Day 1: Cusco - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. We pick you up by bus from your hotel, after your breakfast, and set off for the cloud forest. We pass over two Andean chains of almost 13,100 feet elevation through a steppe-like landscape, or Puna. On the way we pass stone Chullpas, or burial chambers, of the Pre-Inca people and will hope to catch sight of some of the bird species of the high Andes, including the Giant Hummingbird and Mountain Caracara. We plan on a delicious boxed lunch at the edge of the cloud forest, Ajanaco, which if clear affords views over the cloud forest and the vast sprawling expanse of the lowland rain forest. From here the road suddenly descends the eastern slope of the Andes.
We plunge downwards, past remnant patches of elfin forest, through swirling mist and cloud, to emerge in a forest of stunted, evergreen trees, festooned with mosses, lichens, bromeliads and other epiphytes. Nestled in this forest within a 2-minute walk of the road, and within earshot of a rushing mountain stream, lies the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. If there is time available, we will have a chance to briefly begin our exploration of the surrounding forest before dinner. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge - Pantiacolla Lodge. We need to get up before sunrise to visit the lek of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Next, we spend some hours of the morning searching from the road looking for cloud forest birds, and with luck, Common Woolly Monkeys. Then continue by bus for Atalaya. After a 3-4 hour bus ride we reach the Alto Madre de Dios River, where we may have box lunch in Atalaya or choose to eat on the River. From here we switch over to a cargo canoe with a 55 hp or 65 HP outboard motor and continue for 1.5 - 2 hours on the Alto Madre de Dios River to the Pantiacolla Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Pantiacolla Lodge – Manu Wildlife Center. You can take a small hike on the Lodge trails before leaving early for Manu Wildlife Center. On the way we have wildlife viewing possibilities throughout the morning until you stop for a visit at an Indigenous Piro Indian Village. Later after passing the entrance to the Manu National Park, we take a break at Boca Manu. Now on the River Madre de Dios, after traveling today approximately 6 hours by boat, you arrive at Manu Wildlife Center. A Wildlife Center Reception and Orientation are planned before unpacking in your private bungalow and resting to escape the afternoon heat. Today, at one of the top ten wildlife lodges in the world, we begin your exploration through 48 kilometers, almost 30 miles, of diverse forest trails. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Manu Wildlife Center. Rising before dawn, we take a 25 minute boat journey downstream to the only large parrot and macaw clay lick in the Manu area. From a floating catamaran blind we are afforded excellent views and photo opportunities of hundreds of medium-sized and large parrots arriving first at the lick, followed by the large Red-and-Green Macaws arriving to eat the clay. Please note that the clay lick is not as active in May, June and July. After lunch at the Center we continue to explore the forest trails surrounding the lodge, and plan to spend the late afternoon up a 34 meter canopy platform. Here, we watch the last frantic activity in the rainforest canopy, or rush hour, before night settles.
We can return for dinner back at the Center, or pack our meal for the leisurely hike about 60-75 minutes through the night forest to the Amazon’s largest known Tapir clay lick. We climb up a 17 by 17 foot observation platform perched 17 feet above the lick itself where we wait for the lumbering Tapirs to arrive, then using powerful flashlights we hope to observe and photograph them in action. Includes: (B), (L, (D).
Day 5: Manu Wildlife Center. After another early morning departure by boat and short hike from the river, you have what promises to be an exciting visit to Blanco Oxbow Lake. This lake has populations of a variety of aquatic life and water birds, including the prehistoric-looking hoatzin and the possibility to see the resident family of giant otters. After returning for lunch at the Center your guide is available to further explore the forest trails for more wildlife encounters. Alternatively, time is available to independently practice your abilities and experience this expanse of rainforest habitats on your own.
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. A short boat ride takes you to Manu Wildlife Center, home for the next two nights, where at dusk you'll take a short hike to wait for the Amazon's largest land mammal, the Brazilian tapir to show up at the clay lick. Chances are better than 50/50 that he'll appear, often as close as 10 meters. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Manu wildlife Center - Cusco. After early breakfast, we leave near dawn by motor canoe for the two hour return trip to the Manu landing strip, taking advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river. From here you fly to Cusco, where your jungle adventure ends. Arrival at Cusco Airport, reception and transfer to your hotel. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru Nature & Wildlife National Parks Rainforest