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Manu Reserve, Peru

Longmont, Colorado
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21 posts
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Manu Reserve, Peru

We are traveling to the Cusco/Puerto Maldonado area in mid-May. We've pretty much decided to go to Manu, but it appears that bookings have to be done with tour groups, not through the individual lodges. I also understand there is no private transportation so it sounds like you have to be part of a tour. We like to have less structure than organized tours generally have. Any assistance on how to book a more customized Manu trip for 8-10 days?

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134 posts
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1. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

I'm no expert, but as i've done my own research into this (i'm actually planning on Manu in mid-may also!) , it very much sounds like any of the tour providers will fully customize your experience, so long as you're willing to pay extra for this.

If you contact one of the Manu tour operators directly, you can find out exactly what that entails.

My understanding is also is that if instead of booking a "tour", you book multiple nights at the same lodge, you can customize each day's activities based on what you're interested in.

Here is a list of a few of Manu tour companies that i've found in my own searching:

InkaNatura - most highly recommended, probably the priciest


SAS Travel

Manu Expeditions


Amazon Trails Peru

If you're doing a custom tour, it's not an issue, but if you want to join a preset tour, be wary of all the different types of tours listed on websites, even though the company may have 20 different tours listed, those are merely the "possible" itineraries, it doesn't mean that one of those tour is necessarily scheduled for any given week or month - they end up offered only if enough people are interested (or people pay extra to go alone).

Please let me know if you end up finding anything good!

Chelmsford, United...
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2. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Pantiacolla provide a great service - I'm sure they could organise a custom tour for you. The owner is called Marianne and is really helpful and friendly.

Cusco, Peru
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594 posts
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3. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Due to the logistics of travelling around Manu, it is probably best to go with an organised tour. Many tours will travel overland from Cusco to the edge of the reserve, staying 1 or 2 nights before travelling further in. You will need land and river transport to get around and get the most out of the park. Many of the tour operators in Manu also have their own lodges. Here is a comprehensive list that might help you in our planning.


Alternatively, you might want to look at Tambopata Research Centre excursions with Rain Forest Expeditions. Although the lodge not in Manu, it is deep enough inside the jungle that you will get have a very authentic experience. The company can tailor a tour for you staying at Refugio Lodge en-route for a couple of nights. It is also a more economically priced that travelling to Manu.

San Jose, California
14 posts
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4. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

I will be visiting within Manu in August. If I remember correctly there are 3 main zones within the Manu region; Cultural Zone (open to anyone), Reserved Zone (open to researchers only w/authorized permit), and the National Park (strictly off limits unless with specially granted government permit). To travel into the Reserved Zone you are required to have a specialized guide or be part of a government licensed tour company.

Puerto Maldonado is technically nowhere these areas, so you should be fine.

I will be going with the Ecomanu Expedition company, which I've heard good things about and is very reasonably priced.

Barcelona, Spain
10 posts
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5. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Hello: I would recommend you go with Amazon Trails Peru, owner Abraham Huaman (www.amazontrailsperu.net), he will organize a great trip that includes the most important places in the National Park of Manu Reserved Zone, including the macaw clay lick and Tapir clay lick. Many travel agencies don't visit these important places to reduce costs, but if you are going to visit once in your life this beautiful place, is best to visit as much as possible and not to travel by boat all the time as do other agencies. And the best part is that you don't spend two days of return by the same route.

The only agencies that offer the macaw clay lick and Tapir Clay Lick are: InkaNatura, Pantiacolla and Amazon Trails Peru.

Think carefully before making your booking.


Longmont, Colorado
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21 posts
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6. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Thank you all very much. I thought I'd hit all the tour operators and I don't think any of you named the ones that have responded to me so far. We are really looking forward to our trip and will probably book something in the next 10 days.

Is 10 days too long for Manu? We don't think so as there is so much to see. If someone thinks otherwise please let me know. Lastly, are rubber boots generally available/provided or are boots something we need to get in Cusco before heading into Manu?


London, United...
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7. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Whatever you do dont go into Manu National Park with a company called MANU ADVENTURES.

They provide appalling service which is dangerous, and completely careless of the tourist/holiday maker/ traveller.

My 3 friends and I booked a 2 night visit to Manu with them in April 2013 at the cost of 330 English Pounds each for lodging and travel. Unfortunately one friend broke her ankle on the Inka Trail and her partner stayed behind with her. We asked Manu Adventures if we could postpone our trip for a few days in the circumstances but we were told unless we went the following day we would lose all our money, which had to be paid up front. So the two of us set off in a mini van at 7 am the following day. We had a very friendly guide who was charming, but totally ignorant of the history, inhabitants and wildlife of the park, which was frustrating as we could overhear some of the other guides speaking about these which sounded really interesting. It was impossible to give an honest review as the guide stood over us when we completed the feedback form.

At 15.00 we arrived at the scene of a landslide where the road had completely collapsed, and it was impossible for a pedestrian to pass. There were two JCBs digging and shovelling earth in the pouring rain, and several miserable looking locals each side of the chasm eyeing the hole gloomily. The tour operators knew very well that the road had collapsed BUT STILL FORCED US TO GO ON THE TRIP. We were then locked in the van for 8 hours while the driver and the guide went off to give advice and suggestions to those digging the earth and the various bystanders. It was difficult being locked in the van because we were desperate for a wee. Luckily we were tired after walking the inka trail the day before so we slept some of the time.

We were then forced to leave the mini van and walk along the edge of a precipice carrying our overnight bag and any other luggage. We then squeezed through two long pitch black tunnels, rubbing up against the dripping wet filthy walls, past the massive lorries that were parked in them. We walked for about a mile then got into another mini van, again with no safety belts. We drove through the night skidding on the muddy wet road, but luckily not slipping over the edge although it felt like a near thing. We reached a rundown dusty lodge. We had some trouble rousing the resident caretaker. We were fed on a rather greasy omelette and chips then taken for a night walk. We saw a stick insect and a thumb nail sized greenish frog as we brushed past wet foliage, peering around with the guides only torch. Luckily there was loads of insect life in our bedroom. Cold orangey brown water provided the showers.

That was the end of Day One. A VERY different experience from that on the brochure.

Day Two was supposed to start with a viewing of birds and monkeys. Our guide resorted to naming the vegetation - as that was not able to move - and occasionally hazarding a guess at the name of a distant bird, and then checking in the three bird books he had bought along with him. After walking up the road for 5 minutes we turned round and went back to the 'lodge' for breakfast.

Another mini bus with no seat belts took us to the next town. Thank goodness for the driver who knew about monkeys and spotted some en route. Lovely to see them in the distance swinging in the trees.

Next stop a dismal rainy town where we hung around getting wet for an hour, left to our own devices while we waited to change driver and van. Again, no seat belts. We were then taken to the river where we caught a boat to another lodge. The boat was locally made and lovely. The lodge was again run down and bleak with a large chunk of the garden dropping into the river. We went on a walk to do the zip wire slide through the tree canopy. Unfortunately we had to wait until 15.00 with nothing to do, as the guide who know how to operate the zip wire had not arrived. Eventually, when that guide did not show our guide said not to worry he knew how it worked. He produced a rusty bit of kit and some climbing harnesses with the straps rusted to the buckles. They straps were quite frayed. Luckily my sons have taken me rock climbing and I know what the kit should look like. Funnily enough we decided not to do the trip wire on this rubbish equipment. We agreed to go and look at the viewing platform and the wildlife. We walked for 3 hours and saw nothing but trees. There is no wildlife here. Its an old sugar plantation with undergrowth and trees and lots and lots of mud.

We climbed up the wooden viewing platform, but as we went up two of the steps snapped completely. Pleased we had decided against the zip wires.

AS we returned a massive storm started with thunder and lightening. Very dramatic. We were disconcerted by the guides approach which was to rush headlong back the way we had come, letting us fend for ourselves, stumbling after him as best we could in the pitch dark. His courtesy and helpfulness had vanished, and unfortunately so had his sense of direction. We ended up on the wrong route. I slipped in the deep mud and broke my glasses.

Thus ended the second day - no wild life, no zip wire, no nothing, However the staff at the lodge were getting quite excited because a big group of french tourists were coming in by plane- not via the non existant road and perilous walk. Shame they had not been so pleased to see us the day before, in fact they were no where to be seen when we finally pitched up there.

The final day was supposed to be a trip to see parrots at the salt lick but this was cancelled because of the weather.

So a very miserable expensive trip, given that Manu Adventures kept the payment from all 4 of us and only 2 went. The guide was totally untrained and ignorant. The only adventure was nearly toppling into a chasm where the road had fallen in. We decided to go into the office and explain that we had not had the trip that we had paid for. The 10 hours locked in a stationary vehicle could have easily been avoided by postponing the trip slightly, for example.

Unbelievably Manu Adventures did not offer us a penny compensation.

So....be warned

Esquel, Distrito...
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3 posts
11 reviews
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8. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Nos habían hablado del Parque Manu, ese lugar aún inexplorado del Amazonas, resguardado de los daños ambientales y la intervención humana. Afortunadamente contratamos a Manu Nature Tours para que nos guiara. Nos buscaron en Cuzco con una trafic y viajamos todo el día recorriendo pequeñas poblaciones, adentrándonos en las montañas. Para nada rígidos, nuestro guía y nuestro chofer paraban cada vez que lo deseamos, nos contaban historias sobre la gente, los lugares, la naturaleza…Luego nos internamos en el río Madre de Dios, en un bote, llevando con nosotros los alimentos que necesitaríamos para toda la semana. Nos fuimos adentrando cada vez más en lo salvaje, cuidados por nuestro gruía que resultó un gran conocedor de la flora y la fauna. Solo tengo palabras de reconocimiento por la simpleza y calidez de ellos, por los excelentes lugares donde dormimos, por los ratos alegres, por ser abiertos y atentos a cada uno de nuestros deseos. Los recomiendo de corazón, realmente no es fácil conseguir servicios de esta calidad y tan personalizados.

Arequipa, Peru
1 post
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9. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Dicen que Manu es unos de los destinos mas caros en la amazonia Peruana , ustedes saben cuanto puede llegar a costar un tour por 6d/5n en la reserva de Manu, es que mi familia y yo estamos muy interesados en conocer este magnifico destino y queríamos saber algunos precios y cual es la mejor agencia que puede organizar estos tours así como algunos recomendaciones de los viajes , Ha por ultimo serian tan amables de indicarme si tiene Internet los albergues .



Esquel, Distrito...
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3 posts
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10. Re: Manu Reserve, Peru

Yo contraté con Manu Nature Tour. Ellos tienen dos albergues, uno en la selva nubosa y otro bien adentro. Son los únicos que tienen albergue dentro de la selva espesa, no existe otro. Ellos nos llevaron desde Cuzco, todo el dia de viaje, luego nos embarcaron en un bote y atravesamos dos ríos. Fuimos parando cada vez que nosotros lo deseamos, son re flexibles. Y nos alojamos en sus albergues. No era barato pero aceptamos una promoción que nos ofrecieron. Aquí te paso su mail para que les consultes, diles que te recomendó Analía, de Argentina, pues tal vez consigas un precio especial como me hicieron a mi.


Te aseguro que son excelentes. El guía es muy capo, conoce muchísimo de flora y fauna.

Es imposible entrar a esta zona del Amazonas sin un guia autorizado. Se que hay otras empresas pero la única que tiene alojamiento en el interior de la selva inexplorada es ésta pues es un alojamiento construindo antes de que se declarara reserva.

Cualquier duda me preguntas,