The Cultural Zone is one of the three zones from Manu National Park which covers high mountains, cloud forest amd low jungle. In this area there are small villages, setlers and native comunities working in productive activieties such as agriculture and lumber at a low scale, since this activities are controled by the Ministery of Agriculture and Park Authorities.
We leave Cusco early in the morning in our specialized overland vehicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting Pre- Inca tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as “Chullpas”. We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2000 and 3500 meters above sea level and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our Orchids lodge “San Pedro”.
Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange and about 5:00am. as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a ritual mating dance in a comfortably installed on an observation platform called “Lek”. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue by bike down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward Pilcopata town (*1) for 2 hours approximately (*2). A 30 minutes bus ride to the port of Atalaya where we will board our covered outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 30 minutes toward our private reserve of “Erika Lodge” where we will spend the next two nights. Short walk around the lodge.
Descend with mountain bikes from San Pedro Lodge (1700 m.a.s.l.) - Cloud Forest to Pilcopata- High Jungle (700 m.a.s.l.).
Here in Pilcopata we will make the final settings for a 3 hour tropical jungle river rafting trip down the Kosñipata river where we will have the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq canyon. Continuing down the tropical river of Alto Madre de Dios to Erika Lodge.
Erika Lodge is located in a transition zone between high and low jungle (600 m.a.s.l. to 1,150 m.a.s.l, 1,200 to 3,450 feet) encompassing different habitats. This altitude range explains the high diversity of wildlife found around this lodge, so immediately after breakfast, we will start walking near the riverbanks, during the hike our guide will talk about insects, medicinal plants, trees, reptiles, mammals, etc. Early afternoon we will start a short ride by boat to visit a small lake near to the Alto Madre de Dios River, here we are going to have the chance to see the Hoatzin, a primitive bird, white caimans, many species of birds, insects, etc. Short night walk. This will be our last night in the wonderful amazon jungle. Overnight in the lodge.
New!!! Canopy tour: Our guests traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables, as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the virgin rain forests and explain what’s going on around you, from the time you leave the ground, until you rappel back down to the forest floor.
This day we will get up very early to board our boat, and after five minutes, we will walk for another 30 minutes approximately though a very nice trail to observe and talk about the interesting flora fond such as sensitive plants, heliconias, frut plantations, etc. until we arrive to Machuwasi Lake where with the help of a telescope and observe great egrets, tucanets, carpenters, Keskadees, cardinals, etc. After this we will take the boat to Atalaya where the bus takes us out of Manu, arriving Cusco late in the afternoon.
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THINGS YOU SHOULD BRING ALONG ON A TRIP TO MANU