Wildlife Center located east of the Manu River on the north bank of
the Madre de Dios River, and reached by a 35-minute light plane flight
from Cusco, offers the Amazon's finest, in-depth wildlife safari. The
Lodge contains 22 double-occupancy fully screened private bungalows
with hot showers, a large fully screened dining room, and a bar with
hammocks for relaxing.
Cusco to Boca Manu and Manu Wildlife Center
An early morning
transfer to Cusco airport will be followed by a 45-minute flight by
turboprop aircraft to Boca Manu, and then a 90-minute motorized canoe
journey down the Madre de Dios river to Manu Wildlife Center, in time
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 Monk Saki and Emperor
Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest.
After dinner there will be an enchanting night walk along the trails,
in search of the nocturnal birds and animals of the rainforest.
2: Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Claylick, 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 Blanquillo 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.
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 lodges famous Tapir Claylick. 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 50-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, but encouraged.
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.
3: 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.
Amongt 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 lodges many trails on private and personal excursions
to commune with the spirits of the rainforest.
This evening, from late afternoon until after dinner, we can take a
boat ride in search of caiman (alligator-like reptiles), and other nocturnal
wildlife along the riverbank.
4: Cocha Camungo & Big Tree Canopy Tower
Rising at dawn we board our motor-canoe to visit Cocha Camungo, an oxbow
lake. Each of these forest lakes seems to have its own personality,
and after circling these enchanted waters by catamaran to look birds
and other lakeside fauna, we will explore the forest trails and visit
the 40m/130ft canopy platform, set amongst the massive branches of a
giant kapok tree. This platform provides a beautiful view of Cocha Camungo,
as well as the forest canopy, and on very clear days we can spot the
distant ranges of the Andes above the undulating treetops of the forest.
After lunch at the Center we will explore the forest trails, with the
emphasis on visiting the fruiting and flowering trees that our experienced
naturalist guides have been monitoring. Here we will hope to encounter
more monkey species as well as numerous species of birds. Before or
after supper, avid explorers will have a second chance to visit the
5: Manu Wildlife Center to Cusco
After an early breakfast,
we leave on the two-hour boat trip to the Boca Manu airfield, enjoying
early morning wildlife activity as we go. From here we fly to Cusco,
where our rainforest adventure ends with a pickup and transfer to our
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.
includes: Activities include a visit to Manu's only accessible
macaw clay lick, a visit to the world's largest tapir clay lick, oxbow
lakes with Giant Otters and unlimited access to our unique spiral staircase
to a large canopy observation platform, Accommodation, full board, transportation.
included: International airfares, airfares Lima-Cusco-Puerto Maldonado and Puerto Maldonado-Cusco-Lima
Rates per person in US$: $1315 in double room, Single Supplement:$330