Northern Peru birding tour: Mayo and Huallaga valleys

12-day tour

An intense 12-day Northern Peru Birding Tour throughout the Northeastern part of the country.

First, the Northern Peru Birding Tour visits the humid forest of the Cordillera Escalera Reserve, nearby the city of Tarapoto. This is the perfect place to look for birds like Dotted Tanager, Plumbeous Euphonia, or Koepcke’s Hermit. Then, we go to the dry forest of the Upaquihua valley, which is the most reliable place in Peru for Planalto Hermit and Ashy-headed Greenlet.

Then, the tour moves to the cloud forests of the Alto Mayo, especially rich in bird diversity and endemic species. Indeed, these forests are the only places in the world to find “bird delicatessen” like Rusty-tinged Antpitta, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Long-whiskered Owlet, Johnson’s Tody-Flycatcher, or Yellow-scarfed Tanager. Additionally, we devote one day to go near the Rio Marañon area, looking for the famous Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird.

Nevertheless, the Northern Peru Birding tour is not only about endemic birds. The forests of the Alto Mayo are also home for more than 40 species of hummingbirds, which can be seen at well set feeding stations. Birding in north Peru can be a lifetime trip for hummingbird lovers, since the feeders are very attractive for Long-tailed Sylph, Royal Sunangel, Wire-crested Thorntail, just to mention a few hummers. Besides hummingbirds, the forest is full of mixed species flocks, especially composed of Tanagers, Barbets, Flycatchers, Woodcreepers, and more.

It is worth to mention that, at the beginning of the Northern Peru Birding Tour, 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!

In essence, if you are thinking on your next birding adventure, the northern Peru birding tour might be your best option.

Your holidays and nature conservancy: Cheqa Peru SRL, owner of Green Tours, will donate 50 US$ of its benefits per participant to association “Plantando Futuro” to support local nature conservancy initiatives.

Details and itinerary


Reference price per person, base on a group of 4 people and on double occupancy:

US$ 3,500.oo

Single supplement: US$ 600.oo

Private departures only.

All itineraries are fully customizable to fit your requirements.


Duration: 12 days

Best time to travel: April, May, September through December

Group size: 1 to 8 people


Arrival in Lima. Overnight at Wyndham Airport Hotel.

Meals: None.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley

Lima – Tarapoto

First, the Northern Peru Biring tour explores the Pacific coast, nearby the Pucusana fishing port. Here, we will take a boat trip around the rocky shore, looking for Red-legged Cormorant, Humboldt Penguin, and Inca Tern.

Next, on the way back to Lima, we will stop at the Villa Marshes, to look for Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, and lots of shorebirds.

Then, we will be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to the city of Tarapoto.

Overnight at a 3 stars hotel in Tarapoto.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.


First, we will spend some time birding the mountains of the Cordillera Escalera reserve. The area is quite diverse, but there we will be specially looking for Dotted Tanager, Striolated Puffbird, or Plumbeous Euphonia. Also, other possible species are Wattled Guan, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, and Lanceolated Monklet, just to mention a few.

Then, we plan to spend the early afternoon at the Koepcke’s Hermit Conservation Center. This a wildlife reserve, dedicated to the protection of the endemic Koepcke’s Hermit. Additionally, other hummingbirds coming to the feeders are Black-throated Brilliant, Gould’s Brilliant, and more.

There is also a trail going into the surrounding forest. Possible birds here are Golden-headed Manakin, White-plumed Antbird, and a lot more.

Overnight at a 3 stars hotel in Tarapoto.

Meals: Picnic-breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Koepcke's Hermit


This morning we will be birding along the Upaquihua valley. Since the valley is a mixture of dry forest and agricultural fields, we could find special birds like Planalto Hermit, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Northern Slaty Antshrike, and others.

After that, we will drive towards the Pumarinri lodge. Around here, the vegetation is more humid and it is possible to find more characteristic birds from Amazonia:  Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Spangled Cotinga, Purple-throated Cotinga, and much more.

Overnight at a 3 stars hotel in Tarapoto.

Meals: Picnic-breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Tarapoto – Moyobamba

First, we drive northwards to the city of Moyobamba, in the Alto Mayo valley. During the transfer, we will have chances to see Oilbirds.

Then, we will spend the rest of the day at the Waqanki hummingbird feeders ad gardens, which surely offer great chances to see White-chinned Sapphire, Rufous-crested Coquette, and another 20 species. Additionally, the vegetation around the feeders could surprise us with mixed flocks of tanagers, including Golden, Paradise, Blue-necked, Black-bellied, and many other brightly coloured tanagers.

Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Huallaga Tanager


First, we go to Punta de Tahuishco, a park inside the city just above a nice patch of forest. At this place, we could find, for instance, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Lettered Aracari, Blue-headed Parrot, Pale-breasted Thrush, and more.

Next, we move to the Morro de Calzada reserve, which is a lone mountain in the middle of the valley. Our targets here are birds like Fiery-capped Manakin, Painted Mankin, White-shouldered Tanager, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, and many more. Also, Russet-crowned and Rufous-sided Crakes are coming to a feeding station. At the reserve they are also feeding Tataupa Tinamou, so Calzada is probably the only place where this bird is almost guaranteed.

During the afternoon we will explore the rice fields of the Mayo valley, looking for birds like Pale-eyed Blackbird, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Chestnut-bellied Seedfinch, Paint-billed Crake, and others.

Overnight at Waqanki lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Moyobamba – Arena Blanca

Today, we will enter the famous Alto Mayo mountains.

First, we visit the “Arena Blanca Reserve” and its fantastic Rufous-breasted Wood-quail feeder. Also, this feeder is visited by Little Tinamou and Orange billed Sparrow. Also, they have hummingbird feeders, attracting especial birds like Rufous-crested Coquette, Wire-crested Thorntail, Blue-fronted Lancebill, and at least another 20 species of hummingbirds. Additionally, some special birds that could be found in the surrounding forest are Huallaga Tanager, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Zimmer’s Antbird, and more.

Another identically hummingbird feeding station, called La Llanteria, is great for Ecuadorian Piedtail, and Green Hermit.

On the way back to the lodge, we can make a stop to visit an Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek.

Overnight at Arena Blanca Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Little Tinamou

Arena Blanca – Abra Patricia

After breakfast, we spend some time at the tinamou feeders if necessary.

Then, we will be back on the road towards Abra Patricia Owlet lodge, with several stops along the road looking for mixed species flocks. Once in Abra Patricia, you’ll be overwhelmed by the huge amount of birds coming to the feeders, for example: Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Emeral-bellied Puffleg, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Long-tailed Sylph, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Collared Inca, just to mention a few.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Emerald-bellied Puffleg

Abra Patricia: Fundo Alto Nieva

Today, we first visit the private reserve “Fundo Alto Nieva”, further down the road from the Owlet Lodge. There, they have hummingbird feeders, usually visited by birds such as Royal Sunangel, Peruvian Racket-tail, Bronzy Inca, Buff-thighed Puffleg, and others. While walking along the trails in the reserve, we could find Yellow-throated Tanager, Rufous-vented Tapaculo, Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant, or Grey-breasted Wood-wren.

Then, in the afternoon, we will be birding along the main road again. This time, bird possibilities are, for example, Beryl-spangled Tanager, Metallic-green Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Blue-browed Tanager, and more. Away from the flocks, we might encounter groups of White-capped Tanagers.

Later, by mid-afternoon, we will go back to Fundo Alto Nieva, this time for Ochre-fronted Antpitta, which is being fed by one of the rangers.

After that, when it gets dark, we will spend some time looking for the probably most interesting bird of these mountains: The Long-whiskered Owlet.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Long-whiskered Owlet


Today is Marvelous Spatuletail day. We plan to drive early to Huembo, one of the few places where the Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen at hummingbird feeders. Additionally, in the close-by forest, we could look for Chestnut-capped Antshrike, Southern Emerald Toucanet, Andean Guan, and many others.

Then, in the afternoon, we will explore the Rio Chido road. Here, because of the more humid vegetation, it is possible to find birds like Black-crested Warbler, Sickled-winged Guan, Speckled-faced Parrot, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, and many more.

Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Northern Peru Birding Tour Mayo Huallaga valley - Marvelous Spatuletail

Abra Patricia – Moyobamba

We leave the Abra Patricia mountains to go back to the Mayo valley. Of, course, with several stops along the road to look for birds we might have miss the previous days.

Overnight at Waqanki lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Moyobamba – Tarapoto

We will spend the morning birding the forest around the lodge.

At proper time we will drive to the Tarapoto airport for the flight to Lima.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.



In the Abra Patricia area, conditions are humid and warm during the day, and slightly cold at night. Also, the Tarapoto and Moyobamba areas are warm and humid.

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


Having a Yellow Fever vaccine at least 10 days before your trip is recommended but not mandatory.


220 volts in all cities. All lodges do have electricity.

Physical effort

People should be in good physical condition, so they can do short hikes on moderate rough, steep terrain in the mountains, at elevations up to 2,200 meters (about 7,200 feet).


  • Lodging as described above (some lodges, hotels, might change depending on room's availability).
  • Ground transportation and driver throughout the tour.
  • English speaking bird guide
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinking water supply available in the car during the whole trip.
  • All entrance fees for nature reserves.
  • Applicable taxes, fees, and licenses.


International or domestic flights, reconfirmation of flights, visa fees, airport taxes, excess luggage charges, additional nights during the trip due reasons beyond our control, bottled water, alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, phone calls or messages, any kind of travel insurance, 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 (e.g. weather).

See our Booking Terms and Conditions.

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