A UNESCO world biosphere reserve and world heritage site. 20,000 square kms, 1,881,000 hectares. For much of the park, however, access is limited to a few Indian tribes that choose to remain isolated with nearly no outside contact. Only a few researchers are given permission to enter the park. As for the tourist industry, only a few thousand visitors are allowed into the park annually. The multiple use zone is where a few lodges and permanent establishments have been allowed. The park is one of the best known throughout the world for its diverse wildlife. The altitude ranges from 4300 to 200 meters above sea level, greatly contributing to the bio-diversity of the area. Over 800 species of birds, 200 species of mammals, and many others. Few areas of the world can compare. More than 30 indigenous communities live in Manu, however, you are not likely to encounter them. Areas just outside the park, such as the land held by the Manu Wildlife Center, also offer excellent wildlife watching opportunities. Sometimes better than Manu itself. The entrance fee to the Reserved Zone is $45 per person. Manu National Park Office – Bastidas 310, Cuzco. 240-898, firstname.lastname@example.org. They can issue a permit to the reserved zone ($42).
Getting to Manu National Park: Most tour companies use a combination of flying to/from the Boca Manu airstrip and driving. Although, some may also travel downriver to Puerto Maldonado.
By Bus: Most lodges in the Manu area are accessible by road from Cuzco. They will likely arrange private transport, however, you may be able to save some money using local transport. Depending on where you are headed, travel time can be anywhere between 5-24 hours and depends greatly on the season. Breakdowns are frequent, so even though it may save you a few bucks, it is best to arrange travel in Cuzco through a tour company. Shintuya is the closest town to the park and will take nearly a full 24 day to reach. There is basic accommodation there.
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.