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Birding Cusco and Machu Picchu Tour, Peru - 15 Days

Birding Cusco and Machu Picchu Tour, Peru

Birdwatching Tour Cusco including Machu Picchu

This 15-day Birding Cusco & Machu Picchu Tour mixes top-class birding with the picturesque sights of the Inca city of Machu Picchu, the flagship of the ancient Incan culture. With our birding and Machu Picchu trip we have planned an itinerary that caters for keen birders, but also allows time for a full day's experience of Peru's cultural heritage. Obviously, as we are birders, we will be keeping our eyes open at the archaeological site for Inca Wren and flocks of tanagers!

The first part of this birding Cusco tour will focus on the Manu Road, well-known for its excellent birdwatching opportunities. Our initial stop will be at the Wayqecha Lodge, located in the middle of the elfin forest of Manu National Park. There we will be looking for birds of high elevations, such as the Puna Canastero, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan and Red-and-white Antpitta.

After that, we will spend a couple of nights at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, famous for its high diversity of birdlife. The garden there has feeders for tanagers and hummingbirds and also several trails that go into the mountain forest. In addition, there is a large Cock-of-the-Rock lek not far from the lodge.

Our last days on the eastern slopes of the Andes will be spent at the wonderful Villa Carmen Biological Station. This lodge is located at a lower elevation than the previous lodges in probably the most bird-rich area of the Manu Road.

Finally, after birding for 10 days on the Manu Road, we will go back to Cusco for the second part of the trip: the visit to Machu Picchu and Abra Malaga. Abra Malaga is famous for its rare high elevation birds such as Royal Cinclodes and White-browed Tit-spinetail.

The birding Cusco tour is perfect for people looking for unique species, a bit of history, and the world-class experience of the capital of the Inca empire.

As with most of our tours, the first day will be spent in Lima and devoted to looking for Inca Terns, Humboldt Penguins and Peruvian Thick-knees.

Birding Cusco and Machu Picchu Tour highlights include:

  • The archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the World's New Seven Wonders.
  • Access to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek, the largest lek known in Peru for this species.
  • The historical city centre of Cuzco.
  • Manu National Park, one of the most biodiverse protected areas in the world.
  • Fantastic scenery of the Andes around Cuzco.

Please note: this tour is also available as a private tour on request.  Please complete the enquiry form and let us know your preferred dates to travel.

Like the look of this tour but want to see what else is on offer? Have a look here: Birdwatching Peru Cusco & Manu Lowlands Tour

Alternative Tour Name: Birds and Machu Picchu
Day 1
Day 1 - Lima

Arrival in Lima and transfer to the hotel at the airport.

Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel.

Meals: None.

Day 2
Day 2 - Lima

This morning we will drive to the Pucusana fishing port, where we will take a boat to search for Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian Booby, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants. Drive back to Lima, with a stop at the Villa Marshes, to look 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 back to the hotel.

Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3
Day 3 - Lima - Cusco - Wayqecha Lodge

Morning flight to Cusco. Once in, Cusco we'll move straight to lake Huacarpay to look for typical Andean waterfowl like Silvery Grebe, Andean Duck, Puna Teal, and others. The hills around the lake are good for Bearded Mountaineer, Yellow-winged Blackbird, or Andean Negrito. Then, we will drive straight to the Manu National Park. First important stop is at the Acjanaco pass, where the elfin forest and the bushes hold a set of interesting birds like Puna Thisteltail, Diademed Tapaculo, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, White-browed Conebill, Golden-Collared Tanager, Three-striped Hemispingus, and much more.

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner.

Day 4
Day 4 - Wayqecha Lodge

The elfin forests of Wayqecha are good for Andean Guan, Shining Sunbeam, Amethyst-throated Sunagel, Sierran Elaenia, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, Parodi's Hemispingus, Blue-capped Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Golden-collared Tanager, Black-faced Brush-finch, Blue-backed Conebill, Masked Flowerpiercer, and many others.

At lower elevations, we could find different species like Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Long-tailed Sylph, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Masked Trogon, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, and others.

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 5
Day 5 - Wayqecha Lodge - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge (COTR)

Early morning drive down the road to the famous Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. Tday we will travel between2,600 and 1,500 meters of elevation, with chances for different species of birds: Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Black-streaked Puffbird, Marcapata Spinetail, Inca Flycatcher, and more.

Overnight at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6
Days 6 & 7 - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

these two full days we will be exploring the cloud forests around Cock-of-the-Rock lodge. In front of the lodge's cabins it's not difficult to find Versicolored Barbet. The bird diversity in these forests is astonishing: Ornate Antwren, Yellow-breasted Antwren, Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Ornate Flycatcher, and lots of mixed species flocks. More than 500 species have been reported in the area.

Overnight at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 7
Day 8 - Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge - Villa Carmen lodge

We leve Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge today, on our way to Villa Carmen, located at a much lower elevation. While driving, we could stop a few times to look for Orange-breasted Falcon, Blue-headed Macaw, Lanceolated Monklet, Fine-barred Piculet, Fiery-capped Manakin, Manu Antbird.

Overnight at Villa Carmen Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 8
Days 9 & 10 - Villa Carmen lodge

During these two full days we will explore different habitats around the lodge's grounds. The gardens and second grow are good for Blue-headed Macaw, Rufous-crested Coquette, White-bearded Hermit, Spot-vented Emerald, Golden-tailed Sapphire.

We can also look for Bamboo specialists: Striated Antbid, Bamboo Antshrike, Red-billed Scythebill, or Large-headed Flatbill.

A small lake near the lodge is good for Purple Gallinule, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, among others species.

Other interesting birds in the area are Black Hawk-Eagle, Black-tailed Trogon, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Little Ground-tyrant, Yellow-bellied Dacnis.

Overnight at Villa Carmen Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 9
Day 11 - Villa Carmen - Wayqecha Lodge

We'll begin our way back to Cuzco driving up the road to Wayqecha lodge. This will allow us to explore again the cloud forest looking for the birds we certainly have missed the previous days.

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

Day 10
Day 12 - Wayqecha Lodge - Cusco

Very early start back to Cuzco. After having lunch in Cuzco, our car wil take us for another 2 hours to the hotel in the small town of Ollantaytambo. The gardens of the hotel can bring nice surprises like Giant Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, or Shining Sunbeam.

Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 11
Day 13 - Machu Picchu

Today we take a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, for our Machupicchu experience. This morning is mostly about history of Peru, but we will manage to have some time to look for special birds like Inca Wren. We'll be back in Aguas Calientes for lunch.

we can explore the forest around the city before taking our train back to Ollantaytambo. Good birds around here are Green-and-white Hummingbird, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Torrent Duck, and many more.

Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 12
Day 14 - Abra Málaga - Cuzco

Full day birding around the Abra Málaga area. We will be here at an elevation of 4,230 meters. First, we stop right after the mountain pass, the humid forest here are good for Puna Thistletail, Parodi’s Hemismpingus, Rufous Antpitta, and others. Back on the mountain pass, our main targets are Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, Royal Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-spinetail, Giant Conebill.

We take the road back to Cuzco by mid-afternoon, making a few stops to look for Creamy-crested Spinetail, White-tufted Sunbeam, and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch.

Overnight in Cuzco.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic-lunch, dinner.

Day 13
Day 15 - Cusco - Lima

You will have free time in the morning to explore the city at your own pace. You will be transffered to the airport at proper time for the flight to Lima.

Meals: Breakfast.

Some of the birds we expect to see in this trip are:

Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Surf Cinclodes,Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Bearded Mountaineer, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Scarlet-bellied, Mountain-tanager, Golden-Collared Tanager, Shining Sunbeam, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, Parodi’s Hemispingus, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Masked  Trogon, Barred Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Versicolored Barbet, Ornate Antwren, Yungas Manakin, Lanceolated Monklet, Fine-barred Piculet, Bamboo Antshrike, Grey-cheeked Nunlet,Rufous-crested Coquette, White-cheeked Tody-tyrant, Black-throated Antbird, Chesnut-capped Puffbird, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Black-tailed Trogon, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Inca Wren, Green-and-white Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Ocellated Piculet, Tit-like Dacnis, White-browed Tit-spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Giant Conebill, Royal Cinclodes, White-tufted Sunbeam, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch

What is included?

  • 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
  • All entrance fees for nature reserves
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Train tickets to Machu Picchu
  • Applicable taxes, fees, and licenses

What is not included?

  • 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 drinks
  • Snacks
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls or messages
  • Reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature
  • Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”

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Why book with Green Tours?

Green Tours, the trade name of Cheqa Peru SRL, is a Peruvian tour operator company stablished in 2006 with the objective to offer high quality ground services for tourism operations in Peru with innovation, comfort, safety, and commitment with our social and environmental responsibilities. The last few years Green Tours has established itself as an important Peruvian tour operator, providing ground logistics for American, Canadian and British birding companies like Wings, Paradise Birding, Sunrise Birding, Worldwide Birding Tours, Sierra Club, Avocet Tours, and Heatherlea. Green Tours is part of a Carbon Neutral partnership to offset the carbon footprint for its operations, with this partnership we are helping to improve the conservation efforts in the Tambopata National Reserve. Also, since 2016 we are supporting small conservation efforts in north western Peru for the conservation of the habitat of the tropical dry forest, specially the habitat of the Peruvian Plantcutter. Currently, our General Manager is the executive director of APTAE (the Peruvian Association for Eco and Adventure Tourism). Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Wilson Díaz, is an active birder and has been travelling with birding groups since 2001 providing logistic support for several companies. Also, we have created “Asociación Green Tours”, a non-profit organization aimed to support conservation initiatives for endangered species like Grey-bellied Comet and Peruvian Plantcutter.

What forms of travel are involved in this tour?

Mini vans or buses, depending on the size of the group. Flights A boat trip

Do you include meals?

We try to include all meals. You can have more information in the detailed itinerary.

Would this tour be appropriate for someone with limited mobility?

Yes, for this tour you have to be in good physical shape to walk up and down stairs inside Machu Picchu.

Do I need a Yellow Fever vaccine ?

No, it is not necessary for the areas this tour visits.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

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07/08/2023 - 20/08/2023 available USD 3,990
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20/11/2023 - 03/12/2023 available USD 3,990
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20/11/2024 - 03/12/2024 available USD 4,400
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15 Days

Price & Availability

USD3,800 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement USD 609
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Green Tours
4.93 based on 7 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.93 Based on 7 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Lima, Cuzco, Manu road, Machu Picchu
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • 15 days
  • 2 to 8 pax
  • English, Spanish
  • Jorge Chavez International Airport
  • Alejandro Velazco Astete, Cuzco airport