Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Peruvian department of Madre de Dios, which includes the renowned Manu National Park, is part of what the ancient Incas called "Antisuyo." The name "Madre de Dios," according to the Dominican Friar Pío Aza, derives from a legend in the archives of Paucartambo (now Cuzco) regarding an image of the Virgin Mary said to have appeared along one of the rivers in the area. Although much of the region is forested, the least altered area is Manu, which boasts a biological diversity considered to be one of the richest on the planet.

For many years the Madre de Dios was all but inaccessible. Faustino Maldonado made the first significant penetration of the region, and today the regional capitol Puerto Maldonado honors his name. The valley of the Río Manu and its tributaries now comprise Manu National Park. Owing to years of effective protection, Manu and the surrounding forests retain significant amounts of wildlife and, in contrast to much of the Amazon, it is still fairly easy to observe.

In fact, Manu is one of the few places where one can hope to see a Giant River Otter, a Tapir, White-lipped Peccaries, or perhaps a Jaguar. All of these and more species have been observed during our expeditions into the area. Spectacular numbers of macaws and parrots mob the mineral licks in several areas along the Río Madre de Dios.

From the beautiful Cocha Cashu with its mirrored waters in Manu national park to the equally impressive Lago Sandoval near Puerto Maldonado, Peru's southern Amazon Basin beckons lovers of wilderness and nature the world over.

More information on the Manu region



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