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Manú National Park

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The Manú National Park, located in the isolated region of Madre de Dios, is one of the most diverse areas in Peru and South America.

Understand[edit]

The Manu National Park is divided into three zones: the "core zone" which is only accessible for scientists and researchers, the "reserved zone" (tourism) which is only accessible for a limited number of tour operators and their tours, and the "cultural zone" which is more accessible and where local Amazonian peoples live in small communities. To enter the reserved zone, you must go with a tour operator on a multi-day trip which can be expensive; some of those operators are listed below.

The cultural zone is home to several native communities of Yine and Matsiguenka people who have initiated tourism projects. It is possible to go on your own to the cultural zone as long as you take proper precautions and make your own arrangements (more information below). When visiting the park, chances to see wildlife are highest in the reserved tourism zone but wildlife experiences are also available in the cultural zone. The cultural zone is the only place where you will be able to visit native communities, many of which still follow their traditional ways of life, such as hunter-gatherer traditions.

Cultural Zone[edit]

The native communities operating tourism projects in the cultural zone are:

  • Palotoa-Teparo: a Matsiguenka community close to Salvacion. Attractions in this community include homestays, banana plantations, and the impressive Petroglyphs of Pusharo, which require a permit.
  • Isla de los Valles: a Yine community next to the town of Boca Manú. On their land, you can visit the Cocha Isla de los Valles, an oxbow lake home to giant river otters. The community runs tours at 5am and 5pm by catamaran.
  • Shipetiari: a Matsiguenka community which provides cultural immersion activities, hikes, and Ayahuasca ceremonies. There is a lodge in the community, Albergue Pankotsi, where you can sleep.

History[edit]

Manú National Park is the best well-preserved region of the Amazon on the planet today. The Manu Nature Reserve was established in 1968. Manu National Park was established by decree on 29 May 1973. In 1977, UNESCO recognised it as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987, as a World Heritage Site.

Landscape[edit]

Tropical rainforest.

Flora and fauna[edit]

There is a lot of tropical wildlife to be seen in the National Park, including jaguars, giant otters, several species of monkeys (red howler, black spider, capuchin, squirrel,... monkeys), caymans, turtles.

Birds are abundant, including macaws, herons, cormorants, hawks, storks and many more.

Climate[edit]

The climate is usually hot and humid. Bring light clothes, preferrably with long sleeves to protect against mosquito bites.

Get in[edit]

There are two way to get to Manu:

  • It is possible to enter by a combination by bus and boat and leave through the same boat/bus combination. This option can be a long trip. From Cusco, go to the Prona colectivo stop (tell Paradero Prona to your taxi driver). Collectivo taxis leave everyday at 11am for Salvación, which is the largest town in the Manú park reachable by bus. The trip will cost 35 soles (April 2017). In Salvación you can stay the night then begin the journey by boat or bus the next day.
  • By plane from Cusco arriving directly to the jungle lowlands It will take about 40 to 45 minutes. InkaNatura is offering flights five times per week using a Cessna Grand Caravan.

Fees/Permits[edit]

It is important to get permits in advanced to enter the reserved region of the park. INRENA [[1]] is the Government office in charge of issuing permits. This can be done and paid for through the 8 different official operators in the Manu park.

To see the Petroglyphs of Pusharo in the community of Palotoa-Teparo, a permit is also required.

Get around[edit]

There are a only 8 tour operators who have the licence to take tourists into the reserved zone. Tours start from Cusco and usually take between 4 and 10 days. Prices range between 500 USD and 1800 USD depending on the length of the trip and the operator. All tours are guided by studied biologists (this is a rule by the park administration).

Be careful when booking your trip and try to book directly with one of the operators, as travel agencies will happily sell you the tickets, take a massive commission and just book you on a tour with an operator you don't know in advance. Make sure to ask about all the tour details before you book (accomodation, extra fees, english-speaking guide if needed, food, jungle walks, other activities). Also try to bargain about the price!

Tour operators that offer tours into the reserved zone:

  • SAS Travel
  • Expediciones Vilca. With a price of (around) 700 USD for an 8-day tour one of the cheaper operators. Nonetheless reliable and excellent value (we had an awesome tour with a great guide, a fantastic cook and lots of animal sightings)
  • Pantiacolla. Rather expensive tours guided by a dutch biologist.
  • Amazon trails peru. probably guided by the best guide in the Manu National Park or ask for Abraham Huaman
  • Tours in Machu Picchu E.I.R.L. company. Is a local tour Operator manage by Jeremy Aquino Offers tours to Manu National Park they also offers tours to machu Picchu.
  • Manu Tours Peru is a family company. This natural paradise offer the best possibilities to take photos and to observe the live of the rainforest, thanks for the inborn ability that they can meet in this originally place of the Manu National Park.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Palotoa-Teparo: offers homestays, volunteering projects, and the Petroglyphs of Pusharo

Isla de los Valles: a native community that has on its land the Cocha Isla de los Valles, an oxbow lake that is home to a family of giant river otters and an assortment of other birds and animals.

Shipetiari: a community with a lodge, Albergue Pankotsi, that regularly receives tourists and large groups. Activities offered in this community include hikes, animal sightings, masato making, fishing, other cultural activities, and Ayahuasca ceremonies.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Wild Watch Peru; a local tour operator based in Cusco, the tours are well organized and guided by Hebert who is one of the finest guide in the region

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lodging[edit]

There are several lodges and camps in the Manu area[2].

Manu Wildlife Center is an awesome place to see lots of birds, monkeys and other wildlife. Cabins are clean, with hot water, but no electricity. Food is very good. Various trips are available from canopy stands to one of only a few known Macaws clay licks, where hundreds of Macaws come every morning to eat bits of clay which aids their digestion.

Camping[edit]

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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