Our first stop in Peru after leaving Bolivia is Cuzco. From here we went straight to the Amazon jungle. The first day of our Manu jungle experience was mostly driving with a minibus through the jungle. It took us nine hours to get from Cuzco to Salvacion, Manu. We went from 3200 meters above sea level to 500 and the climate changed with us. The road to get to Salvacion was small, steep and through waterfalls and trees. We were happy to finally arrive! Our host Oliver picked us up and brought us to his house. He explained us everything we were going to do in the jungle, because we did the 8d/7n work and travel tour. This meant we could explore the jungle for a very long time, and for a very low price. In exchange, we did some satisfactory work like planting and caring for trees, making new trails and other fun stuff to do in the jungle. This all, made our Manu jungle experience incredible!
First days in Manu jungle
Oliver and his crew waited for our arrival to have dinner with us. After dinner and dropping our stuff at our tent we went on our first hike in the dark. At night, the jungle is completely different then at daytime, so we didn’t want to miss out on all the nocturnal animals. We walked a bit on a small trail with our flashlights trying to find animals. We couldn’t yet, but our guide Alberto could find everything there was to see with ease. From crickets, to (large) spiders and even a huge scorpionspider, he found it for us. After a small walk, we got on a wooden raft and crossed a pitch black lake to find even more animals. We weren’t very lucky this evening, but we did find a huge poisonous frog, bats and a snake. We got back to Olivers house after an hour because the next day we would go walking at 06:00 am.
The next day we got up early to walk the same trail as the day before but this time in daylight. It was as if we were in a different jungle! We spotted dozens species of birds, and Alberto could name every single one of them. When we got back, breakfast was ready with delicious pancakes 😀
Oliver had another surprise for us that morning, there was a baby jaguar brought to him which was found by a driver. It looked just like a small kitten, but when you came close he showed his teeth and you knew it wasn’t! 😉 But, after a lot of patience Anne-Sietske could pet it very carefully.
We stayed another day on this side of the river and enjoyed ourselves with Olivers animals. He has 2 dogs, 3 cats and 10 funny parrots. We tried to play a dice game, but one of the parrots wanted to play as well and took our dice everytime we rolled it.
At night, we did the same trail as the day before. This time we were more lucky, because we saw caimans and capybaras. It was incredible and they were very close to our raft.
The Otorongo Blanco Campsite
On day three we went to the campsite on the other side of the river Madre Dios. This is even further in the Manu jungle and completely solitary. We had to walk for an hour through the jungle and cross the river to get there. We arrived around lunch and after lunch a 5 hour walk was scheduled. Our destination was a great viewing point, 2 hours from the campsite.
We took a little longer, because the trail was very slippery due to the rain. While going up, we also saw five different types of monkeys. (Black spider monkey, Brown cappucine monkey, Saddleback tamarin, Red howler monkey and Common woolly monkey) We enjoyed the incredible view and got back down. On the way back, the sun set and it was dark again, so this time it took us three hours to get back, but we did see 2 Kinkajous. When we got back to the camp, we had dinner and went straight to bed, because it had been an exhausting day.
On day four we did a little bit of work. We planted some trees around the campsite. While doing that, we saw our sixth type of monkey, the Dusky titi monkey. The sun was shining, so after the planting we went swimming in the river. It was actually walking upstream and floating downstream, because the current was very heavy. But it was really refreshing.
At night, we did another night walk, because we wanted to spot the rare night monkey. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot it yet, but we did see various other animals. We saw colored birds sleeping, a spider the size of our heads, crickets, termites, leaf cutter ants, and yellow frogs.
Fishing in the river
Another type of work we had to do was fishing. This wasn’t done with a rod, but with nothing more than a fishing net. We went to a side river of the Madre Dios to find ourselves some fish. While going there, we saw some Brown cappucine monkeys and Squirrel monkeys from very close distance. We got to the river and thought we just had to stand and wait but this wasn’t the case. We had to walk with an enormous net to the other side and got to our necks in the water. Eventually, after an hour we caught one whole fish. But the experience was awesome and that fish tasted great!
At night we did another small trekking and finally spotted the night monkey. Alberto was trying to find that for us from day one but now we saw it. This means our total different type of monkeys spotted was now eight and even Oliver was amazed by that!
On day six we got up early to hike through the jungle again, but we weren’t very lucky. We only saw some birds. After lunch we planted 30 plants close to the campsite. They were called Miraflor and many birds are attracted to this plant. We could go swimming again but the sun was gone and so was the temperature.
On day seven we went fishing again, but this time with our bare hands. We found a good spot with no current and tried to catch some small fish. We were better at it than we thought and eventually we got back with 20 small fishes. They tasted great when fried. This was our last activity here on the campsite. We got in early, because the next day we had to walk back through the jungle to Salvacion, Manu where our minibus back to Cusco departed at 11.00 am.
Our Manu jungle experience was very incredible and we saw and did so many. Special thanks to Oliver and Alberto from Manu Peru Amazon who made this experience possible!