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