Story and Photography by Mercedes Benavides
Manú Road is a leading birding route that begins in the city of Cusco, in what was the capital of the Inca Empire, and journeys through deep valleys, lakes and mountains all the way into the rainforest, deep in the Manú National Park of Peru. One could even think of traveling this road as a pilgrimage: while there is one starting point and one direction, there are many paths along the way and plenty of stops to admire the breadth of avifauna and flora amidst dramatic settings as one travels up and over the Andes Mountain Range down to the Amazonian plain, all of which make Manú Road a spiritual experience for sure. As one of the top ten mega-diverse countries in the world, Peru holds the second spot in number of bird species at over 1,800, and is within the top five spots in amphibians, mammals and plants. Manú Road is representative of this biodiversity.