Wildlife Center located east of the Manu River on the north bank of
the Madre de Dios River, and reached by a 35-minute light plane flight
from Cusco, offers the Amazon's finest, in-depth wildlife safari. The
Lodge contains 22 double-occupancy fully screened private bungalows
with hot showers, a large fully screened dining room, and a bar with
hammocks for relaxing.
to Boca Manu and Manu Wildlife Center
An early morning
transfer to Cusco airport will be followed by a 45-minute flight by
turboprop aircraft to Boca Manu, and then a 90-minute motorized canoe
journey down the Madre de Dios river to Manu Wildlife Center, in time
In the afternoon we make our first acquaintance with the rainforest,
exploring some of the 30 miles of forest trails that surround the lodge.
We have an excellent chance of encountering some of the 12 species of
monkeys, including the Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarin, which inhabit
the surrounding forest. After dinner there will be an enchanting night
walk along the trails, in search of the nocturnal birds and animals
of the rainforest.
2: Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Claylick, Canopy Tower & Tapir
Another early start
(inevitable on wildlife expeditions), is followed by a short boat ride
downstream. We take a 20-minute trail through palm plantations to a
cut-off channel of the river, where we find the Blanquillo Macaw Lick.
A spacious hide provided with individual chairs and a convenient place
for cameras and binoculars is our ringside seat for what is usually
a very spectacular show. We enjoy a full breakfast here while waiting
for the main actors to arrive.
In groups of twos and
threes the big Red-and-Green Macaws come flapping in, landing in the treetops
as they eye the main stage below -- the eroded clay banks of the old channel.
Meanwhile the supporting cast appears: these may included Blue-headed,
Mealy, Yellow-crowned, and Orange-cheeked Parrots -- and the occasional
villain, a menacing and unwelcome Great Black Hawk.
The drama plays out in first in tentative and then bolder approaches to
the lick, until finally nearly all the macaws, parrots and parakeets form
a colorful and noisy spectacle on the bare banks, squabbling as they scrape
clay from the hard surface.
We return to the lodge for lunch, and then we continue to explore and
discover the rainforest, its lore and plant life, on the network of trails
surrounding the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon at our 34m/112ft
Canopy Tower. On its platform we witness the frantic rush-hour activity
of twilight in the rainforest canopy, before night closes in.
Later we set
off along the collpa trail, which will take us to the lodges
famous Tapir Claylick. Here at the most active tapir lick known in all
the Amazon, our research has identified from 8-12 individual 600-pound
Tapirs who come to this lick to eat clay from under the tree roots around
the edge. This unlikely snack absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the vegetarian
diet of the Tapir, the largest land animal of Latin America. The lick
features a roomy, elevated observation platform 5m/17ft above the forest
floor. The platform is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows.
Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 50-m-long, elevated
walkway to the platform is covered with sound-absorbing padding to prevent
our footsteps from making noise. This Tapir Experience is unique and exciting
because these normally very shy creatures are visible up close, and flash
photography is not just permitted, but encouraged.
The hard part
for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent anywhere from 30
minutes to two or more hours. Many prefer to nap until the first Tapir
arrives, at which point your guide gently awakens you to watch the Tapir
10-20m/33-66ft) away below the platform. Most people feel that the wait
is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing
the rare and elusive Tapir in its rainforest home.
3: Manu Wildlife Center: Cocha Blanco and the Wildlife trails
We set off early
for Cocha Blanco, an old oxbow lake full of water lilies and sunken
logs. As we circle the lake on our catamaran we might encounter the
resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of monkeys
crashing noisily through the trees. Wattled Jacanas step lightly on
the lily pads, dainty Sun Grebes paddle across the water, supple-necked
Anhingas air-dry their wide, black wings, and perhaps an Osprey scans
for fish from a high branch.
Amongt the bushes near the waterline, Hoatzins, which look like rust-colored,
punk chickens, announce their presence with distinctive, bizarre wheezing
and grunts. Woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans and parakeets all
finally come swooping in to trees surrounding the lake. Many of them
roost around the lake for the night
After lunch at the lodge our guide is available to lead us on freewheeling
expeditions in search of further wildlife encounters, or we may take
one of the lodges many trails on private and personal excursions
to commune with the spirits of the rainforest.
This evening, from late afternoon until after dinner, we can take a
boat ride in search of caiman (alligator-like reptiles), and other nocturnal
wildlife along the riverbank.
4: Departure Day
After an early breakfast, we leave on the two-hour boat trip to the
Boca Manu airfield, enjoying early morning wildlife activity as we go.
From here we fly to Cusco, where our rainforest adventure ends with
a pickup and transfer to our hotel.
note that the program may vary slightly so as to maximize your wildlife
sightings, depending on the reports of our researchers and experienced
naturalist guides based at the lodge.
includes: Activities include a visit to Manu's only accessible
macaw clay lick, a visit to the world's largest tapir clay lick, oxbow
lakes with Giant Otters and unlimited access to our unique spiral staircase
to a large canopy observation platform, Accommodation, full board, transportation
and airfare Cusco/Boca Manu/Cusco.
included: International airfares
Rates per person: $1483 in double room, Single Supplement:$225