The National Park of Manu, a World Cultural Heritage Site, is one of the areas with greatest biodiversity on the planet. It is located in the departments of Cusco (Paucartambo province, Kosñipata district) and Madre de Dios (Manu province, Fitzcarrald and Manu districts), including the entire basin of the River Manu. Located in the south of Peru, in the eastern sector of the Andes mountain range and bordering the Amazon basin, it is the only park in Latin America to cover the full range of environments, from low, tropical jungle to cold, high grassland over 4,000 masl.
The park was created on 29 May 1973, covers an area of 1,716,295.22 hectares and is one of the best destinations for nature tourism. The low basin of the River Manu is marked by the exuberance of the Amazon plain. Five zones are recommended for tourism, each with a high diversity of flora and fauna: Salvador, Otorongo, Juárez, Pakitza and Limonal. All offer navigable circuits through the lakes and swamps, where visitors can see seals and black caimans.
One of the main attractions of the park are the clay licks, regularly visited by flocks of macaws as well as other species of fauna, who come here looking for food. The park contains some 221 species of mammal, including the otorongo (jaguar), black panther tapir, collared peccary, deer, capybara, spider monkey, etc. In terms of birds, highlights include the harpy eagle, jabiru, roseate spoonbill, jungle goose and the cock of the rock. Inside the park there is a metal tower 18 meters high and an elevated walkway with a platform that makes it easier to spot birds and to grasp the immensity of the forest from the treetops.
For a spectacular view visitors can climb to the Tres Cruces lookout point and enjoy both the sunset and two contrasting landscapes: the Andes and the rainforest. The best time to go is between May and August when the sky is clear and it is possible to see the sun come up twice during the same dawn, due to a natural phenomenon.
El Manu has one of the most renowned research centers in Amazonia: the biological station of Cocha Cashu. It also has an interpretation center at the guard post of Limonal.