- Tour Plan
- PDF Info
- Similar Tours
- Accommodation at Casa Matsiguenka
- Accommodation at Pankotsi Lodge
- Duffel Bags
- English Speaking Guide
- Free Storage Room in Cusco
- Guadalupe Lodge (Private Toilets, WIFI, Hot Showers, Mosquito Net)
- Lodging (Double Bed Occupancy)
- Meals (Vegetarian, Vegan Optional)
- Motor Boat Transport
- Overland Transportation (SUV - Minivan)
- Rubber Boots
- Snacks (fresh fruits, cookies, chocolate)
- Unlimited Purified Wáter
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Day 1st Breakfast- Last Day Dinner
- Entrance Fees to Hummingbird Gardens
- Single Supplement
Manu Reserved Zone Tour
This tour will take you to the remoteness of the Manu National Park. Unlike no other, this specific tour package is crafted for those wanting to access the unspoiled, and virgin areas. In less than a week. This is an express version of our guided tours, exploring the Manu Reserved Zone in all its glory. Traveling the classical overland journey from Cusco, and motorboat through the rainforest along the Madre de Dios river.
Manu Reserved Zone vs Cultural Zone.
Here are some differences between the Reserved Zone in contrast to the Cultural Zone of Manu. Nevertheless, it would be worth adding a few days to your program while you’re here. To explore the wilderness and all Manu has to offer, let’s get a closer view so the blue patch is the Cultural zone while the orange patch is the reserved zone, (virtual map created on Google My Maps can be enlarged)
Manu Park Extended Programs
Features Manu Reserved Zone Tour
- Reserve Zone tours generally range from 5 to 8 days. All tours start with overland transport from Cusco over the mountains and the cloud forest. Guadalupe Lodge at the base of the cloud forest is where you will spend the first night. However, some tours designed for the Manu reserved zone skip the cloud forest and cultural zone. This is only on the first day of travel. This is in order to give more time, in the reserved zone section.
- When visiting the Manu Reserve Zone, you will be accommodated in the lodges which can only be accessed by motorboat. This passes by the Limonal Ranger Station Control.
- Due to the location, there is much more wildlife in the Reserved Zone. Larger predators inhabit these areas, surrounded by pristine forests. (Jaguar, Anaconda, Black Caymans, giant river otters.)
- The government protects these rainforests which lay under the reserved zone. Because of this, there is not much human intrusion from the outside world. This is in terms of preservation and most importantly protection.
- Tours going to the reserved zone imply more staff in operation, so that would include; tour guides, cooks, motorboat drivers, and assistants accompanying the group. Weather conditions are similar in both areas. The temperature is especially warmer in the reserved zone at a lower elevation. The cultural zone’s temperate forest due to its proximity to the cloud forest. The rainfall is likely the same in both areas.
Attractions & Activities Manu Reserved Zone
The reserved zone is a term used to refer to the location inside Manu Park, it comprises the Limonal Ranger Station at the lower Manu basin. Near to the confluence with the Alto Madre de Dios river towards Pakitza Ranger station. The following activities are exclusive of our reserved zone (up 6 days tour program)
Salvador Oxbow lake
One of the favorite spots for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and birders. Even the guides, explore this quiet environment by paddling catamarans (motorboats are prohibited). On these boats are great ways to certainly observe; giant river otters, large black caimans, aquatic birds, emperor tamarin, and even pygmy marmoset. It is a great location to catch amazing sunrises and sunsets. However, the visits to the lake are subject to scheduled times (around 2 hours for each group). The tour guides request admittance while registering at the Limonal Ranger Station.
Canopy Tower at the Otorongo Oxbow Lake.
A metal tower aside from the lake, the canopy tower welcomes you with the chance to capture and take in the stunning views of this wonderful section of untouched rainforest. This bird’s eye view experience is something that you would never usually encounter while exploring the forest at ground level. Winding through the trail networks, to the dock, and up the tower allows you to see; aquatic birds, caimans, and giant river otters. The lake is not open to navigation.
Trail Exploration in the Pristine Forest
There are at least 2 major types of the primary forest you will be able to explore from Varzea, known as the seasonally flooded forest (in the high water season). Other trails you will navigate take you through Terra Firme Forest, a forest that is the habitat for the Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa). Each forest and trail you pass through holds a unique wildlife collection and forest contrast. The only human intrusion into this forest was during the time of The Amazonian rubber boom. This didn’t last too long, and most of the forest remains intact.
Macaw Clay Licks at Casa Matsiguenka
Nearby Casa Matsiguenka you can visit the Macaw Clay Lick that attracts parakeets, parrots, and large macaws. At any time during the morning, parakeets congregate and start to gather to eat the clay. This is an important part of their diet. This activity is only available during the dry season and is dependent on a few other factors. The second accessible clay licks are located in the vicinity of the Limonal ranger station. Both attract medium-sized macaws, parrots, and many more parakeets.
The Maizal Clay Lick it’s probably the best one to visit, in terms of large macaws that are abundant but currently lack any infrastructure. It’s located in the Intangible Manu Area (further up from Pakitza) But yet prohibited for tourists to explore that far. Besides the mentioned clay lick the Blanquillo it’s fabled as the most visited and is located beyond the Park, in the lower Madre de Dios Basin.
The boat navigation itself along the Manu River is one of the highlights of these excursions. Here is a place like no other. In these spots, the chances of encountering a wildcat are heightened. Catch a glimpse of jaguars, and big mammals (Tapirs, Capybaras). Not to mention the large caimans that can be seen lounging on the river banks. Through animal monitoring, most wildlife is reported in its prime during the dry season.
The weather also plays a key role in performing good wildlife sightings. The recommended times to venture for navigation would be early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is also the perfect time for exploring the river after heavy rain at any time or when Friajes (cold fronts) are gone.
Casa Matsiguenka Lodging
Most of the tour-designed programs that go and stay at Casa Matsiguenka (the core of the park) require a minimum of a week of traveling by ground from Cusco and river transport from Atalaya or Shipeteari Port.
The location of Casa Matsiguenka plays an important role in achieving a real experience in the wilderness and visiting the most natural attractions inside the Park. The Lodge is a luxury area to say you are in the Amazon. Well situated on the left side of the Manu River. Each bungalow has two beds with mosquito netting. Shared bathroom facilities are in a separate building. We generate our electricity with solar panels. There is also a separate building with a kitchen and a small dining room. On top of that, the people who run this lodge are Matsiguenka Natives, which makes it different from the other lodge management in the Southern Amazon Rainforest.
Larger Kapok Trees
Now, these trees are impressive. Kapok trees are much larger in the whole Manu Basin. There is one along the trail that goes to Otorongo Owbox Lake. However, there are few giant trees in the vicinity of Machuwasy Lake (Cultural Zone)
This express tour takes you into the Real Amazon experience. Divulge yourself with the monkeys, brightly colored birds, and creatures that live here. To be able to witness a part of nature that is on the decline. Travel through the wilderness, to the unseen locations we have to offer.
Manu Cultural Zone Features
- Contrary to the Reserve Zone. Tours designed only for the Cultural Zone of Manu National Park, do not enter the Reserved area.
- Most of the Cultural Zone or Buffers Zone is adjacent to the park and supports most of the pressure from human activities. The cultural zone has unquestionably a vital role to play. It literally acts as the shield that protects the park from outside pressure.
- Mosquitos along the cultural Zone aren’t a big problem except during dusk and during nighttime. There is much more to deal with if going into the Manu Reserved Zone.
- The Wild Watch Peru short guided tours of 2, 3, and 4 days only go to the edge of the park or cultural zone (the tour/program’s duration varies according to the operator, and agency). In effect, the journey is the same as a transect from the Andes, Cloud forest to the tropical rainforest of 500 meters in elevation. So you don’t get much of a feel for the lowland rainforest on short tours.
- If you take a Manu Reserved Zone Tour, you should be accompanied by a registered tour operator and licensed guide. (Authorisation and tickets are requested at the Limonal Ranger Station). However, the Cultural Zone is easy to explore independently. (Registration or tickets are not needed when entering this entire zone.) It is more than advisable to hire a local guide to visit the stunning attractions.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
Cusco - Guadalupe Lodge
After Picking you up in Cusco, the beginning of the Manu Road passes through numerous dry inner-mountain valleys and picturesque villages. This gives you a quick overview of locals’ lifestyles and colorful clothes. A brief call at Ninamarca will give you the possibility to explore the pre-Incas tombs within this well archaeological site. The road includes various stops, so you can enjoy seeing the surrounding landscapes varying from high mountains to humid forests. The next stop will occur in the village of Paucartambo which features a beautiful arched colonial bridge. From Paucartambo the altitude will keep on increasing and the setting gradually gets enveloped by a cloudy mist. The road leads you to Acjanaco pass consisting of the main gateway to Manu National Park. Once across Acjanaco Pass (3550 m / 11.647 ft) the environment dramatically changes from dry to wet valleys. Do not miss the splendid view when looking down toward the lowlands! The lush and misty cloud forest surrounded by massive rocks and waterfalls is perhaps the most fragile and threatened type of rainforest. In such an environment filled with lichens and moss-carpeted soil, spotting birds will be the main target. You will get the chance to stare at a large variety of birds ranging from the Peruvian national bird, the brightly red Andean Cock-of-the-Rock if lucky the wooly monkeys. The road will head down to the Guadalupe lodge (560 m./1837 ft). Overnight at Guadalupe Lodge (Private Toilets, Hot Showers, WIFI). Upon arrival at the property, you will be able to explore a loop trail that traverses the swamp forest in the search of the capuchin and night monkeys and encounter interesting bird activities before dusk such as the blue and yellow macaws, woodpeckers, oropendolas among others.
Guadalupe Lodge - Boca Manu - Casa Matsiguenka
We depart as early as possible to the Atalaya port to embark on our motor boat (roofed to prevent any sudden rain and sunshine) so we will appreciate the view of how we will leave behind the Andean Mountain and get immersed into the dense rainforest, amazing views of the river flowing towards the horizon and gradually the mountains disappearing and much flatter of evergreen forest, you will be able to observe myriads of colorful birds such as; macaws, parrots, toucans, caciques, oropendolas, the navigation it’s along the lower basin of the Alto Madre de Dios River, this travel route provides good chances to observe some interesting wildlife such a; capybaras, monkeys, etc. After around 5 hours of boat travel, we will reach the confluence with the Manu River, we stop briefly at the Limonal ranger station for check-in then, we travel upriver we’ll search diligently for any signs of Jaguar, still, only a slim chance but this river is perhaps the best location to find this magnificent mammal, just a few curves up the river the environment will change, there will be orders of magnitude more to look at, from hundred if not thousands of swallows and butterflies, every single sandbar being occupied by something interesting. We will reach the Casa Matsigueka lodge (before dusk) which it´s set aside a short distance from the Rio Manu in the heart of Manu National Park and stay the following couple of nights. * Night walks are optional and depend on travelers' desires.
Casa Matsiguenka (Lake Exploration , Trails , Macaw Clay Lick )
We will have the better part to enjoy Manu´s Wilderness, in the morning, we will explore the Salvador oxbow lake famous for its population of Giant Otters which usually breed there, they can be seen at different times of the day, and this is gregarious and playful carnivorous spend a good deal of their time fishing or playing by any side of the lake or just taking a sunbath on their favorite dead logs. We’ll have access to a floating catamaran (two large canoes connected by wooden planks) with chairs set up for bird and wildlife viewing (which makes paddling around the lake easy and comfortable. Apart from looking for the giant river otters, we’ll have the chance for many of the lake edge species, including the fabulous Hoatzin, Agami, and herons, interesting raptors, colorful macaws oropendolas, and caciques. Just floating around the lake will be one of the joys of the trip, In the forest around the lake we’ll also search for more species of monkeys such as white-fronted capuchin, and pygmy marmoset. Apart from the lake, the forest around Salvador Lake and the lodge are some of the best Amazonian rainforests we have seen, and a nice network of trails allows us to leisurely stroll on flat trails the rest of the day. During midday we will explore the terra Firme, the route takes you through Terraza Forest” forest which is the habitat for Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) among other species of trees as you move deep into the heart of the forest is also an excellent place to run into troops of monkeys, we will reach the macaw clay lick that attracts the red and green macaws visiting this clay lick is also always a big highlight of the trip. Overnight: Casa Machiguenga lodge. (Please notice that the time to visit the Salvador lagoon on this day is subject to availability)
Casa Machiguenga– El Dorado Lodge
This morning we’ll board our boat and begin the journey down the Rio Manu. On the way, we will pass by the trailhead of the Otorongo Oxbow Lake, where we will be able to walk inside pristine and have an impression of how the forest looks like it inside, there is a trail network that allows visiting a canopy tower that overlooks the lake and swamps and few other wooden platforms to observe some aquatic wildlife and alligators. This forest section also harbors one of the largest kapok trees, visitors can walk nearby its root system to see its enormous size. We’ll also have access and briefly see the untouched rainforest. Returning to the boat trip will be again very exciting with lots of bird activity on the many sandbars as well as side-necked turtles sunning on the logs. This will be again another opportunity for catching a glimpse of the magnificent Jaguar. After about four hours we will reach the Limonal ranger station to register and brief stop for toilets. Lunch will be served on the boat and we arrive at the Dorado Lodge by mid-afternoon to have enough time to explore the surroundings, night walk available depending on the wishes of the group.
El Dorado Lodge - Guadalupe Lodge
This morning we will have the opportunity to visit the Macaw Clay lick that is located in the vicinity of the lodge, you will be able to see how many medium-sized macaws, Parrots & Parakeets will gather to eat some minerals from the bare soil then, we will boat up the fast-flowing braided and clear water upper Madre de Dios in the morning as we start our five hours back journey to Atalaya this is the last chance to spot the capybara, the world’s largest rodent. We’ll keep a close watch for raptors, as we have seen numerous Kites, as well as fun birds such as Vultures, and eagles. We’ll continue navigating the upper Alto Madre de Dios River and our re-introduction into civilization at Atalaya Port, after one hour of overland transportation, we reach the Guadalupe Lodge and have time for a night walk around the area.
Guadalupe Lodge - Cusco
A morning walk before breakfast to explore the foothill forest to look for the Wooly and Capuchin monkeys, you could encounter some emblematic birds of the Amazon rainforest such as macaws, toucans, woodpeckers, etc. The walk route it’s a loop, then allowing you to explore the caves and canyons to see animals that only live in darkness, spider scorpions, and different species of bats * flashlights are needed Upon your return, your tasty breakfast will be ready, then you will need to pack and start hitting the road again to Cusco. The way back will give more opportunities to glimpse some more animals and discover the wildlife of the cloud forest and have impressive views of the exuberant cloud forest with waterfall, and cascades. The arrival in Cusco should be around 4 pm. ** Please if you need an earlier arrival to Cusco let us know.
This tour has taken people into the remoteness of the Manu National Park. The tour is crafted for those wanting to access the unspoiled, and virgin areas and see the most emblematic wildlife in the neotropics.