FAQs – Manu

Manu tours can be done with normal fitness by people of all age groups. You should be able to walk medium distances (for about 2 – 3 hours) and on often uneven surfaces. Make sure you bring good walking shoes (preferably ankle high).
If you are travelling with children, please let us know in advance for further recommendations, depending on the age of your children.

Apart from tours to the lowland (5 to 9 days) we also offer 4 and 5 day tours to the Cultural Zone of Manu including our Amazonia Lodge. This tour offers ideal conditions for bird watching (also for visitors who can’t walk longer distances) and has less travelling time (only short boat rides).

On a Manu tour you spend some time travelling by bus and by boat – this varies according to the tour (e.g. on the National Park Tour you spend more time on the boat) and we do walks that usually do not exceed 3 hours at a time. We don’t have to cover big distances on the walks; we will often walk slowly or stop to observe animals and plants on the way. Sometimes we need to listen, wait and have patience… You only need to bring a day pack on the walks. Night walks are optional and usually take about 1 hour. You are not expected to carry your luggage to the lodge, but help is appreciated.

Due to the high humidity and warm temperatures in the lowland rain forest some people feel a bit weak or groggy. We usually have time for a siesta around midday and there also is the possibility to skip one of the walks and stay at the Lodge instead.
In the rain forest it is important to drink plenty of water (also see No. 13).

A rainforest tour is no comfort tour, but if you want to be in touch with nature and bring appropriate gear (see our packing list) you will have an unforgettable experience.

We recommend to store luggage (esp. suitcases) you do not need in Manu at your hotel in Cusco.

We own two Toyota minibuses (vans) from 2016 and 2018 with comfortable seats and a capacity for 8 and 12 people. Our vehicles are versatile and have been prepared for the unpaved Manu road. We have experienced drivers who know the Manu route very well as they travel to Manu frequently.

Our boats are 15 and 16 m long with Yamaha outboard motors. They have wooden seats with individual cushions and backrests as well as a roof. There are life vests for all passengers. When travelling on the river in the rain you may get wet, so you should have your rain gear at hand (in your day pack). Our boat staff will also provide plastic covers to protect you if it rains. There is no toilet on the boat; please just let your guide know if you need to use the bathroom, so he can stop the boat.

Please bring a maximum of 12 kg of luggage per person on your tour. Especially during the dry season (approx. from June to September) the water levels of the rivers are low; therefore we try to reduce the weight of our boat to make headway better and faster. We recommend to bring a waterproof bag, duffel bag or rucksack for the tour.

During the Manu tour you can store the rest of your luggage at your hotel or at the luggage room at our office in Cusco.

In case you have special photo equipment with considerable weight please let us know in advance.

All nights on our standard tours are spent in lodges. All lodges have basic and clean private double rooms and bathrooms with showers. Sheets, blankets, towels and mosquito nets are provided.

At Amazonia Lodge we have double rooms with shared bathrooms and some rooms with private bathrooms (at a supplement of 12 US$ per person per night).

On the Manu Biosphere Tour we spend 3 nights at Maquisapayoj Lodge, which has double rooms with private bathrooms. Sheets, blankets, towels and mosquito nets are provided.

At the Maquisapayoj Reserve we have the unique chance to visit a mammal salt lick, which is located just about 1 hour walking distance from the lodge. Our groups usually spend one or two nights on the elevated observation platform, which means you spend the night on mattresses and under mosquito nets – similar to camping. This gives us the best chance to observe tapirs during the night. The overnight stay on the platform is optional; you can stay in a room at the lodge instead, if you prefer.

On the Manu National Park Tour, we spend 2 or 3 nights at “Albergue Casa Matsiguenka” inside the Reserved Zone. This lodge is built in typical Matsiguenka style and standard rooms are double rooms with shared bathrooms and showers. As in all other accommodations, sheets, blankets and mosquito nets are provided. If you prefer a room with private bathroom you can book this at an additional 25 US$ per person and night.

Alternatively we use “Aguaje Tented Camp” inside the Reserved Zone, which has comfortable double accommodation, shared and private bathrooms & showers and a sitting room.

This Camp is less frequented by other tour operators and has good access to trails.

You don’t need a sleeping bag for our standard Manu tours. All lodges provide sheets and blankets as well as mosquito nets. There also are sheets and blankets at the observation platform at the mammal salt lick.

In the lowland the temperature normally doesn’t drop very much during the night; you can normally expect temperatures of about 18 to 25°C (64 to 77°F).

At Bamboo Lodge, where we spend the first night, there normally is electricity, but in the lowland there is none.
Amazonia Lodge is an exception, because it has its own little hydroelectric plant.

At Maquisapayoj Lodge there is a generator so you can charge batteries for a few hours in the evenings. At Casa Matsiguenka and Aguaje Tented Camp a solar panel and/ or generator is normally available (but not always). Make sure you bring enough spare batteries for your camera and a flashlight (or headlight) for the tour.
We recommend to leave your mobile phone, Laptop or IPad (etc.) in Cusco, as there is almost no internet access in Manu, nor is there mobile phone coverage; only in a few places you may receive calls occasionally.
We recommend to bring rechargeable batteries and to take used batteries back home, as they are not recycled properly in Peru. Thank you.

How to decide between the Manu Biosphere Reserve tour and the Manu National Park tour?

Our tours to the tropical rainforest of Manu focus on observation of animals as well as rainforest plants in their natural environment and you will learn a lot about the tropical rainforest ecosystem.

Manu is a relatively remote area with little human population, it has an extremely high biodiversity and offers very good opportunities to observe animals in their natural rain forest environment (especially at the lakes an at the clay licks), which is not easy due to the dense vegetation.
Accommodation on our tours is in basic lodges with bathrooms. Lodge capacities are up to 24 persons (34 at Amazonia Lodge).
Manu offers ideal conditions for nature and animal lovers, photographers and ornithologists.

You will not find mass tourism here. In August (high season) there are more visitors around though, so it gets a bit busy.

Please note that it is not always possible to exactly stick to the program on a rain forest tour and small changes to the program may occur. In case of unusual situations caused by the weather (for example) our guide will look for the best alternative and always try to include all activities of our program. The guide will explain the situation to the group and you are welcome to ask questions.

Both tours, the Manu Biosphere Tour and the Manu National Park Tour, take you to the lowland rainforest of Manu and you visit 2 oxbow lakes to observe giant otters as well as the mammal salt lick in Maquisapayoj and the macaw clay lick in Blanquillo. The clay licks are located outside the Reserved Zone of the National Park, about 30 km south-east of Boca Manu. So if you want to visit the Reserved Zone of Manu AND the clay licks you spend considerably more time travelling by boat.

Please also find the map of each itinerary on our website, please check: Our Tours

The Manu Biosphere Tour (5, 6, or 7 days) is the more active tour, we spend 3 days in the area of the private reserves of Maquisapayoj and Blanquillo and we have plenty of time for walks on the trails. Our program is flexible and we have good opportunities to see a good variety of animal species. From Maquisapayoj we visit the Camungo and Blanco oxbow lakes (to observe Giant River Otters), the big Macaw Clay Lick at Blanquillo as well as the Mammal Salt Lick, located at walking distance from Maquisapayoj Lodge. On this tour we can visit the mammal salt lick up to 3 times.

The 5 day tour is the shortest tour to the Manu lowland and shows you the highlights of Manu.
The 6 day tour takes you to the Manu lowland and includes 1 night at Amazonia Lodge with its beautiful virgin forest. Both tours return via Colorado and Mazuko to Cusco.

On the 7 day Biosphere tour we have one day (day 5) on which the group can decide what type of animals you would like to prospect for again. This day is especially rewarding for bird, tapir and monkey observation. In case of bad weather conditions we are flexible enough to modify the itinerary according to our needs and have more options to see animals. On this tour our return journey takes us back to Atalaya and through the cloud forest to Cusco.

On the Manu National Park Tour you enjoy the unique scenery of Rio Manu’s primary lowland forest. Inside the “Reserved Zone” (Tourist Zone) we visit the Salvador and Otorongo oxbow lakes, which are ideal places to observe Giant Otters. The scenery on Rio Manu is impressive and chances to observe wildlife on the river banks are very good. With a bit of luck we may even see a jaguar. But we spend considerably more time on the boat – travelling up on the Manu River into the “Reserved Zone” of the Park and coming back 2 or 3 days later. For some visitors the boat rides may be very long, especially for younger/ active people. We spend 2 or 3 nights at Casa Matsiguenka, a typical lodge run by the Machiguenga Indians or at Aguaje Tented Camp.
On the 8 day tour we have 2 full days (3 nights) inside the Reserved Zone which gives us better chances for giant otter and monkey observation.
Chances to observe animals are similar – and very good – on both tours to the lowland. The more time you spend in the rainforest the better the chance to see a bigger variety of animals.

The macaw clay lick in Blanquillo is the biggest clay lick in Manu and has easy access and a comfortable observation platform. Activity is in the mornings (before noon) and we observe the birds from a special, elevated wooden platform, which is less than 100m away from the clay wall. This is very close, compared to other clay licks in South America.

The parrots and macaws come to eat the clay because they need the minerals to neutralize toxins they have assimilated when eating seeds. During and towards the end of the rainy season (approximately until april/ may) the forest offers more fruits and the birds eat less toxins, this is why there is less demand for eating clay.
When the dry season begins the birds need to eat more seeds which increases the necessity for them to visit a clay lick, which is from around the end of june. This means that activity at the clay lick is often lower during the first months of the year and it later increases. Until the beginning of the dry season (approximately May/ June) you may see between 10 and 60 birds whereas in the dry months you may see as many as 100 to 200 or even more individuals at the lick. But of course these numbers can still vary throughout the year. Other factors that lead to temporary fluctuation of activity at the clay lick are the presence of birds of prey, rain or other animals that disturb the macaws’ activity.

You need to be prepared for mosquitoes in the lowland of Manu (below 1000m). Please bring long sleeved clothes and mosquito repellent.

Malaria: The Malaria risk in Manu is extremely low (less than 0.5 %).

Long sleeved clothing and mosquito repellent is strongly recommended. Taking malaria prophylaxis is a personal decision, please consider that taking prophylaxis is not secure either (and check for the side effects of this medication !!). You could bring a ‘stand by’ medicine in case you get Malaria (which can be detected by blood analysis), you can also get this medication here in Peru. In the south Peruvian rainforest there is only the Malaria type named ´Plasmodium vivax` which is completely curable. Please note: in 20 years of Manu operations we have not experienced any case of Malaria in the Manu area.

Leishmaniasis: Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease that is transmitted by sand flies and affects the skin and mucosa. The risk to contract Leishmaniasis on a short stay in Manu is very low; the best form of protection is to wear long sleeves and use repellent.

Yellow Fever: Yellow Fever is transmitted by the Yellow Fever Mosquito. The Yellow fever risk in Manu is low. It is recommended to have a Yellow Fever vaccination for the lowland of Manu, especially if you plan to visit the Reserved Zone of Manu (National Park Tour) as there is no secure therapy. (But there is no control.) The Yellow Fever vaccination is now valid lifelong (before it was valid for 10 years) and the vaccination should be administered minimum 10 days before visiting the lowland/ rain forest.

It is also possible to get a Yellow Fever vaccination at Hospital Regional in Cusco (cost is about 40 US$); we recommend to check in advance on which days vaccinations are available.

Tetanus: Tetanus is a virus infection caused by bacteria. You should have a valid tetanus vaccination for the rainforest and for Peru in general. Please check if you need to renew your vaccination before travelling.

Note re. Rabies: Rabies is a virus infection which can be transmitted by dogs or bats. During our Manu tours we spend all nights under mosquito nets, therefore the risk of being bitten by a bat is very, very low. We do not recommend a vaccination for Manu.

Can I find a doctor in case of an emergency?

When visiting Manu you should be aware that you travel to a remote area and there is no reliable mobile phone line nor internet access. In case of an emergency and for receiving short reports by our guides we have radio communication at the lodges. There is a satellite telephone at Amazonia Lodge and in Boca Manu village and sometimes there is mobile phone access there as well.

Along our route there are 3 small hospital wards, apart from this our guide will carry a first aid kit throughout the tour. Please inform our guide about any medical problems.

Also please inform us about diseases that may represent a risk on the tour, such as epilepsy or heart diseases (even if symptoms date back several years or if you are taking medication),
before your tour!

In case of severe illness, a transport back to Cusco may become necessary. Please make sure that you have good and adequate travel health insurance.

Please bring a big water bottle for the first day of the tour (min. 1.5 l) as it is complicated to get out drinking water for you during the first day’s bus ride. Then please keep your water bottle and you can refill it every day in the morning and evening. We bring bottled water from Cusco for the whole tour.
Due to the high temperatures in Manu it is important that you drink plenty of water.
Please help to protect the environment and avoid buying plastic bottles as these are not yet recycled properly in Peru.
You can ask your guide or our cook if you need to refill your bottle.

We reduce waste by avoiding tins as well as plastic packing and buying as much fresh produce as possible. All waste of our tour is gathered at the lodges and only organic waste is buried in Manu. All inorganic waste is returned to Cusco by our bus. Please help gathering all waste and do not throw any waste on the trails or roadside (including cigarettes). In case you don’t see a rubbish bin please ask your cook or guide. In Peru we have a new law that prohibits the use of plastic bags and plastic packaging especially in protected areas like Manu.

On our standard Manu tours (fixed departures) the maximum group size is 6 persons per guide for the Manu Biosphere and Cultural Zone tour and 7 persons per guide for the Manu Park tours. This way everybody can hear what the guide says and the group is not too big to observe animals. If there are 6/ 7 to 12 participants on a tour we take one more guide to divide the group in two while walking on the trails, but you may be sharing the bus and/ or boat. If there are more than 12 participants on the same tour we split in 2 groups, each with its own guide, cook and boat.

On some occasions our tour groups meet – for example in Maquisapayoj – and part of the boat ride and/ or the return trip may be with the same transport.

On our fixed departure dates, we operate the Manu Biosphere tours with min. 3 participants and the Manu National Park tours with a minimum of 4 persons at the group tour price. If we have fewer bookings, it is possible to carry out the tour with an extra charge or to change your booking to a different tour (on the same date).

Due to changing booking habits of many visitors it is not unusual that a tour group would fill up only 4 to 8 weeks before the actual date.

If you are interested in a specific tour or if you are not very flexible with the tour date and want to join a group it is even more recommended to book early.

In general it is more recommendable to do a Manu tour during the dry season which is from about April to November. But December, January and March are also o.k. and visitors have had great trips.

Anyway, in the rain forest you should expect rain at any time throughout the year. It depends on what your main interest is when visiting Manu. If your main focus is on reptiles and amphibians the more humid months (from October) are more recommendable.

The best months for seeing parrots and macaws at the clay licks is before April and from late June or July onwards.

If you are less keen on spotting other tourists avoid August.

If you have a specific interest please contact us:

On the first day of your tour we travel over the Andes, where you should have a sweater and wind & waterproof jacket at hand. In the afternoon, reaching the cloud forest temperatures are more pleasant.

During the first night you can expect temperatures between 12 and 18°C (53 to 62°F), and reaching the lowland forest between 25 and 36°C (78 to 95°F) during the day and around 18 to 25°C (64 to 77°F) at night.

On some occasions we can get a cold front (“friaje”) from the south, this occurs mainly during the months of May to July/ August (dry season). When these winds reach the lowland forest, temperatures may go down as far as 14° or 10°C (52°F), which feels colder due to the humidity in the rainforest.

Please also check our packing list for clothing recommendations.

Unfortunately flights from/ to Boca Manu are not operating at the moment due to the lack of an appropriate plane for this route and the small airstrip.

Therefore we have opted for the return route via Colorado and on the paved Transoceanica road which allows us to return from the Manu lowland to Cusco in one day.

The closest airport is in Puerto Maldonado, which can be reached from Colorado on the last day of the 5 and 6 day Manu Biosphere tours and of the 7 and 8 day Manu National Park tours.

If you would like to connect to an afternoon flight from Puerto Maldonado (to Lima or Cusco) we can arrange for the transfer to the airport. If you wish we can also book the flight for you.

Please contact us for further details and flight prices.

In 2011 the paved Transoceanica road was completed, this is the road we now mainly use for the return to Cusco.

At the beginning of the tour we travel to the lowland through the cloud forest on the scenic Manu road to experience the wildlife there. After our excursions, on the last day of the tour we take the boat downriver on Rio Madre de Dios from Maquisapayoj Lodge towards Colorado, a small gold mining town.

From here, together with our guide we take a car or pickup for approx. 1 hour to get to the village of Puerto Carlos, where we cross Rio Inambari. On the other side our private minibus is waiting for us to take us to the Transoceanic highway via Mazuko, travelling on paved road up over the Andes – passing by the Ausangate Mountain – to get back to Cusco in the evening.

It is a long trip but we can get back from the remote Manu lowland to Cusco in one day.

The 7 day Manu Biosphere Tour takes you in and out via Atalaya and through the cloud forest.

This route is more interesting in terms of wildlife, but the return trip takes 2 days, travelling upriver on Rio Alto Madre de Dios and spending the last night at Amazonia Lodge. Due to lower transport costs we can offer the 7 day Manu Biosphere Tour at a relatively economical price.

In case you have a tight schedule and you plan to return to Lima right after your rainforest tour you may consider the option to return via Colorado and then be transferred from Puerto Carlos to Maldonado town. This can be on the last day of the Manu tour.

From Puerto Maldonado it is possible to catch a commercial flight to Lima in the afternoon (!). An early start is required, but this way you can get to Lima on the last day of our tour (day 5, 6, 7 or 8). If you are interested in this option please contact us for further details.

Yes, binoculars are essential for a Manu tour: to spot animals and get a closer view of them. 8 x 40, 10 x 40 or 10 x 42 magnifications are recommended. Quality binoculars (Zeiss, Leica, Minox, Nikon and Eschenbach brands) can be rented at our office in Cusco for 5 US$/ day. Please let us know latest one day before the trip.

Please read the tour program carefully before you book a tour, if you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them.

Changes in the itinerary may occur, due to the natural circumstances in Manu.

Please also read our Booking and Cancellation Policy.

With your booking you accept these conditions.

For a booking we need your full name, address, age, profession, passport number and nationality. To secure your booking we require a down payment of (minimum) 250 US$ per person for the longer tours and 220 US$ per person for short tours.

The deposit can be made to our bank account in Cusco/ Peru, our bank account in Germany or via Western Union or Xoom (PayPal) or Transferwise. We then confirm reception of the deposit and your tour booking(s). Transfer fees are covered by the client.

The balance can be paid by bank or Western Union 14 days before your tour date (subject to bank fees), otherwise you can pay the balance here at our office in Cusco latest on the day before your tour starts. Please pay in cash (Soles or US $). Payment in Euros is also possible, but the exchange rate here is sometimes not as good as in Europe.

Lately we cannot find information on where to cash US$ traveller’s cheques. We cannot receive them directly and it seems that banks in Cusco do not accept them anymore.

Credit card payment is not always possible in Peru and often expensive; you should consider about

7 % of fees. We recommend checking credit card conditions (limits for ATMs) with your bank before travelling to Peru. There are ATMs at Banco de la Nacion, Banco de Credito and Scotiabank where you can withdraw about 2000 Soles (aprox. 650 US$) per day or more (may vary according to your card. Note: the yellow “Globat Net” ATMs charge extra fees.

During the tour (e.g. for snacks, souvenirs) it’s best to pay in Soles. You need not bring much money on the tour as there are not many occasions to spend money in Manu. Normally S/.300 are enough. Please leave extra money in the safe at your hotel.

In general it’s recommended to travel and pay with Soles in Peru.

Please note that damaged US$ bills are not accepted in Peru, as it is foreign money! Even small rips are reasons for bills being refused.

Please allow some time for your pre-departure briefing before your tour. This normally takes place at our office on the day prior to your departure. Other dates are normally possible if we know in advance. Just contact us:

It is recommendable to have travel insurance for your luggage/ valuables and health insurance when travelling to Peru. Leave valuables that you do not need at home. Always have an eye on your luggage, especially hand luggage or small backpacks, also in restaurants. It is convenient to bring a small lock to lock your backpack or bag.

Valuables like passports and money should be kept in the hotel safe whenever possible. If you travel with cash it’s best to keep it in a money belt or neck pouch.

Only for some tours (like Inca Trail, Machu Picchu) you need to bring your original passport, otherwise a good copy is sufficient.

You need to show your passport and the entry/ immigration stamp at the hotels. If you don’t have the migration stamp you may have to pay an additional tax (IGV).

It is not recommended to drink the tap water in Peru. On our Manu tours we bring filtered drinking water. On treks you usually get boiled water. Some places offer to refill your drinking bottle. Just ask.

Please help to avoid plastic bottles!

If you have any further questions you are welcome to mail us!