Note: We require minimum two passengers
traveling together If single traveler ask for the supplement.
We pause during our journey to stretch our legs
and visit an indigenous Piro Indian village where we may buy forest handcrafts
such as bracelets, necklaces, bags and baskets. Later we pass the mouth of the
Manu river, the gateway to the reserved zone of the Manu National Park. Taking
another break at Boca Manu, the village a short way downriver, we visit the
boatyards where local people build the dugout boats so essential to life on the
The Bio Trip Manu - From the
Andes to the Jungle
Out Colorado - Puerto Maldonado - Cusco by commercial flight
6 days/5 nights
This journey combines a spectacular descent through mountainous cloud forest
from Andes to Amazon, with lodge visits in the cloud forest and along the wild
Alto Madre de Dios river, culminating in a lowland rainforest experience amidst
the comfortable yet wildlife-rich surroundings of the famous Manu Wildlife
Our overland route crosses an extraordinary range of life zones from highlands
to lowlands, taking us through an array of ecosystems found nowhere else on the
planet in such close proximity. We see high altitude farming valleys and
traverse stark highland puna, plunge through layers of grassland, elfin forest,
layers of lush, ever-changing cloud forest, and then lowland tropical valleys
where farmers cultivate coca and exotic fruits. All the way we traverse the
habitat of innumerable bird species.
Then our journey winds its way by river through lowland rainforest, pausing for
a rewarding visit to an upriver lodge, and then downriver to the Amazon’s finest
rainforest lodge, Manu Wildlife Center. Tapirs are nightly visitors to the
lodge’s mud wallow, and each morning the nearby clay lick teems with parrots and
macaws. A network of trails, two towers for forest canopy viewing, and two
adjacent pristine lakes round out the perfect rainforest experience.
After a journey by boat and van we will return to Cusco aboard in a commercial
flight airplane from Puerto Maldonado City.
Day 1: Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Our overland journey begins at 3,400m/11,150 ft, with an early departure
from the highland city of Cusco. Today’s destination is the lush cloud
forest region where the Andes fall away to the Amazon basin. This is a day
of scenic drama and striking contrasts. We first visit a mountain wetland
habitat teeming with migrant and local waterfowl, before crossing two
mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley, to a
maximum altitude of 3,900m/12,790ft. Finally we follow a sinuous ribbon of
highway on its plunge through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs,
waterfalls and gorges. We take leisurely stops to see mountain villages, a
hilltop necropolis of chullpas (pre-Inca burial chambers), and the abrupt
ridgetop of Ajanaco, which marks the final high point where the Andes begin
their swoop into the Amazon basin. In clear weather we will see a
breathtaking panorama of cloud forest and mountain giving way to the lowland
rainforest plains far below us.
After a picnic lunch near here we descend through the startling and rapid
environmental transformations characteristic of the tropical Andes, passing
from grassland and stunted trees through elfin forest, until we wind through
a lush and magical world of overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster
begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads, and a diverse and teeming
We make frequent spontaneous stops, perhaps spotting a brilliantly feathered
quetzal, a trogon, or the wild turkey-like Guan. We reach the comfortable
Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the late afternoon, the best hour to visit the
nearby viewing platform for the display ground, or "lek". This is usually
the highlight of a long, full day, a chance to see Peru’s dazzling national
bird, the Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola) in full, raucous courting display. (Box
Day 2: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to Pantiacolla Lodge or Amazonía Lodge
Rising early, we have a second chance to view the Cock-of-the-Rock display,
and then scout for birds, and perhaps Brown Capuchin or Woolly monkeys along
the nearby road. Or we can take a secluded nature walk on a short trail loop
to the river and back. After breakfast we continue our drive, as mountains
give way to low rolling hills and farmland. At Patria we visit a plantation
of coca grown legitimately for the Peruvian coca leaf market.
At midday we reach Atalaya, a tiny port where the Piñipiñi River meets the
Alto Madre de Dios. Now the lowland rainforest part of our journey begins.
Rivers are the highways of the rainforest, and henceforth we will travel in
large, comfortable dugout canoes shaded by canopy roofs and driven by
powerful outboard motors.
During normal river conditions we arrive at our lodge in time for
exploration and wildlife viewing —which may include toucans, kingfishers, a
rare endemic hummingbird and a multitude of butterflies— along one of its
many forest trails. (B/Box Lunch/D)
Day 3: Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center.
There is time for another short morning hike on the lodge trails before
leaving early for Manu Wildlife Center.
As we follow the broad, rushing course of the Alto Madre de Dios river past
the last foothills of the Andes, our ever-changing route offers sightings of
new birds —terns, cormorants, White-winged Swallows, and flocks of
nighthawks flushed from their daytime lairs by the sound of our engine.
Splashes of brilliant yellow, pink and red foliage dot the forest-clad
slopes around us, and the breeze is laden with the heady perfumes of the
We pass the mouth of the Manu river, the gateway to the Manu National Park.
We pause during our journey to stretch our legs and visit Boca Manu, the
village a short way downriver, we visit the boatyards where local people
build the dugout boats so essential to life on the river.
After a boat journey of approximately 6 hours, we arrive at Manu Wildlife
Center, one of the world’s top ten wildlife lodges. After a reception and
orientation we move into our private bungalow and rest to escape the midday
Later, we make our first acquaintance with the lowland rainforest, learning
about the plants and forest ecology as we explore some of the 30 miles of
trails that surround the lodge. We have an excellent chance of encountering
some of the 12 species of monkeys, including the Spider Monkey and Emperor
Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest. (B, Box Lunch, D)
Day 4: Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Clay lick, Canopy Tower & Tapir
Another early start (inevitable on wildlife expeditions), is followed by a
short boat ride downstream. We take a 20-minute trail through palm
plantations to a cut-off channel of the river, where we find the Macaw Lick.
A spacious hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for
cameras and binoculars is our ringside seat for what is usually a very
spectacular show. We enjoy a full breakfast here while waiting for the main
actors to arrive.
In groups of twos and threes the big Red-and-Green Macaws come flapping in,
landing in the treetops as they eye the main stage below —the eroded clay
banks of the old channel. Meanwhile the supporting cast appears: these may
included Blue-headed, Mealy, Yellow-crowned, and Orange-cheeked Parrots— and
the occasional villain, a menacing and unwelcome Great Black Hawk.
The drama plays out in first in tentative and then bolder approaches to the
lick, until finally nearly all the macaws, parrots and parakeets form a
colorful and noisy spectacle on the bare banks, squabbling as they scrape
clay from the hard surface. (Please note that the clay lick is most active
from August to October and less so during the months of May and June.)
We return to the lodge for lunch, and then we continue to explore and
discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails
surrounding the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon at our 34m/112ft
Canopy Tower. On its platform we witness the frantic rush-hour activity of
twilight in the rainforest canopy, before night closes in.
Later we set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take us to the lodge’s
famous Tapir Clay lick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in all the
Amazon, our research has identified from 8-12 individual 600-pound Tapirs
who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge.
This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of
the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. The lick features a
roomy, elevated observation platform 5m/17ft above the forest floor. The
platform is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows. Each
mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 10-m-long, elevated walkway
to the platform is covered with sound-absorbing padding to prevent our
footsteps from making noise.
This Tapir Experience is unique and exciting because these normally very shy
creatures are visible up close, and flash photography is not just permitted,
The hard part for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent
anywhere from 30 minutes to two or more hours. Many prefer to nap until the
first Tapir arrives, at which point your guide gently awakens you to watch
the Tapir 10-20m/33-66ft) away below the platform. Most people feel that the
wait is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing
the rare and elusive Tapir in its rainforest home. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Manu Wildlife Center: Cocha Blanco and the Wildlife trails.
We set off early for Cocha Blanco, an old oxbow lake full of water lilies
and sunken logs. As we circle the lake on our catamaran we might encounter
the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of
monkeys crashing noisily through the trees. Wattled Jacanas step lightly on
the lily pads, dainty Sun Grebes paddle across the water, supple-necked
Anhingas air-dry their wide, black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans for
fish from a high branch.
Among the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, which look like rust-colored,
punk chickens, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing
and grunts. Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets all finally
come swooping in to trees surrounding the lake. Many of them roost around
the lake for the night.
After lunch at the lodge our guide is available to lead us on freewheeling
expeditions in search of further wildlife encounters, or we may take one of
the lodge’s many trails on private and personal excursions to commune with
the spirits of the rainforest.
This evening, from the late afternoon until after Dinner, we offer an
opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the
riverbank by boat (If the level of river allows it) (B, L, D).
Day 6: Manu Wildlife Center to Cusco - Departure day
We leave our lodge very early on the two hour and half return boat trip
downstream to the Colorado Village, the breakfast will be serve on the boat
while you enjoying early morning wildlife activity as we go, of course this
is a perfect time to take advantage of valuable early morning wildlife
activity along the river, in aditions this journey allows us to see several
lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning gold along
the banks of the Madre de Dios River. We will stop in the far-west type
gold-mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos
for 45 minutes, then you will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes boat
trip to Santa Rosa, finally a van or bus will drive us to the airport in
Puerto Maldonado City, in approximately two-hours and half, from here you
fly by a commercial airplane to Cusco, with a pickup and transfer assistant
to your hotel your jungle adventure ends. (B)
•Please note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your
wildlife sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and
experienced naturalist guides based at the lodge.
END OF OUR SEVICES