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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 intense birding with the picturesque sights of Machu Picchu, the flagship of the rich heritage of the Inca culture. With our Birding and Machu Picchu tour, we have designed a birding itinerary for those serious birders who want to be birding all the time, but are willing to devote a full day to experience the magic of Machu Picchu. Of course, inside the archaeological site, we will spend some little looking for birds like Inca Wren or flocks of tanagers.

The first part of the Cusco birding tour goes to the eastern slope of the Andes, in Cuzco, along the famous “Manu road”. Here we will stay at the delightful Wayqecha lodge to bird the high elevation grasslands and the elfin forests of the Manu National Park. We will 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 are spent at the wonderful Villa Carmen Biological Station. This lodge is located at a lower elevation than the previous lodges, this is probably the most bird diverse area of the Manu road.

After spending 10 days on the Manu road, we will drive back to Cuzco for the Machu Picchu experience. We finish the trip by visiting the Abra Malaga area, famous for its great diversity Polylepis specialists like Royal Cinclodes or White-browed Tit-spinetail.

The birdwatching in Cusco tour is ideal for those looking for fantastic birds, scenery, a bit of history, and of course birding in Cuzco, the great capital of the Incas.

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

Birding Cusco and Machu Picchu Tour highlights include:

  • The archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the Wolrd'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 take our way south of Lima for about two hours 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, and Surf Cinclodes. In the afternoon 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 back to the hotel.

Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3
Day 3 - Lima - Cusco - Wayqecha Lodge

Early morning 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. Then we will be transferred straight to our nest lodge inside the buffer zone of Manu Biosphere reserve. 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 Conebill, Blue-backed Conebil, Golden-Collared Tanager, Three-striped Hemispingus, Plush-capped Finch, and much more.

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

Day 4
Day 4 - Wayqecha Lodge

The elfin forests of Wayqecha are good for Andean Guan, Shining Sunbeam, Amethyst-throated Sunagel, Azahara's Spinetal, Sierran Elaenia, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, White-collared Jay, Great Thrush, Parodi's Hemispingus, Blue-capped Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager, Golden-collared Tanager, Blue-backed Conebill, 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, Rufous-backed Treehunter, Barred Fruiteater, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, Southern Mountain Cacique, and much more.

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

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

After breakfast we will drive down the road towards our next lodge located at 1,500 meter of elevation. At these lower elevations (between 2,600 and 1,500 meters) the cloud forests offer a different set of birds: Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Long-tailed Sylph, Black-streaked Puffbird, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-backed Treehunter, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, and much more.

Overnight at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6
Days 6 & 7 - 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 Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek. 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.

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

Today we leave early to reach lower elevations, 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, Manu Antbird, 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.

Day 8
Days 9 & 10 - 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, 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 Hawk, 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.

Day 9
Day 11 - Villa Carmen - Wayqecha Lodge

We'll begin our way back to Cuzco driving up the road to Wayqecha lodge, located in the cloud forest at an altitude of 2,900 meters. 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

Today we are taking the road straight back to Cuzco. We will be arriving in Cusco by noon. After lunch we will 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 Giant Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, or Shining Sunbeam.

Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 11
Day 13 - 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. We will spend about two hours exploring the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.

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.

Day 12
Day 14 - 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, 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.

Day 13
Day 15 - Cusco - Lima

Morning at leisure to visit the city. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for your 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

Tour Dates Tour Availability From Price Spaces Left
10/08/2021 - 24/08/2021 guaranteed USD 3,609
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23/11/2021 - 07/12/2021 guaranteed USD 3,609
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09/08/2022 - 22/08/2022 available USD 3,700
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22/11/2022 - 05/12/2022 available USD 3,700
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15 Days

Price & Availability

USD3,300 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement USD 552
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
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • English, Spanish
  • Lima airport
  • Lima airport
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