Peru: Birding in the Cloud Forests & Mountains of Manu (7-8 days)
Manu Cloud Forest Lodge is idyllically located at 5,000 feet above sea level & Manu Amazon Lodge in the heart of the rainforest.
2017 Departure Dates and Costs
Departures are every Wednesday and Saturday from Cusco during March to December
Tour cost: $ 2,635 USD per person based on twin share including one way airfare out of Puerto Maldonado to Cusco or Lima and Park entrance fee
Single Supplement $ 850 USD
Private departures for groups of 4 or more!
Day 1 Cusco/ Cloud Forest Lodge (B,L,D)
We will depart our hotel at 6:00 am for this journey to the new Manu Cloud Forest Lodge which is idyllically located at 5,000 feet above sea level between cloud forest-covered slopes and adjacent to a narrow 400-foot-high waterfall. Rushing streams next to the site are two of the small water courses that descend from the mountains to the Qosñipata River.
Some of the attractions of the lodge include one "lek" or dancing ground of Andean Cock-of-the Rock, which are nearly crow-sized, bright red birds in the Cotinga family. Troops of acrobatic Woolly Monkeys are also frequently sighted. An ornithological census by John Arvin, a renowned tropical ornithologist, shows a list that exceeds 700 species of birds in the transect from the grasslands to the lowlands of the Upper Madre de Dios River port of Atalaya. Some of the amenities of the lodge include private bathrooms with hot water, private verandas overlooking the pristine Union creek, and a sauna to relax after the daily activities.
The journey from Cusco takes visitors on an 8 - 9 hour hour trip over two Andean Mountain chains of 13,100 feet elevation through a habitat of wildlife such as the rare Huemal Deer, vizcachas, and Mountain Caracara. CORL lies past patches of elfin forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes in the mist of the Cloud Forest. Troops of muscular-limbed Woolly Monkeys and comical Brown Capuchin Monkeys forage through the reserve. Rare sightings of the endangered Spectacled Bear, South America's only species of bear, have been recorded near the lodge.
The small lodge is ideal for the avid wildlife photographer and nature lover. There are four two-story bungalows. Each bungalow is divided in two levels for two to three guests each in single-bed accommodations. Every level provides private toilet facilities, which include hot-water shower, wash stand and flushing toilet. The lodge rooms offer private verandas overlooking the pristine Union creek. There is a restaurant and bar for up to 60 people, reading room and a sauna to relax after the daily activities. ($10 per person for each use).
The lodge has electricity. However, our small generator, due to a number of factors can fail or stop working at any moment, without the possibility of repairs for several days. The electricity output is about 220 volts. A stabilizer is strongly recommended if you will use our electricity output to recharge sensitive electronic equipment. Lights are turned on from 8:00 to 21:00, and briefly prior to early morning excursions.
Day 2 Cloud Forest Lodge (B,L,D)
The lush and misty cloud forest is perhaps the most fragile and threatened type of rainforest. This forest starts at 11,000 feet, and continues down to about 5,000 feet of elevation, covering the eastern slopes of the Andes, before yielding to the vast lowland forest of the Amazon. This is a kingdom of moss, lichens, ferns, and orchids.
Early excursion to a nearby platform and blind strategically located to see a "lek" where the brightly red-colored Cock-of-the Rock displays daily for the females. We return to our lodge for a hearty breakfast. Afterwards, a hiking excursion to the Waterfall Trail, walking through dense and exuberant cloud forest and crossing rushing streams, which originate in the peaks high above the forest. At noon, weather allowing, a delicious barbecue awaits beside a natural pond. Surrounded by massive rocks, hanging vines and bromeliads, we will enjoy a refreshing dip in these crystal-clear waters.
Day 3 Cloud Forest Lodge/Manu Amazon Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we head towards Atalaya, the first navigable port on the Upper Madre de Dios River. The ride will take us through small villages of Andean colonists and indigenous people whose main economic activities are rudimentary farming and low-scale logging. Once at Atalaya we board our motorized dugout canoes, equipped with individual cushioned seats, and long tarps to provide shelter from the baking sun, or the sudden tropical downpour. River journeys are long in Manu and visitors have rated our boats as the most comfortable in the entire region. We will boat down the fast-flowing, braided, clear water, upper Madre de Dios River for about five hours to the confluence with the meandering, Manu River. As soon as we enter the great Manu wilderness, every river bend will bring us a vista of unspoiled beauty. We may see Black Caiman, White Caiman, toucans, parrots, scores of wild macaws, several species of raptors, and maybe even a magnificent Jaguar. The best proof of the presence of Jaguars and the possibility of many of our tour groups to see these great cats, are the many wonderful amateur photographs that our customers have sent back to our company.
After about four hours, we arrive at the Juarez Lake sandbar, then we hike 600 meters along a flat trail to the Juarez oxbow lake, where guides paddle us in a catamaran to the secluded Manu Lodge, the only full Lodge in the entire protected wilderness of Manu. If during the dry season the catamaran cannot be used due to the low water level in the lake, we will walk a one kilometer trail (about twenty minutes) only taking our hand-bags with us while the main luggage is carried by the Lodge personnel. 4 nights Manu Lodge.
Day 4/5 Manu Amazon Lodge (B,L,D)
We rise to the loud call of Howler Monkeys, and to the option of a dawn paddle on the lake. During breakfast from the dining room, you may be able to see entire troops of Squirrel Monkeys, Brown Capuchins, and White-Fronted Capuchins that may be visiting the lodge clearing in search of palm fruits. Without any doubt, one of the highlights of Manu Lodge is the family of four Giant Otters who usually breed there. Manu Lodge visitors have been able to see these playful and gregarious carnivores from a 15-meter distance without causing any disturbance of their daily activities. This group of Giant Otters visits the Manu Lodge every now and then, and when at Juarez, they can be seen at different times of the day. Surprisingly, a few dead logs in front of our dining room are their favorite spot to eat fish, preen, and play.
Manu Lodge offers the largest and most complete trail system available in Manu (over 20 km of marked trails), and the result of standardized trail walks completed by groups of researchers over the course of several years, show that "it is actually those sections closest to the lodge and most heavily visited, which were the most productive in terms of mammal sighting. This suggests that the presence of tourists and researchers is not having a disturbing effect on the local mammal population." (1995, Durham University Expedition Report.)
Attractions: Two miradors, Macaw rooosting sites, canopy climb, ox-bos lake exploration, 500 bird species recorded in the vicinity
Day 06: Manu Amazon to Cloud Forest Lodge (B,L,D)
At 06:00 o’clock we start our three-hour river journey back to the confluence of the Manu and the Upper Madre de Dios. This journey is our last chance to spot a Capybara, the world's largest rodent, or a Tapir, a relative of horses and the rainforest's largest mammal. After about three hours we will reach Boca Manu for a brief stop and to refuel our boat. From Boca Manu we will explore the lower portion of the Madre de Dios River where we may have a chance to see large Red-and-Green Macaws perched on the trees or making short and long flights to the rain forest canopy. We will also see several lowland native settlements. About five hours from Boca Manu, we will arrive to Atalaya to start our overland journey to Manu Cloud Forest. Overnight: Manu Cloud Forest Lodge.
Day 07: Cloud Forest Lodge/Cusco (B,L,D)
This morning after breakfast we offer you an additional hiking excursion to walk through dense and exuberant cloud forest and crossing rushing streams, which originate in the mountain peaks high above the forest. Surrounded by massive rocks, hanging vines and bromeliads, we may enjoy a refreshing dip in these crystal-clear waters. Before noon we start our journey back to Cusco.
Inclusions: Ground and boat transport from Cusco to Manu & back, naturalist English-speaking guide, all meals at the lodges, accommodations at Cloud Forest Lodge and Manu Amazon Lodge. Manu National Park entrance fee (currently $60 per person)
Not included: alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature and tips.
Please contact us for more details: 1 (800) 690.7887