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Manu Learning Centre

Type of destination:

  • River / lake / wetland
  • Forest / rainforest
  • World Heritage Site

Type of accommodation:

  • Bungalow / cabaña / ecolodge
  • Research station

Rates: (in US dollars)

$76 – 100
See details about rates below.

Target Market:

Mid range


Nestled in the Amazon foothills, Manu Learning Centre overlooks the banks of the Alto Madre de Dios River and is the most sustainable ecolodge in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The center boasts a solar-powered internet connection, environmentally-sound septic system, and gravity-fed water pumps, all of which help minimize impacts on the local environment and reduce the centre's carbon footprint. As a result, the Manu Learning Centre has obtained Rainforest Alliance Verification for high standards of sustainability.

In terms of design, the Manu Learning Centre features a fusion of indigenous Matsiguenka principles and modern facilities that help it blend into the rainforest naturally while providing rustic comfort for visitors. The Manu Learning Centre provides comfortable, airy accommodations; top-level research facilities; and ample space to process samples, conduct laboratory work, and meet other conservation project needs. Manu Learning Centre also serves as an ideal base for volunteers and tourists interested in experiencing the wonders and biodiversity of Manu's forests.

The Manu Biosphere Reserve (MBR) encompasses almost the entire watershed of the Manu River, from tributaries that start high in the Andes down to the lowland Amazonian rainforest that stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Its geography, biodiversity, and indigenous communities not only make it a compelling destination, but also a valuable cultural, scientific, and economic resource. The reserve is located in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest, in the Madre de Dios Region of eastern Peru, and is an integral component of the Vilcabamba-Amboro conservation corridor, a thousand-kilometer-long network of protected areas that runs from Machu Picchu in Peru to Amboro in central Bolivia.

The MBR is a world renowned location for biodiversity, boasting an abundance of wildlife. Biologists have documented close to 1,300 species of butterflies (15% of the world's total), 800 species of birds (9%), and 160 species of mammals (4%). 140 species of amphibians and reptiles and 250 species of freshwater fish have also been identified over the last few years. Of an estimated 25,000 species of flowering plants in Manu, only 18% have yet been properly identified.

The Manu Learning Centre is run by CREES (Conservation, Research, & Environmental Education towards Sustainability), a Peruvian rainforest conservation and community development nonprofit organization that works in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The centre has enabled CREES to introduce its projects to various people, including researchers, international volunteers, and tourists.


  • Breakfast included
  • Event space (conferences / parties)
  • Internet connection
  • Kitchen
  • Private bathroom
  • Transportation


  • Adventure sports
  • Biking
  • Bird watching
  • Canopy exploration
  • Eco / nature / wildlife
  • Educational / research / volunteering
  • Guided tours
  • River rafting / kayaking
  • Visits to conservation projects
  • Volunteers accepted
  • Walking / hiking

Making a Difference

Building sustainability in the rainforest is what we do. Many people mistake sustainability for simply rainforest conservation, but true sustainability strives for economic, social, and environmental continuity as a holistic effort. This is the ethos that drives what we do and why we exist.

How do we do it?

  • Developing strategic, proactive, and ecologically-sound programs. Tourism can have a damaging effect on the environment and communities involved. However, all of our eco-tours, expeditions, and volunteer programs have been strategically developed to support community projects, educate participants on sustainability efforts, offset carbon emissions, and contribute to scientific research being conducted by the CREES Foundation.
  • Managing and developing sustainable, eco-friendly facilities. All of our lodges and research facilities are designed, built, and run using sustainable practices. The Manu Learning Centre, a multi-use facility that provides accommodations and space for research, was built in such a way to minimize environmental impact and engages in sustainable resource management.

The Manu Learning Centre achieved Rainforest Alliance Verification thanks to CREES's dedicated team of Peruvian staff, who participated in workshops in 2009 and 2010 that focused on three key topics: environment, cultural, and economic impacts of operations around the Manu Biosphere Reserve.

CREES aims to continue raising the bar by recording all consumptive activities to control waste and improving educational programs and capacity building projects for both the MLC staff and local communities. CREES will continue to work together with local communities to solve any problems and work towards a sustainable Amazon.

Sustainability has credibility issues, and the Rainforest Alliance sets tough standards for its Verification program - some 320 criteria to ensure that everything along the chain is considered, from local suppliers and building practices, to the education of staff and volunteers. CREES achieved 74% in overall sustainability performance in the Rainforest Alliance's Verification program, ensuring that the Manu Learning Center is one of the most sustainable lodges within Manu National Park. The auditors looked at the infrastructure of the MLC, assessing everything from rooms, paths, and trails to solar panel systems, septic tanks, and orchid gardens. Rainforest Alliance auditors meticulously studied CREES’s sustainability policies and the MLC's sustainable tourism management plan. They also interviewed staff and volunteers to make sure they fully understood the plans and policies and how to implement them during daily activities. Waste disposal and energy consumption were also assessed. Lastly, the auditors checked CREES's paperwork, guestbook, and volunteer feedback forms.


$76 – 100

The rates are $85 USD per person; discounts may apply for large groups on educational expeditions.

Getting There

Nearest international airport: Lima (LIM)

Nearest local/national airport: Cusco (CUZ)

Travel time to nearest airport: 1 hour

Visitors can make the trip to the Manu Learning Centre from Cusco by car or small plane. By car, itineraries normally stop at key viewpoints as the journey traverses the Andes mountain range and descends, through the cloud forest, to the Amazon basin.

Planes fly straight from Cusco to Boca Manu only during the dry season (May – September); no planes fly during the wet season (October - April).

Additional Information

Additional Web sites

Date This Information Was Provided

December 2011.

Photos courtesy of Manu Learning Centre, Peru, for

    A journey to Manu

    Volunteer Testimonials

    Our conservation projects

Contact Information

Matt Powers
Sales & Marketing

Fundo Mascoitania
río Madre de Dios
Manú Biosphere Reserve

Tel: +44/0-20-7581-2932 (Reservations, Tours, & Volunteering) ; +51/0-84-262433 (local Peru office);



Making a Difference

Winner, Making a Difference Award

January, 2012



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