Being in the jungle – that’s a childhood dream. Dense untouched green, the essence of the wild and all colorful things that live in it.
So as part of our 3 week Peru itinerary, we decided to take a tour to Manu National Park, a giant 1.5 million ha national park in Peru’s cloud forest established 1973. It is probably the most remote place we have ever been to in our lives. It basically takes 2 full days of travelling to get to the actually protected and reserved zone in the park from Cusco. But if you are a total animal lover and staring at river banks for hours or wandering through the jungle to finally see this amazingly colorful and pretty bird, this trip is for you.
What will you do
Our jungle 7D / 6N jungle trip is a good indication for what you may be able to experience or see.
Day 1: Drive to Manu recreational zone & bird-watching
Drive from Cusco all the way up to the cloud forest and wind your way down to the jungle. Stay in a lodge about 50km into the park which is still part of the public recreational zone of the park. Spot plants and birds like the cock of the rock or oropendola on the way.
Day 2: Down the river & night jungle walks
Continue driving through the jungle and hop on a boat to continue down the river. Spot birds along the river shore along the way. Stay in a lodge on the river and take a night walk in the jungle to hopefully spot a tapir at a clay lick.
Day 3: Arrive in and explore the reserved zone
Continue by boat down to the reserved zone and enter the protected zone of the park. Stay at Matsigenka lodge and do jungle walks and explorations to nearby. You will see caimans, may be capybaras, many birds and monkeys along the river and in the jungle.
Day 4: Continue exploring the protected zone.
Take a catamaran ride to spot families of giant otters, black caimans, and birds including kingfishers, hoatzins, and more near the water.
Day 5: Jungle walks back outside the reserved zone
Travel back by boat to the 2nd lodge, do another jungle walk and visit a macaw clay lick.
Day 6: Short walks and bird-watching
Travel back by boat and car to the 1st lodge with more stops for animal spotting.
Day 7: Travel back to Cusco
How to book a tour to Manu National Park?
There are countless agencies in Cusco that will offer trips to Manu. However do your research. If you want to go to the reserved / highly protected zone, double check the operator’s itinerary and make sure they are actually going there. Only few companies have permits to actually go there and need to work with a company that has the permit to offer the tour. Tourists may not stay longer than 2 days in the protected areas.
We booked the tour through Bioandean Expeditions. You can find information about the trip we did (7D/6N Manu reserved zone) on their website or reviews on Tripadvisor (4.5/5.0 with 222 reviews as of May 2017).
It is not cheap, but it is a once in a life-time experience. For a 7 day trip you will need to pay around 1400USD / person (excluding tips for your guide, driver and cook).
Want to read more about Manu National Park?
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