Day 1: We leave Cusco early in the morning in our specialized overland vehicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as "Chullpas". We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanaju pass, witch marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, trees Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exist between 2000 and 3500 meters above sea level, and at least 50 per cent of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our open air lodge “San Pedro”.
Day 2: Today we weak up very early to observe the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola Peruviana), Peru’s national bird from a platform. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange, and at about 5:00 a.m. As many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called Lek. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue in our overland transport (*1) down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward the town of Pillcopata (*2) and then to Atalaya Port. Here we board our covered, outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 15 minutes toward our private reserve of "Erika" where we will hike through the interesting trail system that this transitional area between high and low jungle offers. Overnight in the lodge.
(*1) Optional: Descend with mountain bikes from our San Pedro Lodge (1700 meters above sea level) Cloud Forest to Pillcopata (700 meters above sea level) High Jungle.
(*2) Optional: Here in Pillcopata town we will make the final setting for a 1,5 to 3 hour river rafting (class I and II rapid) trip down the Kosñipata river where we will have the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq Canyon. Continuing down the Alto Madre de Dios River to Erika Lodge.
Day 3: After breakfast we board our canoe for the three-hour ride down the Alto Madre de Dios River to Boca Manu’s airstrip. (Optional flight from Cusco to Boca Manu, this means that some new members may join our group, the plane files over the Andes to a narrow gravel landing strip in the jungle, the flight takes approximately 45 minutes) Boca Manu’s Village is situated a shot distance from the confluence of the Manu River with alto Madre de Dios River place where you can buy your last fresh supplies and cold drinks before setting off again in the canoe. Now we enter the Manu River and the Reserved Zone, stopping in a white sand beach where we camp along the river bank. Short walk around the area.
Day 4: After registering in the official tourist logbook at Limonal, the Park Rangers Headquarters and eating an early breakfast, we follow the Manu River until we arrive Salvador Lake, our base safari campsite (screened dining room, bathrooms, radio communication is available). This canoe ride gives us the opportunity to observe the immensity of the rainforest and the diversity of birdlife, reptiles and mammals. You will often see animals sunning themselves on beaches, or foraging for food in the trees lining the river banks. We arrive early in the afternoon and have lunch before setting off on a jungle trail. Our time is spent looking for wildlife inside the rainforest and on Salvador Oxbow Lake by paddling quietly along on a catamaran, giving us the opportunity to observe unique species of birds, monkeys, caimans and with luck the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). This endangered species can be seen swimming, fishing, eating and playing.
Day 5: We rise early in the morning as the forest is awakened by the Red Howler monkey (Aloatta Seniculus) declaring its territory. A morning walk before breakfast is a great way to catch wildlife in the pursuit of food, as the temperature is very pleasant at this time of day. After relaxing and swimming in the river we enjoy lunch along the riverbank, after this, we cross the river to walk an 8 km trail to another oxbow lake called Otorongo. A strategically located observation tower rises 15 meters above the lake and the jungle floor, giving us more chances to observe wildlife including the Giant Otter. Late in the afternoon we will use the catamaran (optional) and with the help of flashlights we can observe the black caimans rise from the depths of the lake and begin their search for prey. Return to the campsite.
Day 6: Once again we wake up early, enjoy a brief morning walk and eat breakfast, then pack up camp and go down stream the interesting Manu River. We arrive at Boca Manu midday, this village is situated a short distance from the confluence of the Manu and Alto Madre de Dios rivers. From here we descend the Madre de Dios River arriving early in the afternoon after three hours ride to Blanco Private Reserve. Camp at the safari campsite and spend one more night in this magical Amazon jungle.
Day 7: After a very early wake up, we use a special hide in the river shore in front to the "Collpa" macaw lick. We quietly observe the various parrots feeding on the clay for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. The brightly colored macaws usually wait patiently in the surrounding trees until the smaller parrot species have left the area. Slowly, the macaws come down to the clay wall to feed. We need a lot of patience and silence on the catamaran so as not to disturb them as they eat the clay. Around mid morning we board our canoe to return to the airstrip at Boca Manu. At this point, those who are returning to Cusco by plane will catch their flight. This optional flight from Boca Manu to Cusco offers spectacular views of the surrounding jungle and the area’s meandering rivers. The others continue up the Alto Madre de Dios River to camp on an appropriate beach in the Cultural Zone and enjoy the sites and sounds of the jungle for one last night.
Day 8: Waking up very early, we continue the trip by boat to Atalaya, where the bus will be waiting for us and drive back up and out of Manu, arriving in Cusco very late this night or the next early morning.
- Bring with you:
* Binoculars, camera and film ASA 200 and 400 for the inner forest
* Sleeping bag
* Warm clothing (in case of a cold front), long sleeve shirts and long pants (cotton)
* 100 per cent waterproof rain gear (long poncho or rain wear)
* Insect repellent (at least 50 per cent deet), sunscreen lotion
* One pair of light weight ankle height boots and sandals
* Flashlight, enough batteries (alkaline) and bulbs
* Wide brim hat (for sunny days), sun glasses
* Towel, swimming suit, personal medicines and/or supplies (e.g. liquid for contact lenses)
* Day pack, and one back pack or duffel bag of luggage per person
* One bottle of water for the first day, plastic bags
- In order to meet with group and guide, receive last recommendations and answer questions, briefing one day prior to departure at 7:00 p.m. at the agency.
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