We stayed three nights at MLC as part of a two week visit to Manu Biosphere Reserve (Manu itself was absolutely fantastic!!!). We had a knowledgeable and experienced guide (Ricardo H Sanchez Tucto) who was able to explain the park in great detail. This made a difference to our enjoyment as I had wanted to visit Manu for over 20 years - the accommodation was secondary really. Saying that, it was clean and comfortable, facilities of a fairly high standard and the staff friendly. The room was not ensuite but that was ok with us, and apparently there are plans to make them so. We learned a lot about Manu especially from mixing with the researchers. There were activities during the day and the staff put on optional short events in the evening too. The only downside for me was the vegetarian main meals - great if you like eggs all the time! Unimaginative here compared to the wonderful fresh cuisine at the other lodges where we stayed. Fine for meat eaters though. Our trip was organised by Crees Foundation which owns this place and organises the research. Crees does a great job and the fortnight trip they put on for us was exceptional overall.
Booked a 5d/4n crees tour and had a really good guide for the first 3 days. After arriving in MLC we visited the oxbow lake, Shintuya village, a clay lick and local hot springs. The two women of the projects gave us a good talk and insights in the variois projects around.
On the 4 th day our guide left with other member mebers of our group who booked 4d/3n and left us in the mlc, where one of the staff had to look after us. We did some walks with him, but he didn't seem to care we were not used being in the rainforest with high humidity, and walked way to fast, so i lost him many many times, what is not so practical on night walks....
You must be aware that in the mlc the conservation projects with staff and volunteers are no 1 priority and that paying guests are not. Especially after our guide left this feeling grew. When you are aware of this before booking it may be fine, but we we were not aware.
We stayed in a sort of lodges, accommodating 4 rooms. These had no windows or wardrobes so al kind of insects and cockroaches ran over your luggage. My husband took a giant cockroach with him to cusco and we still hope it didn't lay eggs in the luggage. During the day someone kept removing the mosquito nets from our beds, so when you returned late there were already insects on the beds. When we were there we had the impression they were putting nets in the rooms so no animals can come in through the windows anymore, that would already improve something. But it can't be that kind of problem to build wardrobes with nets so you do not need to warry about the luggage.
Food was of not so good quality, when we compare this with the inca trail we were really disappointed, there was a well equipped kitchen, a lot of fruit and vegetables growing there but not a proper cook, at least when we were there. We also think it was weird that all the staff and volunteers got their food first and that we had to sit and wait until we got something, whick could take quite a while, it just didn't give us a hospitable feeling. Dining room also open, so insects flying around you and on your food all the time. Don't want to sound spoiled, but when you pay 2000 usd for 5 days you have some expectations. Also this was not our first jungle we visited, have been in African and Asian rainforest, so had some comparison how it can be. Even compared with cock of the rock this was a enormous difference. Sanitary facilities are shared with all of staff and volunteers. It gave the idea of a youth hostel with dirty toilets and showers covered with hairs. No hot water available in the showers.
Nature fantastic, really good guide (until he left), facilities poor, overall feeling disappointed.
Whether you want to volunteer and be part of the research program or just visit as a tourist and take a few hikes through the forrest this is a great place to stay. The staff here is amazingly hard working and friendly, they are all very easy to interact with. Even though I was the only American in there, I was welcomed and fit right in with everyone. The researchers are incredibly knowledgeable and love to talk about and inform people about the forrest and things that you can do to help the forrest. I stayed here as a volunteer even though I did a lot of hard work, it was very satisfying work and I learned a lot about the animals and plants of the forrest. I would love to get back here and stay for a longer period of food. The beautiful scenery never got old even though I walked through it everyday. The rooms are open and beds are covered with mosquito nets, I never had a problem with bugs in my bed or being bitten while I was sleeping. This open style of room makes you feel like you are sleeping right out in the jungle. You wake up to the calls of birds, monkeys, and insects every morning; I couldn't ask for a better alarm clock. This was easily one of the best experiences of my life and was due in part to the wonderful people that I got to meet. I will never forget this experience!
Manu is one of the absolute best places in the Amazon rainforest (and in the world!) to see nature at its finest. In my time there I saw squirrel monkeys, red howler monkeys, various hummingbirds, many different types of butterflies, macaws, parrots, frogs, spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, a giant otter, a porcupine, an opossum, a jaguar, and hundreds of vibrant flowers and beautiful trees.
While seeing wildlife in the rainforest is to be expected, the Manu Learning Centre’s prime location make experiencing nature effortless since the forest is literally right outside your door. One of my favorite memories is sitting in the open-air living area and looking out at the forest at night; there were so many fireflies in the trees that it was hard to tell where the forest ended and where the star-filled sky began.
Besides the location, the facilities, food, and service are all excellent. The open-air facilities give the traveler an authentic experience, and all of the buildings are kept immaculately clean. There are standard toilets, showers, and sinks which are a nice luxury in the rainforest. Each bedroom has two nice beds and an armoire. Before my trip, I was concerned about insects getting into my bed at night, but the mosquito net provided keeps absolutely everything out.
The food at the Manu Learning Centre (MLC) goes beyond simple jungle fare, and includes the cuisine of Peru at large. Every meal is different and absolutely delicious.
The staff are always very helpful, kind, and attentive. They have a wealth of knowledge about the forest as well and are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. You don’t have to worry if you don’t speak any Spanish; many of the staff speak English.
The MLC is very unique in that they make every effort to have a zero carbon footprint, so you can rest assured that your stay is not going to harm the fragile environment you’re visiting. It’s run by a non-profit called CREES which has partnerships with multiple universities including Oxford, and works to gather data on the rainforest and carry out conservation projects like reforestation to benefit the environment. As a traveler, you don’t have to take part in these projects, of course, but it’s nice to know that the money you pay is going toward a good cause.
The Manu Learning Centre is made up of a series of two storey 'Pods', each containing four rooms.The Pods are spacious and airy, perfect for keeping cool in the Amazon heat. My large twin room, included a wardrobe and very comfy bed, was competed by views out over the rainforest. The open sides of the Pod meant I felt like I was really out in the forest and was woken every morning to the sounds of macaws and howler monkeys. The bathrooms are situated behind the Pods in a separate building. They are cleaned daily and are always immaculate. This is where the washing facilities are also housed. Although there is no official swimming pool, there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the vast amount of jungle pools and creeks whilst exploring the jungle, which, in my opinion, is far more fun than your average hotel pool.
The living and eating area also has open sides and provides an excellent vantage point for bird watching in the garden clearing. The food is impressive and a great introduction to the huge array of cuisine Peru has to offer. After a long day out in the forest, dinner is the only thing on most peoples minds and it never disappoints.
The large range of research projects are run by an extremely friendly set of staff who are always willing to help in any way they can. The evenings can be spent relaxing in the living room, reading by candlelight (there is no permanent electricity supply) or playing cards with the other guests and staff. There is the opportunity to charge electrical items most evenings for a small charge as well as internet access for about an hour when requested.
The Manu Learning Centre is a fantastic place to begin your rainforest adventure with great food, comfortable rooms and excellent staff. The lodge fits so perfectly into its rainforest surrounds, managing to provide brilliant accommodation without taking away any beauty from the rainforest itself. A had a wonderful stay and thoroughly recommend it to those thinking about visiting Manu National Park.