All about Manu National Park, including history, guides, and details on the many activities and animals there.
It is highly recommended that you visit Manu National Park if you are interested in seeing the natural wonders that the planet has to offer. Cusco and Puerto Maldonado are both able to reach there without any difficulty. As a result of the park’s protected status and its remote location, you will get the chance to see a portion of the Amazon rainforest in Peru that is utterly and completely untouched by human intervention. While you are on vacation in Manu, be sure to read our guide so that you can get all of the necessary information and travel ideas.
In the event that you are really contemplating a journey to this beautiful area of Peru, we ask that you not be afraid to get in contact with us without delay. In order to make certain that you enjoy the holiday of your dreams, we would be more than happy to help you in the process of planning your itinerary. Together with the assistance of our well-informed experts, we are able to handle everything from hotel accommodations to bus transfers to flights.
Both the number of plant and animal species that can be found in Manu National Park and the variety of climates that can be found there are so astounding. The Himalayas are the location of this mountain range, which has heights ranging from 150 meters to 4,200 meters. In point of fact, there are so many of them that even after decades of constant research, scientists continue to discover new species of flora and animals that have not yet been discovered.
Manu and its small number of lodges offer visitors the opportunity to experience a diverse range of ecosystems, ranging from cloud forest to lowland rainforest, in a setting that is unlike any other in Peru or anywhere else in the world. This is made possible by the fact that Manu is accessible from both Cusco and Puerto Maldonado.
There are a few scattered archeological sites in this remote section of the Amazon rainforest in Peru that show evidence of a vast history of human settlement. Stone carvings known as the Pusharo Petroglyphs portray a range of figures, including faces and abstract shapes. These sites are located in this region. The site may be located in Manu National Park, more precisely on the banks of the Palotoa River, which is a tributary of the Madre de Dios River.
The Palotoa River in Manu National Park is the location of the site. There is no information on the origin of the glyphs or the meaning of the symbols; nevertheless, it is believed that they are between one thousand and two thousand years old. They were initially described by a Dominican friar in 1921. He was the first person to do so. On one side of the Peruvian 1 Sol coin that was minted in 2015, there is an image of the engravings that may be viewed.
It was in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest of Peru that the tale of Paititi first began to take shape. A pre-Columbian kingdom known as Paititi, which was situated in the forest, was able to defy the advances of the Inca imperial army, according to chronicles recorded in the 16th century at that time period. Paititi was located in the forest. It is stated that after the Spanish army captured the last Inca monarch, the surviving members of the Inca nobility escaped to the forest, carrying with them their sacred objects that were crafted out of gold and silver among other valuable materials.
This is explained in a second version of the story. Throughout the course of the colonial period, a number of different expeditions were sent out to search for the city of gold that had been lost. Typically, they found nothing but disaster in their investigation.
Spanish colonists created the city of Paucartambo in order to exert control over the trade of coca leaves, gold, and textiles between the Andes and the Amazon. This was done in order to maintain their influence over the markets. The modification of an earlier Inca road that served the same purpose contributed to the successful completion of this task. Paucartambo is an important stop that must be taken on the journey between Cusco and the Manu cloud forest where the cloud forest is located.
The Manu National Park is widely acknowledged as being among the most spectacular and diverse areas on the whole world at the current moment. Some of the most recent recognitions and dates that are significant are included in the following list.
- In 1968, the Manu area was designated as a national forest by the forest administration.
- As a consequence of substantial demand from Peruvian preservationists and international supporters, the designation of national park was formally created in 1973. This led to the establishment of the national park.
- In 1987, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the Manu Biosphere Reserve as a natural heritage site. This designation was given to the reserve.
- The geographical location of the situation.
A total of 18,811 square kilometers make up the Manu rainforest, which can be found in the southwestern region of the Amazon rainforest jungle. It is situated to the north of Cusco and may be classified into the following categories to better understand its location:
- The Manu National Park, which has an area of 15,328 square minutes.
- A Biosphere Reserve that has a total area of 2,570 square kilometers.
- The Cultural Zone extends over a total area of 914 square kilometers.
This area is home to a variety of ecosystems, including high Andean puna, mountain cloud forests, and lowland rainforest. Its elevations range from 4,200 meters to 150 meters above sea level. Consequently, this has resulted in the formation of a broad range of ecologies, which in turn has made it easier for a large lot of species diversity to evolve throughout time.
In addition to being huge and geographically isolated, the park does not have any roads and requires a significant amount of effort in order to access there. Boat travel is the only means of transportation that is suitable for this task. It is the Manu River and the Madre de Dios River that serve as the reserve’s southern and eastern borders, respectively. Both of these rivers are located in the reserve.
Manu National Park Facts
- It is important to note that the National Park encompasses the whole basin of the Manu River.
- It encompasses both the cloud forest of the eastern Andes mountains and the tropical lowland rainforest of the Amazon basin. Both of these types of rainforests are found in the Amazon basin.
- It has been estimated that there are between 2,000 and 5,000 distinct varieties of vegetation, with 250 distinct species of trees being among them.
The National Park is home to more than one thousand different species of vertebrates, including two hundred different species of mammals and eight hundred and fifty different species of birds. Additionally, the park is home to 68 different species of reptiles and seventy-seven different species of amphibians.
- It has been established that there are over 1,300 different species of butterflies.
- A total of thirteen distinct species of primates have been identified.
- Some of the animals that are very rare are the Andean mountain cat, jaguars, pumas, and the enormous otter and armadillo. Other examples include the puma and the puma.
- The presence of petroglyphs and ruins that date back to pre-Inca and Inca eras is evidence of the lengthy history of indigenous peoples’ settlement in this area.
Individuals who are members of the Matsigenga Amazonian indigenous people have a few small communities that they call home. The majority of these settlements are situated in close proximity to the Manú River or one of its several significant tributaries.
Manu Biosphere Reserve
It is possible to divide the Manu Biosphere Reserve into 3 separate zones, which are as follows:
1. LOOKOUT POINT FOR THREE CRUCES
An further sixty kilometers separate Paucartambo and the Mirador Tres Cruces, which is a viewpoint point that is situated in the same general vicinity. A view of the spot where the Andes and the Amazon meet is provided by this location. When the sky is clear, it is possible to see the peak of the Ausangate mountain range all the way down into the depths of the rainforest basin. This viewpoint is only available on days when the sky is clear. The natural phenomenon that takes place throughout the dry season, which begins in May and continues through August, is where the phrase “tres cruces” originates from.
As a result of this phenomena, it seems as if three suns are approaching the horizon and flashing into cross shapes. When the moisture in the clouds interacts with the sunlight as the sun rises, a prism is generated as a result of this interaction. This happens as the clouds start to dissipate onto the ground. above the course of the Virgen del Carmen festival, shared vans are used to transport people to the vantage point in a timely manner so that they may see the gradual lightening of the sky and the sun rising above a dense layer of clouds at around six o’clock in the morning.
2. KOSÑIPATA RIVER VALLEY
Beginning at Paucartambo, the route begins its ascent into the spectacular Kosñipata Valley, which is distinguished by a reduction in height that spans thousands of meters. This climb starts after traversing Acjanaco Pass, which is located at a height of 3,850 meters, which is equivalent to 12,630 feet. Those who are interested in seeing the gorgeous cloud forest highlands of Peru via activities such as river rafting and mountain biking will find this location to be the ideal vacation choice. There are a number of other lodges in the Manu rainforest that can be accessed by utilizing this trail.
Some of these lodges are the Erika Lodge, the Gallito de las Rocas Lodge, and the Paradise Lodge. “Place of smoke” is a name that originates from the Quechua language and describes the thick fog that envelops the eastern edges of the Andes mountains as they drop down the Amazon River. This fog is a result of the descent of the Amazon River.
3. BOCA MANU
Near the village of Boca Manu, which is located at the point where the Madre de Dios and the Manu rivers meet, there is a small airstrip that is capable of accommodating charter aircraft. This airfield is located close to the community. Furthermore, it is a stop on the route that leaves from Puerto Maldonado both by land and by boat. This route connects the two locations. Next to Limonal is where you will find the checkpoint that will allow you to go farther into the park.
Manu is the location to go in Peru if you are interested in ecotourism in the Amazon rainforest’s Amazon rainforest. The major attraction is nature in its most unadulterated form, and a strong conservation plan helps to guarantee that it continues to exist in that manner. In the event that you pay a visit to Manu, you will discover that the location is home to a diverse assortment of microclimates, each of which is suitable for a certain kind of vegetable or animal.
A wide variety of animals, such as monkeys, insects, and reptiles, may be seen in the jungle because to its abundance of fauna. In addition, there is a chance that you will be able to see the otorongo, which is also referred to as the jaguar, the black panther, the tapir, the collared peccary, the deer, and the capybara. Forest trails and cochas, which are hidden lagoons located inside the forest, are the best locations to see animals when it comes to gaining knowledge about the life that exists in the rainforest, as well as the plants that are used for medical purposes and the food that is consumed.
There are a lot of people that come to Manu just for the birds, and one of the most popular activities there is bird watching. And by virtue of possessing one of the most comprehensive bird lists in the whole world, Manu clearly merits the privilege of being the focus of such a special obsession. There are a few species of birds that prefer to make their home in the air, like the harpy eagle, jabiru, roseate spoonbill, and cock of the rock that are examples.
In Manu, tourists may be able to see flocks of macaws, parrots, and parakeets congregating in enormous numbers to swallow clay for breakfast. Clay licks are a sight that is really unique.
Visitors are able to see the rainforest from the perspective of the creatures that live at the canopy level thanks to the canopy towers. Scattered around Manu are tree towers that range in height from thirty to forty meters (one hundred to one hundred and thirty feet). The action that takes place in the rainforest is not visible from the forest floor, but while you are standing on the platform, you are able to see a distinct side of the activity that takes place in the jungle.
Because of the mountainous geography of Manu, there are a number of different microclimates formed. Lower elevations often have greater temperatures, with daytime averages of 35 degrees Celsius and nocturnal averages of 25 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in these places are typically higher. It is common for the higher elevation parts of Manu to have temperatures that are lower than those of the rest of the nation. Temperatures that are warm during the day and freezing at night are something that you may expect to experience.
It is possible that the temperature may drop to as low as 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) when there has been heavy drizzle. An other kind of meteorological phenomenon, which is referred to as a “surazo” or “friaje,” occurs when frigid winds from Patagonia move up the mountains and into the rainforest. At times, temperatures may fall to as low as 8 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to keep in mind that you are now located in the rainforest, which is a region where it is possible for rain to fall at any time of the year. From December through March, the months that are regarded to constitute the rainy season are defined as such. In spite of the fact that it is significantly warmer, the period from May to August is somewhat drier than the rest of the year.
It is recommended that you carry clothing that is not just lightweight but also dries rapidly. In light of the fact that the humidity prevents cotton from drying out fully, those fabrics that are composed of synthetic materials should be favored.
Ways to Get to Manu
You can get to Manu in three ways:
The journey begins in Cusco and ends in Paucartambo. From there, you will go through the Kosnipata Valley until you reach the Manu River.
It takes around two and a half hours to travel from Puerto Maldonado to Santa Rosa Village, after which you will need to cross the Inambari River in order to get at Puerto Carlos. To go to Boca Colorado, you will need to travel for forty-five minutes and then ascend the Madre de Dios river that is located there.
For transportation to the resort in Boca Manu, charter flights land at a small airport, and then river transport is used to reach the destination.
- Sector Acjanaco: S/. 10
- Manu River lower basin: S/. 150
- *prices subject to change
Amazon Tour Essentials
- It is recommended that you make use of dry bags or ziplock bags in order to keep your essential documents and equipment since the humidity level is rather high.
- In addition to being successful in warding off insects, long-sleeved shirts and long pants should also be breathable and quick to dry. They should all have all of these characteristics.
- When you want to protect yourself from biting insects like mosquitoes and other crawling organisms, you should use insect repellent.
- There is no automated teller machine in the bush, therefore you will need to bring cash. You should bring a little amount of money with you so that you can pay for things like drinks, snacks, and gratuities.
- You should bring a flashlight or headlamp with you since many lodges have either no lights at all or very little illumination when the sun goes down.
- The forest trails are sticky, slippery, and often muddy; thus, it is not feasible to wear sandals or heels on these routes. Instead, you should wear shoes that are comfortable and closed.
- You will get additional memory cards, lenses, and batteries for your camera as part of this package.
- Binoculars that are water-resistant, so that you can have a clear view of the creatures that are in its presence.
- When you go on daytime excursions, you should have a daypack that you may use to carry water, a poncho, and other supplies.
What should I expect at the Manu Amazon lodge?
Numerous resorts and tour firms that follow to ecological principles and have a focus on leaving a modest carbon footprint may be found in Manu. Manu is home to a considerable number of these establishments. Guests have the choice of staying at a hotel that is simple yet enjoyable. The mosquito netting that you need is provided by us. Not only will the design be evocative of local communities, but it will also make use of materials that are easily available in the region. Simply said, food is a delectable treat.
During the cooking process, foods that are grown in the immediate area, such as fruits and vegetables, are used. In the case that the chefs at the lodge are given early notice, they are able to accommodate vegetarian diets as well as other specific diets. In spite of all that has been said, it is often the case that you receive back exactly what you paid for.
If you choose a more costly vacation package, there is a potential that you may get “extras” such as a hot shower and electricity with your reservation. Make it a point to inquire with the tour operator about the contents of the package, both those that are included and those that are not included.
Which one of these 3 places, Manu, Tambopata, or Iquitos, is best option?
The answer to this question is contingent not only on the quantity of time you have available but also on the specific interests you have. There is a good chance that Tambopata provides the most convenient opportunity to see wildlife on shorter travels. In Iquitos, those who are interested in having a one-of-a-kind experience may go on cruises on the Amazon River. Tourists who have more time on their hands and are ready to pay for more basic lodgings will find that Manu is a good destination. In exchange for a one-of-a-kind experience that includes clay licks, clay licks, and fantastic birdlife, Manu is a wonderful location.