We leave Cusco early in the morning in one of our vehicles. Approximately midmorning we visit the interesting tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as “Chullpas”. We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2,000 and 3,500 m.a.s.l. and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our “Orquídeas de San Pedro Lodge”.
Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru’s national bird from a platform. The male birds are a vibrant reddish orange, and as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called Lek. The males display their crest, showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males.
After breakfast we continue in our vehicle down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward the town of Pilcopata (*1) and then to Atalaya Port. here we board our covered, outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 15 minutes toward our private reserve of “Erika” a comfortable / rustic lodge owned also by Manu Adventures where we will hike through the interesting trail system that this transitional area between high and low jungle offers.
Overnight at thelodge.
*1 Free Option: Here in Pilcopata town we will make the final settings for a 1½ hour river rafting (class I and II) trip down the Koshñipata River where we will have the opportunity for a dip and of course enjoy the spectacular view of the Koñeq Canyon.
*2 New!!! Option: We walk through the trail that leads us to the observation platform located 15 feet above the mammal clay lick itself where we wait for the lumbering peccaries to arrive, we observe and photograph them in action. Important: The observation depends on luck on availability and weather conditions.
Erika Lodge is located in a transition zone between high and low jungle (600 m.a.s.l. to 1,150 m.a.s.l), encompassing different habitats. This altitude range explains the high diversity of wildlife found around this lodge, so immediately after breakfast, we will start walking near the riverbanks, during the hike our guide will talk about insects, medicinal plants, trees, reptiles, mammals, etc. This afternoon we board our boat, and after five minutes, we will walk for another 30 minutes approximately though a very nice trail to observe and talk about the interesting flora fond such as sensitive plants, heliconias, fruit plantations, etc. until we arrive to Machuwasi Lake where with the help of a telescope we can observe great egrets, tucanets, carpenters, Keskadees, cardinals, etc. Short night walk to observe American bullfrogs, horned frogs, tree frogs and an incredible variety of insects.
*3 Free Option: Canopy Zip Down: At Erika Lodge, our guests traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables zip lines), as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below. Expert guides assist you in this exciting journey through the different layers of the rain forests and explain what’s going on around you from the time you leave the ground, until you rappel back down to the forest floor.
This day we will get up very early to board our boat again for only five minutes down river to our Parrot clay Lick called “Collpa” on the riverbanks, where many species of parrots such as the blue headed parrot, white-eyed parakeet, feed for mineral and salt supplements to their diet of seeds and fruits. Immediately we continue to Atalaya Port where the bus will drive us back to Cusco city, arriving late in the evening.