Day 1 : Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge
The overland journey begins with an early departure from the highland city of Cusco. Today’s destination is the cloud forest region where the Andes fall away to the Amazon basin.
You first visit a mountain wetland habitat with migrant and local waterfowl, before crossing two mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley.
Finally, you follow a highway on its plunge through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges.
You'll take leisurely stops to see villages, a hilltop of chullpas (pre-Inca burial chambers), and the ridgetop of Ajanaco, which marks the final high point where the Andes begin their swoop into the Amazon basin.
After a picnic lunch near here, you descend through the startling and rapid environmental transformations characteristic of the tropical Andes, passing from grassland and stunted trees through the elfin forest.
Day 2 : Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge
Rising early, you have a second chance to view the Cock-of-the-Rock display, and then scout for birds, and perhaps Brown Capuchin or Woolly monkeys along the nearby road.
You may also take a secluded nature walk on a short trail loop to the river and back.
After breakfast, you continue the drive, as mountains give way to low rolling hills and farmland.
At Patria, you visit a coca plantation, legitimately grown for the Peruvian coca leaf market.
At midday, you reach Atalaya, a tiny port where the Piñipiñi River meets the Alto Madre de Dios. During normal river conditions, you arrive at the lodge in time for exploration and wildlife viewing.
Day 3 : Amazonia Lodge or Pantiacolla Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center
Enjoy a short morning hike on the trail lodge before leaving for the Manu Wildlife Center.
You'll pass the mouth of the Manu River, the gateway to the national park. Visit Boca Manu, a village downriver. After a boat journey of about 6 hours, you'll arrive at the center, one of the top ten wildlife lodges in the world!.
After an orientation and arrival reception, you'll head to the private bungalow for some rest and to cool down from the heat. Later, you will discover the lowland rainforest, learning about the different plants and animals.
Day 4 : Manu Wildlife Center: the Macaw Clay lick project, Tapir Clay lick
Wake up early today and enjoy a delicious breakfast. Take a short boat ride downstream, then take a walk through the forest to the Macaw Lick project. You'll have a spectacular spot to take photos as the macaws fly into the eroded clay banks of the river.
Snap some amazing photos of the macaws as they scrape clay from the surface.
Continue walking and exploring the trails surrounding the lodge before you return for lunch. After, take some time to explore and get to know the rainforest.
Day 5 : Manu Wildlife Center
Today you set out early to visit an old oxbow lake full of water lilies and sunken logs. As you circle the lake on our catamaran you might encounter the resident Giant Otter family on a fishing expedition, or troops of monkeys crashing noisily through the trees.
After lunch at the lodge, join freewheeling expeditions in search of further wildlife encounters, or take one of the lodge’s many trails on private and personal excursions to commune with the spirits of the rainforest.
This evening, from the late afternoon until after dinner, there will be an opportunity to search for caiman and other nocturnal life along the riverbank by boat (If the level of river allows it). Overnight Manu Wildlife Center.
Day 6 : Manu Wildlife Center to Puerto Maldonado
You leave the lodge very early for the 2 1/2 -hour return boat trip downstream to the Colorado Village.
Breakfast will be served on the boat while you enjoying early morning wildlife activity as we go - of course, this is a perfect time to take advantage of valuable early morning wildlife activity along the river.
In addition, this journey allows you to see several lowland native settlements and gold miners digging and panning gold along the banks of the Madre de Dios River. You will stop in the far-west type gold-mining town of Colorado to start the overland 45-minute journey to Puerto Carlos from where you will cross the Inambari River for a 15-minute boat trip to Santa Rosa.
Finally, a van or bus will drive approximately 2 1/2 hours to the Puerto Maldonado Airport for your flight to Lima or Cusco.