- 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. This tour package is crafted for whoever is willing to access to the unspoiled and virgin areas in less than a week. This is the shortest version of our guided tours to explore the Manu Reserved Zone via the classical overland journey from Cusco and the motorboat 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. It would be worth to add a few days to your program to explore the best of Manu in terms of wilderness.
- Reserve Zone tours are generally from 5 to 8 days, all tours start with overland transport from Cusco over the mountains and the cloud forest. The first night it’s mostly spent in a lodge at the base of the cloud forest or foothill forest in both options, however, some tours designed for the Manu reserved zone can skip the cloud forest and cultural zone on the first day of travel in order to put much more time in the reserved zone section. The lodges used in a tour to the Manu Reserved Zone are only reached by a motorboat and should pass by the Limonal Ranger Station Control.
- 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 a transect from the Andes, Cloud forest to the tropical rainforest of 500 meters in elevation so you don’t get much a feel for the lowland rainforest on short tours.
- Mosquitos along the cultural Zone aren’t a big problem except during dusk and nighttime. You have to deal much more with them if going into the Manu Reserved Zone.
- Weather conditions are similar in both areas, a temperature much warmer at the reserved zone at a lower elevation, the cultural zone it’s temperate forest due to its proximity of the cloud forest, the rainfall likely the same in both areas.
- More wildlife at the Reserved Zone, larger predators and surrounded by pristine forest. (Jaguar, Anaconda, Black caymans, giant river otters )
- Tours designed only for the Cultural Zone of Manu National Park, do not enter the Reserve area.
- Most of the Cultural Zone or Buffers Zone it’s adjacent to the park and supports most of the pressure from the human activities, literally is the shield that protects the park from outside pressure however the rainforest at the reserved zone it’s protected by the government so there is not much human intrusion from the outside world and forest its much healthier.
- Tours going to the reserved zone implies more staff operation so Tour guides, cook, motorboat drivers, and assistances accompanied the group.
- Tours going into the Reserved Zone should be accompanied by a registered tour operator and licensed guide since the authorization and tickets are requested at the Limonal Ranger Station (entrances tickets to the Manu National Park are only sold to the licensed operator, not individually) however the Cultural Zone its easy to explore independently, not registration and ticket are requested in the entire zone, its advisable to hire a local guide to visit its attractions.
Activities on Manu Reserved Zone Tours (up 5 days)
The reserved zone it’s a term used to refer to the location inside the Manu Park, it comprises Limonal Ranger Station at 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: The blue line traverses the Cultural Zone while the Orange goes along the Manu Reserved Zone (Touristic Zone)
Salvador Oxbow lake
One of the most favorite spots for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, birders even for guides to explore this quiet environment by paddled catamarans (motorboat not allowed). The chances to observe giant river otters, large black caimans, aquatic birds, emperor tamarin even pygmy marmoset are good. Great location to catch views of the sunset and sunrise however the visits to the lake it is subject to schedule (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 allows the amazing view of the wonderful section of the untouched rainforest. This is an experience that you never get while exploring the forest from the forest floor. Exploring the trail network, dock and tower allow seeing: aquatic birds, caimans, giant river otters that are seen. The lake is not open to navigation.
· Trails Exploration in pristine forest
At least 2 major types of the primary forest you will be able to explore from Varzea (known as the seasonally flooded forest on the high water period). Other trails will take you through Terra Firme Forest” forest which is the habitat for brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa). Each one holds a unique wildlife collection and forest contrast. The only human intrusion to this forest was during the rubber boom and could not last for much time, most of the forest remains intact.
· Macaw Clay Licks
Nearby Casa Matsiguenka there are possibilities to visit a 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, which they need on their diet, this activity is only available during the dry season and depends on few other factors. The second accessible clay licks its located in the vicinity of the Limonal ranger station. Both attract medium-sized macaws, parrots, and much more parakeets. The Maizal Clay lick it’s probably the best one in terms of large macaws and abundancy but currently lack of infrastructure. Its located in the Intangible Manu Area (further up of Pakitza) not allowed yet for tourists to explore that far. Besides the mentioned clay lick the Blanquillo it’s fabled as the most visited but its located beyond the Park, in the lower Madre de Dios Basin.
· Boat navigation along the Manu River
The navigation itself along the Manu River is one of the highlights of these excursions so most of the chances to see jaguars or other wildcats, big mammals (Tapirs, Capybaras), and large caimans are sighted on the river banks. More wildlife was reported during the dry season.
The weather also plays a key role to perform good wildlife sightings, recommend times to venture for navigation would be early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It’s also a good time for exploring the river after heavy rain at any time or when friajes (cold fronts) is 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. This Lodge is privileged and well situated on the left side of the Manu River. Each bungalow has two beds with mosquito netting. Bathroom facilities are shared in a separate building. Electricity is provided by solar panels, and meals will be taken in a separate building with a kitchen and small dining room. On top of that, the Matsiguenka Native People are running this lodge which makes it different from the other lodge management in the Southern Amazon Rainforest.
Larger Kapok Trees
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)
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
Cusco - El Dorado Lodge
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 colorful clothes, 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 massive rocks 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
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 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 keep 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 and 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
We will have the better part of two days to enjoy the Manu´s Wilderness, On this mornign you will explore the Salvador oxbow lake famous for its population of Giant Otters who usually breeds there , they can be seen at different times of the day, these gregarious and playful carnivorous spend 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
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 we have seen, and a nice 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
This morning we’ll board our boat and begin the journey down the Rio Manu back to the Rio Madre de Dios, 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 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
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 civilization; 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
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 massive rocks and waterfalls is perhaps the most fragile and threatened type of rainforest. In such 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, 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 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. Lighter|
|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.|