Manu via Cusco – Team Lima (English)

February 14, 2010

After googling for the best way to access Manu both by price and distance it came out that it was via Cusco, there were 7 and 4 days trips . The 7-day trip prices were a bit high for backpackers so we chose the 4-day trip which lists for 350USD from there we cried for a bargain . After a brief flight from Lima we arrived at Cusco very good for reminiscing the Salkantay course we did last year about the same time and also to check more sites in Cusco. As usually there was rain but stronger than last year due to “El Niño” but the 4 days of our trip to Manu did not look so rainy since once we left the Sacred Valley on our way to Manu the weather was warm.

Our group included a French Team good to freshen up on some french and they spoke enough spanish/english.

Rafting and Canopy were included “extras’ that turned out very good, especially the rafting which was very exciting and we wanted more at the end, difficulty in walking is low(compared to the Salkantay) and they are not too long walks. The Manu walks
which are the essence of this route are very good, the rubber boots that were also included are essential because the walks are on areas of mud, swamp and the fauna / flora of the place requires them. Of course we also did lots of bird watching.

Some video clips here

At night the “albergues” made life easier even though we missed the tents we always use when camping, but since this trip is not so cheap we did not complain and the chance of getting some giant ant bite was lower Meals were also good. Pictures and narrative below.

“Lady Luck” was still with us just a day after returning to Lima roads were disrupted and the bridge in Pisac collapsed as the river was carrying too much muddy water and many were left stranded. The rain was steady and by the end of our stay it was almost non-stop day and night for 2 days.

Day 1
Early(5:30 AM) in the morning they come to pick us up from our hotel
and continued to pick the rest of the group. It was rainy but a typical morning for these days. We leave Cusco early on and head straight to Paucartambo to get breakfast where we get to know the rest of our group of course we do some little chat about common places we’ve been to. Afterwards we do a walk through the city, visit the church a bakery and the local market. We continued the trip and stopped at the entrance of the Manu Reservation it was raining got a little talk about the place by Boris the guide took some pictures and continued on the lanscape turns green lots of vegetation through the road and as the rain is left behind it turns up warm and the sun starts to shine.
Later we stopped for lunch on the way and continued on the dirt road now it is definitely going thru a jungle surrounding and a bit further down as it is warm we decided to do some walking ahead of the minibus to stretch out the legs the albergue for our 1st overnight stop was not too far so we walked all the way. We then head towards a place to watch the “cock of the rocks” birds after a while we do get a great view of the birds we also see some parrots further down. Headed back to the albergue where the dinner was really good and we are told the light will go out at 9PM, lots of moths and of course it started to rain hard for a good while. Headed to our room and get a good sleep
Day 2
We get a good breakfast and leave the albergue started with more walking as it was already warm in here we do more bird watching on the way. Started a good conversation with the rafting guy for our group and got some good information about how he got his license and stuff . We then get on the minibus continued and stopped at a coca plantation to check the typical farm in there and talked to the local lady she is friendly and gives some tips on growing some fruits on the garden. We continued and arrived at Pilcopata where we get the rubber boat and our gear ready for our Rafting leg from Pilcopata to Atalaya the rafting turned out to be great and exciting and we wanted more. We stopped half the way of the rafting leg on the riverside to see some of the flora and we could see how strong the current of the river was in the rest of this leg we got the boat over a really turbulent spot and the boat got a 45 degree push from the water really cool and eventually we got to Atalaya of course completely wet but quite pleased. Changed clothes and now we get on the motor boat that would take us to the Manu albergue. On the boat they give us lunch. Going across the river it is already Madre de Dios. We get off the boat and pick our rooms on the albergue. As it was starting to get dark we go for a walk to the jungle area nearby, the way is muddy and humid the rubber boots and flashllight are a must here, great walk we see a lot of the flora and fauna for this time of the day including the giant ants at some points the water level is too high to walk it but we managed and get back to the albergue for dinner and a good sleep.

Day3
Early in the morning(5:30) we go by motor boat to an island to watch a type of parrot that hangs out at a clay area at this time of the day. Getting off the boat to this island is a bit of a challenge as it cannot get to close to the border so we have to do a walk on the river and the current is strong of course we get wet as the boots are not high enough but interesting narrative from Boris regarding these birds and we head back to the albergue for breakfast. After breakfast we go for another walk in the jungle to the zone where the canopy is setup, it is hot and sunny and the cable jumping from tree to tree was thrilling and worth the muddy walk.
As it rained the night before there was a lot of mud we got back to the albergue for a good lunch. In the afternoon by boat we go to another island to check out more of the fauna on a walk through the area we see monkeys, birds but the alligators were ellusive we then get to a small lagoon where we ride on some log boat and get closer and see some more birds quite interesting, the walk through the jungle area was actually fun we then head back to the albergue for a good dinner wine included.

Day 4
We leave early in the morning after a breakfast by boat to Atalaya where the minibus is waiting for us continued to Pilcopata and get lunch on the way. The closer we get to Cusco the more rainy it gets We stopped at Paucartambo for a bathroom break and some walking. Also we stopped at Pisac and do some walking thru the town the river current is really strong and muddy and the bridge we crossed was destroyed by the current a couple of days later isolating the area.
They do take us to our hotel and it was raining hard in Cusco and continued almost non stop for the next two days.

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Manu via Cusco – Team Lima (Español)

February 14, 2010

Despues de googlear acerca del mejor acceso al Manu en precio y distancia salio que la mejor forma era por el Cusco habia travesias de 7 y de 4 dias pero los precios del de 7 dias estan un poquito altos si uno va en plan de mochilero de modo que escogimos el de 4 dias que lista en 350USD de ahi hay que patalear por el descuento. Otra vez un vuelo fugaz de Lima al Cusco y muy bueno para rememorar el rumbo Salkantay que hicimos el año pasado por el mismo tiempo y para chequear mas sitios en Cusco . La lluvia otra vez pero mas fuerte que al año pasado por el “Niño” pero los 4 dias de nuestra travesia Manu no nos parecio mucha lluvia ya que una vez que se sale del valle sagrado en camino a Manu ya el clima es selvatico.

Nuestro grupo incluyo un grupo frances, bueno para refrescar un poco de Frances y ellos hablaban suficiente Español/Ingles.

El rafting y el Canopy fueron unos adicionales incluidos muy buenos, especialmente el rafting que fue muy emocionante y al final queriamos mas, la dificultad en las caminatas es baja (comparado al Salkantay) ya que no son tan largas y las caminatas en la zona Manu que es la escencia de esta travesia son muy buenas , las botas de jebe que tambien esta incluido son esenciales ya que la caminatas van por zonas de fango, pantano y la fauna/flora del lugar lo requiere. Por supuesto tambien hicimos bastante “bird watching” que es una de las cosas por la que es famoso el Manu.

Los video clips estan aca

En noche los albergues hacen todo mas facil aunque se extraño las carpas que siempre hacemos cuando vamos de camping por algo no es tan barato esto y la chance de coger un piquito de las hormigas gigantes fue menor. las comidas tambien buenas. Fotos y narrativos abajo.

“Lady luck” sigue con nosotros justo un dia despues de regresar se interrumpieron las vias y el puente de Pisac por donde se regresa se cayo por que el rio estaba super cargado y muchos quedaron varados. La lluvia estaba constante y al final de nuestro estadia estaba casi sin parar dia y noche por 2 dias.