The lowlands in the vicinity of Manu Lodge offer visitors many kilometers of marked trails near the lodge. These trails which were designed in consultation with internationally known ecologists, wind through a full mosaic of different forest types of the western Amazon, including tall floodplain forest, terra firma (never flooded) forest, stands of lush Heliconia species, sun dappled cane "Caña Brava" and 7-meter-tall thickets of bamboo. Jaguars, Pumas, Tapirs and Ocelots frequent these trails too as demostrated by a study of the Manu Lodge trails that used infra-red sensors and remote-controlled cameras. On this page you can see a sample of our Manu Lodge "neighbors": A Jaguar, a Puma and an Ocelot.
A 230-ft.-high ridge only a few hundred feet from the lake offers views of macaws, parakeets, hawks, toucans and scores of other species of tropical birds flying short and long distances over the forest. On a clear day, the lookout yields a view of the lake below and the distant snow-capped peaks of the Andes, a vista stretching more than two-hundred kilometers. No other lodge in South America simultaneously provides a pristine tropical lake in a protected wilderness and a view of the majestic Andes.
The Manu River offers visitors with the chance to experience the lower portion of a totally protected and pristine meandering tropical river. Every river bend brings a new vista of un-spoilt beauty. During river trips, alert visitors equipped with good binoculars have seen Collared Peccaries, Tapirs, Red Brocket Deer, Howler Monkeys, Jabiru Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Razor-billed Curassows, toucans, macaws, black and white caiman, Capybara, Side-necked river turtles and more.
Such fabulous sightings are in stark contrast with the almost total lack of large animals on most river trips in the Madre de Dios River basin as well as most of South America.
Sightings of Jaguars sunning near the wide river sandbars are not infrequent, as you can see from the pictures (shown here) taken by one of our clients. The Jaguar in the picture didn't think that our tour boat was particularly interesting and gave our startled visitors a big, long yawn!.
Juarez Lake at Manu Lodge
The Manu Lodge overlooks a private 1.2-mile-long and 590 ft. wide oxbow lake, which is surrounded by huge, vine-festooned tropical trees. Turtles and black caiman may be frequently spotted, and on the edge of the lake there is a mineral lick where rare birds such as razor-billed curassows and piping guans are often seen.
Giant Otters of Manu Lodge
Manu Lodge is considered the best place in the tropics to see and photograph or film Giant River Otters. These two and a half, 70 pound-mustelid is a gregarious mammal that lives in small groups. A family of six to eight Giant Otters visits the lake every other week and our clients may see them from within 50 ft. right in front of the Manu Lodge building without disturbing them. Using the lake riverbanks and being quiet guarantees wonderful sightings of these large carnivores as they fish, feed their cubs, preen and play. We strictly forbid the use of canoes or catamarans to try to see the otters. Giant otters have successfully bred on several occasions near Manu Lodge.