The Manu Wildlife Center offers travelers some of the best wildlife viewing anywhere in the Amazon Basin. The lodge is located in a private, 40,000-acre rain forest reserve in the Cultural Reserved Zone adjacent to Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve. Twenty-two fully-screened, thatched-roof bungalows feature a living area and private bath with hot water showers.
The dining room and commons building contain a fully stocked bar and reading room with hammocks for relaxing. Candlelight in the rooms and paths lit by oil lamps contribute to the natural ambiance. A generator supplies electricity for the kitchen and to recharge batteries in the lounge. Bungalows are arranged around a pleasant and well-planned Amazonian garden with plants and shrubs that attract birds, butterflies, and mammals.
The easiest and fastest access to the Manu Wildlife Center is a 40-minute flight on 8 or 18-seater Beechcraft, Cessna, or Twin Otter planes operating between Cusco international airport and the Boca Manu airstrip. From Boca Manu, comfortable motorized dugouts make the 90 minute trip to the Manu Wildlife Center. For adventurous travelers with more time, a highly recommended, spectacular 3-day overland and river journey can be made from Cusco! The first day's dramatic 11-hour journey over the Andes into the Amazon adds to the diversity of environments and wildlife you see. Traveling in a comfortably outfitted bus, you pass through picturesque Quechua villages like Paucartambo, you will observe wildlife and see stunning scenery.
On Day 2 of the overland drive, you observe vibrant flamed-colored Cock-of-the-Rock birds putting on a spectacular mating display. Brown capuchin monkeys are common around the lodge and large, Wooly monkeys are also found in these highlands. Continue into the Amazon lowlands to overnight at the Amazonia Lodge. Proceed on Day 3 by river in a motorized dugout canoe to arrive at the Manu Wildlife Center.
This astonishing 3-day journey across the Andes makes a complete transect from high "Puna" grasslands at 12,000 ft., through cloud forests and into the lowland rainforests. With frequent stops to observe and photograph local people, landscape, and wildlife, this is truly the best way to learn the natural history of this incredible area. At the end of your stay at the Manu Wildlife Center, you retrace a short part of your river trip in, and then fly to Cusco from the Boca Manu airstrip. Access by charter air or overland to Manu is limited to scheduled days of the week.
Wildlife and Rainforests
The protected rainforest reserve around the lodge is strategically located in an area that counts the highest diversity of micro-habitats in the Manu area. This means there are more species and more concentrations of animals, birds, reptiles, and insects than anywhere else in the Manu Reserve. Most rainforest species inhabit the high forest canopy, and you have an opportunity to ascend a sturdy staircase into the treetops to view birds, monkeys, and other wildlife in the upper layers of the forest.
The Blanquillo Macaw and Parrot lick is 25 minutes away by river. Using unobtrusive floating blinds to get close to this wildlife spectacle, you observe hundreds of macaws and smaller parrots and parakeets who come to eat clay essential for their digestion.
About an hour walk through the forest is a large mammal lick where tapirs, the largest South American land mammal, regularly come late in the day or at night for minerals. Brocket Deer and other animals share this necessary ingredient to the digestive system. Manu guests relax in a large, raised blind equipped with mattresses and mosquito nets for those who want to spend the night in comfort observing these nocturnal creatures.
A 40 mile system of trails laid out as a grid provides exceptional access to wildlife viewing in the dense rain forest. Stable canoe catamarans provide access to several oxbow lakes where plentiful wildlife is found on the edge between the water and the forest. During your stay at the Manu Wildlife Center you can expect to see amazing wildlife including likely possibilities of:
MWC frequently hosts onsite researchers and scientists studying tropical ecology. These scientists contribute a wealth of exciting new knowledge for resident guides to share with guests, and researchers are often available to discuss their projects with visitors. The lodge relies heavily on workers from the local Machiguenga and Piro communities, providing jobs and training that help better the standard of living in the local villages without prejudicing their preferred life-style.