The Manu national park is the most extensive tropical forest Reserve of the planet, with almost two million hectares; located in southeast Peru between the department of Cusco and Madre de Dios, very important part of the Amazonian river basin.
In 1977 it was declared by UNESCO: Biosphere Reserve and recognized in 1987 like world patrimony of the Humanity.
The Manu Biosphere Reserve, unlike the rest of the Amazon basin, count with a really impressive big variety of microclimates and ecosystems due to its geographic position, this is possible as it is located at the foot of the Andes and their territory ranges goes from 4000 meters to 250 meter, in the lowland forest. The variety of endemic species are also very high, 10% of the world birds are found here, and in a single hectare of forest have been registered more than 200 vascular plants, and in single tree found until 5000 different insects species.
During our trips are possible to pass different valleys, between some of them are:
- Alto Madre de dios
Acjanaco is the name that defines the pass on the road to penetrate into the Manu Park. Acjanaco separates two completely different worlds, in addition marks the entrance to The Manu National Park, surpassing this point we leave behind us the Andean world with its arid mountains to enter a world of exuberant vegetation called Amazon basin.
Acjanaco is the first checkpoint and park ranger station on the Manu National Park, located at 3500 m altitude. In the andean grasslands, there abounds the ichu grass, small shrubs, polylepis, orchids and other valuable species to the botanical world, in addition to high Andean varied fauna.
Visiting Paucartambo come always pleasant memories that we carry in our hearts, by the simplicity and beauty of this town clearly colonial style, which houses recognized folk traditions, with its famous festivity to the "Virgen del Carmen", the sunrise in "Tres Cruces" (three crosses), and the ancient traditional culture of cultivation the Peruvian potatoes.
Initially Paucartambo (Quechua: Pawqar Tanpu, Spanish: colorful Tambo), located at 109 kilometers from Cusco, in Peru, was a supply center for the military of the Inca Empire. Later, in the colonial time was a business kernel in the area. Today is the capital of the Paucartambo's province.
This village is located in a valley at 2,906 meters high, where passes the Paucartambo river and joins the Qenqomayu river. Narrow streets made with stones and white houses with blue balconies are predominant there.
Their celebration is related to the Corpus Christis and carries on every July 15th to 18th during three days in honor to the Virgen del Carmen, patron of the feast. The town is full of celebrations, music, dances and processions wearing masks and typical local costumes, attract tourists and people from all over the country and Paucatarmbinians who come from all parts of the globe, a way of meeting with the past, with the single desire of sharing, eating a dish of rich piglet or a snack.
Several dance groups represent a type of person such as "qapaq negro" or doctors; q'apac k'olla, s'aqras, waka waka, q'oyachas, contradanzas, panaderos (bakers), chucchos and maje�os which are the "party k'o�ichi", which means the party's heaters. Each group has a Carguyoc, who fund the expenditures; disguised dancers and a band, which continuously play the melody assigned to the group, repetitive and monotonous. These groups are defined by tradition and active participation, also possible by inheritance or very special reasons of honor. The statue of the Virgen del Carmen was crowned by Pope John Paul II in his last trip to Peru, this event is held today in the Andean world.
When crossing the Acjanaco�s natural border, we enter the Amazon basin where begins a gradual descended through different forests and ecosystems that are becoming more dense and exuberant until the foot of the great mountains that form the eastern part of the Andes slopes, reaching the 700 meters.
Before leaving the last Andean buttresses, and arrive at the lowland rainforest we find Pilcopata's village, populated by settlers from Andean origin that arrived here approximately 35 years ago, at that time was built the unique access route to the "Alto Madre de Dios" river basin, the road that until today take us to our destination: the Manu rainforest.
Located between the "Pilcopata" and "tono" rivers in the Kos�ipata valley at 700 meters, the main economic activities that sustain the population is agriculture, especially the growing of the so called coca leaves and other products such as cassava, pineapple, banana, illegal logging and in recent years tourism has also increase.
NINAMARCA BURIAL TOWERS
In our trips to The Manu National Park, we make a brief visit to some burial towers (chullpas) belonging to a pre-Inca Lupaca' culture, located approximately two hours by car from the city of Cusco. In the distance, the landscape gives the impression of seeing a group of fungi.
The chullpas (burial towers) of Ninamarca are located in a small promontory with steep slopes in a small area; there is a total of 17 chullpas whose sizes vary between 2.50 and 1 m. height, between 0.80 and 1.60 m in diameter; in terms of their distribution are no harmonic, in terms of their displacement most doors are geared towards the north; in terms of its external appearance were built with stones without have been polished, having used clay as union, are cylindrical with conical roof overhangs like eaves; from their position overlooking the entire valley located north of the Mapacho river.
In the environment due to the elevation are predominant vegetation "ichu" (andean grass), with a cold climate, strong winds predominate in the afternoon.
THE AMARAKAERI RESERVE
The location of the Amarakaeri Reserve has always been the territory of the Harakmbut (Amarakaeri, Wachipaeri, Kuzambaeri, Arazaeri, Toyeri, Sapiteri). With the arrival of the missionaries concentration of people in communities started as is the case of Shintuya.
In 1986, for the first time, the Harakmbut indigenous communities forced the government into creating the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve. In 1992 studies concluded that the land within the reserve contained a rich biodiversity of animals with some in danger of extinction species. By supreme decree, Amarakaeri was declared a Reserved Zone in August 2000.
BLANQUILLO PRIVATE RESERVE
Since 1990, Blanquillo is an eco- lodge-managed operating in Manu Rainforest. It has always been our privilege and duty to preserve and promote our Peruvian natural heritage providing an authentic nature experience in a pristine rainforest.
Tambo Blanquillo Lodge is surrounded by a broad range of species, biodiversity, and genetic variability non-existing in other parts of the world. It's an honor for us to share with you this ecological wonder.
A 10-minute walk through a seasonally flooded transition forest will take us to Oxbow Lake Blanco, by far one of the best rainforest scenarios can offer. Its environs display different kinds of rainforest habitats and its stagnant waters provide rich nutrients and fish to their usual dwellers, like giant otters and black caimans.
In addition, this region displays a number of different microhabitats as a result of ancient rivers moving throughout geological time creating a series of terraces, each containing different types of forest. This mosaic of habitat types (being the tallest the oldest) is one of the reasons these forests are among the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity.
Tres Cruces in English means Three crossings, It is the place chosen from immemorial times to worship the shiny star that gives us heat, "the sun"; so important to the Incas and to other cultures that fond in its cycle and cosmic positions related to our planet earth, some patterns or telluric schedule, recognizing stages of solstices and equinoxes.
From Paucartambo the road continues in direction to the jungle. In the highest part of this road above 4,000 meters there is a road access that goes 14 km away from the checkpoint of Acjanaco, finally reaching 3850 meters inside the Manu National Park is the viewpoint of Tres Cruces. From this place the Sunrise view is wonderful by having an open view to the lowland forest. Tres Cruces is called the "Balcony of the Orient" and is one of the unique two places in the world where this spectacle of lights and colors happens. We recommend to wear warm clothes due to low temperatures, in addition, by day is possible observe throughout the immensity of the Peruvian Amazon and on clear days even display places like Patria's town.