In addition to the programs described here, we can arrange other programs for private groups with special interests or different time schedules.
The maximum size of the groups is 10 people per guide. If we have between 11 and 13 people we send two guides, but the group travels as one in the same bus and boat. During hikes or other excursions, the group will be divided into two small groups, each with their own guide. If there are more than 13 people we split into two independent groups - both with their own boats, guides, cooks and program. The only time they spend together is on the first day and a part of the second, while travelling by bus.
The Ministry of Agriculture between the 15th January and 31st March every year. However during this time tours into the Cultural Zone are continued as normal. Also exists the possibility to enter the Reserved Zone, spending the nights in the new Matchiguenka Lodge.
The day before departure there will be a briefing at 18:00 hrs, at the Pantiacolla office. In case you cannot be present for the briefing, please let us know, to make sure you receive all necessary information in another way.
Rainforest expeditions are not comfortable tours, but with the following EQUIPMENT you will get the best out of the forest and yourself:
We own a 4-wheel drive mini van for a maximum of 4 passengers and a bus for a maximum of 18 passengers. Both vehicles have been adapted for the unpaved Manu road.
Cooking and dishes are done by the cook and his helper. In principal the boatmen and the guide will carry your luggage to and from the boat to your accommodation. Often people like to assist them, preferring to carry their own bags - which is gratefully accepted but no obligation at all.
For most of the nights you will be at Pantiacolla's own 'green' lodges or camping huts. These give you the comfort of a private single, double or triple room, while at the same time your environmental impact will be as low as possible by sharing showers and toilets and a limited use of electricity. So, though you will feel the heat, humidity and biting insects, every night you will encounter clean and functional showers and toilets and a very comfortable bed! The following is a short description of each of the lodges we use:
First night and fourth night of the 5-day tour: Pantiacolla's Posada San Pedro is a small eco-lodge with double and triple rooms with comfortable beds and mosquito netting. There are shared hot water showers and toilets and a dining area.
Second & third night of the 5 & 9-day tour: at Pantiacolla Lodge, a beautiful eco-lodge with double rooms with beds and mosquito nets and shared showers and toilets. It has an extensive tail system, taking you through 8 different habitats. The lodge has a bird list of 600 species!
Second night 7-day tour and fourth night 9-day tour: Pantiacolla's Yine Lodge is another small eco-lodge with double and triple rooms. This lodge is part of Pantiacolla's ecotouristic Yine Project with Manu's Yine indians.
Third and fourth night 7-day and fifth and sixth night 9-day tour: Our campsite near Lake Salvador consists of little rustic huts (built according to the park's requirements), raised from the forest floor, with complete beds with mosquito netting. There are shared showers and toilets and there is a dining area.
Fifth and sixth night 7-day and seventh and eighth night 9-day tour: at Tambo Blanquillo, near the clay lick for macaws. This is a long platform with divisions to make double rooms, there are shared hot water showers and toilets and a dining area. This is the only lodge of the tour that is not owned by Pantiacolla.
At the beginning of the trip you will receive a set of sheets to be used on all overnights. It has been designed for easy use and by taking one personal set for the whole tour, you will reduce the contaminating use of detergents to a minimum. Blankets and pillows are present in the rooms of the lodges and camping huts.
Concerning the back-up facilities, all our overnight places have a radio communication set at the site. All our personnel have been trained in first-aid, and a first-aid kit is available during the tour. At the following places are first aid posts or hospitals:
Pilcopata (2nd day) has a small hospital
Itahuanía (2nd and 3rd day) has a first aid post
Boca Manu (2nd & 5th 7-day tour, 4th & 7th 9-day tour) has a first aid post
Yes the boats have a roof to protect you against the sun. However, if you are sitting on a moving boat, the rain always comes in on one side, and therefore we provide you with big plastic sheets to cover yourself without taking away your view of the rainforest.
Just for the first day you should bring your own water. For the rest of the trip we provide mineral water that we bring in from Cusco.
Our food is not typical Peruvian food, nor typical tourist food. It is food that lasts in the heat and humidity of the tropical rainforest. For breakfasts there are omelettes, scrambled eggs, pancakes etc. The lunches in general consist of cold salads, since it is usually hot at that time of the day. The dinners feature soups (great Peruvian soups!), a main course with meat for the first part of the tour and beans or lentils at the end part (since meat cannot be kept cool forever without electricity) and desserts of fresh fruits or puddings etc. You can also ask for a special diet, such as vegetarian, saltless or anything else that you need or prefer. For drinking we have mineral water as much as you need, plus lemonades, coffee, tea, chocolate and herbal teas. There are places where one can buy beers or soft drinks, but you have to pay for them yourself.
Yes, of course we remove all waste from the campsite. Biodegradable garbage is decomposed in the ground at a specially designed area near Pantiacolla Lodge. Non-biodegradable waste is returned to Cusco.
No, your complete bedding will be provided for all overnights.
No, you do not have to bring your own mosquito nets; wherever they are needed, we will provide them.
The dry season is a good season to see the birds. The most likely reason for them to come together and eat the clay is because at certain times of the year there are hardly any fruits available for them, just seeds. Seeds in general have a toxic layer, exactly to prevent animals eating them. If the macaws eat them anyway, they have a build up of poison in their stomach. To neutralize the acids that the poison produces in their stomachs, they eat the clay. In the rainy season up until the beginning of the dry season (May) there are many fruits. So the macaws eat fewer seeds and more non-toxic fruits and feel less necessity to eat the clay. Usually it means there are fewer macaws present in the beginning of the dry season. In the middle of the dry season there may be about 100 to 150 macaws visiting the clay lick in one morning, whereas there may only be 10 to 50 at the end of the rainy season/beginning of the dry season.
The first night you spend in the cloud forest, at 1600 m., where temperatures are about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). In Manu's lowland forest, the temperature at night is normally around 24 degrees Celsius (75F) and during the day about 30 degrees Celsius (86F). However, cold winds from Patagonia may reach Manu and the temperature may lower to about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). These "friajes" are more common during the southern hemisphere's wintertime (between April and the end of August).
There is not a lot of walking in the sense of going far. All walking is done slowly. This is because most of what you find in a rainforest is vegetation and to be able to pick out the animals you have to take your time to look around, and listen as well. For the 7-day tour, there are the following hikes: The first day of the tour has an afternoon walk of about two hours. The second day is mostly spent looking for birds and animals on the Alto Madre de Dios River, with less walking than the other days. The third and fourth days feature a short walk to Lake Salvador, and various different walks in the Reserved Zone and on trails around the accommodation. The 5th & 6th day you hike maybe one or two hours in the Blanquillo area. The seventh day there is no walking at all. For the 9-day tour, there will be two days extra between the 1st and the 2nd day as described above for the 7-day tour. Pantiacolla Lodge has an exceptionally good trail system, and one can go on 1 to 6-hour hikes, according to your desires.
Though it only is a small risk, it is possible you get infected with malaria in Manu, and we recommend you take a prophylaxis when going on one of our tours. The yellow fever situation is about the same. Moreover, yellow fever is almost always lethal therefore it is required that one receives the yellow fever vaccination at least ten days before entering Manu.
For further information or booking inquiries please contact Sacred Earth Travel.