Far below the cloud forests of Machu Picchu the Vilcanota river cuts a canyon through an incredible mountain ridge in the jungle. This biodiverse hotspot is called the "Pongo de Mainique", ("Maini" means "Bear" in Machiguenga) the " Door of the Bear"; which the people say separate the Andean and Amazonian worlds.
At the entrance to the Pongo de Mainique, the Yoyato River joins the Vilcanota river where the turquoise and brown waters mix in a beautiful way. The Yoyato River is perfect for hiking and picnicking, swimming in the crystal clear water, with a gentle current and deep turquoise pools.
The Pongo de Mainique is protected by the Megantoni National Sanctuary established in 2004. "Meganto" is the Machiguenga name for the Scarlet Macaw. At the junction of the Yoyato River and the entrance to the Pongo de Mainique there is a ranger station on a crest above the river. From here we can hike over the mountain to the other side while seeing wildlife such as Toucans, Macaws, Andean Cock of the Rock and many other exotic birds. Spider Monkeys, poison dart frogs, tapirs and many other rare animals inhabit this area.
Getting there is a bit of a journey, but those that make it are well rewarded with the beauty that this area of La Convencion, Cusco has to offer. On the way we pass through Quillabamba, the capitol of this area, one of the best coffee producing regions of all Peru! The Illapani and Simbeni waterfall hikes are a great day trip from Quillabamba. The boat ride to the Pongo is also an adventure in its own right.
Of all the jungle areas I have visited in Peru, the Megantoni National Sanctuary is my favorite because it is still quite remote and wild.
Contact us to setup your own visit to this little slice of jungle paradise!