The Fantastic Journey

Discover the 7-hour journey to Manu Biological Station, located in Peru's biodiversity hotspot



Gateway to the Kosñipata Valley

Set between the foothills of the Peruvian Andes and the Amazonian lowlands, Manu Biostation is situated in one of the main biodiversity hotspots in South America, where a vast variety of species coexist with culturally rich and vulnerable indigenous groups.

The journey begins in the capital of the great Incan Empire, the city of Cusco, Peru at ~3400 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The 7-hour road journey across the mystic Andean mountains is paved for the first two hours until reaching the small town of Paucartambo. Known as the capital of folklore, this picturesque town characterized by its Spanish architecture with white houses and blue balconies is the gateway to the Kosñipata Valley and the most protected area in Peru, the Manu National Park.

The Descend

After a short stop in Paucartambo, the journey continues through the Manu road. The meandering and unpaved road descends through several altitudinal zones along the Kosñipata Valley, taking you down the Andean slopes into lowland rainforest. As we descend the Puna grasslands, the ecosystem transitions to patches of elfin forests to quickly emerge in montane cloud forests. Is in these misty mountains where the permanent fog that blankets the eastern slopes of the Andes is absorbed by the soil, evergreen trees, bromeliads, and mosses, releasing it slowly into small creeks and streams that feed the Kosñipata River.

The grassland-forest ecotone (2400 – 3600 m.a.s.l) harbors one of the highest concentrations of species diversity in the Tropical Andes, including butterflies, orchids, amphibians, endemic birds, the endangered Spectacled Bear and more. Nestled in this ecotone and right at the edge of Manu National Park, Wayqecha Biological Station is an essential stop to witness a spectacular view over the Kosñipata valley and its magical descent to Manu.

Mid-elevations along the Manu Road

As the road continues downslope the Andes, temperature starts rising. Pristine cloud forest mountains along mid-elevations (~ 1500 – 2000 m) provide habitat for Peru’s National bird, the Cock-of-the-Rock, primates, and other colorful wildlife that occupy protected landscapes on both sides of the road.

As we get closer to flat terrains and the rivers make their majestic appearance indicating that we are getting closer to the lowlands. The remnant part of the journey passes the villages of Patria and Pilcopata, small towns that depict the blend of Andean and Amazonian vibrant cultures right at the foot of the Andes mountain range.

Manu Biological Station

Just outside the town of Pilcopata, the fantastic journey comes to an end. Manu Biostation, formerly known as Villa Carmen, is located at the confluence of the Piñipiñi River with the Pilcopata River in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Its location constitutes an exceptional natural and cultural crossroads, where wildlife and indigenous cultures aim to thrive.