"Delve into the Peruvian jungle, join scientists as they observe new species, and explore Amazonian rivers on this week-long adventure."
If you’re looking for wildlife then the Manu Rainforest is the right place to start. Home to a huge and unusual range of animals, such as dancing birds, rare otters and the spectacled bear, this tour will give you the chance to see these fascinating creatures in their natural environment. Yet this trip offers more than just a typical rainforest excursion. You’ll also have the chance to work alongside scientists and researchers deep in the jungle on their conservation projects, as you monitor rare creatures, keep your eyes peeled for new species and learn all about the Amazon. More than just an exciting holiday, this trip offers you the chance to really get involved and make a positive contribution to the amazing Amazon.
You’ll journey from Cusco deep into the Manu Cloud Forest. Explore the forest on foot by day and night, looking out for monkeys chattering above you and stunning exotic birds. For a fresh perspective on the jungle, climb a 20-metre high observation tower in the tree canopy, or hop on a catamaran and look out from the waterways as you wind along the river. If you’re keen to explore the Amazon, make a positive impact to the environment and discover exciting and rare animals, then this is the perfect tour for you.
The Crees Foundation is a non-profit organisation in Peru, which is committed to ensuring the preservation and sustainability of the Amazon. The Manu Biosphere where they operate is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and is home to a huge range of plants and animals. It currently faces threats from immigration to the park, unsustainable agriculture practices and illegal logging, all of which is endangering the wildlife and the communities who inhabit the area. This organisation has made it their goal to counter these threats. They achieve this by educating local communities about the value of the rainforest, and how to access and profit from its resources in a sustainable way. This in turn encourages local communities and government to conserve the local area.
On top of conservation, the Crees Foundation also values social and economic sustainability highly, which has helped to shape their three key mottos. These mottos are to understand and respect indigenous cultures and customs, to get involved with communities, and to support local businesses. Booking a tour with the Crees Foundation can make a genuine impact on the area, as all the profits they make through tourism go directly towards the Communities and Conservation programs that they run in the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
Mountain Terrain: Head off from Cusco into the Andes as you start your journey to the Manu Cloud Forest. Travelling across the Andes offers stunning views of the sacred valley and surrounding snow-capped mountains. Take a break in Paucartambo, an Incan centre of trading, where you can have a drink and learn about the Andean communities. The drive continues to Acjancao, the highest point of the day and also the entrance to Manu National Park. Descending through the clouds, head to San Pedro for lunch before reaching the lodge.
Journey through the Forest: The day starts with a trip into the cloud forest – keep your eyes peeled for the dancing ritual of the national bird of Peru, monkeys looking for food in the trees above you, and the spectacled bear. Along the way, visit a coca plantation and learn about the medicinal properties of the leaf. The it’s time to hit the water with a canoe ride along the Amazonian river to reach the Manu Learning Centre, where you can learn all about the history of Manu and the current environmental challenges the area is facing. After lunch, there are plenty of trails to explore, or simply chill out in the lodge and watch the sun set over the Amazon.
Wetlands and Wildlife: If you fancy a really early start, join a team of researchers in the forest as they monitor and observe the animals and try to discover new species. Spend the morning exploring the reserve with a guide, learning about the different plants and wildlife. In the afternoon, head to the wetland viewing platform if you want to see some wildlife or go a little further afield to the nearby lake, where you can explore the waterways on a wooden raft. If you’re still keen to search for animals after dinner, you can head out to a hideout near the lodge and hopefully spot some.
Studying Species: An exciting day of animal observation awaits! Join scientists and researchers on a short boat trip up the river to observe endangered bird species, such as the Blue Headed Macaw, as well as other parrots and parakeets. Get there before sunrise to see the amazing flurry of colorful wings as the birds flock into the jungle when the day breaks. Spend the day floating along the Madre de Dios river, spotting river wildlife along the way, before reaching the Romero Rainforest Lodge where you’ll spend the night.
Deep in the Jungle: It’s time to explore the jungle even further, as you journey to Cocha Salvador, the deepest part of the park you can reach. On the way you’ll pass by beaches, which are often teeming with a huge variety of nesting birds, as well as caiman and turtles. There might even be the chance to see a jaguar – the world third largest cat. An adventurous day calls for an adventurous evening, and you’ll spend the night at Campsite Aguaje in Manu park.
Catamarans and Canopies: Board small catamaran boats and head out onto the waterways, giving you a unique perspective on the animals. Look out for agami heron, brown capuchin monkeys and families of giant otters – you’ll often see them eating fish on the shore. When it’s time to explore dry land, embark into forest under the canopy of 60-metre high Kapoc trees. There’s an observation tower within the forest canopy where you can get a birds-eye view on the wildlife and the greenery.
Journey Home: Rise bright and early to start the journey hone. Eat breakfast on a 3-hour boat ride to Colorado Village, which takes you past a few native settlements, as well as some gold miners who you might see panning for the precious metal along the riverbanks. Once you’ve crossed the Inambari River, you’ll be transferred to Puerto Maldonado for a flight back to Cusco.
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