ABOUT THE MANU NATIONAL PARK
Manu, located in the southern orient of Peru, is one of the largest parks in South America. The area of the park encompasses parts of the Andean department of Cusco and the jungle department of Madre de Dios. Manu protects over 2 million hectares (4.5 million acres) of territory rich in flora and fauna species in a variety of habitats including high Andes, cloud forests, and lowland tropical rain forests.
This natural paradise is officially recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In 1977 they designated Manu as a World Biosphere Reserve because it contains the best existing example of biodiversity in protected areas of rain forest, as well as endemic areas of cloud forest. The majority of forests in the world have been altered by humans. Fortunately, Manu has remained intact and untouched by civilization.
Thus, we can observe a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including: Giant Otters (Pteronura brasilensis), Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the majestic Jaguar (Panthera onca), the strange Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the Ocelot (Felis pardalis), 13 species of primates, and an estimated one thousand species of birds including seven Macaws (Ara spp.).
Manu also contains 10% of the world’s vascular plant species, including several species of figs and palms, as well as countless species of medicinal plants that scientists are currently cataloguing. A single hectare of forest in Manu can have up to 220 species of trees, while a hectare of temperate forest in Europe or North America may only have 20 tree species. The Manu National Park may be the most biological diverse and protected park on the planet.
THE CULTURAL ZONE
Is one of the three zones from Manu National Park which covers high mountains, cloud forest and low jungle. In this area there are small villages, setlers and native comunities working in productive activities such as agriculture and lumber at a low scale, since these activities are controled by the Ministery of Agriculture and Park Authorities. One of the porpouses of this controled area is act as a buffer zone to the
THE RESERVE ZONE
This zone which runs along both sides of the Manu River, covers a vast extension of primary forest is dedicated for only two activities: tourism and research. Being the river the only possible access to this area it is relatively easy to control and protect it from no authorized visitors and poachers. Scientists consider this area as a living laboratory because of the mega-diversity in flora and fauna.
THE INTANGIBLE ZONE
This is the biggest part of the Park, covering an extension of 1’800, 000 hectares of pristine forest. A few protected areas in the world are as large as this Intangible Zone and non of them is as pristine as rich in wildlife species. In this area, tourism is not permitted and for that matter any other activity, except Scientific researchers at the Biological Station of Cocha Cashu where for the last 25 years peruvian and international scientists have been conducting investigation projects on flora and fauna. There are several ethnic groups such as Matshiguenkas/Kugapacoris, Yoras/Yaminahuas, Mashco Piros, Amahuacas and others, some of this groups don’t have any contact with the outside world.
What is included in the tour?
- Tour guide in English and Spanish, (Tour guide specialized on bird watching or biologist with previous request),
- Water proof Binoculars 10×42 (a pair for 2 people)
- Spotting Scope
- Transportation (bus and boat)Professional cook.
- Three meals a day included vegetarian option.
- Mineral water
- All accommodations and lodges.
- Tents for 2 people.
- Rain poncho
- Snack food (fresh fruits, sweets/caramels, chocolates, cookies, juices)
- Rubber boots
- Entrance fee to the Oxbow Lakes
- Entrance fee to Manu National Park
- Entrance fee to all the private Natural Reserves
- First aid kit
What to bring into the Jungle?
- Sleeping bag for the Expedition tour
- Repellent with a minimum of 15 % deet
- Binoculars (if you want your own pair)
- Camera with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Sun Screen
- Pocket money
- Water bottle/canteen or camel pack
- Light pants
- Sun hat / hat
- Toilet paper
- Dark clothes (for the walking days)
- Converter /adaptor for the electricity (Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type found in the US)
HOW TO GET THERE
There are 3 ways to travel in the Manu National Park The route by road from Cusco passes the villages of Paucartambo, Pilcopata, Atalaya, Salvación, Shintuya and Itahuania where the road ends. To get from Cusco to Atalaya (port) it will take you 12 hours, to Shintuya (port) and Itahuania 15 hours. This road is not tarmac, it’s a dirt road and several parts are quite dangerous. The Buses and Trucks from Cusco only leave to the jungle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
After 10 hours in Bus or Truck you will arrive in Atalaya, where you can take a boat to different places in the Jungle, Palotoa Ecological Reserve, Boca Manu, Blanquillo, Pto. Laberinto, Pto. Maldonado. It is also possible to take a boat from Shintuya and Itahuania to the places mentioned above. There are 2 places you can take a plane to in the jungle. The planes that fly to Boca Manu hold 8 – 12 passengers and the planes that fly to Pto. Maldonado hold 8 – 25 passengers. Both flights are 45 minutes and are very dependent on the weather. From these towns you can take a boat to other locations in the jungle.
INHABITANTS OF MANU NATIONAL PARK
In the Manu National Park there are about 70,000 Quechua speaking inhabitants. They live in 30 rural communities distributed in the whole Cultural Zone, from the high Andean zone adjacent the Province of Paucartambo to the low jungle around Boca Manu. In the Manu river and Alto Madre de Dios River basins there are also native human groups. The Machiguenga tribe, which is the best known, was reported by Ferrero (1967) to have a total population of 5,000 people, and by Varese (1972) 12,000. Very little is known about the Amahuaca and Yaminahua tribe and their numbers are relatively small. Varese (1972) recorded some 4,000 Amahuaca along the Curanga, Inuya and Sepanua rivers, and 2,000 Yaminahua along the Carija Basin and Piedra Rivers. However, the management plan (La Molina, 1986) suggests that only 300-500 natives of different tribes live in the park. So far, the park authorities got in touch just with Machiguengas and Yoras. Some of these people live a slow process of westernization and are approaching modern society, education and communication. The other tribes like Mashco Piros have not come into contact with civilization. The natives are part of the Park’s natural balance and are allowed to continue their activities like fishing and hunting, as long as they do not endanger this balance.
The forest Indians are nomadic. They have a very peculiar way of life possibly established millennia ago, with ancestral customs and beliefs. They live in wooden houses with palm tree leaf roofs. They weave cotton and make pottery. They hunt with arrows, spears, blowguns and stone axes along river banks and lakes and inside the forest and they fish and collect turtle eggs (Jungius, 1976). They cultivate goods such as manihot, uncucha, maize, papaya, pineapple and banana. Shifting cultivation is the basic agricultural practice. In this system, a patch of primary forest or an abandoned field is cleared, burned and used for one to three years for cultivation. The field is then abandoned for at least five years for the soil to recover and a new one is opened up. As it is easier to clear secondary growth on abandoned fields than to clear the primary forest, the Indians prefer to re-use old fields
MANU EXTRA INFORMATION
MANU National park a natural paradise by far the richest, most extraordinary biological transect in the Peruvian Amazon, or the world, starts in Cusco and runs northeast by road and river to the great Manu Wilderness. Manu offers by far the greatest quantity and diversity of animals and plants in the world. No other destination in Peru or beyond can compare with Manu Nowhere else can you enjoy a superbly intact transect of tropical habitats from Andean grasslands and cloud forests down to foothill and lowland forests.
Malaria has almost totally been controlled in the area but, as some cases have been reported, some doctors recommend to bring along preventive pills. Fortunately so far we have had no cases of any one of the two diseases in many years. Mosquitoes carrying malaria cannot survive in altitudes over 1,500 m 8( 5,000 ft.) so if you are traveling in the Andes, you won t have to worry about this disease. To protect yourself, wear mosquito repellent with DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, and use mosquito nets. You can also take anti-malaria drugs before you go; consult your doctor about the pros and cons of such medications. Malaria has almost totally been controlled in the area but, as some cases have been reported, some doctors recommend to bring along preventive pills. Fortunately so far we have had no cases of any one of the two diseases in many years.
Bugs & Bites
Snakes, scorpions and spiders rarely bite without provocation. Keep your eyes open and never walk barefoot. Be sure to shake your clothes and check your shoes before putting then on. The SUN can also be very dangerous in high altitudes. Be sure to bring plenty of high-powered sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat, the sun can inflict serious damage on your skin.
From June through September some days with temperatures as low as 7°C can be expected. These are cold fronts from the South Atlantic and usually last only a few days.
What is the weather typically like?
The weather is typically hot and humid. There are normally eight months of rain and four months of dry weather. During the day the temperature can reach 38 degrees Celsius but it will feel hotter because of the humidity. The humidity is around 90%.
CLIMATE: Can be in general described as warm and humid as can be appreciated in the following chart: