South America’s Manu Park

White caiman, Manu Nat'l. Park, Peru

White caiman, Manu Nat’l. Park, Peru

As we are experiencing the Rio Summer Olympics, a deeper look into South America and one of the world’s most successful parks is appropriate.


Manu National Park in southern Peru is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.  It is on the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon, and protects over 4.5 million acres (2 mil. ha) of earth in a variety of habitats.  See map below.


Boarding the boats, Manu

Boarding the boats, Manu

It has been protected over the centuries largely due to its inaccessibility.


After several days on bus traversing the Andes Mountains, we arrived at the river and spent two additional days (via motorized canoe) to reach our Manu destination.


Our tent

Our tent

Once there, we spent our days in rustic conditions without electricity, running water, roads, or towns.  We slept under mosquito nets in platformed tents.


As it is the Amazon Rainforest, it rained every day; it was wet, humid, hot, and moldy.


Manu,-tapir-areaComfort on wildlife adventures, however, is not the focus.  It is the wildlife we honor, and the isolation we savor; making this one of the most fantastic experiences ever.


In Manu there are 15,000 species of plants, including 250 varieties of trees in a single hectare.  The extensive variety of fauna is unparalleled.


Cock-of-the-Rock (photo: B. Page)

Cock-of-the-Rock (photo: B. Page)

It boasts of 1,000 species of birds (more than the U.S. and Canada birds combined) or 10% of the world’s birds.


Mammals, of which there are a whopping 222 species, include:  monkeys, peccaries, armadillos, jaguar, puma, anteaters, tapir, giant otters, sloths.  Nearly 100 different species of reptiles, over 1,300 species of butterflies, and the list goes on.


Red howler monkeys, Manu

Red howler monkeys, Manu

More info here.


You can read previous posts about a few of our Manu adventures here:

The Amazon River

Exquisite Bird Sighting

The Real Macaw


Wolf spider, Manu (photo B. Page)

Wolf spider, Manu (photo B. Page)

The success is that there are still places left on earth here that are not completely altered by humans.


Wildlife have space and habitat, native tribal communities live true to their culture, and the diversity and abundance of flora and fauna contribute to a balanced global climate.




South America, and the world, has a lot to be proud of in Manu.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander unless otherwise noted


Manu Nat’l. Park. Courtesy



49 thoughts on “South America’s Manu Park

  1. Jet I appreciate your mention of “comfort is not the focus”. I feel as travelers we must always remember this is not our home and we must honor the people and wildlife who belong. Whenever I hear someone whine about this discomfort or how something is different than at home I cringe. A real pet peeve of mine.

    • I always know I’ll find comfort at home, so the joy comes in experiencing what other places have to offer. I know you have been to many lovely places in this world, Sue, and I am certain your comfort levels were challenged. And what a blast you and Dave have had! Many thanks for your continued support and friendship, Sue. And happy travels always!

    • When there are less facilities and amenities, and less people, it is certain there will be more wildlife. It’s a good trade-off for me, but it’s not for everyone. Thanks so much for your visits today, Kirt — they are much appreciated.

  2. You have been to some of the most amazing places. Since I don’t plan to visit them, I sure appreciate having you share them with your readers. They are always such fun and informative.

  3. Thanks for sharing your rustic adventure and introducing me to another fascinating place. It is difficult to imagine one place having that collection of plants, birds and mammals. I enjoyed your other posts on Manu and what a wonderful series that gives a great depiction of the conditions and beautiful discoveries.

    • I am really glad you were able to get the whole picture of Manu, ACI. It was a joy sharing the adventures with you, and this beautiful place in the world. Many thanks~~

    • You would not believe how many strange and wonderful creatures abound here, Gin. This bird was so elusive that we had to get up at 4am and trek into its mating grounds in the rainforest and wait for him to come along. He showed up one of the two days we came; made an incredible racket doing his mating dance, and then by day’s light he was gone and we never saw him again. But what a terrific hour it was!

  4. Comfort is not the focus– says so much about your passion for nature. Thank you, Jet for taking us along to the places where I won’t even know how and where to begin…

  5. This is an excellent & important article! Yes, there is a lot to happy & proud about in Manu. Still, I feel I must be diligent about signing international petitions to keep places like Manu from being bulldozed for commercial profit. Financial greed is insatiable whether it’s elephant tusks, trophy hunting, coral reef destruction, plastic destruction of our oceans and on. Thank you for celebrating all the beautiful life on earth! 😀

    • Keep signing those petitions, Resa. This park is one of the most pristine parks left on earth, and oil companies want to drill, individuals want to plunder and profit from it; destruction is precariously around the corner at all times. I write these posts to educate people and remind them how important our wild land and creatures are. Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoying the beauties.

  6. Never am I more grateful that I can sit back in comfort and read about YOUR experiences than when you share Amazon posts. Thanks once more.

  7. The cock-of-the-rock is a really bizarre looking bird. Although it’s the national bird of Peru, we weren’t fortunate enough to see one. It sounds as though you had quite an adventure, Jet. I’m not sure if I could manage without running water and electricity, so big kudos to you and Athena.

  8. It is wonderful that places like Manu N.P. still exist! The fauna sounds completely amazing, so many different species of birds and mammals! The Cock-of-the-Rock certainly is a special bird 🙂

    • It truly is so wonderful that we have Manu and all its glory on this earth. I’m happy you liked the cock-of-the-rock–crazy bird! Thanks so much for your comment, Tiny — always appreciated.

    • Hello pc! I hope your eyes are better now–what a delight to have you reading and enjoying the posts. I’m happy you enjoyed this trip to Manu. Thank you, as always, for your spirited visits.

  9. What a fantastic experience!I really enjoyed this,Jet.
    Two years ago we went to the Pantanal in Brazil and I just loved it.But it was definitely not as wild as this place that you describe here.

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