possibly the only accessible piece of virgin
rainforest left in the world, Manu is located in a
beautiful and entirely unspoiled corner of south eastern Peru. The area
of the park encompasses parts of the Andean department of Cusco and the
jungle department of Madre de Dios jungle. Manu protects 18,811 sq km of
territory rich in flora and fauna species in a variety of habitats
including high Andes, cloud forests, and lowland tropical rain forests.
natural paradise is officially recognized by UNESCO as a world
heritage site. In 1977 they designated Manu as a
World Biosphere Reserve because it contains the best
existing example of bio-diversity in protected areas of rain forest, as
well as endemic areas of cloud forest. Manu is internationally acclaimed
as one of the most biodiverse areas on earth.
majority of forests in the world have been altered by humans.
Fortunately, Manu has remained intact and
untouched by civilization.
It is therefore possible to
observe a variety of animals in their natural habitats, including:
Giant Otters, Black Caiman, the majestic Jaguar, the strange Spectacled
Bear, the Tapir, the Ocelot, 13 species of monkey, and an estimated one
thousand species of birds.
also contains 10% of the world's vascular plant
species, including several species of figs and palms, as
well as countless species of medicinal plants that scientists are
currently cataloguing. A single hectare of forest in Manu can have up to
220 species of trees, while a hectare of temperate forest in Europe or
North America may only have 20 tree species.
from the wildlife, the journey into the park itself is spectacular.
Access to the entrance of the Manu Reserved Zone is normally by road
from Cusco, a 2 day trip carrying you over the Andes at 4000m, past Inca
ruins and down through cloud forest on the eastern side of the Andes
into lush lowland rainforest. Roads remain largely unpaved and wind
their way along precarious tracks cut into the mountain side and
overlooking deep gorges. The trip is an
adventure in itself.
1. Core Zone or
Manu National Park (15,328 sq km).This region is strictly preserved in
its natural state, where a number of indigenous tribes reside. Only
government sponsored biologists and anthropologists may visit with
permits from the Ministry of Agriculture.
2. Experimental or
Reserved Zone (2,570 sq km).This area is set aside for controlled
scientific research and ecotourism. Entry to the reserved zone is
accessible by permit only. Entry is strictly controlled and visitors
must visit the area with an authorized guide. The only accommodation in
the Reserve Zone is in the comfortable (and expensive) Manu Lodge or in
3. Cultural Zone
(914 sq km). This zone is set aside for two nomadic native groups, where
locals still employ their traditional way of life. The cultural zone is
accessible to anyone and several companies offer lodge based tours
within this zone.