Day 1: Puerto Maldonado Airport-Colorado-Manu Wildlife Center
Upon your arrival at Puerto Maldonado, you’ll be greeted by a representative from the lodge, who will welcome you and accompany you to the vehicle that will take you on a two-hour trip to the town of Santa Rosa. From here, we’ll travel by boat for 15 minutes along the Inambari River, until we reach Puerto Carlos, and then we’ll resume our travel by car for approximately 45 minutes to Puerto Colorado. Once there, we finally begin our spectacular boat trip along the Madre de Dios River, until we arrive at Manu Wildlife Center. During this journey of about 4.5 hours, we will enjoy spectacular views and take in the activity of fauna of the Manu National Reserve. We will be welcomed upon our arrival at the lodge, and we’ll get a short orientation before we rest in our private bungalows. Later, we’ll have our first experience of the moist tropical forest, as we explore part of the 77-kilometer trail system surrounding the lodge, while learning about the plants and ecology of the rainforest. We’ll have an excellent opportunity to find about 12 species of monkeys, including the spider monkey and the charismatic, long-mustached emperor tamarin monkey (Saguinus imperator), among others who live in the MWC. After dinner, we’ll enjoy a brief, spectacular walk through the MWC trails in search of birds, frogs and other nocturnal animals. Lunch en route, dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 2: Manu Wildlife Center-Macaw Lick Project-Observation Tower-Tapir Lick
Today we’ll start out early, since wildlife is more active in the early hours. After a delicious breakfast, we’ll take a short boat ride downriver, then we’ll walk for a few minutes down a trail through the forest, until we reach the Macaw Lick Project Hideout, where on almost every clear day of the year, dozens of macaws and hundreds of parrots gather at a large clay wall and feed on this mineral salt-rich earth, as they provide us with a noisy, colorful show. Note: Please keep in mind that the Macaw Lick is more active during the months of August to October, and is less active in May and June. We continue to explore and discover the rainforest through the MWC trail system, and then we return to the eco-lodge just in time for lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll depart on one of the paths to our Observation Tower, which is 34 meters (111 feet) high. Here we’ll witness the frenetic activity in the forest canopy, at the peak hour of twilight. Before the night falls, we’ll continue down the trail leading to the famous MWC Tapir Lick, considered the most active in the entire Amazon. Research conducted by scientists at the lodge has identified visits of 8 to 12 tapirs. They weigh about 272 kilograms (600 pounds) each, and they come to this tapir lick to eat the clay under the tree roots. This most unusual meal absorbs and neutralizes the toxins in the tapir’s vegetarian diet. The tapir is the largest land animal in Latin America. To facilitate the observation of these animals, there is a platform measuring 30 meters (98 feet) wide and 4 meters (13 feet) tall, equipped with mattresses, pillows, sheets and light blankets, covered with wide mosquito nets. The experience with the tapirs is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience, since these normally shy creatures can be seen from a short distance and can also be photographed. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 3: Manu Wildlife Center-Excursion to the Lake or Cocha-Trail System
Early in the morning, we’ll head to the lake or cocha. It is an ancient oxbow lake filled with water lilies and sunken tree trunks. As we navigate around the lake in a catamaran, we may be able to observe the giant otters that normally inhabit this area. The otters will usually be active and will be busy fishing. We can also see and hear howler monkeys noisily moving among the trees, and we’ll also see other species of birds that live in the lake. After lunch at the lodge, our nature guide will be available to lead us on an expedition in search of other species of wild flora and fauna, or we can embark on a private expedition down one of the many trails at the lodge, to connect with the spirit of the jungle. If the level of the river allows it, from dusk to before dinner we can go on an exciting boat ride in search of caimans and other wildlife that comes out to the edge of the river at night. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 4: Manu Wildlife Center-Puerto Maldonado Airport
We’ll depart very early on our 2.5-hour return trip by boat down the Madre de Dios River, until we reach Boca Colorado. Breakfast will be served on board, allowing us to make the best use of our time as we observe the spectacular wildlife activity along the river. Also, the Madre de Dios River provides us with a contrast of the beautiful natural landscapes of our lower rainforest, and the establishments of the miners who use huge dredges that dig up and erode the sand banks to search for and clean the precious gold. As we arrive in the town of Boca Colorado, famous for gold extraction, we’ll begin our travel by road to Puerto Carlos. This part of the trip lasts for approximately 45 minutes. We again board a boat to cross the Inambari River to Puerto Santa Rosa. From here we travel by car for another two hours, until we reach the Puerto Maldonado Airport and the end of our trip. You will receive assistance at the airport for your return trip.