In order to preserve its huge diversity of flora and fauna and pristine areas, Manu was declared a National Park in 1973, designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and made a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. It covers an area of 1.5 million hectares and is one of the largest protected areas in South America . It is situated in a spectacular, untouched area of south-eastern Peru and is possibly the sole, accessible piece of pristine rainforest that exists in the world today; a number of indigenous tribes who have never had contact with outsiders also continue to live in the Park.
In order to visit the Manu National Park special permits are required and groups must be led by a qualified guide. There are unscrupulous tour companies who offer tours to the reserve at knock-down prices, however these agencies do not have permission to enter the park and so you cannot enjoy the full splendour on offer.
Day 1:Depart Cusco by bus heading to the Manu Reserve. On the way we stop to hike to a spot where Cock of the Rocks congregate. Night in a rustic lodge.
Day 2:We take a motorised canoe down the Madre De Dios River to the Pantiacolla Lodge where we spend the next 2 nights. Visits to two lakes on traditional rafts, a wildlife hike in the afternoon and a night hike to spot noctural animals.
Day 3:Early morning visit to a clay lick to see parrots and macaws. Hike on the higher trails of the Pantiacolla Mountains and a visit to some hot springs. Night visit to Ranacocha (Frog Lake)
Day 4:Morning hike and in the afternoon we transfer to a small eco-lodge that is co-managed by the Yine Indians.
Days 5 & 6:We head for the heart of the Manuy Reserve travelling 6 hours along the Manu River. Visits to Lake Salvador and Lake Otorongo and an observation tower. This area is rich with wildlife including caimans, monkeys, many species of birds and giant otters.
Day 7:We return along the Manu River and stay at a lodge located close by to a Macaw Clay Lick.
Day 8:Early morning visit to the Macaw clay lick and an afternoon visit to one of the many Oxbow lakes in the area. Overnight in the same lodge.
Day 9:We travel downstream until we reach one of the communities on the outskirts of the park and then take local transportation to meet our bus which will drive us back to Cusco.
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