"Discover the stunning Manu cloud forest and learn about the culture of the Andean communities – it’s the perfect introduction to the wonders of the Amazon."
Journeying to and through the Manu Rainforest will open your eyes to a huge range of climates and ecospheres: Andean communities living at great heights, the meandering Amazon River that winds through the forest, and the luscious cloud forest itself, home to a massive array of wildlife and flora. This four-day tour is the perfect introduction to the Amazon, offering a glimpse of all these landscapes, as well as the opportunity to encounter animals and different cultures.
Heading off from Cusco, your journey to the Manu Cloud Forest will take you through the mountains, encountering Incan tradition and Andean communities along the way. The body of the trip will be spent exploring the cloud forest and discovering all the animals that inhabit the area, from monkeys to bears. You’ll reach the Manu Learning Centre by canoe, giving an alternative perspective of the surrounding area. Alongside scientist and researchers, you can observe and monitor the endangered clay lick Macaw or head off on hiking trails around the forest – by day and by night. After all the excitement and exploration, finish off your days with a drink in hand as you watch the sun set over the Amazon.
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.
Cusco, Culture and the Cloud Forest: After breakfast, head off on a stunning journey from the high Andes down to the cloud forest, giving you awe-inspiring views of the ‘Sacred Valley’. En route, stop off along ancient Inca trading routes for a quick break, where you can also encounter the local culture and learn about how the communities in the Andes live off the forest. The journey continues to Acjanaco, which marks the highest point of the day and is the entrance to Manu National Park. The final stop before reaching the lodge is San Pedro, where you can have lunch.
Amazon Exploration: It’s time to explore the cloud forest; keep a lookout for the national bird of Peru, the Cock of the Rock, which will dance right in front of you! Journey deeper into the cloud forest, which is home to monkeys, exotic birds and the spectacled bear. Visit a cocoa plantation on the way to port-town Atalaya, where you will board a motorised canoe to reach the Manu Learning Centre. After an hour long journey along the Amazonian river, you’ll reach the centre. Here, you can explore local walking tails with a guide and relax in the lodge, listening out for birdcalls and monkey chatter. Watching the sun set on the Amazon is an unforgettable highlight.
Animal Experiences: Rise and shine before sunrise to head up the river and watch amazing macaws, parrots and parakeets as the day breaks and they flock together into the sky. After breakfast, explore the forest and keep your eyes open for squirrel monkeys, humming birds and razor-billed curassows. The afternoon is free for you to spent as you please, either relaxing at the lodge or heading off with a guide to discover the 25km of different rainforest walking routes. In the evening, learn more about the Crees Foundation before embarking on a night hike to spot nocturnal species.
Cusco Bound: It’s time to head back to Cusco. Saying goodbye isn’t all sad, as the journey home as you climb up through the cloud forest to reach the Andes offers spectacular scenery. You’ll reach Cusco at around 7pm where you can continue your own journey through South America.
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