Our Rain Forest Lodges
Manu Lodge Attractions

From the boat landing on the river bank, you walk 600 yards on a clear flat forest trail to reach the canoe landing from where we can paddle you to the secluded Manu Lodge. The Manu Lodge overlooks a 1.2-mile-long and 590 ft. wide private oxbow lake, which is surrounded by huge, vine-festooned tropical trees.

Herons, kingfishers, hoatzins, monkeys and black caiman may be easily 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.

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, or our lake piers 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.

After cruising on the lake you can explore many kilometers of marked trails near the lodge. These trails, which were designed in consultation with internationally known ecologists, wind trough the 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 and ocelots frequent the trails too, though normally you see only their fresh tracks.

A 75 meter-high ridge less than a hundred meters from the lake offers views of macaws, parakeets, hawks, toucans and scores of other species of tropica 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!. Using Manu Lodge as a base, you can travel by boat up or down river for comfortable day-trips or overnight camping trips to other lakes and concentrations of wildlife in the lower Manu region. Whether you stay at the lodge the entire time or explore other parts of Manu, our itineraries provide one of the finest jungle experiences available in Central and South America, if not the world.

Canopy Climbing

When at Manu Lodge, spending a few hours in a huge Ceiba pentandra tree offers a unique opportunity to see the rainforest from a different perspective. Visitors to a canopy platform in Manu Lodge seat down and relax and wait for birds and other animals to pass by air or into the huge tree. They admire the tree's massive trunk and limbs, many branches being two to three meters in circumference. Numerous plants and mosses decorate the tree, delicate white orchids bloom near our platform all season. Also surrounding the canopy, visitors enjoy colorful birds flitting around in the canopy around and above them.

For many persons the challenge of the climb up to the platform was something they have never thought themselves capable of doing (you can also be pulled-up, if you want to save your energy). Most commented that the climb itself, using specialized equipment to move up through the canopy, watching the massive trunk of the Ceiba pass slowly by and testing some of their own physical capacity, was an important part of their experience in the rainforest canopy. Good animal viewing was "icing on the cake" so to speak. The descent, abseiling onto the rope secured to a second safety line, was also a new experience for nearly everyone. The refrain "this is fun", was almost always heard after a person left the platform and realized they were truly controlling without difficulty their own descent.

As they left the platform, they had worn a look of trepidation, but this was replaced by a smile as they descent and then touched the ground, having successfully transferred themselves back to earth. Most all expressed new self confidence after overcoming their fear of getting down from nearly 100 feet up in the tree.

Macaw Clay Lick

The large "ccollpas" or clay licks, are some of the most spectacular sights in the Neotropics. Minerals concentrated in the soil of these sites on the Madre de Dios River attract hundreds of macaws, parrots, and parakeets daily. Piping Guans and Spix's Guans also take advantage of this resource. A morning at the Macaw Lick is excitingly noisy and colorful. The birds, red and green macaws, blue-headed parrots, and bright parakeets, begin to arrive at about 6:30 a.m. and sit about squawking and shrieking at one another in the trees surrounding the clay lick for a period of time before coming down the cliff to eat clay. Six species of macaws may be seen near the lick as well as three species of parrots and at least five different kinds of parakeets.

The lowland Department of Madre de Dios is sprinkled with ccollpas, but only a few are big and isolated enough to attract large numbers of animals to feed on a daily basis.

Bear in mind that during your trip to the Manu National Park you will see hundreds of macaws, parrots and parakeets at different locations inside the Manu National Park. The macaw lick open to the public is well beyond the Manu National Park boundaries, and requires one day of travel outside of the protected Manu National Park from Boca Manu. Also that rain prevents macaws from visiting clay licks. Therefore your chances to see macaws visiting a clay lick are greatly diminished during the rainy season in Manu from October-November through April-May. For some reason, still not understood, there is no macaw activity at clay licks during the month of June. Although it may rain at any moment in any month, it is safe to presume that your best chance to see a macaw lick in activity is during the months of July through September.

One-day extension trips to the Madre de Dios River macaw lick are available with all the Manu Nature Tours itineraries.