Day 1: CUSCO TO COCK OF THE ROCK LODGE
Leaving Cusco after breakfast around 07:00 a.m. We travel through traditional Quechua communities and spectacular eastern ranges of the Andes to the village of Paucartambo, passing snow-peaks and small Andean farmsteads. We will have time here to look around this picturesque village. Then we are going to ascend to the last pass overlooking the Amazon Basin and begin the breath taking descent from 3 500 m.a.s.l./11 482ft to 1 600 m.a.s.l/5 249ft to our comfortable lodge in the orchid laden Cloud Forest. This is a spectacular journey passing cascading waterfalls and multicolored birds along the way. In the late afternoon, we’ll walk into the lodge to the sounds of Quetzals, Trogons and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens. Night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge or Paradise Lodge.
Day 2: COCK OF THE ROCK LODGE TO MANU LEARNING CENTRE
Pre- breakfast walk to a nearby spot in the Cloud Forest where the strange and beautiful Cocks-of-the-Rock display at dawn. This is a wonderful sight, as up to 25 bright red-orange males dance and sing, attempting to attract the favors of the duller, burgundy colored females. After visiting this lek we return to the Lodge for a leisurely breakfast and continue in our all terrain bus to the Madre de Dios River and our motorized dugouts and we begin our journey down the river, past the last folds of the Andes to the Manu Learning Centre perched high on a bluff he Manu Learning Centre (MLC) is designed to function as a multi-use facility to provide field researchers, educational groups and volunteers with comfortable accommodation and space in which to work. Constructed to compliment its surroundings, using a fusion of traditional thatching techniques and modern design, the concept of the Manu Learning Centre expands beyond its’ facilities to include key objectives such as impact minimization of the site on the local environment and the promotion of sustainable resource management. This afternoon we will explore the trail system with our naturalist guides, watch one of the worlds prettiest sunsets over the Madre de Dios River and find out from our knowledgeable guides about the Amazon Rainforest. Night Manu Learning Centre Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinnner
Day 3: MLC TO MANU RAINFOREST LODGE
MLC attracts an array of parrots and macaws thanks to the spectacular red mineral lick, or Collpa carved out by the Alto Madre de Dios River. This Collpa is the only one of its type in the area, and is visited daily by hundreds of colorful and noisy parrots and macaws, as well as guans, pigeons and doves. These in turn draw raptors such as the ornate hawk eagle. It is one of the best places in the world to see the endangered Blue-headed Macaw. We will visit this Clay Lick at dawn and after the spectacle return for breakfast an a look at the Orchid garden. We continue our journey down the Madre de Dios River to it’s confluence with the Manu River. We’ll pass settlements and native communities during the trip. Just before we get to the village of Boca Manu we pass the native community of Diamante. Their culture is Piro and this is the largest settlement of Amerindians in the area. We turn up the Manu River leaving the relatively clean waters of the Madre de Dios behind; we enter the clay laden waters of the Manu River. We’ll at the park ranger station at Limonal to present our permits and visit an overgrown oxbow lake where many Parrots and Macaws come in to roost we travel another hour to our destination – The comfortable Manu Rainforest Lodge situated close the banks of the Manu River. We are now deep in the pristine Manu rainforest. Night Manu Rainforest Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: MANU RAINFOREST LODGE TO COCHA SALVADOR
This morning we’ll walk very slowly from camp for 4-5 hours through the forest to Cocha Limonal. We may encounter troops of Monkeys. This is a particularly good trail for Black Spider Monkeys. We’ll pay special attention to the plant life on this walk and take it slowly listening for the rustle of vegetation or the soft sound of fruits falling to the rainforest floor that may betray the presence of animals or large birds. Your guide will explain some of the basics of rainforest ecosystems and point out some of the medicinal plants of the area used by local, indigenous groups. We may cross paths with a group of Peccaries – a species of wild boar found here. We’ll be met at the river by our motorized dugout for the hour trip upriver to the lodge for lunch and some free time. After lunch we head upriver as deep into the park as allowed, to Cocha Salvador. Beaches, especially in the dry season, are loaded with nesting birds and feeding Herons, Egrets, Orinoco Geese, Terns and Skimmers to name but a few. Some beaches will host sunning White and Black Caimans (South American relatives of the Alligators)/ and breeding Side-necked Turtles. Hundreds of Sand-colored Nightjars roost during the day on logs and beaches and there is a chance of encountering a sunning Jaguar – the world’s third largest cat. In 2009 one in three of our trips saw Jaguar in Manu. We will see some species of primate on this river trip, possibly Red Howler Monkeys or the smaller Squirrel Monkeys. We will overnight at Cocha Salvador
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: MANU RAINFOREST LODGE & COCHA SALVADOR
Cocha Salvador. Some of the time will be spent canoping the lake on a floating platform observing ox-bow lake animal life from the water. We may encounter an Agami Heron or a Sungrebe and Brown Capuchin Monkeys are usually feeding on fruits nearby. Specially constructed piers that jut out into the lake enable us to look for a family of Giant Otters that live here. These, the world’s largest freshwater carnivores, remain common only in Manu, having been hunted to extinction throughout most of their former range. Each animal consumes between 4 and 5 kilos of fish daily and often they can be seen eating large fish on logs at the lakeside. A visit to the lake of Cocha Otorongo is planned, where observation piers and a 20 meter observation tower in the rainforest canopy overlooking the lake are available for observing wildlife. We will also be on the lookout for a large family of Giant Otters that inhabit this lake. We boat back to Manu Rainforest Lodge in the late afternoon, to a refreshing shower, snacks and iced drinks.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: ROMERO RAINFOREST LODGE TO MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE
Leaving the lodge we’ll head down the Madre de Dios River for two hours to the comfortable lodge facility near the Macaw Clay Lick – Manu Wildlife Center. This strategically located lodge facility is jointly owned and run by Manu Expeditions and a local conservation group and is a base for scientific research in the area and a center for visitors wanting to explore the rainforest. We should arrive in time for lunch and a shower (hot water) and get to meet whichever researchers are onsite. The afternoon is set aside to relax or, if you want, to explore a trail through the untouched forest to a lookout point on a cliff over the river to watch roosting flights of Parrots and Macaws as the sun sets. Manu Wildlife Center has a canopy platform and an observation tower. The canopy platform is accessible via a spiral staircase so everyone can get to enjoy the rainforest canopy. Those who wish can participate in a night walk with your guide in search of nocturnal animals. Night at Manu Wildlife Center.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are taking the 9 day trip and continuing onto Manu Wildlife Center, a delay may occur at the Boca Manu Aerodrome en route as some of your traveling companions may be taking the 6 day option and flying to Cusco this day
Day 7: MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE
Early start to-day for the Macaw Clay Lick. This is truly one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles as hundreds of Parrots and their larger relatives, the Macaws, congregate at this traditional locality to eat the mineral rich clay that is essential to their digestion. We’ll use a comfortable blind (hide) to get close to the birds and breakfast will be served. The noise alone is incredible and the sight of these brightly colored birds at the lick is a sight not to be forgotten. As the lick slows down in midmorning we’ll head for Cocha Blanco, an old ox-bow lake, in search of a family of Giant Otters that live there, and canoe around the lake on our floating platform looking for other wildlife. After a leisurely lunch at the lodge we’ll explore other trails in search of Emperor and Saddleback Tamarins, and we have seen the rare Goeldi’s Monkey repeatedly in this area. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE
A full day to explore the forest and trails around the lodge. We’ll be on the lookout for Monk Saki – an uncommon and rarely seen monkey of the tierra firme forest that is occasionally seen here. We’ll explore trails where groups of Manakins, perhaps the most enigmatic of neo-tropical birds, perform their strange mating dances and walk to one of our blinds at a large mammal lick where Guans and forest Parakeets and Parrotlets come for clay. Here too, groups of Black Spider Monkeys visit on occasions for clay to help their digestion. Those who wish will return with the guide to the lodge in the late afternoon however there is an opportunity to stay at the lick after dark to see what nocturnal creatures come to the lick. Tapirs, the largest South American land mammal are frequent visitors with up to 12 animals visiting in one night. We watch them from the comfort of mosquito nets and mattresses from our specially constructed blind. Other nocturnal creatures are always possible. Night at the Manu Wildlife Center.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinnner
Day 9: MANU WILDLIFE CENTRE TO CUSCO
After breakfast we head upriver (about 2 hours) to the small airstrip at Boca Manu. Early morning flocks of birds pass over the boat, and we may see a Capybara, the world’s largest rodent. Arriving at the airstrip we board our aircraft for the 45 minute flight over seemingly endless rainforest and then over the Andes, passing glaciers and snow peaks to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco where our staff will be waiting to take you to your hotel.
- Transportation by vehicle to start and from the end of trek to the city, two-man tents including sleeping pads, pack animals, kitchen crew and commissary gear with all meals included as well as a bilingual guide on the trek, who will handle the first aid kit.
- Pre-departure briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to Pacchanta, starting point of the trek
- Tinki visitor fee
- Campsite fees
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. The tents employed for treks around the Ausangate area are 4-season Eureka K2XT, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field
- One inflatable sleeping pad per person
- One sleeping bag per person if requested: our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
- Kitchen tent
- Toilet tent with biodegradable toilet facilities
- Meals (05B, 06L, 05D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
- Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Private transport from Phinaya to Cusco, including transfer to your hotel in Cusco
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Breakfast on the first day, dinner on the last day
- Tips: please beware that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish
Bring and Carry
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- A down jacket is especially recommended for this trek since it runs at high altitude and temperatures may easily drop below freezing in the evening and at nights.
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please beware that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Water container and water for the first morning
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish take a dip at the hot springs along the route)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Copy of original passport
- Optional: walking sticks or poles
APPROPRIATE CLOTHING ALONG THIS HIKE
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, eventually complemented by sweaters, fleeces and jackets in the evening. We recommend convertible hiking pants and / or shorts as some parts of the route run at low altitude and warm weather. It is also very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the route. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the route to Choquequirao, temperatures range from 15-25ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 10-20ºC during the day if not sunny. Temperatures drop in the evening and at night, especially in Choquequirao, at a higher elevation, reaching 5ºC although rarely below. Warm clothes are hence however necessary for this hike.