Rainforest Lodges near Manu National Park
- Manu Cloud Forest Lodge – See Manu Nature Tours, www.manuperu.com. Just 6 hours from Cuzco sits this lodge in the cloud forest near a 400-foot waterfall. The lodge is quite spectacular and comfortable and the setting is one of the most scenic in all of the country. There is accommodation for 16-20 people and rooms have private hot water baths and verandas overlooking a small creek. Also a sauna.
- Cock of the Rock Lodge – See Inkanatura, www.tropicalnaturetravel.com/travel/lodges/cock_of_the_rock.html. The lodge sits at 1600 meters high in the Manu cloud forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes. A 110-mile, 8-hour drive from Cusco. Mosquito free. Chance to see the cock-of-the-rock, the spectacled bear, the wooly monkey, and other unique wildlife. The ten private bungalows have private baths and balconies.
- Manu Wildlife Center – www.manuwildlifecenter.com, www.inkanatura.com, www.manuexpeditions.com. This lodge has 22 bungalows with private baths and hot water showers. A 90-minute dugout canoe ride from the Boca Manu airstrip, near the confluence of the Manu and Alto Madre de Dios River. The area has one of the highest levels of diversity in the area due to the unusually high number of microhabitats that surround it, however, it is not actually within the formal boundaries of the national park. Manu Expeditions and the Peru Verde Conservation Group own it jointly. There are 39 kms of trails around the lodge. Near the Blanquillo clay lick.
- Pantiacolla Lodge – See Pantiacolla Tours, www.pantiacolla.com. Set on a bluff overlooking the Alto Madre de Dios with 1200 meters of mountains behind it; meaning few mosquitoes! Nine hundred hectares of land with many miles of trails. Accommodates Spanish students in conjunction with Amauta Spanish school in Cusco. Also organized to care for visiting children and families. Rooms are fairly reasonably priced, but do not include transportation or tours.
- Amazonia Lodge – Cusco: 84-23-1370, Matara 334, www.amazonialodge.com. This well-known birding site was founded in 1980 on a former tea plantation. A 65-foot viewing platform gives access to the forest canopy. Very attractive lodge and grounds, rooms are new, clean and comfortable. Shared bathrooms are modern with hot water.
The following two options are the only permanent accommodations within the Parque Nacional Manu itself:
- Manu Lodge – See Manu Nature tours, www.manuperu.com. The only lodge with services inside the park itself. This basic lodge sits on a small oxbow lake about one km from the Rio Manu and has 14 double rooms with shared cold-water baths. There are 20 km of trails leading from the lodge.
- Cocha Salvador Tented Camp – See Manu Expeditions, www.manuexpeditions.com. The safari style campsite is just 500 meters from the largest oxbow lake in Manu. It has raised supports with walk in tents, cots, and shared modern bathrooms. The lake is home to a family of giant river otters. Several more primitive campsites are available nearby on sandy beaches (during the dry season)
Tour Operators for Manu National Park
- Manu Nature Tours – Cusco: Avenida Pardo 1046, 252-721, 252-521, www.manuperu.com. Books tours to Manu Cloud Forest Lodge and Manu Lodge.
- Inkanatura – Cuzco: Plateros 361, 51-173; Lima: Manuel Bañon 461 (San Isidro), 440-2022, fax 422-9225, www.inkanatura.com. Books tours to many lodges such as Sandoval Lake Lodge, Cock of the Rock Lodge, and the Manu and Heath Wildlife Centers. Also run tours to other destinations across Peru.
- Pantiacolla Tours – Cusco: Plateros 360, 238-323, www.pantiacolla.com. This company has ecological tours to Manu´s Reserved Zone. Each tour combines stays in the reserved zone with nights in the cloud forest, trips to the clay lick, and the Pantiacolla lodge and includes all transportation costs from Cusco. Also has a program with Manu’s Yine Indians. 3-day tour mixes the tourists and the Yine Indians in activities such as paddling dug-out canoes, traditional body-painting, pottery workshops, bow-and-arrow-shooting, and others. The Yine explain their way of life, knowledge of the forest and plants, traditional medicines, stories, and so on.
- Manu Expeditions – Cusco: Pardo 895, 226-671, www.manuexpeditions.com. This is one of the best-known companies for Manu. They run the Manu Wildlife Center and the Cocha Salvador Safari Camp. British owner Barry Walker is a renowned ornithologist. They offer 4, 6, and 9-day trips to Manu with combination camping and stays at lodges, as well as horse based treks in the Andes, and specialized bird watching tours. Manu Ecological Adventures – Cusco: Plateros 356, 261-640, www.manuadventures.com. Five to eight day trips to the reserve zone, shaman ceremonies, bird watching, and specialized trips.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.