- Tour Plan
- Additional Info
- Similar Tours
- Accommodation on double bed room
- Activities Listed in the Program
- All meals included (vegetarian, vegan mentioned in advance)
- Best available Lodges in the area
- Box lunch
- Duffel Bags for Travelling Light
- Entrance Fees to the Guadalupe Ecological Reserve
- Entrance tickets to Manu National Park (Reserved Zone)
- Free Storage Room in Cusco
- Illustrated map of Manu National Park
- Professionally Local Guide
- Rubber Boots
- Snacks (fresh fruits, cookies, chocolate)
- Touristic Transportation
- Unlimited Purified Water
- Alcoholic Drinks
- First day breakfast
- Nights on Single Supplement
- Services not specifically stated in the itinerary
Manu Reserved Zone Tours – 6 days Tour
Our Manu Reserved Zone Tour of 6 days 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 some differences between the Reserved zone in contrast to the Cultural Zone of Manu. Never-the-less, 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 its can enlarge)
What makes it different from visiting the Manu Reserved Zone?
- 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 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 at 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 implies more staff in operation, so that would include; tour guides, cooks, motorboat drivers, and assistances 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 likely the same in both areas.
Activities & attractions inside the Touristic / Reserved Zone of Manu
The reserved zone is a term used to refer to the location inside the Manu Park, it comprises 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 most favorite spots for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, birders. Even for the guides, to explore this quiet environment by paddled 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.
· The Canopy tower at the Otorongo Oxbow Lake.
A metal tower aside from the lake, the canopy tower welcomes you 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 allow 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 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 to this forest was during the time of The Amazonian rubber boom. This didn’t last too long, to which most of the forest remains intact.
· Macaw Clay Licks
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 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 much more parakeets.
The Maizal Clay lick i’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 of 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.
· Boat navigation along the Manu River
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 to perform 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.
Tours hosted at the exclusive Casa Matsiguenka
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 the Casa Matsiguenka plays an important role in achieving a real experience in the wilderness and accomplish in 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 night-time. There is much more to deal with if going into the Manu Reserved Zone.
- Short guided tours of 3, 4, and 5 days only go to the edge of the park or cultural zone. 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 tour into the Reserved Zone, 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 to enter this entire zone.) It is more than advisable to hire a local guide to visit the stunning attractions.
If you are ready for adventure and are looking to immerse yourself into the Amazonian world. This is the tour for you.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
Cusco - El Dorado Lodge
- Breakdown of Day 1;
- Start Time: 4.30/5.00/5.30.
- Duration: Approx 10 hours travel, by car & boat.
- Locations on Route: Paucartambo - Colonial Town. / Acjanaco Pass.
- Atalaya Port, - motorboat.
- Ramble through Primary Forest.
- El Dorado Lodge - final destination.
Early departure from Cusco in the morning. 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 colourful traditional attire. A brief stop at the village of Paucartambo which features 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 in 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 giant boulders and waterfalls is perhaps the most fragile and threatened type of rainforest. In such environment filled with lichens and moss-carpeted soil. Passing by some local villages already at the lower elevation rainforest we will be transferred to the Atalaya port where you can appreciate the view of myriads of colourful birds and a rich wildlife. At Atalaya river’s port, we embark in a motor boat and navigate down this crystalline river of Madre de Dios and having lunch onboard
After 4 hours, you will reach the El Dorado Lodge, this boat journey will be exciting to look for some aquatic wildlife; capybaras, birds and caimans basking long the river bank. In the mid-afternoon, you will ramble through the primary forest searching for some families of monkeys, peccaries, in the meantime, you will be provided with some explanations about medicinal plants, reptiles as well as mammals. Eventually the motor boat will return you back at the Lodge.
El Dorado Lodge - Casa Matsiguenka
- Breakdown of Day 2;
- Breakfast at El Dorado Lodge.
- Manu River - boat journey - Manu National park.
- Casa Matsiguenka.
Early Departure, we will get the confluence with the Manu river we enter the wild Manu National Park a brief stop at Limonal Park Ranger Station for check in. The exciting trip begins with full of sightings experiences, every river bend will bring us a view of unspoiled beauty.
We travel up river 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 changes, there will be orders of magnitude with more sights to see. From hundred if not thousands of swallows and butterflies, every single sandbar being occupied by something interesting, keeping a close watch for wildcats.
In the mid- afternoon, we arrive at our rustic lodge which it´s set aside a short distance from the Rio Manu in the heart of Manu National Park. For our following nights at this peaceful place. Overnight, Casa Matsiguenka Lodge.
In the mid-afternoon, you will get to your lodge located a short distance away from the Rio Manu in the heart of the National Park. Overnight at Casa Matsiguenka
- Breakdown of Day 3;
- Salvador Oxbow Lake, - Catamaran ride, forest trek.
- Casa Matsiguenka.
We will have the better part of two days to enjoy the Manu´s Wilderness. On this morning you will explore the Salvador oxbow lake famous for its population of Giant Otters who usually breed there. They can be seen at different times of the day, these gregarious and playful carnivores spend good deal of their time fishing or playing by any side of the lake or just taking a sunbath on their favourite 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
While exploring the forest you wil ll also search for more species of monkeys such as white fronted capuchin, pygmy marmoset. Apart from the lake, the forest around Salvador Lake and the lodge is some of the best Amazonian rainforest there is to see. Beautiful network of trails allows us to leisurely stroll on flat trails the rest of the day. (Please notice that the time to visit the Salvador lagoon on this day its subject of availability)
Casa Matsiguenka - El Dorado Lodge
- Breakdown of Day 4;
- Rio manu, - Boat journey - side neck turtles, bird watch.
- Boca Manu, - Madre de Dios, boat journeys.
- Trails walk.
- El Dorado Lodge.
This morning we’ll board our boat and begin the journey down the Rio Manu back to the Rio Madre de Dios. The returning to boat trip will be again very exciting with lots of bird activity on the many sandbars as well as side necked turtles sunning themselves on the logs. This will be again another opportunity for catching a glimpse of the magnificent of great wildlife.
After about four hours we will reach Boca Manu for brief stop and to refuel our boat and exploring the lower portion of the Madre de Dios, we get settled for lunch time and likely with enough time to walk around the trails, Overnight at El Dorado Lodge.
El Dorado - Guadalupe Lodge
- Breakdown of Day 5;
- Madre de Dios River, - Boat journey.
- Atalaya Port.
- Night Walks.
- Guadalupe Lodge.
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 capybaras, the world’s largest rodent. Keep a close watch for raptors such as kites, vultures or eagles. We will eventually depart Manu's area for our trip further up the upper Madre de Dios River and our re-introduction into civilisation; after one hour of overland transportation we reach the Guadalupe Ecological Reserve and have time for some night-walks around. We will have diner and spend the overnight at Guadalupe Lodge.
Guadalupe Lodge - Cusco
- Breakdown of Day 6;
- Palm Forest - Bird Watch & Breakfast.
- Drive through the Cloud Forest. Waterfalls, animals. / Journey back to Cusco.
- Arrival in Cusco approx 5pm.
Your morning walk along the palm forest to look for the blue and yellow Macaws and enjoy a tasty breakfast and get ready to pack as you will soon start hit the road again to Cusco.
The way back offers some last impressing views of the exuberant cloud forest.
Do not miss the splendid view when looking down toward the lowlands! The lush and misty cloud forest surrounded by wildlife, rocks, 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, toucans, quetzals or even the large wooly monkeys.
The arrival in Cusco should be around 5pm. it would be depending on traffic conditions while driving towards city centre.
More about Manu National Park
More about this tour
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Provided at the lodge
|Experience has taught us that Wellies are by far the most appropriate footwear for your time in the Jungle. You'll hopefully have noticed we asked for your shoe size on the application form; this is so we can buy you some new ones in Cusco ready for your departure so you don't have to lug them around with you. However, please be aware that is difficult to get Wellington boots over European size 43, so if that's you, please ensure you bring some with you.|
|Flip flops||Useful for use in the bathrooms and for walking around the lodges.|
|T-shirts, cotton shirts and a light sweatshirt||You should bring a mix of short and long-sleeved to protect your arms from mosquito bites.|
|Underwear||Cotton is recommended rather than nylon.|
|Socks||These should be long and made from breathable wool to ensure optimum comfort inside your boots.|
|Sunblock Cream Sun Glass
|At least 40 % DEET|
|Trousers & shorts||It’s important to be wearing long bottoms for protection from bugs and sun. We recommend full-cut khaki bottoms or khaki type pants that can be zipped into shorts. Light wear.|
|Waterproof raincoat/poncho||Even in the dry season, the rain can be heavy so it's good to come prepared!|
|Flashlights||For night activities such as night walks, Caiman Search and for using when the power from the lodges runs off.|