The emphasis is firmly on nature at Manu Learning Centre. This lodge began as a base for scientists, researchers and conservationists all working together to protect the precious habitats and wildlife of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. They still use the lodge and during you stay you have the opportunity to join them, assisting with various aspects their work and learning about current projects.
This is a simple, rustic lodge, as befits its location and purpose. You stay in a traditionally built chalet, or pod made from wood and thatch. the accommodation is arranged over two floors with two en-suite rooms on each level. There's no electricity, so it's candlelight after dark. You don't have to sacrifice all creature comforts, as your bathroom has a hot water shower, hand basin and flushing toilet.
You spend most of your waking hours in the rainforest, following walking trails by day and night, and taking to the water for a different perspective. The guides are enthusiastic and keen to share their deep knowledge of and love for the environment and its inhabitants, including sloth and several species of monkey. There are numerous bird species, too, including hummingbirds, parrots and macaws. It may be possible to set camera traps for elusive cats such as jaguar, puma and ocelot and review these are the end of your stay to see what has been found. These excursions are coupled with time spent alongside resident scientists, helping with their day to day work, an activity that is enjoyable as well as instructive.
Downtime is spent relaxing at the lodge, chatting to other travellers in the lounge or resting in a hammock in the gardens. Meals are eaten together, providing further chances to get to know fellow guests, swapping travellers' tales and experiences.
Photographs courtesy CREES
Open: Manu Learning Centre is open all year. Dry season is from April to October and is the most popular time to visit, but there is plenty to see and do in the wet season.
Location: Manu Learning Centre is in a 650 hectare reserve on the Bolivian side of the Alto Madre de Dios river in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, part of the Amazon rainforest. It is about 70kms from Cusco. Access is by boat.
Rooms: There are several guest pods, each houseing 4 en-suite rooms. The lodge has accommodation for a maximum of 24 guests. The pods are built of locally sourced natural materials including bamboo and thatch. The style is basic, yet cosy. Beds are fitted with mosquito nets and each chalet has an en-suite shower room with solar heated water, a hand basin and flush toilet. As there is no electricity, light is provided by candles after dark.
Activities: Guided walks in the rainforest, night walks, river cruises and participation in conservation programmes.
Facilities: The main building has a lounge-dining room. There are hammocks on a shaded terrace in the gardens. The lodge provides drinking water for all guests.
Dining: Meals are eaten communally as a group in the open-sided dining area.
Children: Children aged six years and over are welcome.
Health: We recommend malarial prophylactics.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access for a very limited time each day but this should not be relied upon.
Notes: Manu Learning Centre does not accept card payments. You need to take sufficient cash to cover your personal expenditure and tips.
A torch is useful, due to the lodge's lack of electricity.
Manu Learning Centre is owned and operated by CREES, an ecotourism company offering opportunities for internships, volunteering and toursin the Peruvian Amazon.
This unforgettable adventure combines archaeological and historical wonders with natural spectacle and Peruvian culture.
The lodge has gained Rainforest Alliance (RA) accreditation for its support to local communities through employment and for its high levels of sustainability, energy efficiency and waste management at the lodge, and the education of employees in these practises.