Here we provide our selection of the top 5 tours and programs for the Manu Rainforest. The Manu National Park is an enormous protected area and covers close to 2 million hectares of habitat, including Andean forest in the clouds down to the lowland Amazon Rainforest. These Manu tours provide opportunities to explore the Manu cloud forests in the Andes, which are accessible from Cusco and different sections of lowland Amazonia.
The following tours operate their regular departures from March through December, but private departures are available for other dates. Choose to begin your adventure from Cusco or from Puerto Maldonado to focus time on the lowland Amazon Rainforest. The tours focussing on the Manu lowlands start at tour number 4 on this list, but all programs include the Manu lowlands.
The Manu Tapir & Macaws Tour
To make the most of the experience in the Manu ecosystem, we recommend the Manu Tapir and Macaws Tour, which takes from you your hotel in Cusco to the Andean cloud forest, down the mountain range, and into the steamy lowland rainforest of Manu National Park.
Operating between March to December, enjoy visiting three different lodges on the Manu Tapir and Macaws Tour for an exceptional experience of the Manu Rainforest. Enjoy exploring the cloud forest at the Cock of the Rock lodge, which is positioned on the side of the Andes. From this lodge, head out on guided trail walks to spot the national bird named the cock of the rock, which performs its dance display near the lodge. Other wildlife to see here include hummingbirds, spectacled bears, woolly monkeys, and capuchins. As we’re in the Andes, you will see a fantastic amount of birdlife.
After we explore the Andes, head down the mountains to the mighty Madre de Dios River where we begin our journey to the Reserved Zone of Manu National Park. While here, we will stay at a camp positioned near a beautiful oxbow lake within the park itself. This is the most famous protected area in Peru and is the largest and most pristine national park in the country.
Explore the Reserved Zone with your naturalist guide to find many different monkeys. This is a fantastic place to see different primates and there are a variety of species, including capuchins, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, marmosets, tamarins, and howler monkeys. This is also a great place to see many interesting birds and some different colorful frogs and amphibians.
After exploring the Reserved Zone, we will head to the Manu Wildlife Center where you can see some of the larger icons of the Amazon Rainforest. Conde Nast Traveler magazine hailed the lodge as offering the “most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia” and we can understand their enthusiasm. We know of no other lodge where you have such a high chance of spotting giant river otters, colorful macaws at the clay lick, and tapir from the perfectly positioned tapir hide. Guests also stand a 10% chance of spotting jaguar.
After your time in the Manu Rainforest, we will head to Puerto Maldonado for your connecting flight back to Cusco or onward to Lima.
The Manu Explorer
The Manu Explorer has the same structure as the Manu Macaws & Tapir Tour above, but over a shorter time. Enjoy a combination tour of three different Amazon lodges, from the Andean environment to the steamy lowland Amazon Rainforest. Because of the incredible transition in environments you will visit, the Andes to Amazon tours are regarded as one of the best Nature experiences in South America.
In the cloud forest environment of the altitudinal Manu Rainforest, enjoy guided trail walks to find capuchin monkeys, woolly monkeys, and spectacled bears. The forest at this altitude is exceptionally diverse in birds and you’re sure to see different hummingbirds and the cock of the rocks, which perform their dancing ritual close to the lodge itself, plus many others.
After enjoying the cloud forest, we will travel down the Andes mountains to the Madre de Dios River and begin our journey to the Manu Reserved Zone. Here, we will stay at the Manu Tented Camp near a beautiful oxbow lake. Each day you will enjoy wildlife tours in the Reserved Zone to find many different monkeys and hopefully some of the resident giant river otters. This is a great place to find a number of colorful frogs, beautiful birds, and butterflies.
We will then travel to the renowned Manu Wildlife Center, which will increase your chances of spotting some of the larger and more iconic animals of the Amazon. Here we will observe large and colorful macaw parrots at their clay lick, wait for the tapir at an observation tower, and spot giant river otters in a nearby oxbow lake. Guests to the Manu Wildlife Center also stand a 10% chance of spotting jaguar sunning themselves by the river.
After your visit to the Manu Wildlife Center, we will head to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado for your return flight to Cusco or onwards to Lima for your journey home.
The Manu Bio Trip
The Bio Trip is a combination tour combining the Cock of the Rock Lodge in the Andean cloud forest and the Manu Wildlife Center in the Amazon’s lowland rainforest. Operating on Sundays from March to December, stay at the Cock of the Rock Lodge next to Manu National Park.
The lodge sits in a private cloud forest reserve with many different trail options. Enjoy guided walks to spot some of the cloud forest wildlife, such as spectacled bears, many colorful butterflies, cock of the rock birds, and many Andean birds. The lodge is positioned near a lek of Peru’s national bird, the cock of the rock. These birds perform dance displays to impress their mates by showing off their bright red plumage.
The changing scenery from the Andean environment to the Amazonian lowlands is spectacular. Enjoy traversing farming valleys in the mountains, elfin forests, and highland puna before we tour the lowland rainforest. When in the lowlands, we will travel the Madre de Dios River to the Manu Wildlife Center.
The Manu Wildlife Center has a fantastic reputation as one of the best rainforest lodges in Peru for wildlife and you have fantastic chances to see a range of wildlife. Enjoy one of the most photogenic macaw clay licks in Amazonia where hundreds of brightly colored parrots gather to obtain salts and for the clay’s medicinal properties.
In addition to seeing these fantastic parrots, you will visit a tapir clay lick to see South America’s largest land mammal, and visit an oxbow lake to see giant river otters. In addition to this, around 10% of guests to the Manu Wildlife Center enjoy seeing wild jaguar on the riverbank, which is possibly the most sought after wildlife experience in the Amazon.
You will also enjoy guided tours in the rainforest to find many colorful birds and several different monkeys, such as capuchins, woolly monkeys, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, tamarins, and marmosets. After your visit to the wildlife center, we will travel back up the river to Puerto Maldonado for your return flight home or back to Cusco.
The Manu Adventurer
To concentrate on the Amazon Rainforest lowlands, enjoy the Manu Adventurer to enjoy a stay at the fantastic Manu Wildlife Center and a camp within the Manu Reserved Zone. The tour starts from Puerto Maldonado, which is just short flight south of Cusco. We begin by travelling the Madre de Dios River to the Manu Reserved Zone of Manu National Park. This is the largest national park in the country and covers nearly 2 million hectares of Andean forest and lowland rainforest.
The wildlife contained within this vast protected area is incredible, which led to its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a Biosphere Reserve. Around 850 birds have been discovered in the park, which is more than the entire avifauna of many countries. Enjoy spotting different macaws, toucans, tanagers, and parrots.
The Manu Adventurer starts in the Reserved Zone where you will be comfortably accommodated in a low-impact camp and will tour the forest to see some fantastic animals. Enjoy guided walks on the different trails to see many different monkeys, colorful frogs, and many colorful birds. The lodge is located near an oxbow lake and with any luck we will enjoy seeing some resident giant river otters.
After your trip to the Reserved Zone of Manu National Park, travel the Madre de Dios again to the Manu Wildlife Center. This lodge is hailed by wildlife-lovers worldwide for the incredible amount of iconic animals you can see from this one lodge. Enjoy guided walks in the rainforest to spot capuchins, howler monkeys, tamarins, and other monkeys. The birdlife here is also incredible, but the focus for birds is the large and photogenic macaw clay lick. Here you can see hundreds of colorful macaws gathered at the clay and can enjoy the action from well positioned hides for fantastic photographs.
To finish your Manu Adventurer tour, travel back down the Madre de Dios to Puerto Maldonado for your return flight home or back to Cusco.
Manu Wildlife Center Tour
The Manu Wildlife Center is a world-renowned Amazon Rainforest lodge among wildlife lovers and is located just outside the Manu National Park. Conde Nast Traveler has hailed the lodge as offering “the most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia” and we can certainly understand why. The lodge provides fantastic wildlife experiences to see giant river otters, colorful birds, is close to one of the Amazon’s largest macaw clay licks, and provides access to a tapir clay lick to see South America’s largest land mammal.
Enjoy wildlife tours around the lodge’s many different trails to spot several different rainforest monkeys, including howler monkeys, tamarins, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, marmosets, titi monkeys, and capuchins. You can also see capybara, which are the world’s largest rodent and stand a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar. It’s not unheard of to see a few different jaguars on one tour.
The Manu Wildlife Center operates its regular departure program from March through December, but private departures are available throughout the year. When you arrive at the Puerto Maldonado airport, you will be met by lodge staff for your adventure down the mighty Madre de Dios River towards the Manu Rainforest. After your tour, you will be escorted back to the airport at Puerto Maldonado for your return journey to Lima or back to Cusco.