Manu National Park and Machu Picchu, Peru

The Amazon is on most people’s travel wish list. It’s an area of unspoilt natural beauty and offers a rich and diverse eco-system.

Manu National Park, on the eastern slopes of the Andes and in the Peruvian Amazon, is brimming with more species of animals and plants than in anywhere else in the world. Over 1,000 species of birds, 13 species of monkeys and rarely seen animals like the elusive Jaguar and endangered Giant Otter roam wild in the park.

It is also home to many indigenous Amazonian tribes, some who have yet to have contact with the outside world. The Park has been on the World Heritage List since 1987 and is an internationally recognised UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Few travel companies are allowed access to the area, and rightly so; visitors unintentionally introduce western-style illnesses to the indigenous people. Their natural medicines cannot treat viruses like flu and measles and so some of the tribe are killed off because of traveller’s intrusions.

Inkanatura is one such company that is allowed into Manu National Park and concentrates on investigating the wildlife and environment rather than the people. A leader in eco tourism in Peru, Inkanatura provides great packages for those interested in nature, culture and archaeology.

With Inkanatura you can trek the Inca Trail to Machu Piccu, check out the wetlands of the Amazon or do a spot of bird-watching from one of Inkanatura’s new towers built specifically for travelling twitchers.

Stay in one of 20 rooms at the Manu Wildlife Tented Camp near Cocha (Lake) Slavador in Manu National Park. The tent is attached to reed housing and a mosquito net protects each bed. They have flushable toilets and hot showers and for those who don’t fancy getting too close to nature in the dead of the night, each tent has a private enclosure with a sturdy camp loo.

Check out Inkanatura’s website for other itineraries and lodges.

Getting there:
Pisco Airlines fly on fixed departures from Cuzco five times a week.