In September 2015 Indigo Expeditions will be exploring the Manu Biosphere Reserve for the first time! Our journey will take us from the ancient Incan capital, Cusco, over high Andean passes, through mysterious eflin forests and mist soaked cloud forests and down into the humid and vast Amazon lowlands.
Our first stop, Tambo Paititi is found at an elevation of 1471m on the banks of the San Pedro river. Surrounded by cloud forest it was a haven for a myriad of amphibian species, until chytrid reached this valley. It was one of the hardest hit areas, but now amphibians are coming back and we will be able to document their progress. We might even be lucky enough to see the spectacular cock-of-the-rock (the national bird of Peru) or a spectacled bear or ocelot!
From Tambo Paititi will travel down into the mighty Amazon basin itself to Tambo Eori on the banks of the Alto Madre de Dios river. At 470m above sea level the forest here is taller and hotter, as a result the species we will encounter will be different to those at higher elevations and include black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), Manu poison dart frog (Ameerega macero), rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria), caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis), fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox) and the ever elusive bushmaster (Lachesis muta).
We will also have the chance to see capybara, five species of monkeys, giant river otter, anteaters, sloths and possibly even puma and jaguar!
Day 1 – Cusco. Arrival in Cusco. The day will be free to explore the ancient capital of the Incas – visit the hilltop fortress of Sacsayhuman, explore the streets of the old city, or just sit and watch the world go by in Plaza de Armas.
We will meet in the evening for a pre expedition meeting and evening at our hotel. It’ll be early nights all round as we have an early start in the morning.
Day 2 – Cusco – Tres Cruces – Tambo Paititi. After a quick breakfast we will begin our adventure into the Manu Biosphere Reserve. We will travel out of the city and over high Andean mountain passes. We will stop at Tres Cruces for lunch and catch our first buy levofloxacin online uk views of the Amazon Basin. After lunch we will continue our journey through Elfin forest and into the cloud forest of Manu to Tambo Paititi. For the really adventurous there is an option to mountain bike down to Tambo Patititi (optional extra not included in the volunteer contribution and needs to be booked in advance).
The afternoon will be relaxed as we orient ourselves in our new surroundings. We will venture into the forest to look for reptiles and amphibians in the evening.
Day 3-5 – Tambo Paititi. We will spend our time here exploring the trails and streams in search of amphibians and reptiles. Surveys will be conducted during the day but mainly during the night as this is when most species are active. There will be plenty of time to relax in our beautiful surroundings, swim in the river or catch a sight of red howler monkeys.
Day 6 – Tambo Paititi to Tambo Eori. After breakfast we will get back on the road and travel further down into the Amazon basin itself. After a 4 hour drive we will reach the town of Atalaya, from here it is an hours boat ride on the Alto Madre de Dios river to Tambo Eori. On the way we will see abundant bird life and maybe even spectacled caiman.
Day 7-12 – Tambo Eori. We have 5 nights at Tambo Eori to survey the surrounding forest habitats for reptiles and amphibians. Our objective is to survey as many habitat types as possible to maximise out chances of finding as many species as possible to start the species list for the lodge. We will also hike to a nearby lake and will hopefully encounter giant river otters, hoatzin and black caiman.
Day 13 – Tambo Eori to Tambo Paititi. We will make the journey back to Tambo Paititi. For the energetic amongst us the evening can be spent on one final survey, or you could just relax and soak up the night atmosphere.
Day 14 – Return to Cusco. We return to Cusco arriving at our hotel in the afternoon with our final meal in the evening.
ADVENTURE to the Realm of the Inca, Manu Biosphere Reserve Peru. Find out more here!
Photo: Pristimantis cosnipatae (Jorg Albrecht, Peru Discovery)