Manu National Park is a protected natural area located in southeastern Peru, partially in the departments of Madre de Dios and Cuzco, between the provinces of Manu and Paucartambo. With an area of 1,909,806 hectares or square hectometers, it is divided into three large zones: the national park, with 1,532,806 ha, the Reserved Zone, with 257,000 ha, and the Transition or Cultural Zone, with 120,000 ha.
The Manu area has a history marked by the arrival of foreigners, from the time of the Inca Empire when the Inca Pachacutec and Tupac Yupanqui annexed this area to their empire, to the arrival of the Spaniards who shortly after the invasion of Cuzco founded the town of Paucartambo, where they established haciendas and encomiendas and where King Carlos III of Spain ordered the construction of a bridge to facilitate trade of the area’s products; This is how this valley began to supply Cuzco with products such as coca, sugar, cotton, chili, wood and others.
It extends from 300 meters above sea level, at the confluence of the Manu River with the Madre de Dios River, to more than 4000 meters above sea level at the summit of the Apu Kañajhuay mountain. Some researchers believe that in the virgin areas of this reserve is the Paititi or lost city of the Incas.
The national park was created on May 29, 1973. In 1977, UNESCO recognized the park as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987 declared it a World Natural Heritage Site.