Manu Cultural Zone - 5d/4n


We take the minibus down the Manu Road and stop overnight in the cloud forest. The following two nights we will stay in the lowland forest of Pantiacolla Lodge at the foot of the Pantiacolla Mountain Range (Andean foothill). We return to Cusco by boat and car stopping once again for another overnight in the cloud forest.

Day 1

Cusco-Cloud Forest

Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we begin an 8-hour journey over the Andes by bus, stopping for a coffee at the beautiful colonial village of Paucartambo. Continuing, we climb to the highpoint of the Manu Biosphere at about 4000 m before descending to the cloud forest. In these mysterious surroundings we take a walk to the lek of the incredible Cock-of-the-Rock, to see the ‘performance’ of the males right under our eyes. We spend our first night in the rustic lodge Posada San Pedro (appr. 1,600 m).

Day 2

Cloud Forest-Cocha Machuhuasi-Pantiacolla Lodge

At daybreak, we continue by bus to tropical lowland rainforest. Here at the small village Atalaya at 650 m, we change into a motorized canoe to navigate some 2 hours down the turbulent Alto Madre de Dios River. From here we get great views of the Andes. We stop for a visit of one of the very few lakes on the Alto Madre de Dios River, where you can go around on small traditional rafts. For the next two nights, we stay at the Pantiacolla lodge, right at the foot of the Pantiacolla Mountain Range.The forest of Pantiacolla Lodge is a very special rainforest: this is where the Andes and the lowland tropical rainforest meet and provides the visitor with a chance to see a good selection of birds and plants from both zones as well as endemics to the area. Your first hike will be on the lowland trails, at 400m above sea level. Also at night, we explore the forest by torchlight looking for insects, snakes and the uniquely nocturnal monkey or ‘douroucouli’. We spend the night in Pantiacolla Lodge.

Day 3

Clay lick for parrots-Excursion to the Petroleo stream

Early in the morning, the boat takes you to a nearby clay lick for parrots and the rare blue-headed macaw. Their spectacle is both impressive to see and to hear! From there we can visit one of the higher trails of the Pantiacolla Mountains with it’s ‘Oil’ stream with small hot springs, oil wells, and natural swimming pools or we can walk down lower trails where there is a higher likelihood of seeing animals. At night we visit Ranacocha, Frog Lake. Overnight in Panctiacolla Lodge.

Day 4

Hot springs-Cloud Forest

After the last morning walk in Pantiacolla, the boat takes us to the hot springs of Shintuya for a relaxing mineral bath, before continuing further up to Atalaya. From here, we return back up the Andes by car. We visit a local orchid “sanctuary” along the way. We spend the last night in Posada San Pedro.

Day 5

Cloud Forest, Cusco

Early in the morning, we have another walk through the forest; as always it is teeming with life and by now many birds, monkeys, insects, trees, and plants are familiar to us. We walk until our car picks us up to take us to Cusco, where we arrive in the late afternoon.

Rates in 2019

2019 Departures (Wednesdays):

  • January           02 – 09- 16 – 23 – 30
  • February          06 – 13 – 20 – 27
  • March               06 – 13 – 20 – 27
  • April                  03 – 10 – 17 – 24
  • May                   01 – 08 – 15 – 22 – 29
  • June                  05 – 12 – 19 – 26
  • July                   03 – 10 – 17 – 24 – 31
  • August              07 – 14 – 21 – 28
  • September       04 – 11 – 18 – 25
  • October            02 – 09 – 16 – 23 – 30
  • November        06 – 13 – 20 – 27
  • December        04 – 11 – 18 – 25
    This tour starts and ends in Cusco, which is located in the highlands of Peru. It is well connected by plane from Lima and there are daily flights to Arequipa, Juliaca, Puerto Maldonado and even to La Paz (Bolivia).
    We travel to the Cloud Forest by bus, which leaves early in the morning. It is thus necessary to spend the night before your trip to the Cloud Forest in Cusco. A representative will pick you up at your hotel at about 6:00 am. The journey to Cloud Forest takes about 8 hours, as we make some stops along the way.
    –           Naturalist guide in English and Spanish
    –           Transportation Cusco/Atalaya & Atalaya/Cusco by private bus & boat
    –           Excursions as described in the programs
    –           Overnights in lodges
    –           Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
    –           Water at any time and warm drinks or lemonades with meals
    –           Guidebook for rainforest of Manu – Talking About Manu
    • Air tickets.
    • Soft drinks and beer
    • Personal expenses

    Please note that itineraries may vary slightly to maximize wildlife viewing, depending on the reports of our local researchers and experienced naturalist guides.

    The jungle is not a place to show off expensive jewelry or delicate clothes. Please arrive in clothes that you do not mind getting slightly dirty or wet, and please make sure to wear footwear that is suitable for walking on a (possibly muddy) rainforest trail.


    The Cloud Forest is located high up on the mountain slopes. Thus, the climate is relatively cool and almost always damp or wet, with high precipitation. From May to September is ‘dry season’, which means it is relatively drier and cooler than during the rest of the year.

    Manu National Park encompasses a huge region and many different ecosystems stretching over a great range of altitude. Thus the weather will be radically different in the Cloud Forest than in the Amazonian lowland portions.

    In the cloud forest, at 1600 m., where temperatures are about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). In Manu’s lowland forest, the temperature at night is normally around 24 degrees Celsius (75F) and during the day about 30 degrees Celsius (86F). However, cold winds from Patagonia may reach Manu and the temperature may lower to about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). These “friajes” are more common during the southern hemisphere’s wintertime (between April and the end of August).


    Yellow fever vaccinations is required in Manu, so please bring a valid certificate. Malaria is rare in the cloud forest. Check with the CDC for current health information. Dengue Fever and Leishmaniasis are present in the region. Prevention is the best medicine: wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, a hat and cover exposed areas with effective bug repellent (deet content at least 20%).


    • Good binoculars
    • Camera gear 
    • Daypack
    • re-sealable (ziplock) plastic bags (to keep things dry)
    • Two or three pairs of long pants (including at least one pair that you don’t mind getting dirty. Fast drying type is recommended.)
    • Absorbent cotton socks
    • Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home)
    • Sweater, Fleece or light jacket
    • Three or four long-sleeved cotton shirts
    • T-shirts
    • Bathing suit
    • A bottle or canteen to carry water on outings
    • Sunscreen lotion (high factor)
    • A hat that will not come off in windy boat-rides
    • One pair of shorts
    • Sunglasses
    • A pair of sneakers or sandals and a pair of hiking boots (with good gripping soles) 
    • Insect repellent (Skin-so-soft for the river, and 35% or more deet for forest)
    • A photocopy of your passport
    • A large, bright flashlight, spare bulb, and batteries
    • Personal toiletries and medications
    • Toilet paper
    • Cash for souvenirs at the lodge stand, alcoholic beverages, etc

    The company was set up to educate tourists and students about the complicated ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest. This education will raise awareness and understanding about the importance of conserving the rainforest.

    RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION As a natural consequence of our wish to stop rainforest destruction through education, we also initiate and support research and conservation projects, both in the reserved zone and in the cultural zone of Manu. In the past, our projects focused on primate ecology (Monk Saki research) and the macaw dynamics at clay licks. Our present student projects include tree species reforestation at Pantiacolla Lodge.


    Nevertheless, during the early years, it became clear that the rainforest can only have a chance to survive if the people who live there, can continue to do so in a sustainable way. In the past, indigenous people have established found ingenious techniques to survive, embedded in a specific world vision that enabled not only their long-term survival but necessarily also that of the rainforest. It is sad to have to say that all outside influence, from the missionaries up to the present-day mining and oil exploiters, has only eroded the traditional sustainable relationship that existed between indigenous people and their rainforest. Our company is determined to help find solutions for all involved, indigenous people and outsiders alike, to assure the survival of the Amazon rainforest.

    Yine Project

    Our determination has led to several projects. In 2000 we started with the far-reaching Yine Project in Manu´s Diamante Native Community. We built the Yine Lodge and designed a 3-day tourism program. The lodge was meant to be used as a “school environment” for the Yine to have a place to learn and practice their skills in eco-tourism services, while the 3-day circuit gave the Yine the opportunity to teach and share their knowledge and skills with their tourist visitors. Due to our long-term commitment, many essential differences between the western and the indigenous worldviews have come to light, and we work together to find satisfying and sustainable solutions. In April 2015, the Yine Lodge was handed over to the Yine community, in accordance with the initial agreement.

    Oil Exploitation & Harakmbut
    In 2009, the initiation of oil exploration by Hunt Oil Company in the reserve east of Manu, the Amarakaeri Indigenous Reserve, has led to the cooperation of some Harakmbut families of the Shintuya Community in our ecotourism programme, as a sustainable alternative for the economical offers of the oil company. The Harakmbut have a space of a couple of hours in some of our tours to show their magical dances, songs, stories and other techniques that helped them to survive for many centuries in the Amazon.

    At the same time, we offer financial and intellectual support for the complex legal journey the people of Amarakaeri Indigenous Reserve have chosen as a means to be heard by the Peruvian government and oil company alike. Our earlier experiences with the Yine Project now prove beneficial to building a broader understanding between the different stakeholders.