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At the Parrot Clay Lick

Manu Explorer

Example 8 Day Tour
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Visit Manu National Park, one of the highlights of the Peruvian Amazon. Most travelers to the Manu Amazon never actually enter the park as tours tend to skirt the edges and few accommodations exist there. This 1.8 million-hectare jungle preserve contains over 1000 species of birds, 13 species of monkeys, caiman, tapir, the endangered giant otter, and the stealthy jaguar.
Sunset on Madre de DiosWatch out, I'm blending.Those blue-headed parrots sure love clayImagine the root system...Home, temporarilyHanging by a thread - literallyAt the Parrot Clay Lick
  • Visit two oxbow lakes, home to giant otters, caimans, macaws and monkeys
  • Watch macaws and tapir as they visit an eroded clay bank of the river
  • Listen for the calls of cicadas and tinamous as night falls
  • Watch scenery change from Cusco, through the Andes and into the Amazon
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Lima

Welcome to Peru! Overnight in Lima.

Day 2: Fly to Cusco

Fly to Cusco and settle in to your hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the city.

Day 3: Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Your overland journey begins with an early departure from Cusco. Your destination is the lush cloud forest region where the Andes fall away to the Amazon basin. A day of scenic drama and striking contrasts, first visit a mountain wetland habitat which is teeming with migrant and local waterfowl before crossing two mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley. Follow a sinuous ribbon of highway on its plunge through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs, waterfalls and gorges and take leisurely stops to see mountain villages, pre-Incan burial chambers, and the abrupt ridge top of Ajanaco. If the weather is clear, breathtaking views await at the top of the cloud forest.

After a picnic lunch, descend through the startling and rapid environmental transformations characteristic of the tropical Andes. Pass from grassland and stunted trees through elfin forest until you wind through a lush and magical world of overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads, and a diverse and teeming birdlife. Reach Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the late afternoon. 

Day 4: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge | Romero Lodge

Take a secluded nature walk on a short trail loop to the river and back before breakfast, then continue your drive. View the ever-changing landscape and stop at Patria to visit a plantation of coca, which is grown for the Peruvian coca lead market. Reach Atalaya in the afternoon and follow the river’s broad, rushing course past the last foothills of the Andes. Turn northward up the Manu River into the lake-rich lower Manu National Park. Check into the park and proceed upstream to Romero Lodge. 

Day 5: Romero Lodge | Manu Park Wildlife Center

In the morning, continue to the Manu Park Wildlife Center. You will see orinoco geese and horned screamers strutting along the beach, capped and white-necked herons patrol the shore and countless turtles diving off their logs. After about four hours on the river you will reach Manu Park Wildlife Center. It is a simple but comfortable low-impact lodge that is nestled in the forest. If there is time you can take a short walk before dinner to stretch your legs and enjoy your first encounter with the rainforest. 

Day 6: Manu National Park | Cochas Salvador & Otorongo

Visit two lakes near the camp in the morning. Park authorities will determine the time of your visit to Cocha (Lake) Salvador; depending on this schedule, visit Cocha Otorongo earlier or later in the day. The trail to Cocha Otorongo begins 30 minutes downstream from the camp and the brief river journey to the trailhead offers the chance of a thrilling wildlife sighting. On the short trail to the lake, hope to spy one or more of the park’s 13 monkey species as they leap through the canopy.  The lakes are oxbow lakes, formed when the river changed course, leaving a landlocked channel behind. Abundant in fish and wildlife, they provide optimum habitat for caimans and the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), one of the Amazon’s most endangered mammal species.

Cocha Salvadoris is the largest of the area’s lakes at two miles long. It is also home to a family of giant otter. Cruise the lake on a floating catamaran platform for superb new perspectives of lake and forest. The lakeside trees are often alive with monkeys; scarlet, chestnut-fronted and blue-and-gold macaws beat a path overhead; a variety of herons and egrets scout the water’s edge; and the reptilian eyes and snouts of caimans, motionless as logs, may be spied beneath the branches. Somewhere on the open water or in among toppled bank-side trees, hope to spot the sleek heads of the shy giant otter.

Day 7: Manu Wildlife Center | Macaw & Tapir Clay Licks

Set off downriver at dawn and return to the Limonal park station. After reaching the turbulent union of the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu rivers and the village of Boca Manu, you may drop off some passengers who are returning to Cusco. After ninety more minutes downstream, arrive at Manu Wildlife Center -- the exciting final stop of your journey, just in time for lunch. Walk through the forest and reach the Macaw Lick Project. In groups of twos and threes, the scarlet Macaws come flapping in, landing in the treetops.  

Continue to explore the rainforest and discover its lore and plant life on the network of trails surrounding the lodge. Arrive in late afternoon at a 112ft Canopy Tower. On its platform, witness the frantic rush-hour activity of the rainforest canopy at twilight, before night closes in. Set off along the Collpa Trail, which will take us to the lodge’s famous Tapir Clay Lick. The Clay Lick features a roomy, elevated observation platform above the forest floor, which is equipped with freshly-made-up mattresses with pillows. Each mattress is covered by a roomy mosquito net. The 10-m-long, elevated walkway to the platform is covered with sound-absorbing padding to prevent our footsteps from making noise. This Tapir Experience is unique and exciting because these normally very shy creatures are visible up close, and flash photography is not just permitted, but encouraged. The hard part for modern city dwellers is to remain still and silent anywhere from 30 minutes to two or more hours. Many prefer to nap until the first Tapir arrives, at which point your guide gently awakens you to watch the Tapir who are a mere 10-20m (33-66ft) away. Most people feel that the wait is well worth it in order to have such a high probability of observing the rare and elusive Tapir in its rainforest home.

Day 8: Manu Wildlife Center | Depart

  • 1 Breakfast
Leave the lodge early in the morning for your two and a half hour boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village, with breakfast served on board. Stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado before you start the overland journey to Puerto Carlos for 45 minutes before crossing the Inambari River for a 15 minute boat trip to Santa Rosa. A van or bus will drive you approximately two and a half hours to Puerto Maldonado City, where you will fly by commercial plane to Cusco or Lima.


Manu Tented Camp

Manu Tented Camp
Manu Tented Camp
Manu Tented Camp

Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Manu Wildlife Center

Manu Wildlife Center
Manu Wildlife Center
Manu Wildlife Center

Romero Lodge

Exterior of Romero Lodge
Exterior of Romero Lodge
Exploring the rainforest at Romero Lodge

Lima - Hotels

Cusco - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$3,542 2-3 travelers


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The set departures to the Manu lodges are confirmed with a minimum of 2 guests.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • 1 Day Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Rubber boots are provided by your Amazon lodge. There are size limits for the following lodges in the Amazon.
    Hacienda Concepcion: Sizes 32-45
    Reserva Amazonica: Sizes 32-46
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Internal Flights - Lima - Cusco and Puerto Maldonado - Lima


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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