“Tambopata Jungle is easy to get to, it’s cheaper, it’s well developed for tourism, but it is good to see a moderate wildlife, (much more wildlife is for Sandoval Lake Lodge and Heath River Wildlife Center)
Manú is kind of the reverse, it’s harder to get to, it’s is much more expensive, there are less jungle lodges, but wildlife spotting opportunities are further.”In a nut shell, I know from my own experience of putting together Peru vacation packages, that Tambopata is by far the most popular area and an easier integrate in a tour, whilst on the other hand Manú is much less travelled, and a much tougher region to promote.
How to get there:
From Cusco only 35 minutes flight to Puerto Maldonado city, and from there you travel by boat from 1 to 3-4 hours on the Madre de Dios River to get deep into the amazon to reach those rustic lodges, some are luxury, and some others are not.
Or from Lima straight to Pto. Maldonado city 1 hour flight. Or viceverse.
Weather: These two parks are located in the south of Peru, and follow a slightly different climate to Peru’s northern Amazon Jungle. In this region there are two seasons; the dry season during the months of May – September, and the wet season October – April. Temperature highs can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Deg. C) during the day, and night time temperatures can fall to lows of 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Deg. C). During the wetter months there is an increased level of mosquitos in the jungle, and activities such as hiking are best done during the dry season.
Altitude: Sea level
When is the dry season? :
Although it can rain at any time of the year, the Tambopata region tends to be drier from May until October. The rains start up in earnest in November and continue until April with the rainiest months usually being November and December. Upsides to visiting during the dry season are trails that aren’t as muddy, little chance of activities being affected by rain, and more macaws and parrots on the clay licks. Downsides to visiting during the dry season are hotter weather, less bird activity on sunny days, more difficulty in finding amphibians, and more travel time on rivers due to low water levels.
Why visit Tambopata eco-lodges during the wet season?:
Although you can expect a lot of rain, there will probably be fewer fellow ecotourists (if you like a lot of extra elbow room), it usually rains in the afternoon, it tends to be a bit cooler, and there may be higher bird activity on account of the cloudy weather. The ponds and temporal wetlands that form at this time of the year in the rainforest can also make it easier to find reptiles and amphibians.
When will I see the most animals?:
In all honesty, no month is particularly better to see animals than any other. While more parrots and macaws tend to visit the clay lick during the dry season, other animals are encountered with the same frequency no matter what the time of the year. A much bigger factor that comes into play for seeing Amazonian wildlife is the guide’s level of experience and training.
When is the best time to see monkeys?:
If you visit lodges such as the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas, or Posada Amazonas, you have a very good chance of seeing several monkey species throughout the year. The rollicking calls of Dusky Titis echo from vine tangles, Red Howler Monkeys call from the canopy, and troops of Squirrel Monkeys roam through second growth near oxbow lakes. Black Spider Monkeys may be a bit easier to find during the wet season because it’s usually easier to locate the fruiting trees they feed on but a good guide will increase your chances of seeing them no matter what the time of the year.