The Manu National Park Biosphere Reserve is one of our planet’s most diverse areas with thousands of plants and animals! Manu National Park and the Manu Biosphere Reserve are quite often confused. Manu National Park is only a portion of the biosphere reserve.
The Manu Nature Reserve was established in 1968, and it was designated a National Park in 1973. It took UNESCO four years to recognize it as a Biosphere Reserve. Ten years later, in 1987, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Manu Biosphere Reserve contains a variety of landscapes and habitats. This ranges from cloud forests to low-land rainforests at 350 meters above sea level to high-altitude Andean grasslands at 4200 meters above sea level. Manu is best visited during Peru’s dry season, which is from April to October because there is less rain and hiking trails are easier to access. Here’s an article on Peruvian Rainforest Weather.
Manu Biosphere Reserve is home to over 3000 plant species. The most popular of which are exotic orchid varieties. It also has over 200 species of mammals, 140 species of amphibians, 90 species of reptiles, and 800 species of birds.
Animals in Manu such as capybaras, deer, howler monkeys, giant river otters, and black caimans can be found along most of the river’s banks in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Jaguars swimming in these dangerous waters is a rare sight, so if you see one, consider yourself incredibly lucky. Birds such as the Roseate Spoonbill, Hoatzin “punk bird,” Muscovy Duck, Horned-Screamer, and others can also be seen.
The lowland forests of the Manu Biosphere Reserve are home to a variety of monkeys. The most common of which are Black Spider Monkeys, as well as the world’s smallest monkey, the Pygmy Marmoset, and the world’s only nocturnal monkey, the Night Monkey.
The Cloud Forest of the Manu Biosphere Reserve is loved by all. Mostly because you can see the bird species sought by every traveller to Peru, the Andean Cock of the Rock. The Parrot and Macaw Clay Licks are also not to be missed. This is where you will be seeing many macaw species like the Red & Green Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, and many parrots and parakeets.
Not only plant and animal species, but Manu Biosphere Reserve is also home to many native communities like Yine, Harakmbut, Matsigueka, and Quechua with more than 8000 individuals in total. Some of these native people are completely disconnected from the world. They have fishing, hunting etc, as their livelihood whereas some engage in agriculture or tourism.
However, Manu Biosphere Reserve is not accessible to everyone. You have to arrange tours only with a reputable tour company that has permits to enter the reserve. Doing so, you will also get a guide who will be with you no matter the days of the wildlife excursion you have arranged.
You can also stay in the rainforest lodges when you are at Manu. Although, they are not 100% luxurious you can expect them to be equipped with all the essentials including cosy beds, kitchen area, showers etc.