The Manu region of Southern Peru is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise and a truly remarkable place to visit for anyone with the smallest interest in the natural world. To tour the Manu area with a naturalist guide who knows and understands the region is an experience never to be forgotten and is especially a rewarding experience for the family. The Manu region is centered around the impressive Manu National Park (Parque Nacional del Manu), which is a haven for wildlife spread over 15,328 km² including Andean and lowland tropical rainforest.
Manu National Park was founded as a reserve in the late 1970s and later upgraded to its current national park status. The accessible reserved zone and surrounding areas contain beautiful lakes, mountain ranges, rivers and forests with a rich and diverse assemblage of animals and plants. Here you can find different large and colorful parrots, the social giant river otters, the continent’s largest land mammal, the tapir, jaguar, and much more. Tours of this remarkable area visit the impressive humming-bird filled cloud forests, a well constructed low-impact lodge actually inside the national park, and a wildlife center just at the park boundary. You can even combine all lodges on some programs to get a representative look at the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest from the clouds to the lowlands.
Manu Cloud Forest Tours
To tour the Manu Cloud Forest is an experience missed by many wildlife-loving visitors to Peru who have only heard of the lowland jungle. The contrasting cloud forest provides unrivaled opportunities to see humming birds, as well as others like spectacled bears, capuchin monkeys and a fantastic assortment of strange plants. To visit the Manu Cloud Forest, you can enjoy guided tours from the Cock of the Rock Lodge, specifically positioned near the brightly colored Cock of the Rock’s display ground, Peru’s national bird.
Manu Lowland Rainforest Tours
On tours of the impressive Manu lowland jungle, you will see many different animals including the stars of Manu, the large and colorful Macaw parrots, the giant amazon otters, and perhaps a rarely seen jaguar. Tourists visiting the Manu Wildlife Center have a 10% chance of sighting these mysterious and famous cats roaming the Manu region. The reserved zone of Manu National Park, accessible from Manu Wildlife Center , gives you access to the most beautiful lakes in the entire Manu region, which are home to caiman, giant river otters and many different birds.
Manu Tour Sights
There are several key sights people on Manu tours enjoy as they visit this incredible region. The tours have been designed to show off these key areas of Manu so you can experience all the main attractions of the region.
The Oxbow Lakes are lakes that were once connected as rivers which changed direction. As the rivers altered course, they left these lake area with an oxbow shape, a sign of where the river flowed. From Manu Tented Camp, you can visit Lake Salvador, regarded as the most beautiful in the Manu Region, which places it high in the running for most beautiful world wide. You can visit two of these lakes from Manu Wildlife Center , which are home to hoatzin, caiman and giant otters.
Perhaps the main attraction for tourists to Manu, the macaw clay licks are where hundreds of brightly colored macaws congregate to feed on medicinal clay. These area offer incredible photography opportunities. From Manu Wildlife Center , you will tour to one of the most photogenic and accessible of these licks to capture fantastic images of these colorful parrots.
Macaws are not the only animals to feed on these licks. Tapir, South America’s largest land mammals, also visits these areas for their medicinal properties. From Manu Wildlife Center , you can wait for these strange-looking beasts (regarded as harder to spot than the famed jaguar). Manu Wildlife Center has a Tapir Hide where you can wait with cameras poised to glimpse these shy creatures.
The Cloud Forests are one of the most threatened and biodiverse places on Earth and are home to humming birds, spectacled bears, capuchin monkeys and more. The Andes in general contains 1700 different birds with around 600 species you cannot see anywhere else. The tropical Andes is also home to 570 known mammals with 75 mammals only found in this region. For other wildlife, there are 600 different reptiles and just under 1000 different amphibians. The Peruvian Cloud Forest is the most undisturbed cloud forest section in the Andes, which you can visit on tours of the Cock of the Rock Lodge.
As one of Earth’s most diverse areas, the Manu National Park contains over 1000 different birds, which is more than both the US and Canada combined. There are 100 different reptiles and over 200 different mammals, including several different monkeys, tapir, jaguar, and giant river otters – South America’s Big 3. If you are taking one of the offered Manu combination programs below to combine the Manu Cloud Forest with Manu’s lowland rainforest, you will embark on an ecological adventure. Journeying between contrasting habitats and climate, you will be enriched by diverse wildlife. From humming birds to macaws, from spectacled bears to tapir, and from Cock of the Rock birds to the mysterious and lake-dwelling hoatzins.
There have been many publications on the Macaws of Manu. Macaws are a large, and often colorful, parrot with long tail feathers. Intelligent birds, they are often desired as exotic pets, which places considerable threats on their survival and brought one famous bird of the Pantanal and forest edges, the Hyacinth Macaw, to the brink of extinction. The parrots you can encounter in the Manu region include yellow-crowned parrots, dusky-headed parakeets, blue-headed parrots, mealy and orange-cheeked parrots, chestnut-fronted macaws, blue and yellow macaws, red and green macaws, and the famous scarlet macaws.
Where To Start Manu Tours?
To start your tour of the Manu region, you can choose to base yourself in either Cusco for the cloud forest tour at the Cock of the Rock lodge, or for any of the combination tours of Cloud Forest and lowland rainforest, or if you are only interested in the lowland rainforest, Puerto Maldonado. Both Cusco and Puerto Maldonado are located in southern Peru and are reached by a short flight from Lima, Peru’s Capital.