The Manu region is hailed by nature lovers worldwide for its incredible level of animals and plants. And on Manu National Park tours from Cusco, you can enjoy fantastic expeditions to experience the Manu region and its wildlife. You will pass through the threatened higher altitude Cloud Forest, which is home to many attractive humming birds, orchids, and lots of animals which only live in this area. After this, you will travel down the Andes to the hot and humid lowland rainforest of Manu to enjoy an entirely new flora and fauna, such as tapirs, giant otters, jaguars, large and colorful macaw parrots, parakeets, toucans and many others. Enjoy seeing two contrasting ecosystems from the clouds to the lowlands and a tour regarded by many as one of world’s best nature experiences.
Manu National Park is the largest national park in the country. Containing 1.5 million hectares, ranging from Andean forests to the lowlands, Manu protects an impressive diversity and number of species. Because of its value as a protected area, Manu is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed park and protects almost the entire watershed of the Manu River. Manu contains tropical lowland rainforest, tropical montane rainforest and grasslands home to a large number and diversity of animals and plants.
Although you cannot enter the Manu National Park itself because of its protection status, you can visit the surrounding area such as the reserved zone and Amarakaeri Reserved Zone. Both these areas give a representative look at the Manu region where lodges were chosen to maximise wildlife sightings. Some animals not present in the reserved zone are present in Amarakaeri and vice versa. From these lodges and camps, you can enjoy large and colorful macaw parrots, the mysterious tapir as it feeds from medicinal and salt-rich clay, giant otters hunting or playing in beautiful lakes, and a higher probability of seeing jaguar than in other Amazon areas. The area is dotted with wonderful oxbow lakes often with a resident group of giant river otters, plus many different monkeys and birds.
Cusco is Peru’s main tourist destination due to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Millions of tourists flock here each year for a glimpse at this incredible Incan structure. Cusco was the hub of the Inka and was also where the tribe originated on their quest, later becoming the largest empire in pre-colombian America. The Inca dominating Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and extended down into Argentina. The city of Cusco itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are many buildings which show Incan construction.
Not just a base to see the fantastic Incan archaeological sites, Cusco can also be the base to experience Manu and the Manu National Park. The following experiences are a selection of the best tours of Manu National Park from Cusco for tours to fully enjoy this incredible section of Amazon Rainforest.
The bio trip is Manu’s flagship tour where you leave Cusco to first enjoy a stay at the Cock of the Rock Lodge. Here you can experience the highly threatened Manu Cloud Forest and its extraordinary wildlife. You will enjoy the colorful dance of Peru’s bright-red national bird, humming birds, orchids, capuchin monkeys, and chance sightings of spectacled bears. After this, you will travel down the Andes to the Manu Wildlife Center, recognised by many, including Condé Nast Traveler, as one of the most intense wildlife experience in the Amazon Rainforest.
From Manu Wildlife Center, you will enjoy clay licks where hundreds of colorful macaws parrots can be seen feeding from medicinal clay. This section of rainforest has more clay licks than other Amazon areas, which greatly increases your chances of seeing fantastic wildlife spectacles. As well as the macaw clay licks, Manu Wildlife Center also has access to a tapir lick where you stand a high chance of seeing the largest land mammal in South America for a rare wildlife treat shared by few others.
The following tours, the Tapir and Macaw Clay Lick tour and Manu Adventurer, combine the Cock of the Rock lodge in Manu’s cloud forest with the Manu Wildlife Center, but also add-on an experience at Manu Tented Camp so you can experience both the Reserved Zone and Amarakaeri Reserved Zone of the Manu region. Enjoy a higher chance of seeing animals like tapir, macaws, jaguar and giant otters at Manu Wildlife Center and higher diversity of colorful frogs and more lakes in the reserved zone.
If you are interested in simply visiting the Cloud Forest of Manu National Park for a couple of nights, after of before your visit to Machu Picchu, you can choose to simply visit the Cock of the Rock Lodge. From this Cloud Forest lodge, you will have guided tours into the surrounding forest to see some highly threatened flora and fauna, which again has been witnessed by few others.
Finally, to combine Machu Picchu and a taste of the Amazon Rainforest near one of the most beautiful oxbow lakes in the rainforest, you can choose to trek the short Inka Trail and stay at Tamboboata, a highly diverse protected area located close to Manu National Park. At Sandoval, you can see several different monkeys, giant river otters, caiman crocodiles, and many different Amazonian birds.