Manu National Park: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide


Discover everything you need to know about Manu National Park, including its history, guides, and a wealth of information on the diverse activities and incredible wildlife that await you there.

Situated within reach of Cusco and Puerto Maldonado, Manu National Park is a sanctuary for immersing oneself in the wonders of nature. This remote and protected park offers a pristine slice of the Peruvian Amazon, providing an unparalleled experience. Read our comprehensive guide to gain essential knowledge and travel tips for your Manu adventure.

If you’re considering a trip to this remarkable region of Peru, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to assist you in planning your itinerary, ensuring that your dream trip becomes a reality. From coordinating flights and bus transfers to arranging accommodations, our expert guides are ready to help.


Encompassing elevations ranging from 150 meters to 4,200 meters, Manu National Park showcases an astonishing array of climates and an abundance of plant and animal species. So vast is its biodiversity that scientists continue to discover previously unknown flora and fauna, even after decades of intensive research. Accessible from both Cusco and Puerto Maldonado, Manu, along with its handful of lodges, offers a unique opportunity to explore a wonderland of habitats, from cloud forests to lowland rainforests, unlike any other place in Peru or the world.

Manu Today

Today, Manu National Park stands as one of the most awe-inspiring and biodiverse regions on the planet. Here are some of its notable milestones and recent achievements:

1968: Designated as a national forest area. 1973: Officially recognized as a national park following advocacy from Peruvian conservationists and international supporters. 1987: Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, acknowledged for its natural heritage.

Fascinating Facts about Manu National Park

  • The park encompasses the entire Manu River basin.
  • It spans the eastern Andes mountains, encompassing cloud forests, and the Amazon basin, with its tropical lowland rainforests.
  • It is home to approximately 2,000 to 5,000 plant species, including 250 tree species.
  • The park boasts over 1,000 vertebrate species, including 200 mammal species, 850 bird species, 68 reptile species, and 77 amphibian species.
  • More than 1,300 species of butterflies have been recorded within the park.
  • Manu is home to 13 primate species.
  • Rare and remarkable species found in the park include the giant otter, giant armadillo, jaguars, pumas, and the Andean mountain cat.
  • Pre-Inca and Inca ruins, as well as petroglyphs, indicate a long history of indigenous settlements in the area.
  • Small communities of the Matsigenga Amazonian tribal group can be found along the Manu River and its main tributaries.

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Manu National Park, where nature’s wonders await at every turn.


Manu National Park’s diverse topography gives rise to multiple microclimates. Lower elevation areas tend to be hotter, with daytime temperatures averaging around 35°C (95°F) and nighttime temperatures around 25°C (77°F). In the higher elevation regions of Manu, temperatures are generally cooler. Expect warm days and cool nights.

After heavy rainfall, temperatures can drop significantly, reaching as low as 10°C (50°F). Additionally, a weather phenomenon known as “surazo” or “friaje” occurs when polar winds from Patagonia sweep up the mountains and into the rainforest, causing temperatures to plummet to around 8°C (46°F).

Keep in mind that Manu is a rainforest, and showers can occur at any time of the year. The official rainy season is from December to March, but May to August is relatively drier, albeit hotter.

When packing, it’s advisable to bring light and quick-drying clothes, preferably made of synthetic fabrics, as the high humidity prevents cotton from drying properly.

How to Get to Manu

There are three main routes to reach Manu:

  1. From Cusco: Travel by car to Paucartambo, passing through the Kosnipata Valley and continuing to the Manu River.
  2. From Puerto Maldonado: Take a car ride to Santa Rosa Village (2.5 hours), cross the Inambari River to Puerto Carlos, and then head to Boca Colorado (45 minutes). From there, travel up the Madre de Dios River.
  3. To Boca Manu: Charter flights are available and land at a small airstrip. From there, river transport is required to reach the lodge.

Entry Fees

The following are the current entry fees for specific sectors of Manu National Park:

  • Sector Acjanaco: S/. 10 (subject to change)
  • Manu River lower basin: S/. 150 (subject to change)

Essential Items for an Amazon Tour

  1. Waterproof bags or ziplock bags: Due to the intense humidity, it’s important to keep your gear and important documents dry.
  2. Long sleeve shirts and long pants: These will help keep insects off your skin. Look for breathable and quick-drying options.
  3. Insect repellent: Protect yourself from mosquitos and other biting insects.
  4. Cash: There are no ATMs in the rainforest, so bring small bills to pay for drinks, snacks, and gratuities.
  5. Headlamp or flashlight: Many lodges have limited or no lighting after dark, so it’s essential to have a light source.
  6. Comfortable closed shoes: Sticky, slippery, and muddy rainforest trails make sandals and heels impractical.
  7. Camera gear: Don’t forget extra batteries, lenses, and memory cards to capture the amazing wildlife and scenery.
  8. Water-resistant binoculars: Enhance your wildlife viewing experience with a good pair of binoculars.
  9. Daypack: Carry water, a poncho, and other essentials during daytime excursions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I expect at an Amazon lodge in Manu?

In Manu, many lodges and tour operators follow ecotourism standards, aiming to minimize their carbon footprint. Lodging is basic but comfortable, often providing mosquito nets. The architectural style reflects that of local communities, using locally available materials. Food is simple but of good quality, with cooks utilizing locally grown fruits and vegetables. If you have dietary restrictions, such as being vegetarian, notify the lodge in advance, as they can usually accommodate specific diets. Keep in mind that the price of the tour package can impact the amenities available, with higher-priced packages often offering extras like hot showers and electricity. Check with the tour operator to clarify what is included in your package.

Which is better – Manu, Tambopata, or Iquitos?

The choice between Manu, Tambopata, and Iquitos depends on your available time and specific interests. For shorter itineraries, Tambopata is known for its accessible wildlife viewing opportunities. Iquitos offers a unique experience of cruising the Amazon River. Manu is ideal for travelers with more time who are willing to trade basic accommodations for exceptional birdlife, clay licks, and diverse habitats. Consider your preferences and the duration of your trip when deciding which destination suits you best.

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