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Manu Biosphere info

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Frequent Asked Questions –  Manu

1. Do I have to be fit for the Manu Trip? 
On the Manu tour you spend some time travelling by bus and on the boat – depending on the tour (e.g. on the National Park Tour you spend more time sitting in the boat) We do walks that usually do not exceed more then 3 to 4 hours in one. You only need to bring a day pack on the walks. Night walks are optional.
Due to the humidity and heat some people may feel a bit weak but there is always a ‘siesta’ at midday and the possibility to stay at the lodge instead of participating in a walk.
A rainforest tour is not a comfortable tour, but if you bring appropriate gear (see packing list) you will have an incomparable experience.

2. How to decide between Manu Biosphere and the Manu National Park tour?
The Manu Biosphere Tour visits 2 oxbow lakes (to observe Giant Otters), the Mammal Salt Lick at Maquisapayoj and the Macaw Clay Lick at Blanquillo private Reserve, both situated 30 km. (19 miles) south of Boca Manu. The Macaw Clay Lick is situated outside the National Park (Reserved Zone), thus you need more time for travelling if you want to go into the
National Park AND visit the Macaw Clay Lick.

On the Manu Biosphere Tour you have more time for walking on the trails and the tour has one day (day 5) to choose which animals you would like to observe (again), which is useful especially in case of bad weather conditions.

On the National Park Tour you spend more time on the boat – travelling up on the Manu River and coming back 2 days later – and visit 2 oxbow lakes inside the Park to observe Giant Otters. On both tours you have the same options to see animals, and to see the same species.
On the National Park Tour you have more options to see animals on the riverbanks (while travelling by boat) and good chances to see giant otters at Salvador lake (but you do need some luck for the jaguar!), and on the Manu Biosphere Tour we are more flexible, we have more time for walks on the trails and have more options to see a bigger variety of animals.

3. Is there Malaria and Leishmaniasis in Manu? Which vaccinations do I need? 
Malaria: The Malaria risk in Manu is extremely low (less than 0.1 %).
We recommend to bring insect repellent and protect yourself with long sleeves instead of taking heavy malaria prophylaxis (please check for the side effects of these medicaments!!) which are not very secure either. If you want you can bring a ´stand by´ medicine in case you get Malaria (which can be detected by blood analysis), but you can also get this medication here. In the south peruvian rainforest there is only the type of Malaria named ´Plasmodium vivax` which is completely curable.

Yellow Fever: It is recommended to have a Yellow Fever vaccination for Manu. If you plan to visit the Reserved Zone of Manu you have to have the Yellow Fever vaccination because it is controlled at Limonal guard station.

Leishmaniasis: The risk to get Leishmaniasis is also very low, the best form of protection is to wear long sleeves.

Tetanus: You should have a Tetanus vaccination for the rainforest and for Peru in general.

As to rabies: We spend all nights under mosquito nets therefore the risk to be bitten by a bat is very low.

4. What do you need for the booking? 
Please read the tour program before you book a tour, if you have any questions we will be happy to answer them. We need your full name, address, age, profession, passport number and nationality to make a reservation. To secure your booking we require a deposit/down payment of 60% of the price per person.

The deposit can be made to our bank account Holland, USA, Peru or via Western Union and Pay Pal. We then confirm reception of the deposit and your tour booking. The balance is due at our office in Cusco, latest 2 day before your tour start. You can pay in cash (Soles, US$ or Euros)

We recommend to check credit card conditions (limits for the ATMs) with your bank before coming to Peru. There are ATM´s at Banco de la Nacion where you can withdraw about 2500 Soles ( US$ 900) per day or more.

5. Are there flights from Manu to Cusco? For the shorter tours why is the return via Colorado?
Unfortunately flights from/to Boca Manu are not operating at the moment due to the lack of an apropriate aircraft for this route and the small airstrip.
Therefore, for the shorter tour options to the Manu lowland we have opted for a return option that allows us to visit the highlights of Manu’s lowland with the same amount of days as with the former itineraries with flight return.
In 2011 the new Transoceanic Highway was completed, this is the road we use for the shorter lowland tour options (5 or 6 days). We travel to the lowland of Manu through the cloud forest, and after our excursions, on the last day of the tour we take the boat downriver on Rio Madre de Dios from Maquisapayoj Lodge towards Colorado, a small gold mining town.

From here, together with our guide we take a car or pickup for aprox. 1 hour to get to the village of Pto. Carlos, where we cross Rio Inambari (10 min.). On the other side our private minibus is waiting for you to take you to the Tranoceanic Highway via Mazuko, travelling on paved road up over the Andes – passing by the famous Ausangate Mountain – to get back
to Cusco in the evening. It is a long day but we can get back from the remote Manu lowland to Cusco in one day.
If you have more time it is definitely more recommendable to do a 7 or 8 days tour, returning upriver towards Atalaya with some stops on the way and taking our minibus back through the cloud forest. This return journey does give you time for some other activities on the way back and thus you have more opportunities to see more animals.

Transport costs (boat & bus) for the return trip via Colorado and Mazuko are much higher than the ‘traditional’ return via Atalaya, this is why prices for these tour options are higher than for the 8 days tour. In case you are short in time AND you plan to return to Lima right after your rainforest tour you may consider to ask us for the option to return via Colorado and then be transferred from Pto. Carlos to Maldonado town.
From here it is possible to catch a commercial flight to Lima in the afternoon. An early start is required, but like this you can be in Lima on the last day of our tour (day 5 or 6).

Please contact us for further details about this option.

6. What is the maximum group size? 
On Manu tours the maximum group size is 10 people per guide. That means if there are more than 10 participants on a tour we take one more guide to divide the group into two while walking on the trails. This secures that everybody can hear what the guide says and the group is not too big to see animals etc.

7. What about binoculars? What are the temperatures in Manu?
You don’t need a sleeping bag for our standard Manu tours. All lodges provide sheets and blankets as well as mosquito nets. There are also blankets at the observation platform at the mammal salt lick. Usually it is very warm in the lowland of Manu, between 22 and 37 °C
during the day. In the months from may to july there can be cold fronts in the lowland forest, and temperatures may go down as far as 10 °C, which feels colder due to the humidity in the rainforest. Binoculars are essential for a Manu tour: to spot and have a close view of the animals. Binoculars can be rented at our office in Cusco. Just let us know.

If you have any further questions you are welcome to e-mail us!