Considered one of the largest and richest natural reserves in the world, which allows you to make intimate contact with nature in its most primitive and wild state and declared World Natural Heritage by UNESCO.
The park is located in the provinces of Manu and Paucartambo (departments of Madre de Dios and Cusco, respectively), encompassing the eastern slopes of the Andes in the Peruvian Amazon. Intangible area for the protection of flora and fauna. Its territories cover from the Andean puna and cloud forest in the department of Cusco to the low jungle in the department of Madre de Dios, crossed by the Manu river, Alto Madre de Dios and its tributaries.
Some researchers believe that in the virgin areas of this reserve is the Paititi or lost city of the Incas.
Of tropical climate, the rainy season goes from December to March, although outside it the rains are not rare. Between the months of May to August there are temperatures above 30 °c, being the most recommended time for the visit. The normal climate in the area varies between 26 ° C to 32 ° C, on rainy days it falls between 13 ° C to 18 ° C.
In the Manu Biosphere Reserve there are testimonies of ancient cultures such as the petroglyphs of Pusharo, a set of engravings that have not yet been able to explain their origin and meaning, which were first reported by Father Vicente de Cenitagoya in 1921 and the Shinkibenia River, affluent of the Palotoa River, is located on the right bank; Other petroglyphs are found in the Q’eros river, on the large “Xinkiori” rock, legendary for the huachipaeris. In the same way there is knowledge of an archaeological site in the Mameria area, located in the headwaters of the Piñi Piñi river and the Alto Tono.
The area of Manu has a history marked by the arrival of foreign people, from the times of the Inca empire in which the Inca Pachacútec and Tupac Yupanqui annexed this area to their empire, until the arrival of the Spaniards that shortly after the invasion of Cuzco founded the town of Paucartambo, place where they established haciendas and encomiendas and where also King Carlos III of Spain ordered the construction of a bridge to facilitate the trade of the products of the area; This was how this valley began to supply Cuzco with products such as coca, sugar, cotton, chili, wood and others.
In March 1567, the Spaniard Juan Álvarez Maldonado, in charge of the province of Mojos, undertook a 37-day trip to make the first expedition from Paucartambo to the current town of Pillcopata. In May of the same year, Manuel de Escobar mounted a second expedition that followed the course of the Madre de Dios River until the Manu River.
Main tourist attractions
The PNM protects one of the most important areas of the planet in terms of the mega diversity of biological species. Its great extension crosses frigid punas (grasslands) that surpass the 4,000 m.a.s.l; wild forested mountains that give rise to a multitude of small gorges and valleys; cloud forests of high forest and finally the Amazon plain. This magnificent and unique scenario includes a wide and complex hydrographic system and guarantees the presence of a diversity of ecosystems little intervention by man.
In these circumstances, the biological diversity that houses the PNM is manifested in its full potential in a unique landscape on the planet. The tropical forests of the Manu have allowed the ecological and evolutionary processes to be carried out almost without the presence of man, however, in the area there is also an enormous cultural wealth, represented by the current indigenous populations at different levels of contact with the outside, and an archaeological heritage not yet revealed in all its magnitude.
With a park the size of Manu, with its different ecosystems, like the lowland rainforest, tropical mountain forest and the vegetation of the Puna (grasslands). Lowland forests occur in alluvial plains and interfluvial hills. Those forests in the hills can experience the seasonal water supply, taking into account the monthly variation of rainfall, while the forests in the alluvial plains are prone to be seasonally flooded. Mountain forests experience less variation in water supply and are exposed to lower temperatures. Manu’s flora is still little known and floristic inventories should be considered preliminary.
Manu is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. In the Manu it is possible to find all the variety of ecological floors that exist in the Amazon, this makes it one of the most appreciated protected areas. In only one hectare, up to 250 species of trees have been found. In the Manu Biosphere Reserve, 222 species of mammals and 1005 of birds have been registered, as well as the world record for diversity of amphibian species (155) and reptiles (132) for a protected area.
Of the total of 1005 species of birds, 500 birds only around the lowland forests at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station, the species of birds found in the Manu represent 25% of all known birds in South America and 10% of all species in the world and it is thought that it can more than 1,000 species of birds in total.
Three Areas of Endemic Birds are represented in the park, the lowlands of southeastern Peru, the home of 15 species of restricted range, the Eastern Andes of Peru, with 11 species of restricted range, and the Western Andes of Peru with 30 species of restricted distribution, making of all the zone one of the best hot spots in Peru and South America for birdwatching.
Photo gallery Manu