Peru Jungle Tours
Our Peru jungle tours are to the Manu Biosphere Reserve and the Tambopata-Condamo Reserve, two of the most biologically diverse places on earth and just a short trip from Cusco.
Manu Biosphere Reserve
The Manu National Park (1,716,295 hectares/4.5 million acres), located in the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios, protects nearly 1,000 species of birds, 1,200 species of butterflies, 20,000 plants, 200 species of mammals, and 13 species of primates. Its surface area of varied habitats includes Andes highlands, cloud forests, and lowland tropical rainforests. The park encompasses an area of almost unimaginable diversity, climbing as it does from an altitude near sea level to elevations of 3,500m (11,480 ft.).
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 and endemic cloud forest. Here we can observe a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including: Giant Otters, Black Caiman, the majestic Jaguar, the strange Spectacled Bear, the Tapir, and the Ocelot.
Manu Biosphere Reserve encompasses the least accessible and explored jungle of primary and secondary forest in Peru, and it is about as close as you’re likely to come to virgin rainforest anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s so remote that not only did the Spaniards, who found their way to virtually every corner of Peru except Machu Picchu, never enter the jungle, but the Incas, who created an empire that stretched from Ecuador to Chile, never conquered the region, either. The forest wasn’t really penetrated until the late 1800s, when rubber barons and loggers set their sights on it. Peru declared it a national park in 1973.
Apart from the wildlife, the journey into the park itself is spectacular. Access to the entrance of the Manu Reserved Zone is normally by road from Cusco, a 2 day trip carrying you over the Andes at 4000m, past Inca ruins and down through cloud forest on the eastern side of the Andes into lush lowland rainforest. Roads remain largely unpaved and wind their way along precarious tracks cut into the mountain side and overlooking deep gorges. The trip is an adventure in itself.
Upriver from Puerto Maldonado, the Tambopata – Condamo Reserve Zone is one of the most extraordinary natural areas in all of South America. The Tambopata region is located in the least populated state and the most naturally preserved of Peru, Madre do Dios. Its remoteness, great size and extremely varied terrain have given it one of the highest diversity of plants and animals in the entire Amazon. The reserve is enormous, covering over 2.2 million acres of undisturbed and mostly uninhabited rainforest. It covers the entire watersheds of two rivers that rush down from the Andean highlands: the Rio Tavara and the Rio Candamo. Within boundaries of the reserve lies most of the watershed of a third large and very wildlife rich river: the Rio Tambopata.
Visits to jungle lodges owned by tour operators in Tambopata are generally more accessible than those in Manu, in terms of both cost and travel time. Primary lodges are those that travelers can get to the same day they arrive by plane in Puerto Maldonado. Although mankind’s imprints are slightly more noticeable in Tambopata, the area is one of superb environmental diversity, with a dozen different types of forest and some gorgeous oxbow lakes.
TCRZ protects over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species – 10% of the world’s total), 200 mammal species, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants.
The world’s largest known mineral clay lick, where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 15 species congregate daily to ingest the detoxifying clay, is also within the reserve, less than 500 meters from Tambopata Research Center.
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On our way, you will be able to observe rural lands destined to agricultural and livestock activities near the city. If the weather is good, you will sight colorful plants like the large-flowered heliconias, and you will have the chance to observe diverse animals such as the capybaras, caimans, water turtles, herons, cormorants, carrion birds and birds of prey.
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Upon your arrival in Puerto Maldonado, Peru’s capital of biodiversity, we will welcome you at the airport. Then, we’ll start our program by visiting the city on a bus.
Then, we will go to Puerto Capitanía, the port where our riverboat will be waiting for us. We will sail across Rio Bajo Madre de Dios (Winding River) until arriving at our lodge, 30 km away from Puerto Maldonado City.
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Manu Cloud Forest
Beginning in the historic city of Cusco, this program offers a range of activities as it takes you through colonial towns and jungle villages and into the incredible biological diversity of the Amazon basin. You can also opt to tailor your experience according to your preferences. For the adventurous, there is the chance to take part in mountain biking or white water rafting activities, while those who prefer to relax might choose to enjoy forest walks and study the life of the forest. Whatever you preference, the incredible biological diversity of the cloud forest is sure to delight you, with its abundant plant, animal and bird life.
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Manu Bird Paradise
Peru is home to more than 1800 bird species, including 45% of the world’s neo-tropical species, making it the perfect destination for birders. Leaving the city of Cusco, you will travel through a number of climate zones on the way to the Amazon basin. The southern Peruvian Amazon is home to hundreds of bird species, many of them endemic. Unforgettable experiences include watching Peru’s national bird, the cock-of-the-rock, as it performs its courtship dance, as well as the extraordinary spectacle of hundreds of parrots and macaws gathering at dawn. This unique trip will also introduce you to the Amazon’s animal and plant life, as well as taking you through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will be able to experience traditional Andean life.
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This three – day program provides excellent wildlife encounters for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and researchers in one of the world’s most diverse and well-preserved tropical rainforests: the Tambopata National Reserve.
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Tambopata Research Center
Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, we will welcome you at the airport and drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit.