TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MANU NATIONAL PARK
The Manu National Park is the most diverse in Peru and the world, in this place you can explore and enjoy the diversity that this place offers you. Next, we will point out some recommendations below and include the best 10 things to do in Manu National Park.
The National Park has been recognized as a core area of the Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and in 1978 as a Natural World Heritage Site.
The Manu National Park is the most diverse in Peru and the world, in this place you can explore and enjoy the diversity that this place offers you.
In addition, you will get to know the “top six”, the six most extreme animals of the Peruvian Amazon: the Jaguar, the Rio Lobo, the Gallito de las Rocas, the Guacamayo Cabezón, the Black Caiman and the Maquisapa.
The Manu also protects 10% of the plant species in the world. A single hectare of the forest in the Manu can house more than 220 species of trees, 1 000 species of birds, 1 200 butterflies and 200 mammals.
If you arrive to Manu you can also know the traditional ways of life of Amazonian populations, which maintain Quechua as their mother tongue.
We will point out some recommendations below and include the best 10 things to do in Manu National Park.
Top 10 Things to do in Manu National Park
Visit a Research Center
These facilities were created with the aim of informing and educating the population about the flora and fauna, environmental services, history, culture, among others, offered by the Manu National Park. They are the starting point and beginning of the explanation that all visitors entering the Manu must know.
In the Manu, you can visit one of the most renowned research centers for the tropics: the biological station of Cocha Cashu. Cocha Cashu is unique because it is located on an extensive region minimally affected by man; providing critical knowledge about biodiversity and the processes of a healthy and intact forest.
Another attractive option is the Interpretation Center of the Manu National Park, located in the surveillance post “Limonal”. It has become a place of research and study for hundreds of scientists around the world, since the park is home to more than 20,000 varieties of plants, 1,000 of birds, 160 of mammals, 140 of amphibians, 50 of snakes, among others.
Visit Lake Salvador in the Reserved Zone
The Salvador Lake is one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in the Manu Reserved Zone. It was discovered and baptized by the pioneer Galician logger, Domingo Troncoso at the beginning of the last century who found a lot of rubber trees in this area.
Currently there is a tourist infrastructure to spend a few days comfortably.
Lake Salvador, despite its small territorial extension (21,040.79 square kilometers) and its high population density, maintains significant biodiversity, with good representativeness of ecosystems and species, and genetic resources of regional and global importance. The following types of plant formations are highlighted: nebulous forests, sub-mountain, páramos, seasonally saturated formation, pine forests, mangroves, eco-tonal formation, backpacks, lavas and bushes.
Visit Lake Otorongo in the Reserved Zone
It is another lake formed from an abandoned meander of the Manu River, located on its right bank and four hours away by boat from the town of Boca Manu. It has a horseshoe shape, with an extension of approximately 6o hectares of water mirror – lake or Otorongo lake.
Among the fauna of interest we can mention the emblematic river wolf or giant otter, the black alligator, the shansho or hoatzin, the white machin and maquisapa monkeys. The forests of this zone are conserved by the presence of the National Park of the Manu, for that reason they are leafy and there are many trees of great size. As in the Salvador coal, the chances of observing a natural behavior are very high. This is the second most visited lake within the Manu National Park.
Night walks through the jungle
At sunset the Amazon, envelops the day in a magical setting of lights and strange sounds that impregnates the curiosity of visitors and kicks off a new experience to appreciate nocturnal animals, insects, reptiles and owls specially adapted for darkness . An orchestra of frogs can be heard in the distance surrounded by thousands of insects.
Exploring the different paths or paths that are open in the jungle is the best way to detect the five species of macaws, flocks of parrots, parakeets and register the four species of toucans, eight species of woodpeckers, the monkeys are the most common, and some other small mammals that are active wild pigs, small rodents, sloths and at night we can expect to see some mammals like red deer, tapirs that are occasionally spotted.
Looking for alligators
At night we can have a short walk along the river, entering a bit inside the forest to find small abandoned lakes full of vegetation. Here we can find one of the largest reptiles of the Amazon. Our search begins with the preparation of our lamps and headlights to look for the red eyes of the alligators and with the help of our guide we will observe closely these cute alligators.
Natural and ancestral medicine. Tattoos with natural dyes from the Amazon.
The Amazon is an extraordinary herbal drug on the planet. The guide and the workers of the lodge will make samples of several medical plants to cure different diseases and love problems.
Tattoos with exotic inks. The practice begins with the collection of fruits and seeds, the preparation is quite simple is to make a paste with the fruits “huito” (Genipa Americana) and achiote (Bixa Orellana). With these natural titas We can draw different forms of animals, butterflies or other figures of personal interest. The tattoo will last a couple of weeks.
Visit to villages of Amazonian tribes
Let’s take a look at the indigenous peoples of the Amazon each with their own language, dialects and ways of life. The community of Santa Rosa de Huacaria has two ethnic groups Matsiguenka and Huachipaeris nomadic groups that live by hunting, gathering, fishing and in direct contact with nature. Now they settled in sedentary villages to be part of the globalized world, but they were not given many options for economic development, apart from selling what they can get out of the forest. Nowadays this is not a sustainable alternative for them and many of them live in inhumane conditions.
When we get there, we will be led by the native families, who live in different areas of the village who will show us their way of life and daily activities, you can experience this new experience with the host family and it will teach you various tasks and customs such as sowing, cleaning, harvesting of agricultural products as well as fishing, and the preparation of food and ritual celebrations.
Good opportunity for a new experiential tourism experience.
Visit the tapir lick
You can visit the Collpa de Tapires, considered the most active known throughout the Amazon. The Tapirs weigh an average of 272 kg / 600 pounds each, who come to this clay to eat the clay located under the roots of the trees. This unusual snack absorbs and neutralizes the toxins of the vegetarian diet of the Tapir, the largest terrestrial animal of Latin America. To facilitate the observation of these animals there is a platform 30 meters long and at a height of 4 meters. Which is equipped with mattresses, pillows, sheets and light blankets well laid and covered by large mosquito nets.
Access to the platform is covered in a synthetic floor that absorbs noise and prevents the crunching of our footsteps. This experience with Tapirs is unique and exciting because these creatures, which are usually very shy, are also visible at close range and can be photographed.
Visit the Macaw Clay Lick
A Macaw Clay Lick is a ravine in the river of clay formation. Every morning at dawn, the macaws, parrots and other species of birds, perform their ceremony of flutter before starting the colpeo, which involves ingesting clay from the clay and after 25 to 30 minutes will be removed, to return to the day following. Groups of macaws have also been observed at other times but it is not as safe and usually the groups are smaller. The precise reason for this spectacular behavior, and one of the most fascinating nature shows, is still under debate and is subject to investigations. Several theories suggest that this clay contains vital salts and minerals that are used in the diet of birds. It is believed that small clay particles serve to detoxify the diet of fruits of birds.
Take a bird watching tour
The Manu National Park is one of the best places on the planet for bird watching. The variety of ecosystems that make up this protected natural area make it one of the places with the greatest diversity of species in the world, having 1025 species registered today, a number that represents 10% of the total types of birds on earth.
The world record of the greatest diversity of bird species found in a single day in the same place has the Manu River with a figure of 331 species. To get to this river you have to follow the route to Manu to the port of Atalaya and then follow the Alto Madre de Dios river for at least 5 hours and then enter the aforementioned tributary. From the smallest hummingbirds to large birds such as the condor of the jungle and the harpy eagle, in the Manu it is possible to find birds of all types, sizes, shapes and colors.
The descent to the cloud forest of Manu is also an ideal place to see the cock of the rocks, the national bird of Peru. The dance performed by the males to court the female is an extraordinary ritual that a bird lover should never miss.
An extra tour that we recommend in the Manu National Park:
On the banks of the Palatoa River, in the Manu National Park of the department of Madre de Dios, is located the largest petroglyph in Peru, which was carved between 1000 and 2000 AD, we speak of the Pusharo Petroglyphs.
The petroglyphs would be representations of the mythological world of Amazonian settlers carried out by shamans, influenced by the consumption of hallucinogenic plants.