YOURS  ROUTE  TO MANU NATIONAL PARK: The translation of Ninamarca is the town of fire in  queshua language  nina means  fire and marka  means places or town  This significance could stem from the fact that, especially during the wintertime, people can see small fires burning on the ground from a distance. The traditional belief is that these fires mark the hiding places of Inca treasure.

In Ninamarka there are beautifully-hewn, pre Inca stone  ( chullpas) or burial towers. Important people, like local chiefs or priests, were possibly buried in these tombs. These are remnants of the kingdom of Lupaca, whose center was just north of Lake Titicaca. Both the Incas and Lupacas were masters at cultivating the different ecological zones offered by the Andes. Unfortunately, there are no archeological studies looking at Ninamarka.


The capital of the same province is the town of Paucartambo. It is at 3000 m elevation and has about 50,000 inhabitants. For the Incas, at the time when the Spanish conquistadores arrived, Paucartambo was an important administrative center and strategic location for military supplies. However, the actual town of Paucartambo is totally colonial. The Inca ruins are situated a few hours prior to the town at a site named Huaytoqto. The region is an important producer of different varieties of potatoes. The town is quite peaceful all year round. The local campesinos  only come to trade their products in the markets on Sundays.

There is a drastic change to Paucartambo, dating from the 15th to the 18th of July every year. During this time, the locals and people from different areas come to revere “La Virgin del Carmen  She is the saint of Paucartambo’s people. The religious festival in her honor is big with a lot of folkdances, fireworks, drinking etc. The central day is the 16th of July. In the main plaza there are statues of all the 16 folk dancers,


Town and Peru, which is why the dancers use specific costumes and masks in each performance. Here are a few examples of them:

  • “Las Qollas” represents the ethnic group which lives in the high altitude of the region and who has been in conflict with “Chunchos”, the inhabitants from the jungle since time immorial.
  • “Los Majeños” are the horse handlers from the valley of Majes from the coast, who came to trade vine and liquors for coca, fruits and wood during the colonial time.
  • “Los Contradanza” is a parody of European salon dances. The dancers represent a European couple with expensive fine clothes. To do this they wear white maskes.
  • “Capac negro” are the African slaves, brought by Spaniards to Peru. They are the guardians of the Virgin, and deserve the name Capac which means “senor”.
  • Auqas chilenos” are the Chilean invaders of Peru during the Pacific War of 1879 to 1883. When the “Chileans» dance, they do it going backwards, symbolizing a retreat.
  • “Waca-Waca” represents a spanish bullfight
  • “Capac Qolla” are traders from Altiplano.
  • “los Saqras” are the devils, who, when the image of the Virgin is carried through the streets, need to look for,refuge on the rooves.


Acjanaco is at the beginning of the Manu Biosphere Reserve on your route, and it is also the most southern part of the Reserve. Acjanaco is at an elevation of 3200 meters. The road to your left leads to the lookout point of Tress Cruces (Three Crosses), which is famous for its spectacular sunrise, which is only possible to observe in Acjanaco and in Japan. The best time to see it is during July and August. During the rest of the year, the area is normally too cloudy. The clouds form because of the humidity which rises from Thunor them jungle side of the Mountains.

The Incas used to observe the summer and winter solstices from Tress Cruces. From this natural platform they also gazed out over the immense expanse of Amazon rainforest. That view was the eastern boundary of their known world. On the eastern side the highest mountain of the Biosphere, the “Apu Kanahuay” mountain with its 4050 meters of altitude, can be observed. The translation of “Apu Kanahuay” from queshua is “that who is near God

Driving down from Acjanaco, the treeless alpine- Like Paramo in high altitudes start to change to a bizarre elfin forest. Reaching the lower altitudes sees that elfin forest change to a mysterious cloud forest, before arriving at the tropical rainforest.


Known as Knosnipata in queshua, this valley is at 900 meters, 3000 feet of elevation. It has been inhabited for many decades. First came opportunists and missionaries, but more lately the settlers have been landless peasants from the highlands, especially from Puno.

The gravelly soil is poor and unforgiving. Millennia of torrential rains have washed out all the natural fertility. Despite this, the inhabitants of the valley still cultivate crops, (rice, manioc, coca, bananas, other different kind of fruits), as they have done for decades.

There are three main settlements in the valley: Chontachaca, Patria and Pilcopata. However the valley of Knosnipata has been losing population over the last two decades due to the soil exhaustion and the exploitable timber stocks.


Big open walls on the side of the river are visible shortly after leaving the port of Atalaya. Look more carefully, and you can see three different layers in the wall. The lowest reddish colored earth is old sea bottom. This is from millions of years ago when the Amazon Basin was an inner sea. Above this there is a layer of big stones, which is ancient river bottom. Above that there is the actual earth layer.

The Alto Madre de Dios River stretches about 150 km in length. It gets its water from the snow peak of Pucara from southeast of Paucartambo. Smaller rivers like Pilcopata and Piñi Piñi and Tono form the Alto Madre de Dios, which later joins the Manu River. This then forms the Madre de Dios River. This water later joins with the Beni River in Bolivia and forms the Madeira River in Brazil, ending finally at Amazonas.


The small village of Boca Manu (The Mouth of Manu) is the capital of District of Fitzcarrald. It is situated at the conjunction of the Alto Madre de Dios and Manu Rivers. It is here that the dark brown colored sediment loaded waters of the Manu River meet the clearer waters of the Alto Madre de Dios River. Alto Madre de Dios is clearer because its origins are high in the Andes.

Manu National Park in madre de dios

The framers of Manu:

Celestino Kalinowski was a naturalist by vocation and heritage. His dream was the establishment of a natural museum in the Manu. His great concern was to preserve this area of ​​human predation. He visited Felipe Benavides, president of national parks, to tell you of the need to close off the loggers, hunters and prospectors. In May 1973, Reserve Manu National Park was declared. Since 1977 the park has enjoyed the status of Biosphere Reserve, awarded by UNESCO.

In 1887 John Kalinowski came to Peru to investigate the jungle of Madre de Dios. To him the discovery of valuable specimens for our wildlife and rich in our flora is due. The world began to know the great diversity and lost interest in those areas of southeastern Peru. Even some species adopted the name of its discoverer, as Dasyprocta – Kalinowski.

His son, Celestino Kalinowski Villamonte, inherited the vision and passion for the intricate fronds of the Peruvian jungle, precisely because those enigmatic territories kept for myth and mystery the great Païtiti, the much sought lost city of the Incas.

Such was the concern by Celestino Kalinowski Manu, who in 1964 visited Felipe Benavides Barreda, then president and Zonal National Parks, to warn of the need to close off the loggers, hunters and prospectors. He feared that beautiful confluence of rivers and forests remain at the mercy of humans. In a letter he suggested that the Manu reserved zone should be declared.

Benavides sought British naturalist Ian Grimwood, who undertook to alinowski, a scientific expedition in 1967, this could show that the evidence of the growing dangers and great natural wealth. From the data collected and under  of draft reports was achieved sustain the character of nature reserve. This effort paid off in the recognition of the Manu River basin Reserved Zone in 1968 In May 1973, the reserve was declared a National Park. In that area the flora and fauna to enjoy full backup since. Since 1977, the park boasts the Biosphere Reserve status, awarded by UNESCO. Ten years later he was declared a Natural World Heritage Site, Peru became a symbol in the world. What is Manu, has its origin in the inspiration and effort of a few zealous and nature lovers.

A MODEST MAN. The British Ian Grimwood Kalinowski said it was simple and was born naturalist. NATURAL WEALTH. Protected area thanks  to the efforts of some nature lovers as Kalinowski and Benavides. FELIPE BARREDA BENAVIDES. It was a permanent struggle for environmental care nature.

La Selva no conquistada – Parque Nacional del Manu:

Las evidencias más antiguas del Manu datan de 1.750 años antes de Cristo Y pertenecen a los arahuac. Ni incas ni españoles dominaron este territorio que se asocio al Paititi y sufriria la depredacion de caucheros y madederos.

n el Manu, el
misterio es un
instinto primario.
El origen de
sus habitantes
se pierde entre jaguares, hormigas
legionarias y leyendas
de diluvios, sangre y oro. Las
más antiguas evidencias arqueológicas
son restos de yuca
y palta, cultivadas entre los
años 1750 y 1000 a.C., por los
arahuac, que son los antepasados
míticos de las actuales
etnias del Manu (sobre todo
de los matsiguengas). El
gran antropólogo francés Alfred
Métraux los vindicó: “El
papel de los arahuac en el desarrollo
de la civilización en
América del Sur ha sido considerable.
a falta de trabajos de síntesis,
es difícil apreciar este esfuerzo
civilizador”. Y es que
fueron los mediadores en el
intercambio de productos y
divinidades entre la recóndita
selva y la sierra.

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