The lung of the planet extends through most of South America. Covering with its great green cloak a large part of various countries. Among all these countries, Peru is fortunate to occupy a part of this beautiful and unique green mantle. While Machu Picchu is considered the jewel of the Inca Empire, Manu National Park could be considered the cherry of the dessert in matters of the jungle and wild nature. It is a remote place and isolated from the biggest places in the cities. This beautiful park is one of the last bastions of this fragile ecosystem that is continuously attacked by companies. That is why together with Machu Travel Peru we have prepared a small article about the Manu National Park in the Amazon Jungle in Peru.
Everything you need to know about the Manu National Park
- Why the Manu National Park is so special
- A location dream
- Watch your steps in Manu National Park
- The best time to visit Manu
- Flora and Fauna
- Get a complete experience in Manu National Park
- Enjoy the Manu surroundings
- Get a lodging in the middle of nature
Why the Manu National Park is so special
The Manu National park was created in 1973 and is composed of up to 2 million hectares. Thanks to its high biological diversity, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1977.
This incredible reserve is made up of numerous landscapes. It begins by bordering the Andes mountains and extends to almost 4,000 meters above sea level and descends to 300 meters in the Amazon basin. It even goes through the cloud forest that is about 2,000 meters high. To be specific, it is one of the few parks on the continent that has the entire spectrum of ecosystems in the Amazon. The variety of Amazon rainforest animals is unbelievable! Tropical forests, cloud forests, and the snowy Andes make up this impressive reserve within the Peru Amazon.
A location dream
The Manu national park is located in the southeast of Peru, in the department of Madre de Dios, very close to Cusco, and it forms a part of the Amazon jungle in Peru. If you are in the surroundings of Cusco, you can take the opportunity to enter one of the most amazing sectors within all of Peru.
A part of Amazon
One of the dreams of every traveler is to be able to enter the Amazon and see the varied biological diversity that is within it. Manu National Park is one of the most conserved sectors within the Peruvian Amazon. The Manu National Park is not the only sector protected from external influences, there are other wonderful places in the Peruvian Amazon to explore, such as the Tambopata National Reserve that borders Bolivia or even the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the north of the country.
Watch your steps in Manu National Park
The Manu National Park is divided into three main areas. These are known as the Manu Reserved Zone, the Manu Cultural Zone, and the Restricted Zone. Please note that depending on the tour you want to enjoy, it will be necessary to book your tour months in advance.
- Manu Cultural Zone: Access to the cultural zone can be done independently, but it is always advisable to do it together with an experienced certified company. This area is the closest to the Cusco region, therefore, it is the most visited among the others. Inside, you will have the opportunity to meet various local indigenous communities that are willing to receive tourists. If you were thinking of experiencing experiential tourism, this is a great opportunity to do so.
- Manu Reserved Zone: Visitors who seek to visit this area can only do so with a few tourist companies suitable to operate in the area. However, some researchers and specialized groups can enter here with the particular permission of the Peruvian government. It is advisable to book a few months in advance. If you plan to enjoy one of the many Machu Picchu and Amazon tours, you will surely be visiting this area.
- Restricted Zone: The restricted zone is, as its name mentions, limited to the passage of local or foreign tourists. It is made up of large sections of the virgin jungle that are home to numerous indigenous tribes, isolated from the outside world. The passage to this place is prohibited except by specialist park rangers and researchers authorized by the Peruvian government.
As you will see, the Manu National Park in the Amazon jungle in Peru is a place worth knowing. You will have many landscapes and wildlife to take photos and observe. You can’t miss this beautiful destination.
The best time to visit Manu
Normally, the Manu National Park can be visited throughout the year. But it is recommended to visit most of the attractions in the dry season (May to September) Although inside the Amazon it is not usually completely dry because occasional rains occur, keep in mind that, in the Amazon, it usually rains throughout the entire year, even in the dry season. Inside the jungle, it is frequently very humid, and the heat can be unbearable. Even mosquitoes and other insects can be very annoying. Although the Reserve is a visual paradise, the activities like Bird Watching or looking at the macaws in clay licks are proof of it. You must have good gear and certain clothes. That is why it is convenient to know what to pack for a tropical holiday.
Flora and Fauna
If we tried to identify each species of flora and fauna in Manu National Park, whole life would not be enough. The great biodiversity of the park makes Manu a true paradise to many species of the Peruvian Amazon. Below, you will see the most representative data of:
The Manu National Park is a treasure box regarding which Flora is concerned. More than fifteen thousand species of plants (It means 10 % of the world’s vascular plant species!) registered, 250 types of trees, and endemic tropical zone like rainforests with dense foliage, meandering lakes, and extensive grasslands are proof of it. Nowadays, forty percent of the National Park is registered, and the medicinal plants are the main characters, all of them were used by native tribes in the Reserve and Restricted zones of the Park and contribute to medicinal compounds from around the world. If you take Amazon tours from Cusco, your tour guide will explain to you the medicinal benefits of each plant of Manu National Park, because they are local and know their area very well.
The variety of Fauna in Manu National Park is recognized all over the world. More than 1200 species of butterflies, 99 species of reptiles, 222 species of mammals, 140 types of amphibians, 1000 species of birds, 2300 types of insects, and 1000 species of fish. The list is endless, and the most representative animals here are the Ronsoco (The largest rodent species in the world) that live in wetlands and near riverbanks through all the Manu. The Otorongo (of the same species as the jaguar) that wandering through the undergrowth, trees, and rainforests or the primate species that live in families, and you can find them hanging from the branches more cans of the trees, making noise, and scaring the intrepid visitors.
Get a complete experience in Manu National Park
After you decide to travel to Tambopata, it is a good idea to visit Manu. The great extension of the Manu National Park gives infinitive options to enjoy. Among the wide range of activities, we can find the following.
- Look at the macaws in clay licks: Any visit to the Manu National Park has to include a tour of the macaw salt licks. It is here that hundreds of brightly colored birds gather to obtain the necessary minerals and salts in their diet. It is one of the best experiences available within the jungle. Anyone with an interest in birds will be fascinated.
- Enjoy a night walk: Being able to experience a mysterious walk through the jungle after dark offers a unique opportunity. You will have the opportunity to see nocturnal animals that are not usually active during the day. Among the different animals that you can see, you will find amphibians and exotic insects that only a night walk offers.
- Photograph the cock of the rocks bird: If the birds in Tambopata weren’t enough, take a trip to Manu Park. The Cock of the Rocks is the national bird of Peru. It is known for having bright red color and a rather ostentatious courtship dance. A trip to the Park is the perfect opportunity to spot these bird specimens. If you are lucky, you will be able to appreciate the elaborate dances they perform in an attempt to attract a mate.
Giant River Otters
- The giant river otters: Manu National Park is known for its particular fauna. Many of them can be fully developed because the majority of Manu zones are protected from human presence. Therefore, some species are big in comparison to other types around the world. The otters are no exception. These live in lakes and coastline of rivers, hunting, eating, and playing in family. Even, a typical otter can reach the size of 1.8 meters. Unbelievable! Seeing them is a privilege.
- Visit Lake Salvador: Within the depths of the Reserved Zone and quite far from civilization, is Lake Salvador. The experience may not compare to that of Sandoval Lake, but you will find an abundance of wildlife around. You will have the possibility of spotting monkeys, alligators, capybaras, and river turtles among other specimens.
- Visit local communities: Some of the most important settlements in the Cultural Zone have options to receive tourists. One of the best things to do in the jungle is to meet the different indigenous peoples that inhabit the area. You will have the opportunity to learn about the traditional ways of life of the communities. The option to visit local communities is included in very few tours in Peru. So it is an opportunity that you cannot miss.
- Take a canopy hike: If you are looking to see the jungle from a different perspective, then you have to try canopy walks. Being able to climb the treetops and enjoy the walks is an unparalleled experience. When it comes to the rainforest, a lot of the action happens above ground. And so a walk through the canopy gives tourists a deeper understanding of life in the jungle.
Enjoy the Manu surroundings
Within the many tours on Amazon in Peru, you will be able to know much more than the Manu National Park. If you want to enjoy other places, you can go to Iquitos on a wonderful combined tour. Although they are in quite remote places, they make up the essence of the tourist places of the Peruvian Amazon. Near Iquitos, you can visit the well-known Tambopata National Reserve and stay in a wonderful Tambopata lodge, where you can live the best experiences with your family or partner.
Get a lodging in the middle of nature
But if you are looking for other more luxurious and exclusive options, near Iquitos you can enjoy a luxurious cruise on the Amazon River. This experience is one of the most incredible in Peru. You will have the opportunity to know one of the most virgin and untouchable areas of the jungle, along with the comforts of a 5-star hotel.
The Manu National Park offers peace, nature, and calm to all visitant who wants to disconnect from the world. Similar to lodges in Tambopata, here, the lodgment offers the same characteristics before mentioned. Therefore, these are implemented with furniture and decorations made with materials from the area. Even, the same structures are built with local materials like Caoba, Cedro woods inter alia. Bungalows and eco-lodge will be waiting for you with all necessary services (hot shower, drinking water inter alia).
An example? Casa Machiguenga is a local lodging here; bungalows administrated by the same native tribe. Usually, the travel agencies that operate tours in Manu have the contact of many and great lodgings in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. We recommend you contact them.
“MY FAVORITE THING TO DO IS GO WHERE I’VE NEVER BEEN”
Among the different jungle destinations, Manu National Park is one of its most incredible. Despite being a more remote place and more difficult to access, you will have the opportunity to see those elusive animals. In Machu Travel Peru, we hope to have encouraged your next travel plans. The Amazon is a magical and adventure-filled destination. You cannot miss this astounding park full of wildlife to observe!