Low impact Manu - Cloud Forest 3d/2n

Itinerary

The cloud forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes is a mysterious environment, clad in elfin forest and mist hanging among the trees. This montane rainforest is a unique environment which is home to a huge number of species, especially birds, but also mammals, such as the Andean spectacled bear.

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 4000m before descending to the cloud forest. In these green and moist surroundings, we take our first long walk. There are many bird species to be seen among which the beautiful paradise tanager, umbrella bird, and the golden-headed quetzal. Among its butterflies are clouded yellows and various skippers. The cloud forest has three monkey species: the woolly monkey plus the two capuchin monkeys of Manu. There are plenty of other mammal species, but they are more difficult to see. We end our walk at the lek of the strange looking cock-of-the-rock, to watch the dance and singing ‘performance’ of the males right under our eyes. We spend the night in the rustic lodge Posada San Pedro (appr. 1,600m).

Day 2

Lowland Forest

At daybreak we continue by bus to tropical lowland rainforest, stopping along the way to visit a cocoa plantation. Arriving at the small village Atalaya at 650m, we change into a motorized canoe to navigate some 40 minutes down the fast Alto Madre de Dios River. Then we take a 30-minute walk to one of the very few lakes on the Alto Madre de Dios River. You can go around this small lake on traditional balsa rafts and from there admire the enormous rainforest variety in aquatic birds, such as the muscovy duck, Neotropic cormorant, anhinga, the white-necked and capped herons and the prehistoric-looking hoatzin. Usually, the water is clean enough to be able to see many kinds of tropical fish which we may know from aquaria at home.  It is common to see squirrel monkeys or others, in the trees around. In the late afternoon, we boat back up the Alto Madre de Dios River to Atalaya. Along the way back by bus to the cloud forest, we stop at an orchid garden, set up with much care and enthusiasm by a local inhabitant. The night is spent again at 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 walk until our car picks us up to take us to Cusco, where we arrive in the late afternoon.

Rates in 2018

 

2018 Departures (Fridays):

  • January  05 – 12 – 19 – 26
  • February 02 – 09 – 16 – 23
  • March 02 – 09 – 16 – 23 – 30
  • April  06 – 13 – 20 – 27
  • May 04 – 11 – 18 – 25
  • June 01 – 08 – 15 – 22 – 29
  • July 06 – 13 – 20 – 27
  • August 03 – 10 – 17 – 24 – 31
  • September 07 – 14 – 21 – 28
  • October 05 – 12 – 19 – 26
  • November 02 – 09 – 16 – 23 – 30
  • December 07 – 14 – 21 – 28
This tour starts and ends in Cusco, which is located in the highlands of Peru. It is well connected by plane from Lima and there are daily flights to Arequipa, Juliaca, Puerto Maldonado and even to La Paz (Bolivia).
We travel to the Cloud Forest by bus, which leaves early in the morning. It is thus necessary to spend the night before your trip to the Cloud Forest in Cusco. A representative will pick you up at your hotel at about 6:00 am. The journey to Cloud Forest takes about 8 hours, as we make some stops along the way.
–           Naturalist guide in English and Spanish
–           Transportation Cusco/Atalaya & Atalaya/Cusco by private bus
–           Excursions as described in the programs
–           Overnights in lodge
–           Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
–           Water at any time and warm drinks or lemonades with meals
–           Guide book for rainforest of Manu – Talking About Manu
  • Air tickets.
  • Soft drinks and beer
  • Personal expenses

Please note that itineraries may vary slightly to maximize wildlife viewing, depending on the reports of our local researchers and experienced naturalist guides.

The jungle is not a place to show off expensive jewelry or delicate clothes. Please arrive in clothes that you do not mind getting slightly dirty or wet, and please make sure to wear footwear that is suitable for walking on a (possibly muddy) rainforest trail.

Weather:

The Cloud Forest is located high up on the mountain slopes. Thus, the climate is relatively cool and almost always damp or wet, with high precipitation. From May to September is ‘dry season’, which means it is relatively drier and cooler than during the rest of the year.

Manu National Park encompasses a huge region and many different ecosystems stretching over a great range of altitude. Thus the weather will be radically different in the Cloud Forest than in the Amazonian lowland portions.

In the cloud forest, at 1600 m., where temperatures are about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). In Manu’s lowland forest, the temperature at night is normally around 24 degrees Celsius (75F) and during the day about 30 degrees Celsius (86F). However, cold winds from Patagonia may reach Manu and the temperature may lower to about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). These “friajes” are more common during the southern hemisphere’s wintertime (between April and the end of August).

Healthcare:

Yellow fever vaccinations is required in Manu, so please bring a valid certificate. Malaria is rare in the cloud forest. Check with the CDC for current health information. Dengue Fever and Leishmaniasis are present in the region. Prevention is the best medicine: wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat and cover exposed areas with effective bug repellent (deet content at least 20%).

 

  • Good binoculars
  • Camera gear 
  • Daypack
  • re-sealable (ziplock) plastic bags (to keep things dry)
  • Two or three pairs of long pants (including at least one pair that you don’t mind getting dirty. Fast drying type is recommended.)
  • Absorbent cotton socks
  • Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home)
  • Sweater, Fleece or light jacket
  • Three or four long-sleeved cotton shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Bathing suit
  • A bottle or canteen to carry water on outings
  • Sunscreen lotion (high factor)
  • A hat that will not come off in windy boat-rides
  • One pair of shorts
  • Sunglasses
  • A pair of sneakers or sandals and a pair of hiking boots (with good gripping soles) 
  • Insect repellent (Skin-so-soft for the river, and 35% or more deet for forest)
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • A large, bright flashlight, spare bulb, and batteries
  • Personal toiletries and medications
  • Toilet paper
  • Cash for souvenirs at the lodge stand, alcoholic beverages, etc

MAIN GOAL: EDUCATIONAL TOURISM
The company was set up to educate tourists and students about the complicated ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest. This education will raise awareness and understanding about the importance of conserving the rainforest.

RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION As a natural consequence of our wish to stop rainforest destruction through education, we also initiate and support research and conservation projects, both in the reserved zone and in the cultural zone of Manu. In the past, our projects focused on primate ecology (Monk Saki research) and the macaw dynamics at clay licks. Our present student projects include tree species reforestation at Pantiacolla Lodge.


INDIGENOUS AMAZON PEOPLES

Nevertheless, during the early years, it became clear that the rainforest can only have a chance to survive if the people who live there, can continue to do so in a sustainable way. In the past, indigenous people have established found ingenious techniques to survive, embedded in a specific world vision that enabled not only their long-term survival but necessarily also that of the rainforest. It is sad to have to say that all outside influence, from the missionaries up to the present-day mining and oil exploiters, has only eroded the traditional sustainable relationship that existed between indigenous people and their rainforest. Our company is determined to help find solutions for all involved, indigenous people and outsiders alike, to assure the survival of the Amazon rainforest.


Yine Project

Our determination has led to several projects. In 2000 we started with the far-reaching Yine Project in Manu´s Diamante Native Community. We built the Yine Lodge and designed a 3-day tourism program. The lodge was meant to be used as a “school environment” for the Yine to have a place to learn and practice their skills in eco-tourism services, while the 3-day circuit gave the Yine the opportunity to teach and share their knowledge and skills with their tourist visitors. Due to our long-term commitment, many essential differences between the western and the indigenous worldviews have come to light, and we work together to find satisfying and sustainable solutions. In April 2015, the Yine Lodge was handed over to the Yine community, in accordance with the initial agreement.

Oil Exploitation & Harakmbut
In 2009, the initiation of oil exploration by Hunt Oil Company in the reserve east of Manu, the Amarakaeri Indigenous Reserve, has led to the cooperation of some Harakmbut families of the Shintuya Community in our ecotourism programme, as a sustainable alternative for the economical offers of the oil company. The Harakmbut have a space of a couple of hours in some of our tours to show their magical dances, songs, stories and other techniques that helped them to survive for many centuries in the Amazon.

At the same time, we offer financial and intellectual support for the complex legal journey the people of Amarakaeri Indigenous Reserve have chosen as a means to be heard by the Peruvian government and oil company alike. Our earlier experiences with the Yine Project now prove beneficial to building a broader understanding between the different stakeholders.