Peru is an exciting and wonderful country in western South America, and it has it all: monuments to ancient civilisations, world-leading fusion gastronomy, eclectic cultural heritage, outdoor adventures of all kinds, colourful tribal festivals, and of course wild and diverse landscapes.
With over 1850 bird species Peru has one of the biggest bird lists in the world, including an incredible 107 endemic species. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east formed by the mighty Amazon river.
This Nature Travel Birding tour visits southern Peru and Machu Picchu. From Lima, we will visit Cusco, the Eastern Slopes of the Andes and the magical Manu National Park, which has the highest biodiversity of life on Earth and is one of the most important conservation units in the world. Manu is one of the world’s great wilderness areas where wildlife is still plentiful and over 1000 species of birds have been recorded. We’ll devote a morning to a guided tour of the iconic Inca city of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Birding in Peru is also an exercise in geography, as altitude plays a critical role. Many of the species we will search for occur in relatively narrow elevation bands. We will also experience an incredible amount of colour on our trip; from the iridescence of the hummingbirds to the bright crimson red of the Andean Cock-of-the-rock to the almost cartoon-like kaleidoscope of the tanager families. The late Theodore Parker III, a well-known American ornithologist, once said, “Peru offers bird enthusiasts more than any other country in the world… Being here is like being a child visiting a huge store filled with new and fascinating toys.”
DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
This trip starts in Lima, Peru’s capital city. Flights will arrive at Jorge Chávez I nternational Airport, where you will meet your Nature Travel Birding guide and be transferred from the airport to a comfortable city hotel.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence(1811-1826), it became the capital of the Republic of Peru.
Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551, during the Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.
Lima is often overlooked when people discuss great South American cities, but Peru’s capital can hold its own against its neighbours. It has an oceanfront setting, colonial-era splendour, sophisticated dining and nonstop nightlife.
It is located on mostly flat terrain in the Peruvian coastal plain, within the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers. The city slopes gently from the shores of the Pacific Ocean into valleys and mountain slopes located as high as 1550 meters (5,090 ft) above sea level.
Despite its location in the tropics and in a desert, Lima’s proximity to the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean leads to temperatures much lower than those expected for a tropical desert area and while relative humidity is high, rainfall is very low. The average temperature in September is 16.5°C(62°F) with a high of 19°C and a low of 15°C. The highest ever recorded September temperature was 28°C(82°F) and the lowest was 12.5°C(55°F).
Depending on your arrival time in Lima, there might even be time for some casual birding around the streets and parks of the city. Here me might find Rock Pigeon, West Peruvian Dove, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Blue-and-white Swallow, Pacific Parrotlet, Bananaquit, Eared Dove, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, House Wren, Shiny Cowbird, Vermillion Flycatcher, Long-tailed Mockingbird, Saffron Finch, Scrub Blackbird and even Black Vulture.
We will get to know each other over drinks at the hotel, then have dinner and a good night’s rest before the excitement really starts!
DAY 2: Villa Marsh, Lima pelagic and Flight from Lima to Cusco
We will have an early breakfast in the hotel and afterwards drive for about 20 minutes to Villa Marsh Nature Reserve(Pantanos de Villa). It was declared a Ramsar site in 1997. This site is a coastal lagoon with brackish water and abundant emergent vegetation. The wetland is situated in the desert and the main source of water is of underground origin. It is a habitat for waterfowl typical of coastal Peru. Here we will look for Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, Franklin’s, Gray-headed and Belcher’s Gull, Tropical Kingbird, the endemic Coastal Miner, West Peruvian Dove, Wren-like Rushbird, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Scrub Blackbird, Neotropic Cormorant, Vermillion Flycatcher, Plumbeous Rail, Peruvian Meadowlark, White-tufted and Great Grebe, Andean Coot, Striated Heron, Killdeer, Peruvian Thick-knee, Amazilia Hummingbird, Shiny Cowbird, Croaking Ground Dove, Spotted Sandpiper, Harris’s Hawk, White-cheeked Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Little Blue Heron, Andean Duck and many more.
Then we’ll drive for 30 minutes more to Pucusana, a small and picturesque fishing village. There we’ll do our Semi Pelagic Tour. We’ll navigate on our private local boat and search for Peruvian Pelican, Inca Tern, Surfbird, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorant, Elegant Tern, Peruvian Booby, Blackish Oystercatcher, Parrot-billed and Chestnut-throated Seedeater, the endemic Peruvian Seaside (Surf) Cinclodes, the globally endangered Humboldt Penguin as well as a number of gull species and maybe even a petrel or shearwater or something similarly exciting!
We will then have lunch in a local restaurant, and if there is time we can explore a bit further south to Puerto Viejo and the San Andres area for extra species.
Then we’ll drive straight back to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima for our short afternoon flight to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco.
Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is a fascinating blend of old and new. The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It sits at 3400 metres (11200 ft) above sea level, with mild day temperatures and cold night temperatures. Days are usually sunny but rains may arrive suddenly.
We’ll arrive in Cusco at around 4:30 pm and transfer to our comfortable hotel where we will have dinner and a good night’s rest.
DAY 3: Cusco to Aguas Calientes
After a very early breakfast we will transfer to Poroy station for our very scenic train ride for 3 hours to Aguas Calientes town. The town(also known as Machupicchu or Machupicchu Pueblo) is the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu which is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away. There are many hotels and restaurants for tourists, as well as natural hot baths which gave the town its colloquial Spanish name. Aguas Calientes is at 2000 metres elevation and the temperature is a mild 12 to 24 °C(54 to 75°F) year round.
After reaching our hotel (which is close to the train station) in town we’ll have lunch and then enjoy some afternoon birding along the Urubamba River and nearby cloud forest for target species. We will try and find Torrent Duck, Andean Gull, White-Capped Dipper, the endemic Green-and-white Hummingbird, Collared Inca, Torrent Tyrannulet, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Mottled-cheeked, Bolivian and Sclater’s Tyrannulet, Spectacled and Slate-throated Redstart, Rust-and-yellow, Blue-necked, Bay-headed, Golden-naped and Silver-backed Tanager, White-tipped Swift, Cinnamon Flycatcher, the endemic Masked Fruiteater, Variable Antshrike, White-crested Elaenia, Oleaginous Hemispingus, Chestnut-Capped Brushfinch, Blue Dacnis, Mitred Parakeet, Dusky-green Oropendola, American Kestrel and many more…
We will enjoy dinner and overnight in our hotel, but before going to bed we recommend you pack a small bag pack with the necessary for your next two days and nights: Birding equipment, hat or cap, mosquito repellent, sun block, long sleeve t-shirt, pants, rain jackets, warm cloth, hiking shoes. The rest of your luggage will be kept safely in the hotel in Cusco for when we return.
DAY 4: Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo
Today starts with a very early breakfast as we will try to get the first bus up to Machu Picchu. This world famous tourist attraction is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge at 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) elevation, above the Sacred Valley through which the Urubamba River flows.
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
We’ll spend almost all morning sightseeing and birding the area around the Inca ruin and then enjoy some lunch. We will look for the endemic Inca Wren, White-collared and Andean Swift, Blue-and-white Swallow, House Wren, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Ocellated Piculet, Golden-billed Saltator, Capped Conebill, White-eared Solitaire, Mountain Caracara, Rust-and-yellow and Saffron-crowned Tanager, White-Bellied Hummingbird, Collared Inca, Azara’s Spinetail, Andean Guan, the endemic Masked Fruiteater, Highland Motmot and even the occasional Andean Condor that may be soaring overhead.
After lunch we’ll take our train to Ollantaytambo, about 90 minutes away. It is a small town and another important Inca archaeological site located at an altitude of 2,792 m (9,160 ft) above sea level in the province of Urubamba. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti, who conquered the region and built the town and its ceremonial center. Nowadays it is an popular tourist destination (as it is one of the starting points for the famous Inca Trail) located in what is called the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Our laid-back terracotta-style hotel is near the train station and we’ll walk to get there. We should keep an eye out here for Chiguanco Thrush, Band-tailed Seedeater, Cinereous Conebill, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Black-backed Grosbeak and even Aplomado Falcon.
We will then enjoy dinner and a good night’s sleep.
DAY 5: Penas, Abra Malaga Pass, Carrizales and drive back to Cusco
We will have another early breakfast around 5:30 am and then a short drive up to our first stop at Peñas with its scrubby vegetation, where several interesting birds are found. Some target birds here include the endemics Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch, White-tufted Sunbeam, Rusty-fronted Canastero and Creamy-crested Spinetail as well as a great variety of hummingbirds. We will try and find Giant, Black and Green-tailed Trainbearers, Great Sapphire-wing, Shining Sunbeam, Sparkling Violetear and Tyrian Metaltail. We will also look for Golden-billed Saltator, Andean Parakeet and many more.
We will then continue to Abra Malaga Pass (located at 4320 m/14200 feet of elevation) and Carrizales with its Polylepis forest. The birding activity at Abra Malaga needs some extra energy for walking up and down at this higher elevation. We highly recommend that you take some extra water, energy bars or any other snacks you may like for today’s excursion. The exciting birds we hope to find here include the endemic Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Stripe-headed Antpitta, the endemic White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Giant Conebill, Andean Flicker, Cordilleran and Lined-fronted Canastero, Tit-like Dacnis, Andean Lapwing, White-winged, Cream-winged and Royal Cinclodes, the endemic Junin Canastero, Andean Guan, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Pearled Treerunner, Red-crested Cotinga, Pale-legged Warbler, Scarlet-bellied and Chestnut-breasted Mountain Tanager, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Thick-billed Siskin and a good chance for Andean Condor.
Once over the pass the habitat gets more humid, with Chusquea bamboo patches offering us good possibilities for a few endemics : Parodi’s Hemispingus, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant and Marcapata Spinetail. We should also find several species of conebills, mountain tanagers and flycatchers and maybe Puna Tapaculo.
We will then continue our drive to Cusco but we will stop on the way at Huaypo Lake for some waters birds. The lake is in an open scrub area and is surrounded by bulrushes, mud flats, dry scrub, and open fields. The primary attraction is high elevation water birds such as White-cheeked and Yellow-billed Pintail, Puna and Cinnamon Teal, and White-tufted Grebe. Other species we will search for include Spot-winged Pigeon, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Puna Ibis, Andean Duck, Andean Goose, Andean Coot and Common Gallinule amongst others.
Dinner and overnight will be back at Jose Antonio Hotel in Cusco.
DAY 6: Huacarpay Lake, Manu Road and Wayqecha Biological Station
Breakfast will be around 6:00 am and we’ll start our birding adventure towards the Manu Road. This is a long access road that connects Cusco in the high Andes of Central Peru to the Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. The road goes through several high elevation passes before descending through various altitudinal zones of largely forested habitats. It is world famous amongst birders!
Our first stop will be at Huacarpay Lake after about half an hour; this natural Andean marsh provides some restricted range habitat species and endemics, and we will look for Puna and Andean Ibis, Andean and Puna Teal, Yellow-billed and White-cheeked Pintail, Andean Duck, Plumbeous Rail, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean Gull, Great and Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Andean Negrito, Cinereous Harrier, Variable Hawk, Eared Dove, Brown-bellied Swallow and Upland Sandpiper amongst many others. A more scarce species, the White-backed Stilt is sometimes also seen in this area. We will also look for several other species on the way to the lakes, including the endemic Bearded Mountaineer, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant, Chiguanco Thrush, Cinerous Conebill, Peruvian, Mourning and Ash-breasted Sierra Finch, the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch, Band-tailed Seedeater and Greenish Yellow Finch.
Then we’ll drive for some 3 hours to Paucartambo village for our lunch in a local restaurant. Paucartambo is home to the colourful Virgen del Carmen festival (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), held each year on 16 July.
Then we’ll drive up to Acjanaco pass at an elevation of 3500 metres (11500 feet) above sea level and from there to the southern tip of the greater Manu National Park. On our way there we hope to get Andean Parakeet, Chestnut-collared Swift, Black-throated, Moustached and Masked Flowerpiercer, Great Thrush, Sedge Wren, Hooded Siskin, Slender-billed Miner, Torrent Tyrannulet, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Plain-colored Seedeater, Gray-breasted Wood Wren and many more.
We will arrive at Wayqecha Biological Station late in the afternoon. Here we will have dinner and a good night’s rest.
DAY 7: Wayqecha Biological Station to Cock-of-the-rock Lodge
We will have an early breakfast and do some morning birding before lunch. The 1450 acre reserve around Wayqecha is a biodiversity hotspot where treeless plains of the altiplano meet cloud forest. Wayqecha has an average annual precipitation of 1,700 mm, most of which occurs between October and April. The average annual temperature is 12.5°C(55°F), with nighttime lows of 5°C(41°F) and daytime highs that don’t exceed 20°C(68°F). The field station sits atop a steep slope that drops off sharply into the valley below. Birding is along trails or along Manu Road. Not far up the road is an excellent overlook into cloud forest where we will look for mixed tanager flocks and sometimes Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan. A bit farther is also a trail into the cloud forest that is sometimes productive.
Our target species here include Sierran Elaenia, the endemic Red-and-white Antpitta, Tyrian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Lesser Violetear, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Hooded and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, White-collared Jay, Stripe-faced Wood Quail, Scaly-naped Parrot, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteater, Andean Solitaire, Fulvous Wren, Pearled Treerunner, Rust-and-yellow, Grass-green, Golden-collared and Blue-capped Tanager, Mountain Cacique and many more.
After lunch we’ll leave the lodge and keep birding along the road with several chances for more species according the elevation and forest type with some selected stops for targets species.
We will arrive at our accommodation for the next two nights late in the afternoon in time for dinner and overnight relaxation.
Cock-of-the-rock Lodge is named after the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Peru’s large, bright-red national bird that puts on a colourful, noisy mating display adjacent to the lodge every morning. PLEASE TAKE NOTE THERE IS NO ELECTRICITY HERE.
DAY 8: Cock-of-the-rock Lodge
Cock-of-the-rock Lodge is one of the original eco-lodges along Manu Road, adjacent to Manu National Park. The lodge is inside a private conservation area with 12,350 acres (5,000 ha) of cloud forest at 3,609 to 8,858 feet (1,100 to 2,700 m) above sea level. The lodge grounds include a sizeable tract of forest with numerous trails, affording an opportunity to see species that may not appear along Manu Road itself. The lodge is located at 1524 m elevation; temperature is usually hot (30°C/86°F) during the day and a bit cooler at night (15°C/59°F).
Breakfast and lunch well be at the lodge today and we will have a full morning and part of the afternoon birding along the road and trails. We will also have some time off for watching hummingbirds at the feeders in front the kitchen/dining area.
Our target species at the lodge and surroundings include Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush, Slaty Gnateater, the endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin, Blue Dacnis, White-rumped Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzal, Speckled Chachalaca, Masked Trogon, Andean Motmot, Barred and White-eyed Parakeet, Scaly-naped and Speckle-faced Parrot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Bananaquit, Two-banded Warbler, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed and Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Dusky-green and Russet-backed Oropendola, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, the endemic Inca Flycatcher, Yungas Manakin, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned, Beryl-spangled, Spotted and Paradise Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Bronzy Inca, the endemic Peruvian Piedtail and lots more.
We will also do some night birding here and are looking for Foothill and Rufescent Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Andean Potoo.
Before or after our night birding we will have dinner and another good night’s rest.
DAY 9: Cock-of-the-rock Lodge to Amazonia Lodge
We will have breakfast and if we need to try for some missing species, we’ll do some birding along the trails and around the lodge again this morning.
After lunch we’ll leave the lodge and start birding along the way to our next overnight stop. We’ll drive to Atalaya Village river dock and we’ll have a short (20 minutes) boat trip downstream on the Alto Madre de Dios River to Amazonia Lodge. On the boat we will look out for Black and Turkey Vulture, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Large-billed Tern, Black Caracara, Collared Plover, Great Kiskadee and even Sand-colored Nighthawk.
Amazonia Lodge is near the end of the Manu Road and is located at 400 m (1300ft) elevation, the temperature fluctuations are from 18°C(64°F) during the night to 34°C(93°F) during the day. The building is on a river island and is open only during the dry season. It is situated on a converted tea plantation that is reverting back to forest. About two-thirds of the property is primary rainforest, mostly in the foothills. The remainder of the property is secondary growth from reforestation. An extensive network of trails affords plenty of opportunity to bird the forest. A high observation tower allows access to canopy birds.
We will have some time to settle into our accommodations and time off to enjoy the feeders in front the main building.
Target species we will be looking for here include Bluish-slate Antshrike, which is typically the leader of mixed-species foraging flocks, Sclater’s, White-flanked, White-eyed, Ihering’s, Ornate and Stripe-chested Antwren, White-lined, Manu, Black-faced, White-browed, Warbling and Goeldi’s Antbird, Horned Screamer, Round-tailed and Band-tailed Manakins, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Striolated and Swallow-winged Puffbird, Gray-rumped, Chestnut-collared and Amazonian Swift, Olivaceous Siskin, Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Southern Lapwing, Southern Caracara, Giant Cowbird, Little Woodpecker, Russet-Backed Oropendola, Bamboo Antshrike, Blue-Headed Macaw, Swallow and Magpie Tanager, Ornate Flycatcher, Plumbeous Kite, Festive Coquette, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Rusty-fronted Flycatcher, Flammulated Pygmy-Tyrant, Scarlet-hooded and Lemon-throated Barbet, and many more.
We will have dinner and overnight in Amazonia Lodge.
DAY 10: Amazonia Lodge
We will have an early breakfast and a full day birding around the trail system and surroundings of Amazonia Lodge. We will start early and be back for lunch. After lunch we will have a short break and again go birding in the afternoon.
The Lodge has a bird list of around 650 species and new ones are continually being added to the list. There are a vast amount of birding possibilities around the lodge and some species we will be on the lookout for include: Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Wire-crested Thorntail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Black-eared Fairy, Blue-tailed Emerald, Gould’s Jewelfront, Sapphire-Spangled Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Masked-Crimson Tanager, Cinnamon-throated and Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Pale-legged Hornero, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Bluish-Fronted Jacamar, Pectoral Sparrow, Ringed Antpipit, Rusty-Belted Tapaculo, Crested and Olive Oropendola, Plain-crowned and Dark-breasted Spinetail, Great Potoo, Hoatzin, Military, Blue-headed and Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Pygmy Antwren, Gray Antbird, Blue-headed Parrot, White-eyed Parakeet, Violaceus and Purplish Jay, Great Antshrike, Amazon Kingfisher, Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, Buckley’s Forest Falcon, Wattled Guan, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-webbed Brilliant, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythebill, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrranulet, Johannes’s Tody-Tyrant, White-thighed Swallow, Cuzco Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis and many more.
We can again do some night birding before or after dinner and be on the lookout for Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech Owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo.
Afterwards we will enjoy a good night’s rest.
DAY 11: Amazonia Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center
After breakfast we will head for our next destination, the world famous Manu!
The Manu Nature Reserve was established in 1968, and Manu National Park was established in 1973. In 1977, UNESCO recognised it as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987, as a World Heritage Site. The park covers an area of 1,716,295.22 hectares (17,162.95 km2) which comprises mountainous areas (traversed by creeks and valleys) with elevations close to 4000 m above sea level and a portion of the Amazon Basin plains. It has the highest biodiversity of any globally protected site and is therefore abundantly rich in fauna and flora, with about 160 species of mammals having been reported in the park, along with more than 1000 bird species, 1300 butterfly species, 155 amphibian species, 132 reptile species, 15000 species of flowering plants and 210 species of fish.
It will take approximately 5 hours by boat to get to our overnight stop, the Manu Wildlife Center.
We will arrive at Manu Wildlife Center late in the afternoon. It is a privately owned rainforest reserve, which forms part of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. It is located in the Cultural Reserved Buffer Zone, set aside for indigenous Amazonian peoples. The lodge is on the banks of the Madre de Dios River in pristine rainforest. Rainfall at Manu Wildlife Center is around 2500-3500 millimeters/98-138 inches per year, with most rainfall occurring in the rainy season months from November to April. The average temperature is 28°C (82°F), with daily highs of 34°C (93°F) and nightly lows of 22°C (72°F). During the dry season cold fronts from the South Atlantic occur once every month or so, with daily temperatures dropping to 15°C (59°F) and nightly temperatures to 13°F (55°F).
We will have the chance to see many species during our boat ride and in the reserve, and these include Chestnut-fronted, Scarlet and Red-bellied Macaw, Plumbeous Kite, Dusky-billed Parrotlet, Wood Stork, Tui, Rose-fronted and Cobalt-winged Parakeet, Olive Oropendola, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Screaming Piha, Ivory-billed Aracari, Spix’s Guan, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Palm, Opal-crowned and Turquoise Tanager, Casqued Cacique, Razor-billed Curassow, Jabiru, Cocoi Heron, Black Skimmer, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Sclater’s Antwren, Chestnut-winged and Lineated Foliage-gleaners, Three-striped Flycatcher, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak, and Green Kingfisher, to name but a few!
Some of the more interesting and unusual species we will be searching for in the Bamboo include Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu and Striated Antbird, Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbill, Peruvian Recurvebill, Dusky-cheeked and Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaners, Ihering’s and Ornate Antwren, and more.
Some of the scarcer forest species we will be on the lookout for include Bartlett’s Tinamou, Razor-billed Curassow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Sunbittern, Pavonine Quetzal, Purus Jacamar, Striolated Puffbird, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ocellated Woodcreeper, Collared Puffbird, Ruddy Spinetail, Plain Softail, Striped Woodhaunter, Banded and White-throated Antbird, Ash-throated Gnateater, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Black-faced Cotinga, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-bellied Tody-Tyrant, Royal Flycatcher, Musician Wren, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak to name but a few.
A visit to the large mammal lick in the forest, apart from attracting Tapirs, Peccaries and maybe a Jaguar, also attracts guans, curassows, chachalacas as well as Rose-fronted and Rock Parakeets and Dusky-billed Parrotlet.
Dinner and our overnight stay will be in the basic but comfortable Manu Wildlife Center.
DAY 12: Manu Wildlife Center, Blanquillo Clay Lick, Oxbow Lake
In the early morning after breakfast we will visit the popular Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick, where hundreds of parrots and parakeets and parrotlets come to ingest the minerals seeping from the clay cliff face.
We may see Scarlet, Red-and-green, Chestnut-fronted, Blue-and-yellow and Red-bellied Macaw, Blue-headed, Orange-cheeked, Mealy and Yellow-crowned Parrot, Dusky-billed and Amazonian Parrotlet, Cobalt-winged, Tui and Dusky-headed Parakeet and many more!
After this awesome experience we will have lunch and in the afternoon we will visit Blanco Oxbow Lake. Here, from a stable floating catamaran platform, we will look for Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Green Ibis, Horned Screamer, Black-billed Seed-finch, Silvered and Band-tailed Antbird, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Sungrebe, Agami Heron, Hoatzin, Rufous-sided and Gray-breasted Crake, Green-and-rufous and American Pygmy Kingfisher, Pale-eyed Blackbird and many others.
Three families of the endangered Giant Otter inhabit the oxbow lakes and small streams, and seeing them will be a big bonus.
We will return to Manu Wildlife Center after an exciting day for dinner and a good night’s sleep, but before settling in for the evening, night birding around our accommodations may produce Long-tailed, Great and Gray Potoos, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Spectacled Owl, Ocellated Poorwill and Silky-tailed Nightjar amongst others.
DAY 13: MManu Wildlife Center to Puerto Maldonado and flight to Lima
After breakfast that we will take our boxed lunch and get onboard our boat for about 3 hours with some birding along the river, looking for Capped Heron, Orinoco Goose, Sand-colored Nighthawk and perhaps even a Jaguar on the way!
As soon we arrive at Colorado village, we’ll continue our trip to Puerto Maldonado by local private taxi for 1 hour and then we’ll cross the Inambari River with a local boat and finally we’ll take a private local taxi for the last 2 hours to get to Puerto Maldonado.
The jungle town of Puerto Maldonado lies in the steamy lowland Amazon Rainforest near the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers. The area became of interest to Europeans late in the rubber boom period like the other gateways to Amazonia. These were areas where people could base themselves to access the rubber trees, which were tapped for rubber for the bicycle and automobile industries. Puerto Maldonado is now a major tourist destination for Peru’s Amazon Rainforest and is home to one of the most thought out tourism industries in Amazonia. There is a fantastic amount of protected area accessible from Puerto Maldonado, including Tambopata National Reserve, Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, Manu National Park, and many other communal reserves.
During our travels today and in the short time we have in Puerto Maldonado we will keep our eyes peeled for Black and Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Double-collared Seedeater, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Smooth-billed Ani, Short-tailed Swift, Eastern Kingbird, Southern Lapwing, Neotropical Palm Swift, Red-bellied Macaw, Palm Tanager, Upland and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Blue-black Grassquit, Large-billed Tern, Wood Stork, Hoatzin, Purus Jacamar, Saffron Finch, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Limpkin, Black-banded Crake and many more.
We will make our way to the Padre Aldamiz International Airport and onto a 90 minute cross-Andes flight to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.
Depending on our arrival time in Lima and your departure times from there, we might need to add a night in a hotel close to the airport.
DAY 14: Departure from Lima
Depending on your departure time, you will be transferred to Jorge Chávez International Airport for your international flight back home.