Our readers rave about Oropéndola (Av. Circunvalación s/n Urb. Guadalupe, Cusco, tel. 084/24-1428, info [at] oropendolaperu [dot] org, www.oropendolaperu.org, five days/four nights US$795 pp), a Manu operator with a socially conscious core. Proceeds from the five- to nine-day, fixed departure trips flow right back into the maintenance of the agency’s protected reserve as well as community programs that teach Boca Manu kids to speak English and make books. The company’s guides have been praised for their bird knowledge, which you will get to experience firsthand when exploring Manu, staying at the Amazon Manu Lodge, or camping at the Manu Camping Lodge.
There are budget operators to Manu that can be booked at the last minute, often at sharply discounted prices, for travelers who don’t mind waiting in Cusco for a few days. The prices quoted include trips into the Parque Nacional Manu but not airfare, and they can often be combined with Inca Trail trips at very little additional cost.
Manu Ecological Adventures (Plateros 356, Cusco, tel. 084/26-1640, www.manuadventures.com, five days/four nights US$880 pp plus entrance fees) has worked in Manu for nearly two decades and leads a great number of trips every year. It leads camping-and-lodge trips to Manu and now has a zip line for viewing the jungle canopy.
The final licensed Manu operator is Expediciones Vilca (Plateros 363, Cusco, tel. 084/24-4751, manuvilca [at] terra [dot] com [dot] pe, www.cbc.org.pe/manuvilca, five days/four nights US$819 plus entrance fees and flight), which offers Manu trips at the Casa Machiguenga and Tambo Blanquillo Lodge. It also offers Inca Trail and other adventure trips.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition