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Manu was established as national park in 1973. With 800+ bird species, 5000 plant varieties, 1000 vertebrate species , 13 types of primates; covering an area of 17000 Sq Km; it is probably the most bio-diverse place in our planet.
An arduous bus journey from Cusco took us to the reserve area and then we entered the mysterious cloud forest. Humidity and altitude in the cloud forest makes it an ideal place for a variety of flora and fauna.
I spotted one pair of Cock on Rocks , Peruvian national bird.
Slowly we descended and reached to PAITITI LODGE. Next day we again took the bus to reach to a small village Atalaya to start our journey along the Madre de Dios River in motor boat. It is 755 Km long river running through Bolivia and Peru. Large number of bird species including herons, egrets, kingfishers were seen on our way to Boca Manu.
In the evening we reached to a lodge near Blanquillo. Next morning we walked to a hiding place near Macaw clay lick before dawn. At the break of dawn hundreds of parrots came to lick soil. There are two different theories to explain this behavior. One theory is – birds survives on seeds during dry season (due to lack of fruits). These seeds have some poisonous effect on their body which they neutralizes by licking soil. Other theory is that they come to lick soil to get necessary mineral for their body.
After few hours, Macaws came. Hundreds of colorful Macaws descended on nearby branches of trees and then slowly came down to the “lick”. Macaws are sociable ,monogamous, they live with a single partner for their entire life.
Our boat returned to Boca Manu latter in the afternoon. Cynthia and Carlos played football with locals. I was simply walking around the village.
Next day we went further into Manu . We encountered Matsiguenka people; one of the indigenous native groups in Amazon. We traveled to OTORONGO LAKE, one of the major oxbow lakes in the area. A campsite near the lake was used to set up the camp for the night. Latter in the afternoon we walked around trails and went to watch giant Otter.
Next day our group visited another oxbow lake called Salvador, which is half an hour boat trip from Otorongo. We observed a family giant otters fishing and playing, black
caimans and many different rare bird life like the Hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoatzin). Here in Manu the animals have never suffered hunting pressure from man. In the afternoon we returned to our campsite in Otorongo.
Next three days are spent on tracing back the same route from Otorongo Lake to Boca Manu to Pillcopata. At Pillcopata we bade goodbye to locals and took bus back to civilization . We reached Cusco in the evening.
Our Amazon team. ( From Left – Casey Bruke, Cynthia Pong, Annie Repdlie, Fleix Durenberger, Amit Sinha, Carlos)
How did I do it? I used a reputed agency from Cusco . It was a 8 day / 7 Night trip to Manu National Park with Macaw Lick. Cost was round $1300 in 2014. Expediciones Vilca and Pantiacolla are two very reputed agencies operate in Manu region.