Manu National Park
Manu National Park was established in 1977 and in recognition of its uniqueness was designated a ''World Heritage Site” ten years later. Manu is internationally acclaimed as one of the most bio-diverse areas on earth.
Approximately half the area of Switzerland, the Manu Biosphere is a complete ecosystem with protected watershed embracing Andean mountain cloud forest, tropical lowland forest and the rivers Alto Madre de Dios and Manu drainage systems. The biosphere itself is subdivided into a National Park and two adjacent zones, one for tourism and the other for cultural subsistence. It is home to over 1000 species of birds, 15,000 species of plants, over 200 species of mammals, an untold number of insects and within its heart remain yet unconnected peoples.
Manu retains healthy populations of jaguar, tapir, anteater, black caiman, and giant otter and among the 13 species of monkey we find the unique pigmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world, and the nocturnal night monkey. Because of Manu's low human population and their continued use of traditional hunting techniques, the animals in the park show little fear of man and are more readily approachable than in many other rainforest locations. Manu, therefore, offers unparalleled animal watching opportunities.
Wildlife aside, however, the journey into the park itself is amazingly spectacular and not to be missed either. Access is normally by road and the two day trip from Cusco to the entrance of the Manu Reserved Zone carries you over the mountains to an elevation of 4000 m, past pre-Inca ruins and down through the cloud forest on the eastern side of the Andes into lush lowland rainforest. Roads remain largely unpaved and wind their way precariously past cascading water, deep gorges and precipices. Manu is truly a complete experience.