The Manu National Park is the largest national park in Peru and covers an incredible area of highly diverse forests, including both the Andean and lowland rainforests. This places the Manu rainforest as one of the world’s most wildlife diverse locations. The Manu National park wildlife includes several fascinating monkeys, a rich and colorful diversity of birdlife, many different amphibians and reptiles, and much more.
Here we will provide information on wildlife you’re likely to experience on tours and lodges in the Manu region and mention where you increase your probability of seeing certain animals. This includes the star players of the Manu region, such as giant otters, tapir, jaguar, and brightly colored macaw parrots.
At close to 2 million hectares, the Manu National Park protects a very high amount of Amazon Rainforest plants and animals, plus a great many species in Manu’s cloud forest. These areas represent two of the world’s largest containers of wildlife, so it’s understandable why the Manu region is remarkable and on the mind of many nature loving travelers worldwide.
Let’s first give a list of some iconic wildlife of the Manu region that you can see from some of the different Manu tours, which will cover the Manu Reserved Zone, the Manu Cloud Forest, and the Manu region’s Amarakaeri Reserved Zone. All of these areas offer incredible wildlife sightings and have lodges perfectly positioned for you to make the most of the Manu region.
As the iconic symbol of the Amazon Rainforest, macaws are a much loved wildlife sighting. To see these birds free in their natural habitat is an incredible experience. A great lodge to see macaws in the Manu region is the Manu Wildlife Center, which offers two hides to watch one of the Amazon’s most photogenic clay licks.
These are areas where macaws visit to obtain much needed salts and compounds to help neutralise toxic foods in the macaw’s diet. Macaws you’re likely to spot in the Manu region include the blue and yellow macaws, scarlet macaws, military macaws, red-and-green macaws, chestnut-fronted macaws, red-bellied macaws, and blue-headed macaws.
Giant River Otters
Giant river otters are another much loved wildlife sighting. A large and very social mammal, giant otters grow to around 1.7 m (5.6 ft) and can often be found in certain lakes of the Amazon basin where they hunt fish as a family. They can often been seen swimming, feeding, resting, and playing in the Amazon’s oxbow lakes. They are diurnal and can be heard communicating to each other with a series of snorts and complex vocalizations. Great lodges to maximize your chances of seeing giant otters in the Manu region include the Manu Wildlife Center or the combination tour to the Manu Tented Camp.
South America’s largest land mammal, tapir are a strange looking animal that look like a small horse cross pig. Usually nocturnal, tapir meander through the rainforest feeding from different plant life. Tapir are related to the rhinoceros and like many other animals they feed from salt rich clays. This makes certain clay licks great places to stand the best chance of seeing tapir in their natural habitat. Although bulky looking, tapir can move exceptionally well through the rainforest and are great swimmers. The Manu Wildlife Center provides a great place to watch tapir with a specially constructed hide fantastic for tapir viewing.
The most famous of the Amazon’s animals and a wildlife sighting on the minds of the majority of rainforest visitors, jaguar are a top predator of the Amazon Basin. Hunting some of the largest herbivores in the jungle, such as tapir above, but also caiman, capybara, and others, jaguar are the world’s third largest cat. Although rarely seen due to their acute senses and low number, visitors to the Manu Wildlife Center stand a 10% chance of seeing wild jaguar over their Amazon Rainforest tour.
The Manu Amazon Rainforest is full of different monkeys and you’re sure to see a variety of different species on your Manu tour. Enjoy finding tamarins, howler monkeys, capuchins, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, and sakis. Howler monkeys have the loudest call in the animal kingdom and their roar can be heard for three miles through the rainforest. Great places to see monkeys in the Manu region are the Manu Tented Camp and the Manu Wildlife Center. The cloud forest of Manu National Park also provides chances of spotting capuchins.
A bird lover’s paradise, the Manu region is home to around 1000 different species, which is more than other areas of the Amazon basin. The reason for the high amount is mainly due to the Manu region protecting cloud forest high in the Peruvian Andes and tropical lowland rainforest. The cloud forest has a fantastic assemblage of birds, such as many different hummingbirds and includes the Cock of the Rock, Peru’s national bird. The lowland rainforest then contains another of the world’s highest diversities of birdlife, including the macaws already mentioned, but also horned screamers, hoatzins, woodpeckers, tanagers, toucans, parakeets, motmots, umbrella birds, cotingas, and a variety of flycatchers.
Other fascinating wildlife you’re likely to find in the Manu region include around 250 reptiles and amphibians, such as different tree frogs, caiman crocodiles, and different boas. There are also lots more mammals to be found, such as tamandua anteaters climbing through the trees or hanging in tree holes, capybara, the world’s largest rodent, standing by the river edges, sloths, which are the most commonly encountered large mammal, and even spectacled bear in the Cloud Forest.
The Best Lodges to Experience Manu Wildlife
The Manu region contains some fantastic lodges to experience Manu wildlife and we have selected three of the best lodges for you to experience different areas of the Manu rainforest. The areas include the Manu National Park Reserved Zone, Amarakaeri Reserved Zone, and the Cloud Forest high in the Peruvian Andes.
Manu Wildlife Center
The Manu Wildlife Center is our recommended lodges for experiencing the Manu rainforest. Situated in Manu’s Amarakaeri Reserved Zone, the lodge is perfectly positioned near a fantastic macaw clay lick, a clay lick frequented by tapir, and a lake home to a family of giant river otters. Guests at the Manu Wildlife Center also stand a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar. Because of this, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine mentions the lodge as offering “the most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia.”
Manu Tented Camp
Manu Tented Camp is located in Manu’s Reserved Zone inside the actual Manu National Park. Tourism is not permitted in the park itself, but the areas surrounding the protected area, such as the Amarakaeri Reserved Zone and Manu Reserved Zone are accessible. Visitors on the Manu Wildlife Center and Manu Tented Camp combo program will enjoy fantastic different lakes in the Manu region to see giant river otters, clay licks to see colorful macaws, and the tapir lick to see the continent’s largest land mammal. In addition to this, visitors to the Manu Tented Camp have a higher diversity of amphibians to find in the rainforest.
Cock of the Rock Lodge
The Cock of the Rock Lodge is located on a lush slope of the Peruvian Andes where you can explore the Amazon’s cloud forest, which is home to a fantastic diversity of birdlife, including many hummingbirds and the cock of the rock, capuchin monkeys, spectacled bears, and a diversity of butterflies.
To make the most of the Manu region, you can combine these above tours on fascinating combo tours to fully explore Manu’s rainforest and wildlife. Choose tours to combine the Cock of the Rock Lodge in Peru’s cloud forest with the Manu Wildlife Center, tours to combine the Manu Wildlife Center with the Manu Tented Camp, or tours to combine all three of these excellent Amazon Rainforest lodges.