As part of a tailor made program rainforest extensions can be arranged from Cusco to Manu National Park (3, 5, 7 or 9 days itineries) or to Tambopata National Reserve (2, 3, 4 or 5 days itineries). At both reserves macaw claylicks are visited, it depends on the itinery and lodge if a visit to a claylick is included.
Departure dates for the Manu National Park or Tambopata National reserve from Cusco depend on the lodge, local operator and the program. Contact us for a first day to itinery proposal including an advice which Amazone lodge or itinery fits best to your time schedule and budget.
We offer all the programs of The Heath River Wildlife Center, the Sandoval Lake lodge, Manu Wildlife Center, Explorer Inn, and other lodges such as the Cock of the Rock lodge if specially requested. A visit to the rainforest in which you combine the programs of the lodges Heath River Wildlife Center with the Sandoval Lake lodge in a 5 or 6 day program is a very interesting option with high quality lodges and a good alternative to the Manu National Park. You should only be aware that there are only group fixed departures on some days in the week for their programs, and that the arrival of an international flight and your upfollowing itinery needs therefore to be adapted to the planning of your days in the rainforest. All the other days in the week are possible to depart on individual basis but for a higher costprice.
The lodge of the Explorer's Inn on the other hand has departures every day and offers the greatest flexibility of the four mentioned lodges. The operator of Explorer Inn allows you also to fly out with the earliest & most economical flights from Puerto Maldonado to Lima.
All mentioned lodges have professional & enthusiastic guides, show good to very good reviews, are beautifully situated, and have access to macaw clay licks and different ecosystems for observing wildlife.
For NP Manu there are only fixed group departure dates, unless you prefer to book a special private guided program for a travel party. Operated by one of the best, responsible & leading rainforest companies of Cusco. Minimal program will be 3 days visiting the Manu Cloud forest from Cusco, maximum program is 7 - 9 days.
The rainforest of NP Manu is regarded as belonging to the top 4 of rainforests of Latin America.Updated tour and price information.
MANU Cloud Forest: San Pedro Cloud Forest & Lake Machuhuasi
The shortest tour option lasts 3 days, travelling by bus down the Manu Road, spending two nights in Posada San Pedro of the Manu cloud forest while visiting the lowland forest on the 2nd day of the tour. The return to Cusco is by bus up the Manu Road. This tour leaves on Fridays.
MANU Cultural Zone: Cloud Forest & Pantiacolla Mountain Range
The second tour option lasts 5 days, entering by bus down the Manu Road with an overnight stop in the cloud forest, then two nights in the lowland forest at the Pantiacolla Lodge at the foot of the Pantiacolla Mountain Range (Andean foothill), and returning to Cusco by boat and car with another overnight in the cloud forest. The tour leaves on Wednesdays.
MANU Reserved Zone: Cloud Forest, Lakes Salvador & Otorongo of the Reserved Zone and Macaw Lick
The shortest option to the Reserved Zone lasts 7 days, entering by bus down the Manu Road with an overnight stop in the cloud forest, two nights in Manu's Reserved Zone, a visit to the macaw clay lick in Blanquillo, and returning to Cusco by boat and car over the Interoceanica Road on the 7th day. This tour leaves on Fridays.
MANU Reserved Zone: Cloud Forest, Pantiacolla Lodge, Lakes Salvador & Otorongo of the Reserved Zone and Macaw Lick
The longer option to the Reserved Zone lasts 9 days traveling by bus down the Manu Road with an overnight stop in the cloud forest, three nights in Pantiacolla Lodge at the foot of the Pantiacolla Mountain Range (Manu’s Cultural Zone), two nights in Manu's Reserved Zone, a visit to the macaw clay lick in Blanquillo, and returning to Cusco by boat and bus over the Interoceanica Road on the 9th day. This 9-day tour leaves on Wednesdays.
. For a few years already there has been no regular plane service between Cusco and Manu. Therefore, we have changed the 7- and 9-day programmes in such a way that the return trip can be as comfortable as possible by the new Interoceanica Road from Mazuco to Cusco. This road is paved, contrary to the Manu Road and therefore we can return over a longer distance in less time. This does make the trip somewhat more costly, but you will have a superior experience.
. If it turns out that a plane will be available again; we will immediately include that option in our programmes.
. Please also note that both our 7 and 9-day trips include a visit to the famous macaw lick of Blanquillo. Nowadays, many companies offer their Manu tours without this nature spectacle because of the high extra costs involved.
. There are no additional costs except for your personal expenses.
. As for a mammal clay lick,near Tambo Blanquillo there is a clay lick for tapirs. One can visit that in our 7- or 9-day tour by changing the first of the two Tambo Blanquillo nights for one in Manu Wildlife Center, and visit the lick at night. There is an extra cost to this, however, as this all happens at night, you won't miss out anything from our original program, except for some hours of sleep.
Manu is a precious rain forest that has remained as untouched as it is because of its remote location. This means there is a lot of traveling involved in these trips, both by bus and boat. However, in compensation for this, you will find yourself in an unequalled rain forest with its entire flora and fauna in tact.
So there are many options to consider which you best can discuss personally to find out what suits you best. Feel free to Contact us for detailed itineraries of the different lodges, a digital map of the area and how your rainforest extension can be best integrated in your roundtrip through Peru. Although not further specified, a rainforest extension to Iquitos is of course also an option, but as this involves at least 2 more long distance domestic flights we recommend usually to visit NP Manu or Tambopata National Reserve when it is only for a short visit. An extension to the Galapagos islands for 4 - 8 days after a rainforest program is worth considering when your budget and holiday time allows, only this needs to be planned far ahead to plan all international flights, your dates of the expedition on Galapagos together with the yachts available.
Manu National Park was established in 1977 and in recognition of its uniqueness was designated a ''World Heritage Site” ten years later. Manu is internationally acclaimed as one of the most biodiverse areas on earth. Approximately half the area of Switzerland, the Manu Biosphere is a complete ecosystem with protected watershed embracing Andean montane cloud forest, tropical lowland forest and the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu river drainage systems. The biosphere itself is subdivided into national park and two adjacent zones, one for tourism and the other for cultural subsistence. It is home to over 1000 species of birds, 15,000 species of plants, over 200 species of mammals, and untold numbers of insects, and within its heart remain yet uncontacted peoples.
Manu retains healthy populations of jaguar, tapir, anteater, black caiman, giant otter, and among the 13 species of monkey we find the unique pigmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world, and the nocturnal night monkey. Because of Manu's low human population and their continued use of traditional hunting techniques, the animals in the park show little fear of man and are more readily approachable than in many other rainforest locations. Manu, therefore, offers unparalleled animal watching opportunities.
Wildlife aside, however, the journey into the park itself is amazingly spectacular and not to be missed. Access to Manu is normally by road. The two day trip from Cusco to the entrance of the Manu Reserved Zone carries you over the Andes mountains to an elevation of 4000 m, past pre-inca ruins and down through the cloud forest on the eastern side of the Andes, and finally into lush, lowland rainforest. Roads remain largely unpaved and wind their way precariously past cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, and precipices. Manu is truly a complete experience.
Example, MANU CLOUD FOREST 3-days, in and out by bus over the Manu Road
DAY 1: Cusco-Cloud Forest. Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we begin an 8-hour journey over the Andes by bus, stopping for breakfast at the beautiful colonial village of Paucartambo. Continuing, we climb to the highpoint of the Manu Biosphere at about 4000 m before descending to the cloud forest. In these mysterious surroundings we take a hike to the lek of the incredible cock-of-the-rock, to see the ‘performance' of the males right under our eyes. We spend our first night in the rustic lodge Posada San Pedro (appr. 1,600 m).
DAY 2: Cloud Forest. We start hiking early in the morning down the road looking for the great diversity of cloud forest´s birds hummingbirds, tanagers, guans, kites hawks, trogons, quetzals, jacamars, tucanets, fruit eaters, manakins, flycatchers and more around the lodge. However, we also have a good chance to spot brown capuchin monkeys or the bigger woolly monkey. Jaguar, puma and the spectacled bear are there as well, but harder to find. In the afternoon we spend time hiking up the road and put more emphasis on the cloud forest's beautiful flowering plants, as the many orchids and begonias and also the bromeliads, ferns, lichens and mosses that oftentimes completely cover the branches of the cloud forest trees. Just before dusk is the time to look for the lira tailed nightjar. Overnight in Posada San Pedro.
DAY 3: Cloud forest – Cusco. Early in the morning we have another walk through the forest; as always it is teeming with life and by now many birds, monkeys, insects, trees and plants are familiar to us. We hike till our car picks us up to take us to Huatocto, near Paucartambo. This is a traditional Andean Community where there used to be a big hacienda in colonial times. Of course the hacienda was built on top of Inka ruins! From here we travel by car to Cusco, where we arrive in the late afternoon.
Tambopata National Reserve
Peru's Tambopata-Candamo Reserve is located in the department of Madre de Dios, just half an hour's plane ride from Cusco. In this amazing biological reserve, three different ecosystems converge together: the Amazonian plain, the eastern slopes of the Andes and the Pampas ecosystem. This environmental diversity had allowed at least 11 different types of forests to co-exist leading to an incredible biodiversity. The Tambopata-Candamo Reserve can only be accessed by boat, usually from the town of Puerto Maldonado the capital of the Madre de Dios department. There are daily flights from Puerto Maldonado to and from Lima and Cusco usually arriving and departing early in the morning.
Although 2 day / 1 night packages are available, a minimum stay of 4 days / 3 nights is highly recommended. Even with a 4 day trip the first morning is taken up just getting from Cusco to the lodge. A guided tour into the jungle is arranged for the afternoon of the first day and the following days in the mornings, middays and some night safari in the evenings. You leave the lodge before sunrise on the fourth day to make the connection with the flight back to Lima or Cusco (about 9 am). During your stay in the lodge you will encounter a large variety of trees and plants as well as seeing many different insects and birds. Your chances of seeing wild mammals is quite low apart from the occasional sighting of monkeys. Don't go with high expectations of seeing the jaguar or tapir in the Tambopata reserve, although they have been seen by some lucky visitors.