a rich tapestry of birds and other wildlife in the land of the Incas



"Many thanks for a well organised Peru trip which we enjoyed immensely."......  Mr and Mrs C, Dorking


"Many thanks for a great Peruvian adventure."......  Mr and Mrs A, East Yorkshire




A trip to Southern Peru would not be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu.



click here for a pdf version of this destination write-up  -  easier to print  -  no photos




Peru seems to encapsulate so many things about South America. There is a huge bird list, along with a great variety of other wildlife, dramatic scenery and rich archaeological remains.


From Lima we will fly to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with its fabulous ruins and Spanish colonial buildings. We will visit Machu Picchu, the famous lost city of the Incas, where we can find Torrent Ducks and Highland Motmots. Next we head for the cloud forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes where we can expect a terrific assortment of tanagers and hummingbirds along with Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Then we visit the famous Manu Biosphere reserve, an area of rainforest of fantastic diversity for birds and other wildlife. Finally we will see seabirds in abundance at the Reserva de Paracas. We will visit the Ballestas Islands during a short boat trip where we will see the superb Inca Terns, along with South American Sealions and Humboldt Penguins. The peninsula is home to such birds as Chilean Flamingo, Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes and Black Skimmer.


Many non-birders visit Peru for the rich Inca and pre-Inca historical sites, the beauty of the landscape, the dry and sunny weather, the food and the friendly people. We will enjoy the best of both worlds; the historical sites perfectly complement the world class birding and wildlife viewing. We visit a good selection of habitats and archaeological sites that are all concentrated in southern Peru.






We will arrive in the evening and transfer to our hotel in Lima. The next morning we will take an early flight to Cuzco. Just outside Cuzco are Huacarpay Lakes where we can expect to see Puna, Speckled and Cinnamon Teal as well as Puna Ibis and Wren-like Rushbird. This is also a great area for the Giant Hummingbird and the splendidly named Bearded Mountaineer. We will then drive down the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, where we will spend two nights at an excellent hotel at the bottom of the Abra Malaga Pass. We will spend a full day in the pass, searching out some of its avian specialities. These include Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Bare-faced Ground-dove, Great Sapphirewing, Tyrian Metaltail, Andean Flicker and Barred Fruiteater. We will take it very easy here, as we adjust to the altitude.


From Ollantaytambo we will take the wonderfully scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes. Here we get a bus for the short but steep and winding journey to the gates of Machu Picchu. As we enter and turn a corner we are greeted by the classic view of this superbly preserved Inca city. We will have a guided tour of the ruins and will allow time to explore on our own and to look for some of the avian specialities of the area. We will spend the night at Aguas Calientes and the following morning you have the option of revisiting Machu Picchu or birding around the excellent hotel grounds with many species of hummingbird. We later head back to Cuzco for one night. Cuzco is a very attractive town, famous in its own right with many classic colonial buildings and many Inca sites in the immediate area. Even in the town itself you can see where the Spaniards incorporated parts of the Inca buildings into their own.



The following day we take a leisurely drive, birding on the way, to our next destination. We pass over two Andean chains at almost 13000 ft elevation and then spend three nights at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the Selva Sur private cloud forest reserve. Though the accommodation here is simple, it is clean and comfortable with en suite hot showers. As estate agents might say, it has all three main ingredients: location, location and location. It is surrounded by pristine cloud forest with Woolly and Brown Capuchin Monkeys and is close to an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek. We have two full days exploring this superb birding area and have many chances to see Cock-of-the-Rock, including from the dinner table! Many colourful tanagers and hummingbirds also come to feed in the hotel gardens.



From here we drive to a point on the Madre de Dios River where we can pick up motorised canoes that will take us to the Manu Wildlife Centre.


The boat trip will be the first of many during our four night stay, deep in the rainforest in this roadless area. This remote but very comfortable lodge is in the heart of one of the most biologically rich areas in the world. Apart from the many trails, boats are the best way to both get around and to see wildlife.


Another good way to see birds is in the lodge gardens. Any spare moments can be happily passed birdwatching in the grounds, perhaps even from a hammock. We will visit oxbow lakes where we have a very good chance of seeing Giant Otters, Hoatzins and various crakes, rails and other waterbirds. Another day will require an early start to see a spectacular macaw lick where macaws and parrots of several different species come at dawn to ingest clay and salts. There are several watchtowers high in the canopy where we can get eye level views of many bird species. A Tapir hide will allow us an excellent chance of seeing one of the largest and most elusive of South America’s mammals.


As many as a dozen species of monkey can be seen in the area. Jaguars are present, although a lot of luck is required to see one. There are also tribes of native people still living their traditional lives. Some are partially westernized and we may see them camped or fishing from the riverbank. Others are known as the non-contactables and are rarely seen.


On day 13 we will birdwatch along the trails near the lodge before taking a boat down river and then our bus to Puerto Maldonado, for an overnight stay.



On day 14 we will fly to Lima and then drive south to Paracas.


The coastal route to Paracas passes through a harsh and unpromising landscape of barren desert, but by the time we reach our hotel the scenery will have changed again. The lovely Double Tree Inn in Paracas, with access to the beach and views of the Ballestas Islands, is a lovely place to spend a couple of nights. During our stay we will take a boat trip round the islands and visit several sites on the Paracas National Park peninsula. Birds here include Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Chilean Flamingo, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Grey Gull, Kelp Gull, Peruvian Tern, Blackish Oystercatcher, Black Skimmer and Humboldt Penguin. The highly distinctive Inca Tern is also found here in good numbers and we should get some excellent close views. Two other specialities of the area are the Peruvian Thick-knee and the curious-sounding Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes.


After two nights here we will return to Lima for our evening flight home.



A trip of contrasts, with heat in the lowlands and cold in the highlands, and everything in between. Most places are fairly dry, but there is a chance of rain and mist in the cloud forest and at Manu. On the coast it is pleasantly cool and dry. On most days breakfast will be taken early, and there will be a break during the hottest part of the day. Clients should be in reasonable fitness as the sites in the Andes are at a high altitude. However, the altitude dictates that we will go at a very easy pace.



Full-board accommodation is provided with one night in Lima at the Ramada Airport Hotel, two nights at the Hotel Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo, one night at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Aguas Calientes, one night at the Hotel Andina, Cuzco, three nights at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, four nights at Manu Wildlife Centre, one night at the Hotel Cabana Quinta, Puerto Maldonado and two nights at the Double Tree Inn, Paracas. Some days lunch will be a picnic and on other days will be at the hotels.



All birdwatching excursions with expert leader and local guide, full-board accommodation (starting with dinner on 5th, ending with lunch on 20th), soft drinks at meal-times, bottled water throughout, transport by mini-coach, train to Machu Picchu, boat trips and other lodge activities, entrance fees, internal flights and international flights.



Travel insurance. Personal items, alcoholic drinks, laundry.



Return flights from most UK airports to Lima (via Amsterdam) using the scheduled services of KLM. Outbound flight departs early morning, return flight arrives back late afternoon.





16 nights including

one overnight flight:


Principal leader:


Local Guide:


Maximum group size:


Cost with discount

(if you book before

23rd May 2015):


Full Cost:






5th to 21st September 2015


Andrew Woodall


Percy Medina


10 clients with one leader and a local guide


£5290 per person sharing

(£795 single supplement)


£5440 per person sharing


£600 per person


A ground only price is available. Please contact our office.








We are sure to get close views of Inca Terns.

Red and Green Macaw at a Manu clay lick.

It was great to get close views of Hoatzin.

Sungrebe can be a difficult and rather retiring species, so to see this so well was terrific. We have seen them on every Peru trip.

Peruvian Thick-knee usually gives close views when we are at the coast.

Horned Screamers are weird to look at and even stranger to hear.

Black Skimmers were seen at the coast and on the Manu River.

We go to an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek but they are also a garden bird at two of our lodges.






click here to see the photographs in our Peru Album



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