Manu Tour Advice

Old Nov 29th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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Manu Tour Advice

Hi everyone, after returning from my second trip to Manu recently, I was giving tips and advice to a friend for her upcoming trip to Manu. She was thrilled with the advice and I realized that I had a lot of information that others might find useful when planning their trips. I have a unique perspective having been to Manu twice in one year at different times of the year with two different tour groups and also having the gained some additional insight from a new friend & veteran guide who has worked for several different companies.

My trips:
In November of 2007 I took my first trip to Peru and to Manu. It was my first solo trip (anywhere) and I had an amazing vacation. I hiked the Inca Trail and visited the Manu Reserve Zone. Along the way to Manu I was enchanted by a village called Paucartambo. Our guides told us of an annual festival held there at the winter solstice where dance troops come from all around and the village is packed with people and colorfully costumed dancers celebrating day and night.
Photos: http://gallery.me.com/soccerose#100015
http://gallery.me.com/soccerose#100029

After the trip I corresponded for several months with my Manu guide. When I decided to return to Peru to go to the Festival Virgin del Carmen in Paucartambo (that I had heard of during my first trip) and also take another trip to Manu with my guide friend, he helped me select the tour from a few that he worked for and once again I had an amazing vacation. I have become good friends with my guide, Rivelino, and he has given me interesting insight into the tours and groups as he has worked for many of them. Rive has been guiding for over 6 years, grew up in the rainforest, and kind of specializes in birding.
Photos: http://gallery.me.com/soccerose#100202

Specific Manu details of my trips:

November 2007 (early part of 'rainy season') - I went with Manu Ecological Adventures (http://www.manuadventures.com) on the 7 day tour to the reserved zone. Drive in / fly home from Boca Manu. On this trip we rafted to Erika Lodge and I did the zip lines. We went to the parrot's clay lick and were in the reserved zone for about two days. This tour takes you further into the Amazon and into the Reserve Zone, but because of this you are packing and moving almost every day.

Tour Itinerary Pros: Visited the Reserve Zone. Zip line was fun.
Tour Itinerary Cons: Parrots clay lick wasnít that great. Constantly on the move.

July 2008 (dry season) - I went with Amazon Trails Peru (http://www.amazontrailsperu.com) on the 8 day tour - drive in / drive out. On this trip we saw the macaw's clay lick (it was raining the morning we were to do the parrot's clay lick, so did not go) and spent 3 nights in the mammals clay lick. This tour does not take you all the way into the the reserved zone, only to the Boca Manu area, but you are able to stay in one lodge (Makisapayoj) for 4 nights and have multiple opportunities to see the different clay licks and lakes.

Tour Itinerary pros: Macaws clay lick was awesome! Saw Tapirs in the mammals clay lick. The best thing about this tour is that you stay in one place for several nights and have multiple opportunities to see the macaws, otters, or tapirs. If the weather is bad one morning when you are scheduled to see the macaws, you can try again the next morning. We went to the mammals clay lick 3 nights and saw tapirs on 2 of them! (Rive was exhausted after that, the guide usually stays up all night watching for the tapirs, while the rest of us sleep Ė then he wakes you up if they make a showing. But he was a trooper and took us every opportunity we had.)
The 42 meter platform (Camungo tower) had amazing views.

Tour Itinerary cons: Didnít get into the Reserved Zone.

Note: Both tour operators offer different tours; Manu Adventures offers shorter tours that don't go all the way to the reserved zone and Amazon Trails offers tours to the reserved zone. Manu Adventures now is advertising a mammalís clay lick, but I donít know what mammals you will see there since it was not on the tour when I went.

I would say the Manu Ecological Adventures is one of the less expensive, bargain tour companies and Amazon Trails is in the mid to high-range category. Manu Expeditions & Inca Natura are higher-end companies, but they are also the most expensive.


Differences in tour groups Ė what do you get for your money?
One thing I find myself asking when shopping around for anything is ďwhat am I getting for the extra money?Ē Here is what I have found to be the main differences between the cheaper tours and the more expensive ones. Itís usually true that you get what you pay for, and that holds true here too. The decision for me is "do I need/want the more expensive features"? Hopefully this will help some of you decide how much to spend based on your desires and needs.

Bus Transportation Ė One of the biggest differences is the road transportation. Manu Ecological Adventures has terrible cars. I saw first hand that their vehicles are crap. On my trip with them our bus was ďservicedĒ while we were in Paucartambo. Jacked up and they did who knows what to it. On my second trip (with Amazon Trails), we saw a stranded bus, it was one of theirs. I saw another post about them where the poster had had car issues. I would not use them again, you ride on some pretty precarious roads and I just would not feel safe after having seen all the bus problems.
Amazon Trails uses well maintained buses as do the other high end companies.

Boat transportation - Itís not much different in the low end (Adventures) and mid-range (Amazon trails) Ė they are locally made boats with wooden bench seats with cushions. The boatmen are all local natives and know the river well. With the higher end tours, like Manu Expeditions, they have faster boats with captainís chairs. I saw them pass us a couple times on both tours. You are on the river for a lot of your trip, so if you have back problems or such maybe this is a consideration Ė to me the local boats were fine and adequate

Air transportation - Everyone uses the same plane (I believe it is plane, singular). After waiting for the plane in basically a hut, our luggage brought out to the airstrip in a wheelbarrow, and all communications by means of shouting into a CB-type radio Ė I was worried about what I would be flying in. But I was quite pleased with the new airplane that we were flown on and the very professional pilots. The co-pilot looked about 14 though. Kidding, he did look really young though! Weather affects everyone. No matter what group, you canít fly if the weather is bad (either in Manu or Cusco).

The difference in air comes with the fact that it is a chartered plane Ė and will not fly if they donít have a full flight. They need 12. The high end Manu Expeditions charters the whole flight, so they will fly regardless. I don't know if any other of the higher end companies charter the plane. On my second tour, the group flying back had to wait an extra day for a full flight. On the positive side, they got an extra free day on their tour.

Accommodations - Amazon Trails definitely had nicer digs. Each room had a bathroom. Manu Adventures had shared shower/bathrooms. I really donít mind roughing it but hereís the problem with that Ė do you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night? I do. My first night in the forest I sat awake having to pee so bad, but could not bring myself to venture out of my room, into the pitch black, to the bathroom. Itís really not far from the room, but I just couldnít do it. I lay in bed miserable until there was a little morning light. Of course, by the end of my second trip, when we camped on the beach near a local village, I got up in the middle of the night, walked by myself down the road along the shore to use a bush. No problem. Still, it was REALLY nice having your own bathroom. Overall everything was cleaner too.

Once you get into the Reserved Zone, all the accommodations are pretty much the same. No bathrooms in rooms, no hot water.

Oh and then there was getting trapped in the shower at Erica Lodge (Manu Adventures). I was taking my shower in the evening and I pushed the wooden door shut Ė it shut tightly. When I went to leave I realized there was no door knob! And you had to PULL the door. It was flush with the wall, nothing to pull on! I tried desperately to hoist myself over the high wall, but just couldnít do it. I had visions of spending the night in the shower stall. Finally one of the workers came for a shower and I was able to call to him for help. He kicked the door open for me. What an experience!

I believe that as you go up in price, you get even better accommodations. I donít know what extras you would get, you would want to check out photos. Hot water (though that is usually Ďto the first 5 customersí) and electricity are probably the only extras worth considering.

One small touch that I thought also made a big difference was the fact that Amazon Trails provided a towel On my Manu Adventures tour, even my high tech camping towel just stayed damp due to the humidity and by the 3rd or 4th day it was smelling gross like mildew and just was not dry. I survived of course, but Amazon Trails provided a clean, dry towel in the room, and on about our 3rd day in Makisapayoj (just as it was kind of starting to feel damp and smell), they gave us a fresh, dry, clean towel. That was a joy.

Food Ė The food wasnít fantastic with either tour company for me. Neither was it terrible. I donít eat any meat except fish. With Manu Adventures I got a whole avocado instead of the meat several times. One night with Amazon Trails I got rice and potatoes with gravy as my meal. With Amazon Trails we had some great spreads the first couple days and it seemed like the fruits and veggies got used up. The first breakfast was this glorious spread of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits. But we didnít get that after that. My Manu Adventures cook made a lot of Chinese style dishes that were a little too rich for my tastes, but others seemed to enjoy.

Wildlife The chance to see large mammals (ie: jaguars) is slim when you are out walking in the forest, and if you happen to see them from the boat (ie: we saw capybarra on both tours) they are quite distant. More chances for the jaguars in the Reserve Zone. You will see monkeys no matter what tour you take. If you love macaws, Iíd say the macawís clay lick is a definite must! I have never experienced anything quite like that.
Macawís clay lick: http://gallery.me.com/soccerose#1000...&bgcolor=black
The parrotís clay lick doesnít compare. You are too far away and only small parrots are there. Parrots are about 20-30 cm. There are both parrots & macaws at the macawís clay lick and you are on an observation platform where you get a great view and opportunity to take lots of photos. Not only are you closer, but a macaw is almost a meter tall so they are easily viewed through your camera zoom.
The tapirís clay lick was the other wonderful experience. Tough to do Ė 1 hour hiking to the colpa, then you sit for hours without making a sound and maybe you see one. When we went on our last day, we had planned to hike back early and not stay there over night because we had an early departure for flights. But our blind friend showed up at 10pm and didn't leave till midnight. We then had to hike an hour through the forest back to camp at midnight! Since we had not planned on staying that late, we had not arranged for dinner and hadn't eaten. Our cooks got up at 1am and pulled together food that they had saved for us. 6am came really early the next day. Nonetheless, I am so glad I did it!
Video of our blind tapir: http://gallery.me.com/soccerose#100209

We saw lots of caiman on my first trip in the reserve zone, only a few on the second trip. I donít know if this was due to entering the Reserve Zone, or more likely because that trip was during rainy season and the river was high and it was cooler. I think all the tours go to the same ďCock of the rockĒ viewing platform.

So to me, the difference in companies, when it comes to seeing wildlife, is this: having multiple chances (mentioned many times), access to clay licks, and the guides (see below). Believe me, you will be in amazement when a good guide suddenly stops the boat and brings you to the shore to see monkeys, or a Harpy Eagle that they somehow spotted as you were cruising along. You would never see most of the good stuff without the guides.

Guides Ė I, of course, thought I had the best guide! Yeah, heís my friend but I am amazed at his ability to identify a bird by sound or flight, spot a toucan at the top of some tree, or rattle off the English, Latin, and often even the German name of any bird or animal we see, as well as migratory and feeding habits, etc.. The guides really do make a difference.

Needless to say, the cheaper companies pay the guides less and therefore get new and less knowledgeable guides. We had an assistant guide on the Amazon Trails tour who was ďtrainingí. He had done a lot of guiding on the Inca Trail and was trying to move to the rainforest. He knew a lot of Peruvian history, but very, very, little about wildlife. The difference between him and Rive was painfully obvious. A lot of the boatmen are kind of aspiring guides, so often they spot animals when you are on the river too. You might be able to ask for a specific guide or years experience when you reserve, consider this if you choose a cheaper company. Go online and look for names of good (and bad) guides in reviews. Or just ask for Rivelino Personally, I donít think the skills you want in a guide are easily learned on the job. I think there are two groups of guides that to me seem the best. First the natives, these guides grew up in the forest and already know how to spot and locate animals. The probably hunted them for food when they were younger. As guides they learn the taxonomy. The other group is biologists/scientists. There are many guides that come from universities around the world and stay and guide. They know the taxonomy and learn how to spot and locate the animals. Of course English skills are also important. I think your guide should have at least 5 years experience. Most of the reviews I have read about bad experiences are due to a lousy guide. I know it is common for birders to ask specifically for a birding guide so I would think you could ask for a specific guide based on their website (all the websites have bioís of their regular guides). Couldnít hurt to ask.

Spotting Scopes Ė Manu Adventures had a mediocre spotting scope at Erica Lodge that is used when you go to the parrots clay lick. They donít take it out when you are walking in the forest or beyond Erica Lodge. Amazon Trails owns several scopes and all the guides take them. No matter what tour you use, you should ask if the guide will have a telescope. They really add to the experience because it far better than any binoculars you might have. Rive had his own a couple years ago, but it was stolen by a band of Bolivian thieves (no joke). They were actually later caught, but of course his telescope was long gone. Heís saving up to replace it (a decent one that will hold up to the humidity is more than a monthís salary so itís a big deal) and then he can then have it no matter what tour group he guides with. So if you get a good guide, even on a less expensive tour, he/she might have their own scope. Ask.

Payment Ė Interestingly, Manu Ecological Adventures took credit cards, Amazon Trails Peru did not. I paid cash when I got there and hadnít put a deposit down, so Iím not sure how they take their deposits. A lot of the tour agencies apparently do not take credit cards due to the fees. Make sure you know the exchange rate. I caught Amazon Trails rounding the rate to their advantage. I have seen various posts about the integrity of the companies and trying to rip you off. Bottom line, they are all out to make money, period. Look out for yourself.

Recommendations:
Reserve zone- is it worth it? This is a tough question for me to answer. I am glad I did it. I really don't know that the forest or river was that dramatically different - I think we did see more wildlife on the river and in the forest. But you have to do the mammalís clay lick and the macaw's clay lick to really see the animals. Amazon Trails offers a reserved zone tour that gives you both, so that could be a good way to go. But it would have to be an 8 or 9 day tour. To me it was just amazing to know I was in the reserved zone far, far, from civilization.

Itinerary. Make sure you have enough time. If you have limited time, fly out (or even fly in too). Especially if you are going during the rainy season, make sure you have more than one opportunity to see the clay licks. The big advantage of going to Makisapayoj and staying for 4 nights as opposed to constantly moving lodge to lodge, is that you have multiple chances to see the clay licks (colpas in Spanish). Our first night at the mammals clay lick we did not see the tapir. two nights later we returned and saw a deer and a tapir. The following night we went again and saw two tapirs - the second was the big old blind guy who stayed for 2 hours!

Drive back or fly back - I will say that if you do the Amazon Trails tour, flying home is a nice option. The one thing you miss is the hot springs. For me they were amazing and one of the highlights of my trip, but I have never been in hot springs. It was like nothing else to be sitting in the hot springs with the forest surrounding you. If you have other opportunities to do hot springs, it would probably be better to fly home. The boat ride / drive "home" to Cusco is really long!

Oh, and if you do the hot springs, don't be stupid like I was and not put shoes and long pants back on before enjoying your breakfast on the beach. My feet and legs were devoured by those stupid little black flies and the itching afterwards was almost unbearable. After I had done so good the entire trip to stay covered up and unbitten, they got me the last day!

Clothing Ė spray your clothes with premitherin. Wear long sleeves and long pants whenever you go out side. One of my fellow tourists didnít wear her long sleeve shirt when we went to sit at the store in Boca Manu. It was only for about a half hour and on the river shores, not in the forest. By the time she got to our lodge it looked like she had the chicken pox. Her arms were covered in bites. And you donít realize those buggers are biting you.

Time of year Ė August is the best time to see the macaws. Between December and March is the rainy season. If itís raining, you will just sit in your room, animals are hiding from the rain too. Rive says March is terrible; they call it the month of the dead because it rains so much. If you are going during the rainy season, you really should consider an Amazon Trails type of tour where you will have multiple opportunities to see the clay licks or lakes. Also, do a longer tour for the same reason.

Binoculars Ė I read all the posts before I left on what the numbers on a pair of binoculars meant, but still didnít figure out what I needed for the rainforest. You will want: water resistant (water proof is good, but water resistant will be fine), at least 42 diameter lens (ie: 7x42 or 8x42). This will affect light and field of view (you can search on posts or internet for this type of detail Ė Iím certainly not an expert). What I can say is that for a Manu trip, when you spot a bird or monkey in a tree, you need to be able to quickly bring your binoculars to your eyes and find it in that tree. You might have one crooked branch in a sea of identical trees as a reference point. Field of view is important. The little buggers move fast. If you donít have a large field of view, itís really hard to find what you just spotted quickly before they run off. If you are trying them out, what that means is when you look through them, you see a really big circle. You obviously want some magnification, but the more magnification, the smaller the field of view. To test them, look for something on the wall and then see how quickly you can locate it with the binoculars. Iím still trying to figure out how much magnification I (personally) need, I just got a new pair and they are 8x42. While I would like a stronger magnification, the higher magnifications become difficult to hold steady and you need a larger lens to get your field of view (=$$). If your guide has a scope, you have the chance to see things through that Ė but it wonít be used when you are on the boat, canít keep it steady enough. Scope is great for sloths, not so great for jumping monkeys.

Money - you need more than you think. On all my trips I found myself wishing I had brought a little more cash. Smaller bills and coins, particularly for buying drinks and snacks in Boca Manu, and enough money to give out tips. To give you an idea of who you might tip Ė you will have a cook and 1 or 2 cookís assistants, a boatman and his assistant, and a guide (sometimes 2 if itís a big group). So itís better to have small bills so you can give a tip to each of the cooks and boatmen different amounts. You can give the cook, for example, a little bit more and ask them to share with their assistant Ė but itís really better if you can tip them each individually. The more small bills & coins you have, the more options you have. U.S. money is fine too. Note that pretty much the fare of one tourist pays the wages of all the workers (guide, cooks, boatmen) and supplies. They arenít paid a lot, so tips are pretty important to them. There were also opportunities on both tours to purchase some locally made jewelry and goods.

Sleeping bag? I brought one the first trip and didnít need it. All the lodges, including Manu Adventures, had clean bedding. If you choose a tour with Amazon Trails and will be visiting the mammalsí clay lick, you will need one for that. They only have some cushions to sleep on. Doesnít have to be heavy duty, its hot there! You have to carry to the colpa, so small and lightweight is best.

Miscellaneous stuff: Bring multiple batteries Ė you will probably not be able to charge things, electricity is limited. Put your camera in something waterproof, at least when you are not using it. The humidity can cause problems with your digital gear. Bring hydrocortozone cream or other itch relief. I tried Benadryl for my bites and it didnít help. I got some Hydrocortozone when I got back to Cuzco, but it was only .5% and while it did help, it wasnít a lot of relief. Bring something strong from home. If you are not doing Manu Adventures, bring 2 towels, if you go with higher end company, you should still have a towel. Rubber sandals (flip flops work) for shower and rafting.

One of the couples on our tour had some balloons in their day pack. They blew up a few for the kids in Boca Manu and they were delighted. I liked the idea because they are easy to pack. Just a neat idea. Snacks Ė you are fed plenty, but I have found that having nuts and maybe a little chocolate or such along with me was great. Bring a book. You are on the river sometimes for 5 hours, and while itís beautiful, itís not particularly exciting after a while. If it rains, youíll want something to do in your room. Donít be afraid to bargain on the cost of the tour. Go with a group smaller than 10 Ė you will have a better chance to see animals. Smaller groups are quieter and the guide is better able to give you attention.

I hope this post helps some of you out. Iím happy to answer questions and I really tried to be objective with this information. No matter which you choose, you will see the same beautiful forest and you will have the opportunity to see the most spectacular sunsets you have ever seen.

Que tengas buen viajes!
Rose
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Thank you for the great information. Barb
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 10:43 AM
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This is great info. I am printing for my records. We are just starting to plan for next year's Peru trip and the choices of operators are staggering!
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, there are some things that I did not include as they were not appropriate for a public post.
I'm not sure if there is a way to e-mail me via this forum, - if not, let me know and I'll post my e-mail address.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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Thanks so much for your thorough reviews! A friend and I are planning a trip for this May, and trying to choose a tour operator for our sadly short trip to Manu. We only have a week in the country, which means we can only do the 3 or 4 day tours. You've already given tons of great advice, but I thought it was worth asking -- if you could only do a short tour, which do you think would be best to get the most out of the experience (all other things, like weather, being equal)? All we care about is seeing as much as we can see -- lodging, food, etc is all irrelevant gt; Thanks so much, both for all the advice you already gave and for whatever advice you can add for me!
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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If you can only do 4 days, and are willing to pay a little more, I suggest the 4 day tour with the fly back option and don't go to the reserve zone. No matter what tour you take, its almost a full day by car, then boat to the first lodge. You get to stop in the cloud forest on the way and hopefully see the cock of the rock and then you get time on the river to see a little wildlife. So going is not bad, but returning by car it seems like a really long ride and you are not seeing anything new. So riding out and flying back is definitely the best choice, but a bit more expensive.

The one I went on with Amazon Trails has the option to fly back and you will see plenty of wildlife. Do the 4 day if you can. Rain would be the only reason you would not see the macaws at their clay lick, and the beauty of their tour is that if its raining one morning, you can try the next. Same goes with the mammals clay lick. I don't think it will be too terrible with rain in May, but with nature you never know.

I don't know if they make it to those clay licks on the 3 day tour.

Feel free to e-mail me ([email protected]) and I will ask my friend what he suggests for 3 days - but he won't be back for a couple weeks. He is actually out in Manu working on the trails and training some new guides - its very low season right now and not many tours can go due to rain.

If you can do the 4 day tour and fly back, you will have a great experience and see a LOT.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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Thanks for the advice! As it turns out, our flights in and out of the country really limited our options -- we had to leave for the tour on a specific day or we would miss our flight back to the US (which is a bad thing, I'm sure, somehow ...). Manu Adventures offered the only option we could both afford and actually fit in our schedule. Next time we make plans to fly somewhere, maybe we should look at our in-country schedule first before booking the plane tickets.

I really appreciate your help, and your thorough discussion earlier. It really gave us confidence when choosing which tours to consider.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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What a comprehensive comparision and you focused on guidinng and wildlife. This will be very helpful to anyone considering Manu and to me, someday.

Obrigada!
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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I did the 4 day Manu Cultural Zone Tour with Amazon
Trails Peru this march and I can really recommend it, it was amazing!
We decided to do the 4 days Cultural Zone Tour as it was not possible to go by plane in the rainy season and unfortunately had no time to go for 8 days.
We also checked tours to Maldonado, but as you have to fly there and Manu is more pristine we decided to take the Manu tour.
But even in 4 days, we saw so many animals and the guide was really really good in what he explained and showed us.
I was most impressed with seeing the parrots at the clay lick, with the telescope ! and seeing monkeys (we saw 4 species) on our walks through the forest.
The guide explained a lot and took his time for us to take pictures or answer our questions.

All the staff was very very helpful and the tour was well organized. To me the food was very good, and I had the impression that this was the thought of the whole group. One of us was vegetarian and they offered at all meals something else, also very delicious.
Their lodge is rustic but clean and it has private bathrooms!

If I have the chance to go back I will to do the 8 day tour, as I have heard from other people who came back together with us on the last day that you see many more species and the beautiful landscape of the lowland jungle.

Also, the office in Cusco is very helpful, they also organized a trek for
us!!
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Old Mar 28th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Llores, So glad you had a great time. Who was your guide? If you liked the parrots, you definitely need to do the macaws clay lick if you ever get back- its really amazing.
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Old Apr 8th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Hi Rose,
our guide was Saturnino. I will defintely come back to do the 8 day tour, it was fantastic.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 03:28 PM
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what a great overview and just what i have been looking for. i am doing a manu trip in october, leaving on a sunday...could do a 6D with manu expeditions that sadly does not include the macaw lick or a 7D with pantiacolla that does include the lick but with much more basic accommodations, mentioning on a few occasions staying at a basic lodge or camping next to it depending on availability....i will bus in and fly out...also should i book ahead or try and get a deal when i get to cuzco but am concerned about the booking for the flight out of boca manu.....thanks
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Sorry for taking so long to reply, I'm not doing any more traveling for the rest of the year, so I haven't been watching the boards so much!

If I were you (this is just my personal set of priorities) I'd go forgo the accommodations for the macaw lick. While I want to be safe of course, I would rather rough it a few days and see something like that. You won't have many opportunities in your life to see macaws in their natural habitat. I liked the private bathroom, but I'd give it up in a heartbeat for the opportunity to see it. The parrot clay lick just is not the same.

I think Pantiacolla is a pretty good company. You might want to do a little check on the boards to see if you find anyone who's used them, I know I've heard of them and I don't think it was anything bad.

One other option to keep in mind - if you find a company online that has a program you like, don't be put off by their fixed start dates. You can contact them and tell them when you want to go and how many in your party, if they can get enough people together they may do the tour for you on the days you want. It doesn't hurt to ask!

Good luck!
Rose
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 04:57 PM
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thanks for the response, i had given up and just checked for a response today, i did go with pantiacolla and so far am pleased with my correspondence with them, they assured me that in all probability we would have the better accommodations in the lodge mostly due to the slower tourist season in october.....but i wonder whether you have an answer for my current dilema, i am booking my flight to and from lima to cuzco. taca only has two flights a day but at a price half of what lan is offering....i of course would love to get the cheaper price but am afraid that my itinerary would not tolerate me missing this flight,as getting bumped, leaving me with few alternatives...should i pay the price for lan and still have many more alternatives for another later flight or risk it and pray i get on and arrive at my destination and later connection....thanks for your insightful commentary and sorry you have no travel plans for the near future....
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Old Sep 6th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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rose, you did not mention any malaria prophylaxis on your trips just the permethrin and long sleeved shirt, long pants...was this an oversight
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Old Sep 13th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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hi rose, have not had a reply about the anti-malarial drugs but thought i would add this comment about the domestic flights in peru. i was able to book thru a local agent with andean life and he was got me an amazing deal with my lima- cuzco connections. about half-price and with lan....hope this helps you with your future travels
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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As moonchld26 pointed out, I didn't say anything about anti-malarial drugs. I responded to her directly but thought it might be a good addition to this thread. My travel doctor told me that there didn't appear to be malaria in Manu, but wasn't able to pin down the location on his map exactly so he gave me some anti-malarial to be safe. I took it for the first couple days and it made me feel sleepy and a bit blah. Nobody else in my group was taking it, including a doctor and med student. The locals told me there wasn't any malaria. I decided to stop taking it and felt much better. I never took any on my second trip.

I am a little hesitant to actually recommend to anyone whether to take those meds or not, I'm not a doctor. I'd suggest discussing with your own doctor. But what I can tell you, is that I didn't get malaria.

I'd be interested to hear from others what they have done when visiting Manu.
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Old Oct 26th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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Hi soccerose,

Do you think it's worthwhile to do a 3-day tour in Manu in early December? And do we have to book the tour and the flights (from cuzco to manu) through a travel agency company? If so, do you get any recommendation on those short tour programs?

We plan to leave Cuzco to Manu on Dec.1 and be back to Cuzco on Dec.4 morning, in order to catch the flight from Cuzco to Lima around 1pm that day.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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You really couldn't go all the way into Manu rainforest on a 3 day tour, but they do have some shorter tours that will get you to the cloud forest to see the Cock of the Rock, monkeys, and of course it's just beautiful.

If there is a tour that will fly you in and then out, you might get further in, but catching a flight the same day sounds like you would really be pushing it to be honest - I don't know what tours could get you back in time for a 1:00 flight. Definitely if you are driving back, you won't make a 1:00 flight. And I don't know if there's any 3 day where you fly back - and even then it might be questionable if the flight would be early enough. They literally have 1 plane that goes back and forth, so if there is more than one plane load, you could have to wait. I think that Manu Expeditions actually charters the plane just for their group, so they would be the most likely not to be delayed - but if the weather is bad there is nothing that can be done. Pretty much I would think you would leave early on the 1st and come back on the 3rd late at night.

I don't think you go through a travel agency, you can book them direct with the company. Even if the company doesn't advertise a 3 day trip, contact them and ask. December is getting towards low season which will be good and bad. Good because they will want the business, bad because weather is less predictable and probably there are less groups going.

Here are some companies to try contacting (and look in the latest Fodors book too):
Manu Expeditions; SAS Travel; Pantiacolla; Manu Adventures

Good luck, hope you are able to get a visit in!

Rose
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