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Wild Peru - the Best of Manu

Tour Code: PER09

A 17-day odyssey in search of the birds and mammals of one of the world's great national parks, Manu, that stretches from the roof of the Andes to pristine lowland Amazonian rainforest!

18 days from £5495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4795 SRS: £595

Manu National Park is one of the world’s great national parks. It is also a biodiversity hotspot and supports over 1,000 species of birds, countless reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, and an impressive range of mammals. On this exciting tour we aim to explore Manu’s paramo scrubland, elfin forest, cloudforest, and rainforest enjoying each habitat and altitudinal zone’s wealth of wildlife as we go. After a flight to Cusco, via Lima, we will travel through dry inter-montane valleys before crossing the Acjanaco Pass as down into Manu. We’ll be based in a series of comfortable lodges as we pass through Manu’s different altitudinal zones looking for hummingbirds, mot-mots, toucans, toucanets and flower-piercers among a dazzling variety of birdlife. Once we are deep in the lowland forest, we’ll spend 3 nights each at Manu Tented Camp and Manu Wildlife Centre exploring on foot and by boat. An even greater diversity of birds and mammals awaits us here until, after six extraordinary, wildlife-filled days, we must return home.

  • Manu NP is home to Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, Spectacled Bear & Giant River Otter
  • Myriad hummingbirds and tanagers in the cloudforest
  • Visit an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek
  • Multiple primate species & White-lipped Peccaries plus chance of Ocelot
  • Visit oxbow lakes to look for Hoatzins, Sungrebes & Giant River Otters
  • Dawn clay-lick visit to see Red-and-green Macaws & other parrots & parakeets
  • Look for Brazilian Tapirs at a clay-lick


All included in the price, except for meals in Lima.


A mixture of birding and wildlife lodges, some rustic but all in wonderful locations.

Scarlet Macaw (Byron Palacios)

Scarlet Macaw (Byron Palacios)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Lima

Day 2 Fly Cusco; PM free to acclimatise

Day 3/4 Wayquecha Biological Station

Day 5/6 Cock-of-the-rock Lodge

Day 7/8 Amazonia Lodge

Day 9 Romero Lodge

Day 10/12 Manu Tented Camp

Day 13/15 Manu Wildlife Centre

Day 16 Puerto Maldonado

Day 17 Lima; in flight

Day 18 Arrive UK

For naturalists and birders the world over the word Manu conjures up exciting images of pristine Amazonian rainforest and a wealth of colourful and exotic wildlife. Indeed, the Manu National Park is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, supporting over 1,000 species of birds, countless reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and an impressive range of mammals which includes Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, Spectacled Bear and Giant River Otter. Over a relatively short geographical distance, you can travel down the length of the famous ‘Manu road’ and so complete a cross-section of the entire eastern Andean slope from páramo scrubland at the treeline, through moss-festooned elfin forest and mist-enshrouded cloudforest to subtropical rainforest and then, finally, lowland tropical rainforest. Each step of the way has its own set of birds and other wildlife and on this exciting new tour we aim to explore each of these zones in depth and get a real insight into the amazing biodiversity of this remarkable area. 

After an international flight to Lima, the Peruvian capital, we begin our tour with an onward flight to the historical city of Cusco. From there we will we head off across the dry inter-montane valleys towards Manu, watching out en route for Mountain Caracara, Andean Flicker, Giant Hummingbird and local endemics such as Bearded Mountaineer, Creamy-crested Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Mountainfinch.  At the Acjanaco Pass we complete our crossing of the inter-Andean valleys and, quite abruptly, almost as if we are passing through a gateway, we find ourselves gazing down at a stunning vista of ridge after ridge of richly forested hills which drop away like a glorious painted veil to the Amazonian lowlands far below. This is Manu.

From here we will use a series of comfortable lodges from which to explore each of the various altitudinal zones. In the high-altitude elfin forest and páramo we will look out for Moustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared and Scarlet-breasted Mountain Tanagers and hummingbirds such as Shining Sunbeam and the exquisite Sapphire-vented Puffleg.  Here, too, we have perhaps our best chance of seeing a Spectacled Bear and, whilst we would be very lucky to see one, we will certainly keep our eyes open!  Dropping down into the cloudforest we will encounter a different and richer set of birds which may well include such stunning species as Andean Guan, Greybreasted Mountain Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet, Highland Motmot, Barred Fruiteater and Hooded Mountain Tanager.  Descending still lower, a couple of nights spent at the famous Cock-of-the-rock Lodge will give us the opportunity to explore the lush middle-altitude forests.  The lodge is sited close to a traditional and easily accessible Andean Cock-of-therock lek and, with luck, we will see these stunning birds at close quarters as they perform their noisy courtship displays. In the lodge gardens the feeders attract a rich and dazzling array of hummingbirds, tanagers and other species, whilst at the river just below the lodge we can look for Fasciated Tiger Heron and White-capped Dipper. Here Common Woolly Monkeys can also be easy to see as they forage amongst the moss and bromeliad-clad branches of the tall forest trees.

Dropping further down into the foothills, we will next explore the rich secondary forests that surround Amazonia Lodge, where we have the chance of finding Military and Blue-headed Macaws alongside such stunning little hummingbirds as Rufouscrested Coquette, Black-eared Fairy and Wire-crested Thornbill. Then we will push deep into the lowland rainforest wilderness of Manu National Park, staying for three nights each at the remote Manu Tented Camp and the celebrated Manu Wildlife Centre. Between the two, travelling mostly by boat and on foot along quiet jungle trails, we will encounter a diverse range of rainforest wildlife, including troops of Red Howler Monkeys and packs of noisy Whitelipped Peccaries, whilst a chance encounter with a Jaguar or an Ocelot is an ever-present possibility. Birds may well include Pale-winged Trumpeter, Razorbilled Curassow and Blue-throated Piping Guan alongside a range of toucans, woodpeckers, woodcreepers, antbirds, trogons, puffbirds, mot-mots and lots more. Along the rivers we will look out for Capybaras, Spectacled Caimans, Orinoco Geese and Sunbitterns, while a trip to an oxbow lake should reward us with Hoatzins, Sungrebes and, with luck, Giant River Otters. During a dawn visit to a clay cliff we may see scores of Red-and-green Macaws and other parrots and parakeets coming in to eat clay, and we will complete our time in this amazing region with visits to a canopy tower and to a mammal claylick where visits from Brazilian Tapirs are an almost nightly occurrence.

Finally, after many memorable experiences, we will have to leave this stunning wilderness and head back to civilisation to, reluctantly, conclude what must surely be one of South America’s ultimate forest journeys.

We currently don’t have any images for this tour. If you have any suitable image you would like published then please email us.

Mr & Mrs Bell
In summary, it was a highly interesting, successful holiday led by an absolute star.
Mr & Mrs Bell
Another major contributor to the success was our guide, Marlene. She was an absolute star. She worked the long days intensively and with total concentration. Her ability to spot birds by sight or sound demonstrated expertise of the highest order.
Mr & Mrs Bell
Back home the discomforts, except for a few itchy spots, were soon forgotten and what remains are memories of an expertly balanced holiday comprising of long days in the field, a wide range of habitats resulting in an extensive bird list and some major mammals.
Mr & Mrs Bell
The lodges, as Naturetrek described, were basic but very clean. The partial or total lack of electricity was at times an irritant, but again, as described so accepted.
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Wed 12th September 2018 - Sat 29th September 2018



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4795 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Peru

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In summary, it was a highly interesting, successful holiday led by an absolute star.
Mr & Mrs Bell, Staffordshire