"Take part in conservation, explore Cusco, discover the rainforest and meet the locals – this Peruvian tour offers it all."
The Manu Rainforest is home to a huge and unusual range of wildlife, from spectacled bears to dancing birds, all of which you’ll encounter on this amazing trip. But this week-long tour offers more than just your standard jungle exploration. You’ll also have the chance to spend three days volunteering with research and conservation projects, as well as working alongside locals on community-based initiatives. More than just an exciting holiday, this is an opportunity to really make a positive impact on the amazing Amazon rainforest.
After a tour of vibrant Cusco, you’ll go on a journey through the mountains to reach the cloud forest. Once you’re there, wind down the Amazonian river on a motorized canoe to reach the Manu learning centre. Depending on your interests, there are different research projects that might appeal: adrenaline junkies can track wild jaguars, whilst gentler souls can set fruit-traps for butterfly observation. As the jungle is home to over 13 different monkeys, as well as many other creatures like humming birds and curassows, you’re sure to come across some critters during your project. Of course it’s not all hard work, as you can spend your evenings watching the sunset over the Amazon, listening out to the rustling of jungle around 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.
Cusco’s Culture: Your guide will meet you at the airport or your hotel. Take the chance to explore the markets in Cusco, soaking up the atmosphere and picking up any rainforest essentials you may have forgotten.
Journey to the Cloud Forest: Travelling across the Andes offers stunning views of the sacred valley and surrounding snow capped mountains. There’s 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.
Exploring the Forest: This day is jam-packed with animal sightings in the forest. Look out 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. Next up, it’s a canoe ride along the Amazonian river to reach the Manu Learning Centre. After lunch, there are plenty of trails to explore, or simply chill out in the lodge listening to the sounds of the jungle.
The next two days give you the chance to get stuck in with conservation and research projects, such as tracking mammals like jaguars, pumas, tapir and peccary using camera and footprint traps. You’ll be heading off early in the morning – 5am – to survey the areas and record data. There’s the chance to see Blue Headed Macaws as you monitor exotic birds or get involved with a butterfly project.
Getting to Know the Locals: After encountering the wildlife, now it’s time to get involved with the local community, as you join in with their projects. Learn about new crops, help implement sustainable agricultural techniques or work on a reforestation project.
Home Time: Hop back on the canoe to start your journey back to Cusco, complete with stunning scenery as you ascend from the cloud forest into the Andes for the journey home.
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- All Accommodation
- Internal transportation
- International flights
- Meals other than those mentioned
- Personal expenses
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