Manu Wildlife Center | Trip Itinerary
This itinerary reflects the 5 day/4 night-Thursday to Monday program.
The 4 day/3 night-Monday to Thursday program is identical except it eliminates day 4.
**Special Note: An overnight stay in Puerto Maldonado before your departure Day 1 MAY be required based on current flight arrival times in Puerto Maldonado. Please consult us for current details.
Day 1: Flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado-Colorado - Manu Wildlife Center
A transfer service from your hotel to Cusco airport will be followed by a 45-minute commercial flight to Puerto Maldonado, then you will be transferred for an approximately 2 ½ hours trip by van to Santa Rosa Village. Next you will cross the Inambari river for a 15 minutes boat trip to Puerto Carlos, here you will start your overland journey to Boca Colorado for 45 minutes by car. From here you board a motor boat for a four and half hour ride upstream on the Madre de Dios river, enjoying the local wildlife that calls the river & surrounding area home. On the way we include a delicious boxed lunch at the beginning of the boat journey to Manu Wildlife Center. Late afternoon arrival to the lodge, where you have a chance to settle in to your cabin and relax before dinner.
After dinner there will be an enchanting night walk along the trails, in search of the nocturnal birds and animals of the rainforest. (Box Lunch, D)
Day 2: Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Claylick, Canopy Tower & Tapir Clay lick.
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.
(Please note that the clay lick is most active from August to October and less so during the months of May and June.)
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 lodge’s 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. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Manu Wildlife Center: Hike to an Oxbow Lake and the Wildlife Trails.
We set off early for an old oxbow lake full of water lilies (Nuphar lutea) 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.
Among 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 lodge’s many trails on private and personal excursions to commune with the spirits of the rainforest.This evening, from the late afternoon until after Dinner, we offer an opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank by boat (If the level of river allows it) (B/L/D)
Day 4: Manu Wildlife Center: Observation tower and trail system
After breakfast we will explore on the network of trails, having more emphasis in visiting trees that are with flowers and fruits, this thanks to the information of our resident and naturalist guides. Here we expect to find more species of monkeys, as well as also numerous species of birds. Before or after the dinner, the passengers who have energy and want more experience, they will have the second opportunity to visit the Observation Tower as well as The mammals or tapir clay lick (Collpa de mamiferos). (B/L/D)
Day 5: Manu Wildlife Center to Cusco.
We leave our lodge very early on the two hour and half return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village, the breakfast will be serve on the boat while you enjoying early morning wildlife activity as we go, of course this is a perfect time to take advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river, in additions this journey allows us to see several lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River. We will stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado to start our overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes, then you will cross the Inambari River for 15 minutes boat trip to Santa Rosa, finally a van or bus will drive us to the airport in Puerto Maldonado City, in approximately two-hours and half, from here you fly by a commercial airplane to Cusco, with a pickup and transfer assistant to your hotel your jungle adventure ends. Arrival at Cusco Airport, reception and transfer to your hotel. (B)
Please 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.
B=Breakfast; L= Lunch; D=Dinner.
Mondays and Thursdays
4 day/3 night
5 day/4 night