Manu Explorer 6d/5n

Itinerary

This itinerary offers the complete lowland rainforest experience, taking us by air and then motorized canoe to Manu Wildlife Center, This lodge is located east of the Manu River on the north bank of the Madre de Dios River and offers the Amazon’s finest, in‐depth wildlife safari.

The lodge is famous for its abundant and varied wildlife, with its own Tapir clay lick, a nearby macaw and parrot clay lick, two nearby oxbow lakes and two tall canopy viewing towers among its impressive highlights.

The Lodge contains 22 double‐occupancy fully screened private bungalows with hot showers, a large fully screened dining room, and a bar with hammocks for relaxing with the comfort of the Amazon’s finest wildlife lodge, next day in our rustic, Manu Wildlife Tented Camp in the heart of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. In Manu we navigate the waters of an isolated oxbow lake, home to Giant Otters, caimans, monkeys and an endless variety of birds.

Our trip ends downriver with the Amazon’s finest wildlife viewing opportunities, at Manu Wildlife Center. This lodge offers the finest Tapir viewing in the entire Amazon, as Tapirs are nightly visitors to the lodge’s mud wallow. After a canoe and van journey, we reach Puerto Maldonado airport, where you can board a commercial flight back to Cusco or Lima.

Day 1
Puerto Maldonado‐Colorado  ‐Manu Wildlife Center.

Our service begins with your reception early morning followed by a transfer service by van to Santa Rosa Village, we will get there in about 2h30min journey, you will cross the Inambari River for a 15 minutes boat trip to Puerto Carlos, here you will start your overland journey to Boca Colorado for 45 minutes by car, followed by 4h30min by motorized boat journey ride upstream on the Madre de Dios river. We arrive at Manu Wildlife Center for lunch.

Later, we make our first acquaintance with the rainforest, exploring some of the 30 miles of forest trails that surround the lodge. We have an excellent chance of encountering some of the 12 species of monkeys, including the Spider Monkey and Emperor Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest.

After dinner, there will be an enchanting night walk along the trails, in search of the nocturnal birds and animals of the rainforest (L, D)

Day 2
Manu Wildlife Center to Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Tented Camp).

An early start (inevitable on wildlife expeditions), a delicious breakfast is followed by boat journey in the motorized canoe trip up the Madre de Dios River. We make a short visit to the village of Boca Manu, riverside capital of the remote and sparsely populated Peruvian province of Fitzcarrald. The main activity here is building dugout boats for travelers on the river. Logging is prohibited here, so the resourceful villagers work entirely with lumber brought downriver by floodwaters. Now we turn northward up the chocolate‐brown waters of the Manu River into the lake‐rich lower Manu National Park. The pristine quality of the forest is instantly apparent, with abundant birdlife and no signs of outside development. We check into the park at Limonal ranger station and then proceed upstream, as our boat driver steers skillfully through shallows and driftwood snags. Orinoco Geese and Horned Screamers strut on the beaches, Capped and White‐necked Herons patrol the shoreline, and countless sunbathing turtles dive off their log perches as we approach.

After some six hours on the river we reach the Manu Tented Camp, a simple but comfortable low‐impact lodge nestled almost invisibly in the forest. If time permits us, we will take a short walk before dinner to stretch our legs and enjoy our first encounter with virgin rainforest. (B,Box Lunch,D).

Day 3
Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Tented Camp): Cocha Salvador & Cocha Otorongo.

Today we visit two lakes near our camp. Park authorities determine the time of our visit to Cocha (Lake) Salvador; depending on this schedule, we will visit Cocha Otorongo earlier or later in the day. Our trail to Cocha Otorongo begins some 30 minutes downstream from the camp.    This brief river journey to the trailhead can always offer the chance of a thrilling wildlife sighting. Perhaps we will spot a family of capybaras, the world’s largest rodent, looking like giant Guinea Pigs as they browse on the riverbank, or if we are very lucky, a solitary jaguar might stalk slowly off an open beach into the forest, flicking its tail in annoyance at our intrusion. On the short trail to the lake, we may spy one or more of the park’s 13 monkeys species leaping through the canopy high above. And some of the trees, which form that canopy ‐‐ such as kapok, ironwood, and figs, will astound us with the vast size of their trunks and buttressed root systems. These are oxbow lakes, formed when the river changed course, leaving a landlocked channel behind.  The lakes are abundant in fish and wildlife and provide optimum habitat for caimans and the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), one of the Amazon’s most endangered mammal species.

This lake enjoys maximum protection, and boats are not allowed.  However, it features a dock platform and a 50ft tower from which to scan the trees and marshy shoreline for monkeys, kingfishers, Anhinga (a large, long‐necked water bird), and countless other species. We have a good chance of sighting the resident Giant Otter family as they dive for the 4Kg. of fish that each individual consumes daily. Cocha Salvador is the largest of the area’s lakes, at 3.5 Km, or some two miles long.  It is also home to a family of Giant Otters. We cruise the lake on a floating catamaran platform, which offers superb new perspectives of lake and forest.

The lakeside trees are often alive with monkeys; Scarlet, Chestnut‐fronted and Blue‐and‐gold macaws beat a path overhead; a variety of herons and egrets scout the water’s edge; and the reptilian eyes and snouts of caimans, motionless as logs, may be spied beneath the branches.    Somewhere on the open water or in among toppled bankside trees, we may spot the sleek heads of the shy Giant Otters. These social animals play and fish together, and we may see them sprawled on a fallen tree trunk, dozing or gnawing on a fish. (B,L,D)

Day 4
Manu National Park (Manu Wildlife Tented Camp) to Manu Wildlife Center – Macaw Clay Lick Project and Tapir Clay lick.

We set off downriver at dawn.  At this hour chances of wildlife encounters are excellent. We return to the Limonal park station, to file our wildlife report before leaving the park. After reaching the turbulent union of the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu rivers we will be near the village of Boca Manu.    After ninety more minutes downstream we arrive at Manu Wildlife Center ‐‐ the exciting final stop of our journey ‐‐ in time for lunch. After a delicious lunch, we walk through the forest for some minutes, where we find the Macaw Lick project. The hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place for cameras and binoculars to a distance of 15 meters. In groups of two and three, the Scarlet Macaws come flapping in, landing in the treetops as they eye the main stage below.

Later, we continue to explore and discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails surrounding the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon at our 34m/112ft Canopy Tower. On its platform we witness the frantic rush‐ hour activity of twilight in the rainforest canopy, before night closes in. Then we set off along the “collpa trail”, which will take us to the lodge’s famous Tapir Clay lick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in the entire Amazon, our research has identified from 8‐12 individual 600‐pound Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around the edge. This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. The lick features a roomy, elevated observation platform 5m/17ft above the forest floor.

The platform is equipped with freshly‐made‐up mattresses with pillows. Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 10‐m‐long, elevated walkway to the platform is covered with sound‐absorbing padding to prevent our footsteps from making noise. This Tapir Experience is unique and exciting because these normally very shy creatures are visible up close, and flash photography is not just permitted, but encouraged. The hard part for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent anywhere from 30 minutes to two or more hours.  Many prefer to nap until the first Tapir arrives, at which point your guide gently awakens you to watch the Tapir 10‐20m/33‐66ft) away below the platform. Most people feel that the wait is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing the rare and elusive Tapir in its rainforest home. (B/L/D)

Day 5
Manu Wildlife Center to Puerto Maldonado – Departure day.

We leave our lodge very early on the two and a half hours return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village. Depending upon the time we must be in Puerto Maldonado, the breakfast will be served at the lodge or on the boat while you enjoying early morning wildlife activity as we go, of course this is a perfect time to take advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river, in additions this journey allows us to see several lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River.

We will stop in the far‐west type gold‐mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes, then you will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes boat trip to Santa Rosa, finally a van or bus will drive us in approximately two‐hours and a half to the airport in Puerto Maldonado City, with this assistance your jungle adventure ends… (B)

Rates in 2018

Based on double occupancy. For single or triple rates, please inquire.

Arrival

From Lima or Cusco by commercial airplane to Puerto Maldonado followed by a short overland journey and then navigate up the Madre de Dios River by motorized canoe to reach our Manu Wildlife Center, the single best wildlife lodge in the Amazon and offers the Amazon’s finest short, in-depth wildlife safari.

Since this trip starts very early in the morning, it is recommended to stay in Puerto Maldonado the night before.

Fixed departures every Thursday (min. 2 people), operates March – November.

  • Reception, assistance and transfer from the Airport in Puerto Maldonado on the first day and back to the airport on the last day.
  • Overland & River transportation.
  • Accommodation in the following lodges
    1 nights           Manu Wildlife Center
    2 nights           Manu Park Wildlife Center
    1 nights           Manu Wildlife Center
  • Meals during the trip (beginning with lunch on day 1 and ending with breakfast on day 5
  • Air tickets.
  • Personal expenses such as beverages, telephone call, tips, etc.
  • Extras not mentioned in the itinerary

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.

Weather:

Rainfall in the Manu Lowlands is around 2500-3500 millimeters/98-138 inches per year, with most rainfall occurring in the rainy season months from November to April. The average temperature in the Manu lowlands is 28°C (82°F), with daily highs of 34°C (93°F) and nightly lows of 22°C (72°F). During the dry season, cold fronts from the South Atlantic (friajes) occur once every month or so, with daily temperatures dropping to 15°C (59°F) and nightly temperatures to 13°F (55°F).

Best season to travel: Late March through December.

Healthcare:

Yellow fever vaccinations are no longer mandatory in Tambopata, however, they are highly recommended. Please 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%).

Arrival/Departures:

This trip starts and finishes in Puerto Maldonado, starting very early in the morning at 6:00 am! Thus it is necessary to spend the previous night in Puerto Maldonado. The return journey takes a minimum of 3h30min. Please allow for plenty of buffer time when you book your return flight.

  • Good binoculars
  • Camera gear 
  • Two or three pairs of long pants (including at least one pair that you don’t mind getting dirty. Fast drying type is recommended.)
  • Four pairs of absorbent  socks
  • Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home)
  • Two or three long-sleeved cotton shirts
  • Two or three T-shirts
  • 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 hiking boots (with good gripping soles) and sandals
  • Insect repellent (Skin-so-soft for the river, and 20% or more deet for forest)
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • A large, bright flashlight
  • Personal toiletries (biodegradable) and medications
  • Rubber Boots for the rainy season from November to April.
  • Cash for souvenirs at the lodge stand, alcoholic beverages, etc
Macaw Conservation Proyect – Manu Wildlife Center
Serious deforestation has made reproduction of macaws a struggle. The project consists of placing artificial nests in areas affected by deforestation and illegal logging, therefore, compensating the lack of natural spaces for nesting. For several years this work has been performed with very good results. Currently, field monitoring allows us to collect evidence for the repeated use of these nests by different pairs of macaws.