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The only areas that can be reached by road are Puerto Maldonado and the buffer zone of Manu National Park. The windy road to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco is a 10-hour bus ride that only a backpacker on a very tight budget would take. Several tour companies offer slower, but incredible, overland trips from Cusco to Manu, including nine hours over rugged terrain via Paucartambo. The road plunges spectacularly from the páramo (highlands) into the cloud forests, eventually reaching the Alto Madre de Dios River in Atalaya, where travelers board boats to Manu lodges.