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CUSCO AND THE MANU LOWLANDS

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Probably you know Peru for its great biodiversity, especially Manu National Park, but Peru is also famous for its reach cultural heritage, mainly from the Inca culture, and, definitively, the flagship of this heritage undoubtedly being Machu Picchu. We have designed a birding itinerary but those serious birders who want to be birding all the time but are will to devote a full day to experience the magic of Machu Picchu. Of course, inside the archaeological site we can also spend some little time looking for birds like Inca Wren or flocks of tanagers.

The tour starts with the visit to Machu Picchu and the the Abra Malaga area, famous for its great diversity Polylepis specialists like Royal Cinclodes or White-browed Tit-spinetail. Then we drive towards the eastern slope of the Andes, along the famous “Manu road” where we will stay at the delightful Wayqecha lodge to bird the high elevation grasslands and the elfin forests of the Manu National Park. Also, we spend a few nights at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, famous for its Cock-of-the-Rock lek and its bird feeders that attract several species of hummingbirds and tanagers. The last days in this area are at the wonderful Villa Carmen Biological Station, because this lodge is located at a lower elevation than the previous lodges this is probably the most bird diverse area of the Manu road, so we plan to spend more time here.

Once in the Amazonian lowlands we will be travelling by boat on the Madre de Dios river. The first stop here is at Tambo Blanquillo lodge, with visits to the Macaw clay lick for macaws and parrots, the canopy tower, and the Blanco oxbow lake, where the Giant River Otters should be common. Then we spend a few nights at Los Amigos Biological Station, probably the best birding place in southeastern Peru. The fabulous trail system at Los Amigos allows to visit different kind of habitats like terra firme and varzea forests, palm swamps, and bamboo patches. The diversity of monkeys and raptors in this area is just astonishing.

The tour ends in the city of Puerto Maldonado, where we will take a flight back to Lima.

As a bonus, at the beginning of the trip we include a day for birding around Lima, we don’t want you to miss sights of Humboldt Penguins, Peruvian Thick-knee, or Inca Terns!

Birding and conservation: Cheqa Peru SRL, owner of Green Tours, will donate 50 US$ of its benefits per participant to “Asociación Green Tours” to support local conservation initiatives. If additionally, you wish to give a more generous donation, please send an email to wilson.diaz@greentours.com.pe

DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
DAY 5
DAY 6
DAY 7
DAY 8, 9
DAY 10
DAY 11, 12
DAY 13
DAY 14, 15
DAY 16
DAY 17
DAY 18
DAY 19
Cusco and the Manu lowlands
19 Days Tour Program
DAY 1: Lima

Arrival in Lima and transfer to the hotel at the airport.
Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel****.

Meals: None.

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DAY 2: Lima

This morning we will take our way south of Lima for about one hour to the Pucusana fishing port where we will take a boat to search for Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian and Blue-footed Boobies, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, and Surf Cinclodes. After lunch we will drive back to Lima, with a stop at the Villa Marshes, a protected area near the Pacific Ocean that is good for Great Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellow-Finch, and lots of shorebirds. Then we will be transferred to the airport hotel.
Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 3: Lima - Cusco - Ollantaytambo

Today we'll be taking an early flight to Cusco. After arrival in Cusco we'll move straight to lake Huacarpay, this is a reliable place to see typical Andean waterfowl like White-tufted and Silvery Grebes, Andean Duck, Cinnamon and Puna Teal, and others. The vegetation around the lake is good for Bearded Mountaineer, Yellow-winged Blackbird, or Andean Negrito.
After lunch in the city center we'll drive to our hotel in the town of Ollantaytambo, at the heart of the Sacred valley of the Incas. The gardens of the hotel can bring nice surprises like Great Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, or Shining Sunbeam.
Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 4: Machu Picchu

This morning we will have an early train departure for the town of Aguas Calientes, the entrance gate to Machupicchu. The habitat inside the archaeological site is good for Inca Wren.
In the afternoon we will spend about two hours birding the forest near Aguas Calientes looking for birds like Green-and-white Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Ocellated Piculet, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, and many more.
Then we will take our train back to Ollantaytambo
Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 5: Abra Málaga - Cusco

Full day birding excursion to Abra Málaga pass. This is probably the best place to find Polylepys elfin forests specialists. The Málaga pass is located at an altitude of 4,230 meters. The first stops will be after the pass, where the humid mountains forests of the eastern slope are good for Puna Thistletail, Tit-like Dacnis, Parodi’s Hemismpingus, Rufous Antpitta, or White-browed Conebill.
At the pass itself, if people feels able to do the hike, we will be looking for White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Giant Conebill, and Royal Cinclodes.
By mid-afternoon we will drive to the city of Cusco, during our descent from Abra Málaga we will make a few stops at some patches of semi-humid mountain scrub where will be looking for White-tufted Sunbeam, Creamy-crested Spinetail, and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch.
Overnight in Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

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DAY 6: Cusco - Manu Road

We make an early start today as we travel along the Manu road. The road from Cuzco to Manu is one of the most spectacular birding areas of Peru, the birding adventure begins at the Acjanaco pass where the elfin forest and the bushes hold a set of interesting birds like Puna Thisteltail, Scribble-tailed Canastero, Diademed Tapaculo, Masked Flowerpiercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, White-browed Conebil, Blue-backed Conebil, Golden-Collared Tanager, Three-striped Hemispingus, Plush-capped Finch, and much more
Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

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DAY 7: Wayqecha Lodge

The elfin forests of Wayqecha are good for Andean Guan, Shining Sunbeam, Amethyst-throated Sunagel, Azahara's Spinetal, Sierran Elaenia, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, White-collared Jay, Great Thrush, Parodi's Hemispingus, Blue-capped Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Scarlet-bellied Tanager, Golden-collared Tanager, Blue-backed Conebil, Masked Flowerpiercer, Black-faced Brush-Finch, and many others.
At lower altitudes the cloud forests offer a different set of birds: Golden-plumed Parakeet, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Long-tailed Sylph, Masked Trogon, Black-streaked Puffbird, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-backed Treehunter, Barred Fruiteater, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, Mountain Cacique, and much more.
Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 8, 9: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Two days exploring the cloud forests around Cock-of-the-Rock lodge, located at an altitude of 1,400 meters. The main attraction here is the Cock-of-the Rock lek, the biggest lek known in Peru. In the gardens of the lodge it's not difficult to find Versicolored Barbet and Rufescent Screech-Owl, the forest around the lodge has a high diversity of birds: Ash-browed Spinetail, Black-billed Treehunter, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Ornate Antwren, Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, Fulvous breasted Flatbill, and lots of mixed species flocks. The complete list for this area has about 500 species.
Overnight at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 10: Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge - Villa Carmen lodge

Today we leave early to reach lower altitudes, the mountain and lowland forests of the lower section of the road have a different set of birds than the previous sections. The list includes Orange-breasted Falcon, Blue-headed Macaw, Peruvian Piedtail, Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Lanceolated Monklet, Fine-barred Piculet, Russet Antshrike, Scarlet-breasted Fruiteater, Fiery-capped Manakin, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, among others.
Villa Carmen Lodge is strategically located at an altitude of 520 meters and holds different types of habitats that you will explore the next days.
Overnight at Villa Carmen Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 11, 12: Villa Carmen lodge

There are nearly 50 Km of trails around the lodge going through mature and secondary forest, bamboo thickets and around lakes.
The trails near the lodge with bamboo patches and second grow vegetation are good for Blue-headed, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet, and Red-and-green Macaws flying over. Also, Hummingbirds like Rufous-crested Coquette, Reddish Hermit, White-bearded Hermit, Spot-vented Emerald, and Golden-tailed Sapphire can be found around the garden.
Bamboo specialists are also possible like Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Striated Antbid, Red-billed Scythebill, Dusky-cheeked Foliage Gleaner, Grey-cheeked Nunlet White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant, or Large-headed Flatbill. Among the most important specialist in this bamboo vegetation are Black-throated Antbird, Blackish Antbird, Chesnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, and Cabanis's Spinetail.
The fishpond is good for Purple Gallinule, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Cocoi Heron, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Ringed Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher among others species.
Other interesting birds in the area are Black Hawk-Eagle, Zone-tailed Hawks, Black-tailed Trogon, Blue-crowned Trogon, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Little Woodpecker, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Little Ground-Tyrant, Masked Crimson Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Golden-bellied Euphonia. The complete list for the area has more than 600 species.
Overnight at Villa Carmen Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 13: Villa Carmen - Tambo Blanquillo lodge

We leave the Villa Carmen Lodge and head by boat to our next destination, the equally delightful Tambo Blanquillo Lodge, where we spend the next days.
Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

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DAY 14, 15: Tambo Blanquillo lodge

The Manu lowlands are considered a paradise for birders. The area around an oxbow lake holds Straight-billed Woodcreeper, River Tyrannulet, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Hoatzin, Black-collared Hawk, Little Cuckoo, Anhinga, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Green Ibis, Limpkin, Sungrebe and Wattled Jacana. Across the river from the lodge there is a stand of Guadua bamboo, a very special habitat occupied by Rufous-capped Nunlet, Peruvian Recurvebill, Bamboo Antshrike, and Manu, Striated, and Goeldi's Antbirds. The forest along the river holds several woodpeckers, woodcreepers, foliage-gleaners, tanagers and wrens, possibly Pavonine Quetzal, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, among other specialties. The canopy tower allows to have magnificent views of raptors, parrots, toucans and aracaris, flycatchers, tanagers, cotingas.
You will also pay a visit to a Parrot clay lick where we might see Blue-and-Yellow, Scarlet, Red-and-Green Macaws; Blue-headed, Orange-cheeked, and Mealy Parrots.
Overnight at Tambo Blanquillo lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 16: Tambo Blanquillo - Los Amigos lodge

After breakfast we take a boat to Los Amigos biological.
Lunch at the Lodge.
After lunch we will focus in terra firme habitats, Gray-headed Kite, Barred-forest Falcons, Double-toothed Kite. Some quite common species are Fiery- capped Manakin, White-collared Puffbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush (heliconia specialist) Pavonine Quetzal, etc. At night time owls like Crested Owl and Tropical Screech-Owl are not difficult to see.
Overnight at Los Amigos Lodge.


Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 17: Los Amigos lodge

After breakfast we will go to the floodplain forest, birding along this trail we could have Spot-winged Antshrike, White-eyed Antwren, White-throated Antbird, Cinereous Mourner, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Bar-bellied Woodcreeper. Before reach the Lobo owbox lake, an open area could provide Buff-breasted Wren, Amazonian-Streaked Antwren, the enigmatic Hoatzin, Black-collared Hawk, Pygmy and Green-and-Rufous Kingfishers; around the lake we could have good sightings of Black Hawk-Eagle and Ornate Hawk-Eagle soaring around.
Lunch at the lodge.
After lunch birding between terra firme and floodplain forest could provide some understory and canopy mix species flocks with White-winged Shrike-Tanager, Pink-throated Becard, Opal-crowned and Opal-rumped Tanagers, Grey, Long-winged and White-flanked Antwrens and many more.
Overnight at Los Amigos Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 18: Los Amigos Lodge - Puerto Maldonado

This morning we have chances to look for bamboo specialists like Long-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Bamboo Antshrike, Striated Antbird, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbird, Bamboo Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, White-lined Antbird, Brown-rumped Foliage-Gleaner, White-cheeked Foliage-Gleaner, Dot-winged Antwren, Ornate Antwren, beside the rest of the surrounding birds.
Lunch at the lodge.
In the afternoon we will take the boat for four to six hours (depending on the conditions of the river) towards the city of Puerto Maldonado.
Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight at Cabaña Quinta Hotel***.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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DAY 19: Puerto Maldonado - Lima

Morning at leisure. A private transportation will take you from the hotel to the airport for the flight to Lima for your international connection.

Meals: Breakfast.

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PRICES INCLUDE:
  • Lodging as described above
  • Ground transportation and driver throughout the tour
  • Train tickets to Machu Picchu
  • English speaking bird guide
  • All entrance fees for nature reserves
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Applicable taxes, fees, and licenses
PRICES DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  • International or domestic airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations, alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls or messages, reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature.
If you want us to include the internal flights within Peru just let us know.
All itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).
Some hotels and lodges might change depending on their room’s availability.
PRICES
Per pax based
on double occupancy:
$ 5,325.oo
Single Suppl.:
$ 1,290.oo
ABOUT THE TRIP
Duration: 19 Days
Fixed Departure:
Dec 1st 2018
Apr 5th 2019
Dec 4th 2019
--
Bookings close 90 days prior to departure
Group Size: 4 to 8 pax

Private departures under request, ask for a quotation

Do you have any question?
TRAVEL TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Weather: Most days in the Manu will be warm and humid, with a mixture of sunshine and overcast conditions. Some rain should be expected, from brief showers to sometimes extended periods of heavy rain. In the Cuzco region conditions range from warm to decidedly cold at the highest altitudes. It may rain at times or even snow at the highest altitudes.
Time Zone: Peru is 5 hours behind GMT. Also, it is in the same time zone as US Eastern Standard Time Zone and does not observe daylight-savings time.
Immunizations: Having a Yellow Fever vaccine at least 10 days before your trip is recommended but not mandatory.
Electricity: 220 volts in Lima and Cuzco. The lodges lack electricity but a generator is turned on once a day to recharge batteries for guests or lodge facilities. At night it is very dark, so we recommend good flashlights. Light is provided by numerous kerosene lamps and candles.
Physical effort: People should be in good physical condition to do hikes in the mountains at elevations up to 4,200 meters (about 13,800 feet). Also, people should be able to step in and out of boats and canoes with any problem, and be able to walk on moderate rough, steep terrain for about 4 hours.