Biotrip to Manu – from the Andes to the Amazon Basin
A spectacular overland journey from the city of Cuzco in the Andes to the lush Amazon Basin. Travel from snow-capped Andean mountains, through the cloud forest and onto the steamy lowland jungle. This tour incorporates dramatic scenery changes with excellent bird watching along a corridor of superb biodiversity and ecosystems, the habitat of innumerable bird species.
Stay at the aptly named Cock of the Rock Lodge where you visit the lek to see the world’s largest and tamest group of displaying birds. Twice daily the males stage with colourful and noisy mating dance. In the Amazon basin stay at Manu Wildlife Centre with its tower for canopy viewing and two adjacent pristine lakes. An idyllic setting in one of the world’s most pristine environments.
Day 1 – Cuzco – Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Descend from the city of Cuzco to the lush cloud forest region, a transitional zone from mountains to jungle. Visit a mountain wetland habitat teeming with migrant and local waterfowl. After crossing a pass of 3900m, enter a world of forested cliffs, waterfalls and gorges. In clear weather admire the view towards the lowland rainforest. After lunch, continue to lower altitudes to the tropical Andes, passing grassland and stunted trees through elfin forest. Birdlife is aplenty as you enter an environment of overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads.
Frequent stops are made, perhaps spotting a brilliantly coloured quetzal, trogon or the wild turkey-like Guan. Arrive at the Cock-of-the-Rock lodge late afternoon in time to experience the courting display at the lek, a wonderful display by the national bird of Peru.
Day 2 - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge
Early morning birdwatching excursion with the possibility of Brown Capuchin or Wooly monkeys. Take a secluded nature walk on a short trail to the river. Depart the lodge after breakfast as we continue towards the rainforest, visiting en-route a coca plantation. Arrive to Atalaya port where the Piñipiñi River meets the Alto Madre de Dios, to embark a large, comfortable dugout canoe. On arrival at the next lodge explore the forest trails looking for toucans, kingfishers, a rate endemic hummingbird and a variety of butterflies.
Day 3 – to Manu Wildlife Centre
Continue along the Alto Madre de Dios river with possible sightings of new birds – terns,cormorants, White-winged Swallows and flocks of nighthawks. Enter the Manu National Park with a short visit to Boca Manu village. After 6 hours on the river, check into the lodge and relax during the heat of the day in preparation for night time excursions.
Visit the lowland forest, learning about the plants and forest ecology. Within the extensive lodge trails it is possible to see up to 12 species of monkeys including the Spider Monkey and Emperor Tamarin.
Day 4 – Manu Wildlife Centre – Macaw Clay lick, Canopy Tower & Tapir Clay lick
After breakfast walk to the nearby hide, around 15 metres from the Macaw Clay lick. View the vibrant scarlet Macaws as they congregate with perfect photo opportunities. Afternoon visit to the 34m Canopy Tower. As the sun sets, enjoy the twilight activity in the rainforest tree tops. Once dark make your way to the lodges famous Tapir Clay lick, a place where 8-12 individual tapirs have been identified. The lick features an observation platform, elevated 5m above the forest floor. The platform features mattresses protected with mosquito nets. Here you can relax and perhaps even take a nap before the guide awakes you when the first tapir arrives. The 600 pound tapir will be around 10-20m away. Most guests feel the wait it well worthwhile to view the rare and elusive Tapir in its natural habitat.
Day 5 – Manu Wildlife Centre – Oxbow Lake & Wildlife Trails
Early morning excursion by catamaram on the Oxbow Lake. We might encounter the resident Giant Otter family busy catching fish or the troops of monkeys crashing through the treetops. Wattle Jacanas and dainty Sun Grebes paddle across the water, supple‐necked Anhingas air‐dry their wide, black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans for fish from a high branch. You might also spot Hoatzins, Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets, many of which roost around the lake at night.
The afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish either with the local naturalist guides or independently. From dusk onwards, there is the opportunity to explore by boat in search of caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank.
Day 6 - Manu Wildlife Centre – Puerto Maldonado
Departure from the lodge for the 2.5 hour boat trip down the Madre de Dios river towards Puerto Maldonado for your onward flight. This is another great opportunity to spot wildlife in the early morning and see several lowland native settlements on the banks of the river. Disembark at the gold-mining town of Colorado for the 45 minute overland journey to Puerto Carlos, cross the Inambari River for the 10 minute boat trip to Santa Rosa before the 2.5 hour bus drive to the airport.