Recommended by: SA Handbook, Lonely Planet Guide, Let`s go, SA Shoestring, Moon Handbooks Peru & Andean Travel Web.
MANU, Paraiso Natural by far the richest, most extraordinary biological transect in the Peruvian Amazon, or the world, starts in Cusco and runs northeast by road and river to the great Manu Wilderness. Manu offers by far the greatest quantity and diversity of animals and plants in the world. No other destination in Peru or beyond can compare with Manu Nowhere else can you enjoy a superbly intact transect of tropical habitats from Andean grasslands and cloud forests down to foothill and lowland forests.
The great biodiversity of this national park is due to it starting in the eastern slopes on the Andes and plunging down into the lowlands, thus covering a wide range of cloud forest and rainforest inhabitats. The most progressive aspect of the park is the fact that so much of it is very carefully protected, a rarity anywhere in the world.
After Perú introduced protection laws in 1973, Unesco declared Manu a Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and a World Natural Heritage Site in 1987. One reason the park is so successful in preserving such a large tract of virgin jungle and its wildlife is that it is remote and relatively inaccessible to people, and therefore has not been exploited by rubber tappers, loggers, oil companies or hunters.
It is illegal to enter the park without a guide or an official tour operator. The best time to go is during the dry season ( May to December).
Virgin jungle lies up the Rio Manu northwest of Boca Manu. At the Puesto Control Limonal ( guard post ), about an hour from Boca Manu. Six hours upstream is Cocha Salvador, one of the park´s largest and most beautiful lakes, where there are guided camping and hiking possibilities, with patience wildlife is seen in most areas. This is not a wide-open habitat as is the African plains. The thick vegetation will obscure many animals, and a skilled guide is very useful in helping you to see them.
During a one-week trip, you can reasonably expect to see scores of different birds species, several monkey species and possibly a few other mammals.
Jaguars, tapirs, giant anteaters, tamanduas, capybaras, peccaries and giant river otters are among the common large mammals of Manu. But they are elusive, and you can consider a trip very successful if you see two or three large mammals you might see include kinkajous, pacas, agouties, squirrels, brocket deer, ocelots and armadillos. Other animals include river turtles and caiman ( which are frecuently seen ), snakes ( which are less often spotted ) and a variety of others reptiles and amphibians.
Colorful butterflies and less pleasing insects also abound.
The Manu area encompasses the Parque Nacional Manu and much of the surrounding area. The park covers almost 20,000 sq km ( about the size of Wales ) and is one of the best places in South America to see a wide variety of tropical wildlife. The park is divided into three zones: the largest sector, to the west, is the zona natural comprising 60% of the total park area and is essentially closed to unauthorized visitors. Entry to this sector is restricted to a few indigenous groups, mainly the Machiguengas, some of whom continue to live here as they have for generations; some groups have had almost no contact with outsiders and do not seen to want any. Fortunately, this wish is respected.
A handful of researchers with permits is also allowed in to study the wildlife.
The second sector is the zona experimental where controlled research and tourism activities are permitted. This is the northeastern sector and comprises about 30% of the park area. The third sector, covering the lower southeastern area and comprising 10% of the park area is the zona cultural ( cultural zone ).
A visit to Peru is not complete without spending at least a few days in this unique area, where macaws (Ara sp.), a tapir (Tapirus terrestris), a peccaris or even a jaguar may be seen.
Visit Manu with a specialised tour operator and you will not only find untouched and pristine tropical rainforest, but you will be encouraging local conservation-oriented tour operators to preserve this wonderful ecosystem.
SAS Travel Peru has been guiding visitors to the area for many years, and our staff is trained to make your stay an educational, exciting and unforgettable experience.
We went to Manu with SAS Travel in May and had a great time. We flew into Boca Manu, traveled by motorized canoe into Manu, stayed in Manu for 3 nights in tent camps, then went to the Clay Lick and on to Puerto Maldonado to fly back to Cuzco. 6 days 5 nights. I would actually recommend just the Renato programme. Then you are in the Manu jungle for just 4 days, 3 nights and you can see Giant River Otters, many kinds of monkeys, caiman, and thousands of birds. It is very rustic with no electricity but was an incredible experience. I believe the fly in/fly out was about $830. This leaves you plenty of time to see MP and Cuzco. July 2006
SAS Travel provides Ecotourism at its best, working with people from the region to improve their lives, conserving the Environment and preserving the Rain Forest Ecosystem of Manu National Park and the Amazon for the future generations.
SAS Travel "Manu Official Operator"
Small group Specialists !! Office: Calle Garcilaso 270 (near Plaza San Francisco)
CUSCO- PERU - Tél: + 51 84 249194 + 51 84 261920
Fax: + 51 84 225 800 + 51 84 249194
Emergencies: + 51 84 234284 - Movil: 984 65 2232
Office hours: Mon to Sat: 8am – 8pm - Sun:from 4-8pm