The Manu National Park covers an area of 20,000 sq km starting at an altitude of 4000m on the eastern slopes of the Andes north of Cusco, descending to remote virgin cloud forests containing some of the most diverse bird population on earth, and finally plunging down into lowland rainforests which are home to an astonishing variety of jungle flora and fauna.
Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977, the park’s remoteness and inaccessibility has helped it protect the huge tract of virgin jungle and its wildlife. As a result the Manu can boast an almost unimaginable variety of flora and fauna. It is home to 20,000 vascular plant types, more than 5000 flowering plants, 1200 species of butterfly, and an unknown quantity of insects. There are also 1000 species of birds – including hummingbirds, 7 species of macaw, parrots, toucans, hoatzins and tanagers – and 200 mammal species including jaguars, 13 species of monkey, giant otters, capybaras, ocelots, agoutis, tapirs, giant anteaters and armadillos. Reptiles – including black and white caimans, and river turtles – can also be found by the Manu River.
The reserve is best visited between June and November during the dry season.