Exploration to the heart of the Manu National Park

Once in a lifetime adventure
FromUSD$1,030
Once in a lifetime adventure
FromUSD$1,030
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Build a Custom Tour



Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

Build Your Trip

  • 6 Days, 5 Nights
  • Starting pointYour hotel in Cusco
  • Group Size2 - 6
  • From April to November To avoid rainy season (Dec-Mar)
  • BookingsBook at least 72h in advance
  • Price range$1030 - 1810
  • Sustainability Score: 79

Explore the heart of Manu

This program offers you an excellent opportunity to enjoy and discover one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. the Manu National Park. It is located in the southeast of Peru, extending from 300 meters above sea level at the confluence of the Manu River with the Alto Madre de Dios River, up to 3800 meters above sea level on the summit of the Apu Cañajuay mountain.

The biodiversity that can be found in Manu National Park biodiversity is incredible. More than 20,000 types of plants, 1,200 types of butterflies, 1,000 species of birds and 200 species of mammals call this forest their home. The jaguar is undoubtedly the most mysterious of all animals living here. The Manu National Park is also the territory of various ancestral peoples, all of them having their own language, customs and traditions. These peoples and their unique way of living have survived to our times. Manu is even recognized by UNESCO!

Please note: all programs in the jungle may have slight variations, depending on the reports of our experienced guides and weather conditions. By operating in this way, we try to maximize the observation of wildlife and enhance your experience to explore the heart of Manu.

The day before leaving, we would also like to have a small briefing with you in your hotel at around 6 pm. We will contact you to see if this time suits you or if we have to fix another moment. Of course, you will get to ask all your open questions during this briefing.

Public or private transport to Manu?

This tour uses public transport to get to you to Manu. We do this to reduce costs, but the experience can be quite adventurous. If you wish to do take a private transport to Manu, you can select the option during the booking process. The additional cost is $160 per person.

Don’t let the rainy season ruin your trip to the jungle

Heading into the enchanting realm of the jungle during the rainy season can be quite the adventure, yet there are a few things eager explorers should keep in mind. While the lush landscapes of the Manu rainforest are tempting, tours in this area sadly take a pause due to the heavy rains, making it a bit tricky to explore to your heart’s content. But hey, don’t let this dampen your spirits! When one door closes, another opens, and in this case, it leads to the spectacular Tambopata. For the wanderlusting souls yearning for an unforgettable jungle experience, Tambopata opens its arms wide, beckoning with its biodiversity and vibrant ecosystems. Even during the rainy season, our tours in Tambopata are in full swing, offering you a magical escape into nature’s lap.

Other jungle tours?

If you want to experience Manu, but feel like 6 days might be a bit long for you, we offer other tours in Manu that are a day or two days shorter. Have a look at all of our Amazon Jungle Tours, where you will find not only these shorter versions, but also tours in Iquitos and Tarapoto.

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Did you notice that this tour has one of the highest Sustainability Scores of all? Click here to see all tours that have a Score of 60 or more!

Day by Day

Day 1Cusco - Paucartambo - Shintuya Native Community

Are you ready to explore the heart of Manu? At the scheduled time (10:15 am if you choose public transport, 06.45 am if you choose private transport) we will pick you up from the hotel in Cusco and start our journey to Manu. We will head to the picturesque colonial town of Paucartambo (a strategic commercial point between the valley of Kosñipata or Antisuyo and the capital of Tahuantinsuyo, Cusco). In case of private transport, we will also have time to visit the chullpas of Ninamarka (pre-Inca funerary precincts) on our way. In case of public transport, you will stop only in Paucartambo and the duration of the transport may vary more. 

Then, you will ascend to the Acjanaco pass, which is the entrance to the Manu National Park. You will continue your journey until reaching the port of Atalaya. Here, you will continue on a motorized boat through the Alto Madre de Dios River until we reach the Harákmbut community of Shintuya, where you will spend the night.

The Harákmbut community is adjacent to the Manu National Park. You will have the opportunity to explore the jungle, in search of fauna, surrounded by the most extravagant sounds that make this place so mysterious.

Note: if you take the public transportation option, you will drive by the port of Atalaya for another 30 to 45 minutes to the village “Villa Salvación” and spend the night there, before continuing the next morning by boat. 

 

Day 2Shintuya Community - Limonal ranger station - Casa Matsiguenka

Early in the morning, after a delicious breakfast, we say goodbye to our new friends from the community and sail towards the reserve zone of Manu. We will soon arrive at the Limonal Ranger Station, where we will register our entrance.

We continue our trip and after approximately 5 hours of traveling and enjoying the fauna of the Manu Park, we will reach the Casa Matsiguenka Lodge. If time allows, we will go on a little tour to have our first contact with the virgin jungle of Manu Park before dinner.

Day 3Casa Matsiguenka - Cocha Salvador

On the next day, we will visit Lake Salvador. Now you can really explore the heart of Manu. The lakes (called cochas) are assembly points of some of the Amazonian fauna. For example, a family of giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis, an endangered species) dwells here.

Later, we will explore some forest paths, where we will have a great possibility to see one of the thirteen kinds of monkeys, many birds and butterflies. Once the night has fallen, we will go back into the jungle, searching for night creatures using our flashlights. Our lodge for this night is the Casa Matsiguenka Lodge again.

Please note: the authorities of the Manu National Park establish the schedule for our visit to the cochas. Depending on this schedule, we will visit them earlier or later during that day.

Day 4Casa Matsiguenka - Cocha Otorongo

After breakfast, we will visit the Lake/Cocha Otorongo, one of the largest Oxbow lakes in Manu. Here, we will go up a 20 meters high observation tower, offering us a panoramic view of the lake.

Then we will go on a walk through the primary forest, where we will have the opportunity to observe a great variety of flora and fauna. The ‘woolly’ monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha) lives in this part of the jungle. After lunch, we will go out again to explore the forest through the trail system of the park.

At night we offer you to take a boat ride in search of caimans and other wildlife by the river bank. Please be aware that this activity can be done only if the level of the river allows it. Then, we will head back to our lodge (Casa Matsiguenka) to get some good night sleep.

Day 5Casa Matsiguenka - Shipetiari Native Community

Early in the morning, we embark on a boat to head towards the Native Community of Shipetiari. We will reach the community in the afternoon. Here, we will participate in a campfire and a traditional dinner with yuca, bananas and other local products. Feel free to share experiences with the Matsiguenkas. Your lodge for this night is Pankotsi Lodge. 

Activities: Craft Workshop, Lodge trails system.

Day 6Shipetiari Community - Cusco

On our last day, we will have breakfast and then get back on the boat to make our way to the port. Here, we will continue by road to go into the direction of Cusco. 

Finally, you will have to say goodbye to the jungle and its wildlife, and take your transportation back to Cusco. In case of private transport, we will drop you off directly at your hotel (arrival time between 7 or 8 pm).  If you choose public transport, you will go to the terminal first, where you will be picked up and brought to your hotel from there. Thank you for considering to explore the heart of Manu with us!

What makes this experience Impactful?

We contribute to local development by generating jobs and by strengthening the work of local tourism organizations.

Within our organization, we employ local guides from native communities such as the Shipetiari and the Shintuya, that are trained by the SERNANP (national service for natural protected areas). We also carry out a reforestation program to recover the forest, and we encourage more areas to do the same, with the aim of creating microbiological corridors. You will also get to plant your own tree in Manu!

Part of your money paid for this tour will also go to donations for the communities, which they use to buy school material for the children.

 

Respect towards wildlife – our tips

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate travelers practice these safety tips:

  • Observe wildlife quietly from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Considerate travelers observe wildlife from afar and give it ample space.
  • Avoid the use of torches and camera flash while taking pictures.
  • Store food securely and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals to avoid them acquiring bad habits.
  • Never feed wildlife. Help keep wildlife WILD.
  • Make sure the colors of your clothing and gear blend in with the environment

 

Read here how the Sustainability Score was elaborated

Details

Price Includes

  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Small briefing the day before (usually at 6 pm at your hotel)
  • Private TransportationLand and river transport allows you to carry 10 to 15 kilos of luggage per person.
  • Entrance fee to Manu National Park (Reserved Zone)
  • Daily activities and excursions
  • Accommodation
  • All meals except for first breakfast and last dinner
  • First aid kit
  • Naturalist Bilingual Rainforest Wildlife Guides (English, Spanish)
  • Snacks (fresh fruits, cookies, chocolate)
  • Boiled water to fill up your reusable bottle
  • Rubber boots
  • Biodegradable soaps

Price Excludes

What to Bring

  • Long pants & sleaved cotton shirts(preferably in green or tan colours)
  • Sneakers (covered shoes) or other low heeled walking shoes
  • Swimwear & sandals
  • Personal hygiene itemsIncluding mosquito repellent and personal prescription medicine (if applicable).
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat or cap
  • Rain coat or poncho
  • Flashlight or headlight
  • Travel documentsPassport, passport copy, Yellow fever certificate and extra money. All in plastic bags.
  • Daypack or small backpack
  • Suggested: camera, binoculars
  • Your own personal water containerTo be refilled at any time. This way we can reduce the usage of plastic.
  • Note:During meals in the dining room you can wear casual clothing and shoes or sandals. We provide rubber boots for walks in the rainforest.
  • For our excellent general packing tips, please read this article (click here) and leave well prepared!
Frequently Asked Questions

About Explore the heart of Manu

What's the accommodation like in Manu?

The accommodation is very basic in Manu, so please don’t expect luxury. But they are comfortable enough for our clients for a few days and they are hosted by native communities. You will get a real jungle experience here, which in fact is highly interesting. 

What language is spoken in Manu?

This is a great question, a tricky one by the way. Let’s say that when visiting Matsigenka communities you will hear Matsigenka (probably the most widespread language in the region), when visiting Harakmbut people you will hear Harakmbut and you might even notice the difference. And of course, if you stay in the highlands of Manu, like Paucartambo and Quero villages, Quechua is the mother tongue. An extra bit of information is that there are so many languages in the Amazon region in general, that it is a limitation when (the not frequent but likely to happen events of) getting in contact with voluntary isolated tribes that speak nothing like we know.

What kind of weather should we expect during this route?

On the way to Manu you must be prepared for cold temperatures experienced in the mountain pass. Later on hot and humid conditions are more or less the rule, but again, rainy days can lower the temperatures quite a lot, or extraordinary events called “friaje” or Antartic winds could ruin your plans of sweating the hell out of you.

Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“. 

Which vaccines are recommended for the jungle?

Visit a travel doctor who can give you professional advice on what vaccinations may be necessary. If you go into the Amazon jungle, a yellow fever injection is obligatory and malaria recommended as well as a shot for the common flu might be requested by the local authorities.

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

When you book “Explore the heart of Manu” through our platform you will get a private excursion only for you and the other people you book with. But if you prefer to share costs and experiences with like-minded people, we will be glad to try to put you in a group with other travelers. For this, please get in contact with our Travel Designers directly.

How can I see the prices for this tour for my amount of travellers?

If you want to see the price for your situation, please select an amount of travelers (number of adults, children, etc) on the right side of the website (or the bottom on the mobile version). You will then see that total price for your party right above it. For some tours, the price will change according to the amount of people. 

Are vegetarian or vegan options available during this tour?

During this “Explore the heart of Manu” experience vegetarian options are definitely possible. However, we cannot promise you vegan options on this tour, as you are going deep down into the jungle. It would be great if you were a bit flexible for these few days. Please, let us know in the booking process if you have any food restrictions. 

What is it like to go to Manu by public transport?

You can choose to go and explore the heart of Manu by public or private transport (the latter being more expensive). 

Please, keep in mind that going by public transport can be different to traveling with a private driver. The drivers can go quite fast during the route and the busses can get quite full. The bus will make one stop on the way to give you time to go to the bathroom and eat something. However, we will give you a small box lunch for the way. It’s also possible that the bus may leave later than planned. That’s how public transport works in Peru but it’s part of the adventure, so we recommend you to be open to it and enjoy the ride. 

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

Reviews
Travel Designer
Rosbert is an expert on the Manu destination | Responsible Travel Peru

Rosbert Challco

I was born in Cusco, and from a very young age, I was taken to the jungle of Manu, where I learned to connect with and respect nature. On some occasions accompanying my father on his trips to the native communities, I learned how the villagers live in harmony with the forest, they do not realize it, but they have a deep connection with the jungle, which we outsiders would like to have.
When you understand how important it is to take care of and conserve nature, you want to share this feeling and what better way to do it than by doing tourism. What motivates me is to share what you have lived and know about the rainforest.
Since 2012, I am with Impactful Travel (formerly known as RESPONSible Travel Peru) because they live and feel that tourism is a way by which we can make development while conserving and sharing with visitors. I like to be part of this Impactful tribe.

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