road to this day. In 1977, UNESCOrecognised it as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987, it was pronounced aWorld Heritage Site. It is the largest National Park in Peru, covering an area of 15,328 km². The Biosphere Reserve includes an additional 2,570 km², and a further 914 km² are included in a “Cultural Zone” (which also is afforded a level of protection), bringing the total area up to 18,811 km².
The park protects several ecological zones ranging from as low as 150meters above sea level in parts of the Southwest Amazon moist forests toPeruvian Yungas at middle elevations to Central Andean wet puna at altitudes of 4200 meters. Because of this topographical range, it has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any park in the world. Overall, more than 15,000 species of plants are found in Manú, and up to 250 varieties of trees have been found in a single hectare. The reserve is a destination for birdwatchers from all over the world, as it is home to over 1000 species of birds, more than the number of bird species found in the United States and Canada combined and almost 10% of the world’s total bird species. It is also acclaimed as having one of the highest abundances of land vertebrates ever found in Latin American tropical forests.
DAY 1 – Andean forest, Cloud forest.
Today we depart from Cusco early in the morning, driving northeast, crossing the great canyon of the Urubamba River, which is one of the tributaries of the Amazon River. We will see the ruins of the Inca outpost of Pisac. Along the way we will see two different ecosystems called the Andean semi-dry forest “shrub bush vegetation” which is filled with a variety of bushes and is a great place to see Finches, Thrushes, Hummingbirds, many native trees, and abundant flora, orchids, bromeliads, ferns, lichens, as well several plants with flowers that provide nectar for several native bird and insect species. From the Sacred Valley we ascend to the high Andean Plateau with awesome views of soaring, snow-capped peaks and part of the Cordillera of Ausangate that rises to 6384 meters. Later we will watch for the Black Chested Buzzard Eagle or “Geranoaetus Melanoleucus”, the Mountain Caracara or “Phalcobuenus Magalopteras”, and the Andean Flicker or “Colaptes Rupicola” and maybe even the Giant Hummingbird called “Quente Patagonia Gigas”. On our descent to the Inca and Colonial town of Paucartambo we will visit the plaza to delve into local history and culture. On our descent through the cloud forest, we may see some squirrel monkeys “Saimiri Sciureus” and Common Wooly monkeys “Lagothrix Lagothricha” and we will see more orchids and birds that are typical of this ecosystem. Our lunch stop will be at a waterfall. In the afternoon, as we walk among natural surroundings, we will watch for birds, plants, monkeys, and there will be the option for an easy or moderate bike ride. Depending the season, we may see Festive Coquettes “Laphornis Chalybeus” and Violet Headed Hummingbirds “Klais Guimeti” near our campsite or lodge depending your desicion..
DAY 2 – Cloud forest, Jungle foot hills, Rain forest.
We begin the day with a visit to the place where the national bird of Peru, the Andean “Cock of the Rock” or “Rupicola Peruviana” come together for the mating season. If the time is right, it is possible to witness an incredible display of pageantry and color from these attractive birds. Continuing through the cloud forest we will watch and listen for many species of birds such as flycatchers, jays, wrens, pigeons, parakeets, parrots and oropendolas. Closer to the river we may see egrets and cormorants, depending on the season. Today’s delicious breakfast will either be in the beautiful outdoors or in the lodge. Our optional morning of mountain biking will be easy to moderate, along a beautiful wide trail for about 2 hours, during which, we will visit some coca plantations. By mid-morning, we will arrive at the banks of the Amaru River “Madre de Dios”.
Our river rafting begins with easy class I, II and III rapids for about 4 hours through the rain forest with great opportunities to see river birds. We will stop for a picnic lunch and then paddle for 2 hours until we arrive at the lodge camp. We are likely to see Egrets, Cormorants, and Swallows along the way and at the camp. Later in the afternoon and evening, we will hike through the forest for about 2 hours, looking for wildlife such as Pecaries, Capibaras, monkeys and many birds. optional lodge or we will camp in tents in the jungle. Depending on the weather and the season, there may be a full moon and a vast sky full of constellations.
DAY 3 – Jungle foot hills, Rain forest
This region is home to the Chestnut fronted Macaw, Ara severa” and today we will visit the Macaw, parrotsand parakeet lick or “Collpa”. We travel and paddle by raft to see these beehive-like cliffs over the river where the macaws congregate to “lick” the abundant clay in order to obtain essential salts, both for their nutrition and to neutralize the poison from seeds that they eat. It is a truly fascinating sight. This excursion is followed by a mid-morning hike of about two hours.
At noon we find a nice spot for lunch and a swim in the river. In the afternoon we travel by raft across the river to reach a lake and observe abundant wildlife, mainly birds and monkeys. for a short morning hike in the rain forest. to see the Ceiba tree(ceiba petrandra) Depending on the conditions, we may go for a walk and look for small caiman lizards at night, returning to the camp or lodge depending your desicion for happy hour and dinner.
DAY 4 – Rain forest, Cloud forest, Andean forest
This region is home to the Chestnut fronted Macaw, Ara severa” and today we will visit the Macaw, parrotsand parakeet lick or “Collpa”. We travel by raft to see these beehive-like cliffs over the river where the macaws congregate to “lick” the abundant clay in order to obtain essential salts, both for their nutrition and to neutralize the poison from seeds that they eat. It is a truly fascinating sight. This excursion is followed by a morning paddleing on the madre de Dios river for 3 to 4 hours.and from there it is a 7-hour ride back to Cusco. On the way we stop for a lunch and a short walk in the Cloud forest. We arrive back in Cusco at 7:00 pm.
We Provide and Include: Licensed, Bilingual, history, naturalist and Class V Rafting and Tour Guides- Radio and phone- Rafting and optional Biking Expedition Equipment, Safety Procedures and Orientation,Knee and elbow protection, paddles, helmets, life jackets, windbreaker jackets, Bus and and Transfers- First Aid kit- Optional Expedition grade tents and air matrasses and sleeping bags optional lodge- All Itinerary Meals, including vegetarian & some snacks- Dining tent, Cook & Services- Ecological, portable toilets- Manú Entrance and Site Fees, Macaw ,Parrots and Parakeet Lick-Lodge or Camping(optional) in the Park /Transfers in Cusco & Manu
For adjusting to tour altitude, we suggest one day tours like the Sacred Valley, River Rafting and the City Tour of Cusco. As Guides we offer 100% Gauranteed Information, for your sensibilities – about the best specific hotel rooms and services around Peru, like extra windows and other amenities.