Boasting the greatest diversity of mammal life in the world and being one of the birding hotspots in the 4th most diverse country for bird life; Manu National Park in Peru’s Upper Amazon Rainforest is a wildlife enthusiasts dream. With salt licks that are adored by macaws and pristine lakes and rivers that seldom have visitors the forests around Manu are home to some of the Amazon’s most iconic and accessible wildlife. Whilst spotted jaguars may still be very difficult the smaller mammals (particularly primates) and of course the birds should entertain us as we delve deeper and deeper into the Amazon. Whilst in Manu we will visit 4 different lodges / camps. The first being in the cloud forests on the border of the Amazon and home to a variety of wildlife that is not usually found in the rainforest further down.
But the rainforest is not the only thing that the Peru has to offer, we will also travel into the Andes and visit the historically and culturally important site of Machu Picchu, one of the true wonders of the world.
Black-headed Night Monkey
On your arrival into Cusco airport you will be met by your guide and transferred the short journey to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon will be free for you to relax or explore the town (if you wish – this is not included in the tour and can be arranged with the help of the hotel staff).
Early this morning you will leave Cusco and make our way along the spectacular 165km road through a variety of Andean ecosystems and Quechua villages. The drive usually takes around 8-10 hours and we will have some breaks where we can experience some of the Andean villages and small farmsteads as we pass by. The architecture is a mix of Quechua and colonial which makes for a very scenic drive before we reach a pass that overlooks the Amazon Basin. Along the way you may see puna teals, Andean ducks and puna ibis in the high altitude habitats and then as we descend a little to get to the Cock of the Rock Lodge you will begin to hear the calls of birds such as quetzals, trogons and wood rails, and see a variety of orchids that grow in the perpetually damp cloud forest. Our lodge for the night is also home to the tamest and most accessible Andean cock-of-the-rock lekking site in the world. Also found around the lodge (alongside the plethora of bird species) are woolly monkeys, brown capuchin monkeys and very occassionally Andean bears. Some of the more common and impressive bird species we will try and see here are emerald toucanet, torrent duck, golden-headed quetzal, grey-breasted mountain-toucan,
Amazonia umbrellabird, blue-banded toucanet, fruit-eating tanagers, red-crested cotinga, banded-tail fruit-eater, tyrant flycatchers and the blue-crowned mot-mot. If we are in time (depending on the traffic, road conditions and how often we stop) we will visit the lek this evening to see the lodge’s namesake bird before retiring for the evening.
Manu National Park
This morning we will visit the Andean cock-of-the-rock lekking site before breakfast back at the lodge. After watching the impressive display and listening to the strange croaking calls of the males we will leave the lodge and head further down the Andeans and into the Amazon Basin and in particular to our next lodge the Amazonia Lodge located inside the huge Manu National Park. This park has the largest diversity of mammal life in the world and some of the largest numbers of plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians and bird species in the world as well. The journey will be different from yesterdays as we will only be able to make some of it by vehicle, before we board boats and continuing the journey through the Amazon Rainforest. The lodge is located in the tropical lowland rainforest of Manu Biosphere Reserve. The lodge has a very impressive bird list that is around 630 species strong at present, there are also many mammals recorded from the lodge grounds including 8 species of primates and some rarer sightings such as Brazilian tapir, jaguar, puma and peccaries. We will make the most of the afternoon and evening here before dinner and our first night in the Amazon Rainforest.
Manu National Park
This morning you will spend some time around the lodge, to see what bird life and other wildlife is around the lodge in the early morning. Then after breakfast we will board our boats and carry on further into the Amazon and to our next accommodation. The Aguaje Camp is a rustic camp located deep in the forest, on the banks of the Manu River and close to the trail that takes to you to the Salvador oxbow lake, this is the largest and most beautiful of Manu’s lakes. Around the Cocha Salvador it is possible to see giant otters and around the camp itself it can pay to keep an eye out for brown-mantled tamarins, black-capped squirrel monkeys, gray woolly monkeys and Peruvian spider monkeys. Being so deep into the forest lots of the wildlife is visible around the camp and with a full day tomorrow we hope to see many species that are difficult or impossible to see elsewhere.
Manu National Park
Today we will enjoy a full day exploring the trails and waterways around Aguaje Camp, the wildlife here is not as regularly disturbed by people as around some of the other larger and busier lodges. So we will spend the day with our local expert guide and see what animals we can find, in general during the day the wildlife that is readily seen in the rainforest are primates, aquatic animals and also the hundreds of different bird species. After dark we can also try and find some of the nocturnal species such as opossums, night monkeys, caimans and possible very rare mammals that only come out in the dead of the night.
Manu National Park
This morning will be our last around Aguaje Camp and we will have some time to see the wildlife again before heading on the river again and this time heading to Manu Wildlife Centre. We will take a packed lunch and spend a good portion of the day slowly travelling to the centre and trying to see wildlife along the river banks as we travel. The centre is located on the Madre de Dios River and the wildlife is abundant here, as well as trails and canopy towers the centre is also close to a salt lick that is very productive for macaws and tapirs and also two large oxbow lakes that are good places for wildlife watching. Travelling along the river to the centre we will try and spot aquatic wildlife such as caiman, giant otters and hoatzins as well as other wildlife. Once we arrive at the centre you will have some time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the private lodge located in its own 16,190 ha. rain forest reserve adjacent to the one million-acre protected area named the “Amarakaeri Reserved Zone”. Over the next three full days we will explore this area in full and finish our exploration of the Peruvian upper Amazon.
Manu National Park
Over the next 3 full days we will explore the forest, lakes and trails around the lodge, when hiking some trails we can see groups of Manakins, and other species of birds. Some other areas around the lodge include a trail through the untouched forest to a lookout point on a cliff over the river to watch roosting flights of Parrots and Macaws as the sun sets. Another excursion can be up to the canopy tower or along the quite trails looking for primates such as Emperor and Wedell’s Saddleback Tamarin’s, and also recorded here are the rare Goeldi’s Monkey. One morning whilst here we’ll make an early start for the Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick. This is truly one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of Parrots and their larger relatives, the Macaws, congregate at this traditional locality to eat the mineral rich clay that is essential to their digestion. We’ll use a comfortable hide to get close to the birds and breakfast will be served whilst there. The noise alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds at the lick is a sight not to be forgotten. As the lick slows down in midmorning we’ll head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta in the hammock area of the roomy cool lounge area of the lodge. We’ll be on the lookout for Gray’s Bald-faced Saki Monkey, an uncommon and rarely seen monkey of the terra firma forest that is occasionally seen here. One morning we’ll take an excursion for those who wish, perhaps to the canopy tower or along quite trails looking for primates and the strange Pale-winged Trumpeter we have seen repeatedly in this area. On another one of our mornings here we’ll head for Cocha Blanco or Cocha Camungo, old ox-bow lakes, in search of families of Giant Otters that live there, and canoe around the lake on our floating platform looking for other wildlife, including the bizarre Hoatzin. Here too are groups of Black Spider and Capuchin Monkeys. Each day we’ll take leisurely lunch at the lodge with time of to swing in hammocks or watch the multicolored Hummingbirds’ coming to the Butterfly bushes and feeders in the garden. We’ll explore other trails and perhaps enjoy a last rainforest sunset and we also have one visit to a mineral lick located in the forest. This will be done after dark with a local guide. This is one of the best place to search for nocturnal animals and see the largest South American land mammal. The Brazilian tapir is a frequent visitor with up to 12 animals visiting in one night on occassions. We watch them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses from our specially constructed blind. Other nocturnal creatures are always possible and we can hope for some great mammal sightings here during the night.
This morning we will have an early start before departing on a motorised canoe towards Colorado, once we arrived in Colorado we will load up into a vehicle and then travel to the town of Puerto Maldonado and from here fly back to Cusco on LA 2076 which departs at 13:00. We then have the rest of the afternoon and evening to rest and relax before embarking on the second stage of our trip where we will head into the Andes and to the once lost civilisation of Machu Picchu.
This morning we will leave the hotel and be taken to the train station, from here we will get the train to the Sacred Valley. The Vistadome train passes through picturesque Andean scenery, passing traditional villages, Inca ruins and rushing rivers. You will descend 1,300m through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and follow the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes (which is now called Machu Picchu Pueblo). After dropping off your luggage at the station we’ll take the 20-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu, perched 600 meters above the river. After lunch your archeological guide will take you on a walking tour of the site. It is important to have your camera equipment in a small bag ready to take on the bus to the site so that we can leave the train and catch the bus straight away. The famous lost city of the Inca is one of the most magical and mysterious places on Earth. Situated on the spine of a jungle cloaked granite peak towering some 600 meters above an entrenched meander of the roaring river below, the site is frequently shrouded in misty clouds pierced by the powerful equatorial sun. Constructed from precisely sculptured granite blocks carefully joined with the projecting exposed stone of the surrounding mountain, the site may well be the finest architectural achievement of the new world. In the late afternoon we will head back to the town and have the rest of the day to relax in the stunning Andean surroundings. Tomorrow we will make the climb up Huayna Picchu which offers stunning views over the ruins.
This morning we will once again get the bus to the ruins to further explore the vast city of Machu Picchu, at 10am we will start the ascent of Hauyna Picchu (this means Young Peak) and is a peak in which the Urumbamba River bends. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720m above sea level, or about 360m higher than Machu Picchu. The top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, “Unfinished Temple”, and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon. Only 400 people are allowed to climb the peak per day and we will be in the latter group as the clouds will hopefully have lifted allowing for excellent views over the ruins. The climb is steep and can be slippery when wet so we are best to take our time in getting up to the top. After exploring the site more we will get back to the hotel (via the bus) and then board the train back to Cusco. The rest of the evening will be free to rest.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The range of places we will be visiting on this trip means that we will experience some diverse weather conditions. The central areas of the tour will have a standard Andean climate which will consist of warm days with blue skies and occasional cloud cover, misty mornings and chilly to cold evenings and nights. The temperatures in the Andes can vary from the high 20’s C in the day to around 5C in the night. When in the cloud forests it is safe to expect wet and damp conditions with cloud cover and also humid conditions but again the temperatures will not be very hot. In the Amazon you will experience hot temperatures both day and night with high 20’s and low 30’s C being normal. Rain is also expected daily in the form of heavy downpours. The humidity will be high and most of the rain will be in the late afternoon to early evening. However it would be prudent to expect rain at anytime, this is the rainforest after all. The Amazon rainforest climate is typically a tropical climate, also known as equatorial climate, like any other tropical rainforest, it’s hot and humid throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of 27°C (80.7°F). There isn’t such a thing as summer or winter, or it’s not pronounced, the annual temperature range is about 2°C.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, vehicle safaris, river cruises, cultural activities, internal flights and park entrance fees are also included; we also include all fees for our guides, drivers and assistants to help with our goals of finding wildlife.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be everything from swimming gear to warm cloths and waterproofs. The nights can be chilly so a fleece, long trousers and woolly hat are a good idea. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Insect repellent is needed. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be very strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. A spotlight is usually provided for nocturnal wildlife watching (when local conditions allow) and Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any departure taxes applicable when leaving are not included (but may be included in the cost of your flights), Please check this before hand.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend KLM or Air France as good airlines for flights to Cusco and from Lima. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for all these flights is www.holidaygenie.com; who are ATOL bonded and IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Citizens of most countries do not require a visa to enter the country for tourism. However things change so the easiest way to find information is by visiting https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/peru/entry-requirementshttp:/(be aware that these links leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Peru, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis It is however very important to be taking a form of malaria prophylactics during your time in Peru. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Peru as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Glenn & Nadine - Pennsylvania
A. Hill - Southend, London
Mr & Mrs. Jackson - Cheshire