A great company - all the way through from the office staff to the tour staff. All was exceptional. We booked with Vertigo travel after looking around Cusco for a good deal and a good company to visit Manu with. We decided on Vertigo travel as they offered a great price and the itinerary sounded interesting. The office staff were very friendly and helpful. Alex was our guide, a trained biologist. He is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic to share his knowledge of the areas we passed through including pre-incan ruins, the high andean dessert, the cloud forest, the high jungle and the low jungle. He has an extremely trained eye and is able to spot wildlife that we would normally miss, all from the bus, the boat and on foot. His enthusiasm for conserving the environment is contagious and inspiring. The chef, Santiago, provided us with delicious and wholesome meals with a smile and cheeky sense of humour. The assistant guide, Alberto, was lovely and helpful as well. What a great team. The accommodation is very comfortable. Much better than what I was expecting for such an isolated area. There is no hot water, but in the jungle heat, that is no problem. The only thing I can recommend, book a longer trip. The 3 day trip is great if you have limited money and time but leaves you wanting to travel further down the river and explore more! As Manu is situated a days drive from Cusco, there is a lot of bus travel, but having Alex as a guide, he made that travel worthwhile, pointing out wildlife and cultural interests along the way. If you can, book a longer trip to allow for enough time in the jungle!
Three weeks ago I was in El Dorado Lodge. It is in Manu Cultural Zone along the shores of Alto Madre de Dios river. The setting is very beautiful and as it is a private reserve and as it was closed for 6 years with no people to disturb the animals, the chances to meet the fauna are quite high. During my stay I was able to meet different species of monkeys ( tamarins, squirrel and capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys ), many coloured birds, insects, butterflies as big as your hand, snakes, and much more depending on your luck. In a secluded area of the virgin forest, about two hours from the lodge, an old Arpia eagle nest is inhabited by a couple of Ornate crested eagle who, during the days I was there, were copulating. Into the forest we encountered Jaguar, tapir, tigrillo, armadillo, pecari footprints. The night walks are amazing. The chances to meet the fauna is high but you should walk as a jaguar: silently and concentrated. A good guide is very important and my guide was excellent. Vertigo travel Peru' has very good guides ( I met two: Alex and Nestor ). Don't forget your binocular but if you need you can rent one by the agency. Every day in the morning and in the afternoon macaws, parrots and parakeets cross the river up your heads. Few minutes by boat from the lodge are two collpa ( clay licks ) where early in the morning you could be the ones who enjoy the colours of these beautiful birds eating clay. Even the road that reach the lodge is very beautiful. It will be an adventure in an adventure. You have to cross about 11 quebradas. The 4 wheel drive car has to enter about 11 rivers that could be low or high level due to the rains. Go there and enjoy.
We arrived in Cusco knowing that there was a lot of things to do and see so we went straight to the travel agencies to get the low down. Vertigo Travel was the first agency we went into and were by far the best. Jamie was really helpful and rather than give us a leaflet with all the various bits of infomation on, he took the time and talked us through the details. We really felt he knew the itinery whereas the rest of the agencies didnt. Also, their trip was by far the cheapest in town however this didnt mean it lacked anything infact, we thought it was really good value for money. We spent the 3 days by Lake Sandoval in Tambopata. Unlike other agencies, we actually stayed by the lake for both nights and therefore could spend as long as we wanted seeing what wildlife there was in and around the lake - A lot of other companies just come and go to the lake for one afternoon. The lodge itself was basic but still really nice considering you're in the Amazon. Comfy beds, mosquito nets, working showers and toilets, a communal area where you would eat and chill in the hammocks. The threemeals a day was cooked fresh everyday by the family that lived there, i really enjoyed the food - authentic Peruvian food. As with most trips like this, the guide can make or break the trip. Our guide Marco MADE our trip. He spoke great English, worked tirelessly to spot the surrounding wildlife and was incredibly knowledgable about the area, the wildlife and the jungle.
While in Peru, my friends and I used Vertigo to book trips to Lake Titicaca, Manu National Park (5 day tour), Rainbow Mountain, and the Salkantay Trek (5 day trek). All of our trips were phenomenal! We kept coming back because Vertigo was consistently the best travel agency that we had used. They were always very up front and honest, there were no hidden costs, and they make very clear what things are included, what to bring on the trips, etc. The guides and companies that they worked with were always very professional, and we had an amazing time on all of our trips. The food was also incredible on all of the overnight trips that we took. Manu and Salkantay were hands-down two of the most incredible things I have ever done, and Vertigo made it all possible! They helped with all the questions we had, and were always so polite and courteous. Jaime is so helpful and very easy to work with--an excellent all-around business!