Trip Type : Group Tour
Wild Peru – The Best of Manu tour

Wild Peru – The Best of Manu

4.6 . Excellent
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
17 days
From: $ 6,019 $ 354 / day
Checking price



  • Manu NP is home to Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, Spectacled Bear & Giant River Otter
  • Myriad hummingbirds and tanagers in the cloudforest
  • Visit an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek
  • Multiple primate species & White-lipped Peccaries plus chance of Ocelot
  • Visit oxbow lakes to look for Hoatzins, Sungrebes & Giant River Otters
  • Dawn clay-lick visit to see Red-and-green Macaws & other parrots & parakeets
  • Look for Brazilian Tapirs at a clay-lick

Short Description

A 17-day odyssey in search of the birds and mammals of one of the world's great national parks, Manu, that stretches from the roof of the Andes to pristine lowland Amazonian rainforest!

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Lima
End City Lima

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation a mixture of birding and wildlife lodges, some rustic but all in wonderful locations.
  • Food all included in the price, except for meals in Lima

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Day 1: In Flight

We depart from London Heathrow on an early morning Iberia scheduled flight to Madrid where we connect with a non-stop service to the Peruvian capital of Lima, arriving at Jorge Chávez International Airport during the evening. From here we will transfer across to the Ramada hotel adjacent to the terminal.

Day 2: Cusco – Wayquecha Biological Station

We’ll be up early this morning, helped by the time difference between the UK and Peru, and after a very short walk across to the airport terminal we’ll board an early morning flight to Cusco. We’ll be met on arrival in Cusco by our guide and driver and we’ll be straight off towards the scenic intermontane valleys. En route to Wayquecha we will make planned stops at several patches of scrub where Sparkling Violet-ear, Creamy-crested Spinetail, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Black-throated Flower-Piercer, Shining Sunbeam, Cinereous Conebill and perhaps Aplomado Falcon can be seen. We will eventually arrive at the puna grassland at Acjanaco, the southwest boundary of Manu National Park at around 3,800 metres. It is possible with clear weather and a little luck to see Andean Condors here and the view from the easternmost ridge of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance is quite stunning. Also at this elevation we should look for Junin Canastero, Sedge Wren, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant, Mountain Caracara, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, and Plain-colored Seedeaters. Descending eastwards, the steep Andean slopes are initially clad in stunted forest and shrub, interspersed with wet moor-like paramo. Before too long we will descend into the upper Manu cloudforest, over which White-throated and Variable Hawks can sometimes be seen soaring. As we move downhill, the forest becomes more continuous with species like Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay, Emerald Toucanet and Mountain Cacique all possible.

We continue down to Wayquecha Biological Station near to Pillahuata, our base for 2 nights. We sleep here at 2,950 metres; the kind of altitude that should not cause anybody to succumb to altitude sickness (although you’re very welcome to take a 1 or 2 night pre-tour extension in Cusco to alleviate any worries – ask us for advice). Wayquecha Lodge , although primarily a biological research station, offers ‘birding lodge facilities’ including en suite bathrooms with hot water showers and wonderful views over the cloud forest canopy

Day 3: Wayquecha Biological Station

We have a full day to explore the humid temperate forest of the upper Andean slopes, and we don’t have too far to travel today to find the birds! At dawn the Red and White Antpitta may well be calling and the recently described Diademed Tapaculo, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared Tanager and Puna Thistletail are pre- and post-breakfast targets, before we move downhill in search of the mixed feeding flocks for which the area is famous. When we come across them, the flocks are likely to contain Grass- green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager,  lackthroated Tody-Flycatcher, Barred Fruiteater, Whitebanded and White-throated Tyrannulets and much more. Trickier targets include Peruvian Treehunter, Golden-plumed Parakeet and Greater Scythebill. After dinner, anybody with any energy left might like to go off again in search of Swallow-tailed Nightjar and Yungas Pygmy-Owl with tapes. White-throated Screech-Owl is present in this area too. We’ll spend a second night at the Wayquecha Biological Station.

Day 4: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

We have all day today to bird from Wayquecha at just under 3,000 metres all the way down to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge at 1,500 meters through pristine cloudforest on the famous Manu Road. Some of the special birds on this stretch which we will look for include White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, Solitary Eagle, Andean Guan, Scalynaped Parrot, a mind-boggling array of hummingbirds, Black-streaked Puffbird, Crimson-mantled and Bar-bellied Woodpeckers, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and a kaleidoscope of colourful tanagers. Our accommodation for the next two nights is at the comfortable but rustic Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge (COTRL) near Union at 1,500 metres on the east Andean slope. Lighting is by candle and lantern at the lodge but there is a small generator available for charging batteries. There is a large dining area and lounge overlooking a feeding station for Brown Capuchin Monkeys and Tayras (a large mustelid related to the martens). Hummingbird feeders around the garden attract several species including Rufous-webbed Brilliant, the amazing little Wire-crested Thorntail and even Buff-tailed Sicklebill.

Day 5: Cock-of-the-Rock lodge

Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge is strategically located at the lower end of thesubtropical zone at 1,500 m. In this zone several lower-elevation species converge with the lowest altitudinal range of higher-elevation species, creating remarkably high species diversity. Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Collared Trogon, and a dazzling array of Tanagers can often be seen from above as they forage in the canopy of trees below the trails, whilst other exciting species not often in flocks are Green Jays, Yungas Manakin and with luck, Black and Chestnut Eagle. Taking to the trails through the dense forest we can search for such elusive species as Redbilled Scythebill, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrushes, Slaty Gnateater , Chestnut-breasted Wren and the endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin, whilst out by the river we have a good chance of seeing Fasciated Tiger Heron, White-capped Dipper and the impressive Green-fronted Lancebill. At dusk can look for Lyre-tailed Nightjar that often flies across the clearing at the lodge and as if all this were not enough, the area guarantees superb views of displaying Andean Cock-of-the-Rocks as they meet every morning at a lek located just a 10 minute-walk from the lodge.

Day 6: Amazonia Lodge

Today we will travel down from Cock-of-the-Rock lodge further into the lowlands finding more and more lowland species en route. The open habitats around the towns of Patria and Pilcopata will add some more species. When we reach the town of Atalaya we will transfer into a motorized canoe for the 15 minute journey down stream to the fabulous Amazonia Lodge. This converted tea plantation is now widely regarded as one of the best and most delightful birding lodges in Peru; is owned and run by a local family. It is famous for its garden birding with strategically planted trees and shrubs, hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders attracting a fantastic array of species, including hummingbirds and tanagers, which can all be watched from the wonderful veranda of the old hacienda building whilst drinking fresh fruit juices. Amongst them we will hope to enjoy the wonderful Rufouscrested Coquette and the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit. A good network of nearby trails provides access to seasonally flooded and hill forest and will give us many options for more energetic birding

Day 7: Amazonia Lodge

A full day will be spent exploring the extensive network of trails at Amazonia Lodge that have been well designed to take in all the available micro-habitats in the area. We will see many lowland and foothill species. We will also make time to visit the canopy tower to get a different perspective on the forest here and undoubtedly spend more time in the garden enjoying the hummingbirds. A small lake area will provide us with our first looks at Hoatzins, a real curiosity of the Amazonian lowlands.

Day 8: Romero Lodge

After an early breakfast we will start our journey down the Alto Madre de Dios river and will stop to watch a macaw and parrot clay lick not far downstream from Amazonia lodge – here we will see a range of species, with luck including the rare and local Blue-headed Macaw. We will then continue on downstream for several hours seeing birds and with luck some mammals en route. The river here is powerful and quite wide. Once we reach the Manu river we will head upstream on a smaller, slower flowing, meandering river. We will first stop at the Limonal Park Guard Post where we will sign in and also take time to walk a short trail and look over a swampy area where we may see species including Horned Screamer. From here it is less than an hour upstream to Romero Lodge and we will arrive in the early afternoon and be able to enjoy a walk on one of the trails through the lowland primary forest here

Day 9: Manu Tented Camp

Leaving Romero Lodge we will travel up the Manu river deep into the heart of the Manu National Park. We’ll be surrounded by pristine rainforest and as we motor along we’ll keep our eyes open for Spectacled Caimans loafing on mud banks, Side-necked Terrapins sunbathing on exposed logs and family groups of Capybaras grazing amongst the lush riverside vegetation. The birding action will continue apace and a succession of typical Amazonian riverside birds is likely to include Pied Lapwing, Collared Plover, Capped and Cocoi Herons, Orinoco Goose, Great Black Hawk, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns and Black Skimmer. Bat Falcons and Swallow-wing Puffbirds are often to be seen sitting sit atop prominent riverside trees, oropendolas, Yellow-rumped Caciques and various parrots and macaws are conspicuous as they fly across the river and if we’re lucky we may come across a Sunbittern, a Horned Screamer, or perhaps a flock of attractive Sandcoloured Nighthawks roosting on a gravel shoal. These river journeys will be a regular feature of the next few days of the trip and they are always exciting; you never know quite what you might see around that next bend! Late in the day we’ll arrive at the comfortable and wonderfully remote Manu Tented Camp and settle in for a three night stay.

Days 10 and 11: Manu Tented Camp

Our two days here at the tented camp will give us ample opportunity to explore the extensive trail system through the surrounding forest and give us a real taste of this wonderful stretch of lowland Amazonia. This is a prime area for seeing a host of exciting bird species including Great Tinamou, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Spix’s and Blue-throated Piping Guans, Blue-crowned and Collared Trogons, Broad-billed Motmot, Whitethroated and Channel-billed Toucans, Red-necked Woodpecker, Strongbilled Woodcreeper, the localised Black-faced Cotinga, various antbirds, antshrikes and antwrens, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Screaming Piha and lots more. Mixed flocks are a feature of the birding here and as we walk we’ll be looking and listening out for the tell-tale calls that announce their approach. This might be an understorey flock led by a pair of Bluish-slate Antshrikes, a mid-level flock led by the Striking White-winged Shrike Tanager or a canopy flock including such colourful gems as Gilded Barbet and Paradise Tanager. Whatever happens, we’re guaranteed a very rich birding experience!

As we walk the trails we’ll keep our eyes and ears open for mammals too. With luck we’ll encounter a Tayra or a group of noisy Collared Peccaries and in the foliage above we have a good chance of finding any of the diverse range of primates that that occur here including Red Howler and Black Spider Monkeys, Saddle-backed Tamarin and even the amazing bewhiskered Emperor Tamarin.

As well as walking the trails we’ll take a gentle boat ride on a nearby oxbow lake where we have a great chance of seeing Hoatzins, Sungrebes, Wattled Jacana, Ringed, Green and Amazon Kingfishers, Black-capped Donacobius and the dazzling Masked Crimson Tanager. The more secretive Agami Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron and Green Ibis are possibilities here too alongside Slate-coloured and Black-collared Hawks and, if we’re really lucky, a family of Giant River Otters.

Days 12 – 14: Manu Wildlife Centre

This morning we’ll re-board our boat and return down the Manu River to the famous Manu Wildlife Centre. The journey will take most of the morning and will give us another chance to enjoy the wildlife along the river bank. What we missed on our earlier journey we can look out for on this one; a King Vulture or Black Hawk Eagle soaring overhead perhaps, a Razor-billed Curassow foraging in the bankside vegetation, some Capuchin Monkeys making their way through the riverside trees or even a Jaguar or Tapir coming down to the river for a drink.

The Manu Wildlife Centre is another superb base from which to explore the almost incomparable richness of the Manu Rainforest. Nearly 600 species of birds have been recorded within a few kilometres of the lodge, a truly remarkable number and testament to the complex diversity of habitats and forest types in the area. During our three night stay here we’ll have a good opportunity to experience this diversity as we follow trails that lead through varzea and flood-plain forest, tall Terra-firma forest, dense bamboo thickets, transitional river islands and much more. Amongst a tantalizing range of avian possibilities here are Bartlett’s Tinamou, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Pavonine Quetzal, Ocellated Poorwill, Purus Jacamar, Striolated and Collared Puffbirds, Cream-coloured and Rufous-headed Woodpeckers, Ruddy Spinetail, Peruvian Recurvebill, Manu Antbird and Black-spotted Bare-eye. Around the lodge’s dining area the hummingbird feeders attract Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Gould’s Jewelfront, White-necked Jacobin and the diminutive Festive Coquette whilst around the cabins we may well find Blue-crowned Motmot, Long-billed and Cinnamon-throated Woodcreepers, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher and Hauxwell’s Thrush  On one of our mornings we’ll have another oxbow lake trip similar to the one at the tented camp and on another we’ll go to the famous Blanquillo “clay-lick” where masses of Red-and-green Macaws and Orange-cheeked, Blue-headed and Yellow Crowned Parrots come to eat clay. On one of our evenings we’ll head out into the forest to spend some time at the so-called “mammal clay lick” where Tapirs and Peccaries are regular visitors and even Jaguars put in occasional opportunistic appearances. As a final touch to our time at this wonderful place we’ll visit a canopy tower high in the crown of a massive kapok tree. Here, perched up in the tree-tops with Anole lizards flashing their orange wattles at us we have the chance to see a wide range of elusive canopy dwellers that may well include Golden Collared Toucanet, Sclater’s Antwren, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Yellow-bellied Dacnis and the enigmatic Sirystes. All in all our time at the Manu wildlife Centre should prove very rewarding indeed and it will be hard to tear ourselves away when our time here is finished.

Day 15: Puerto Maldonado

Leaving the Manu Wildlife Centre after breakfast we’ll make our way down river and back towards civilization. At the small mining settlement of Boca Colorado we’ll transfer to vehicles and then after crossing the Inambari River at Puerto Carlos we’ll join the Trans-Oceana Highway for a fast drive to Puerto Maldonado, the lively capital of Madre de Dios Province. The highway gives a good indication of what can happen to an area of rainforest once a major road is put in. The journey takes us through a largely cleared landscape of farmland, settlements and small scale gold-mining operations interspersed with occasional patches of forest. This landscape has birds too however and along the way we’ll  be on the lookout for Crested Caracara, Smooth-billed Ani, Vermilion Flycatcher and other open country species. We’ll arrive at Puerto Maldonado in the early afternoon. After checking in and freshening up, we’ll head back out to continue to bird the savannahs and open country around the town.

Day 16: Lima and in flight

This morning we fly back to Lima and use any spare time between arriving and out check in for the flight home to maybe have lunch on the coast, looking out for a few Humboldt Current seabirds at the same time. Our flight departs in the early evening.

Day 17: London

We will arrive back at Heathrow in the early evening.



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Price From $ 6,019
Price Per Day: $ 354 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 550

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Trip Excludes

  • International airfare
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