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Birding Peru: Manu Road and Photography Tour - 5 Days

Birding Peru: Manu Road and Photography Tour

Manu Road and Birding Peru Photography Tour

This short Birding Manu road tour of just 5 days goes to prime birdwatching lodges at the edge of Manu National Park which is great for bird photography, particularly our national bird of Peru, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock and many hummingbirds. All lodges along the Manu Road, Wayqecha Lodge, Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, Villa Carmen and Amazonia Lodge have feeders for Hummingbirds providing excellent photography opportunities.

The Manu road is the most species-rich road in the world. More than 1000 species have been recorded. Among the highlights, you find Tanagers, Hummingbirds, Trogons, Toucans, Hoatzin, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Antbirds and Woodcreepers.

This is an itinerary great for birders and bird photographers because there are a number of endemic or restricted-range species available along the road such as Red-and-White Antpitta, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Marcapata Spinetail, Black-backed Tody-Tyrant, Koepcke's Hermit, Black-capped Tinamou, Amazonian Antpitta, Pale-eyed Blackbird and the bamboo specialists such as White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Large-headed Flatbill, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-lined Antbird, Goeldi's Antbird and many more.

There are also iconic birds such as Sunbittern, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Horned Screamer, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Hoatzin, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzal, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet and many more.

Note that there are two service levels on this trip. When Kolibri Expeditions started running tour on Manu road over 20 years ago, none of the lodges had a private bath, and of course, we still saw all the birds. Now, the lodges are well equipped with beautiful cabins and rooms with private bathrooms with hot water showers. Prices have become much more expensive.

However, the same lodges still offer shared bath accommodation, so one may save some money here. Therefore, our standard rate gives you shared bath accommodation. If you have limited time and you are only doing this trip, there is probably little point in trying to save money, but if you are putting several of our trips back to back you may be more concerned about your overall spending.

It also makes it easier to fill the group for the best price when there are different price options.

MST Premium Service (optional extra)

The list price includes the Kolibri Pro option with shared facilities no private showers and simpler rooms and no perks, like drinks, merch, airport pick-up, or printed checklist (you get a pdf sent of course).

In the Pro option (or MST Premium Service), the rooms are private, except at Wayquecha and Villa Carmen where there are two separate dorms for females and males, that may or may not house students doing research. It is not always, possible to provide room here, so please be aware that there may be a surcharge of $80/person/night if so in double occupancy without perks (+$60/night for a single supplement if you are alone). If you don't fancy sleeping in as dorm, then perhaps you want to upgrade just those nights.

Day 1
Day 1 - Birding Manu road from Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

A brief birding stop at Huacarpay Lake, specifically to look for the endemic Bearded Mountaineer. We continue over the highlands, and look for Andean Goose, Andean Lapwing, Mountain Caracara and Andean Flicker The Manu Road drops into the Amazon cutting through amazing habitats of cloud forest, ranging in altitude from 3,600m to 600m. In the afternoon we visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek for some bird photography and spend the night at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge

Day 2
Day 2 - Birding Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to the Villa Carmen

The morning at the feeders at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge until lunch.

The veranda at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge has a number of hummingbird feeders and plants that attract hummingbirds, and also fruit tables for tanagers making it one of the best places in Peru for bird photography and hummingbird photography in particular. Some hummingbirds include Violet-fronted Brilliant, Many-spotted Hummingbirds, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Wire- crested Thorntail, Wedge-billed Hummingbird and with some luck, Buff-tipped Sicklebill. Among the tanagers there are Golden Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager and Paradise Tanagers often showing.

It is not unusual to see Brown Capuchin Monkey, Woolly Monkey, Tayra and Brown Agouti at Cock of the Rock Lodge.

The trail below the lodge is a good one to search for Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Slaty Gnateater, and Rufous-breasted Antthrush.

In the afternoon we travel to Villa Carmen, where there is good bamboo. Species like Bamboo Antshrike, Pavonine Cuckoo, Dot-winged Antwren and Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Ornate Antwren and, Bamboo Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Pheasant Cuckoo, Large-headed Flatbill and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant can be seen here. Additional species we shall be looking for here include Peruvian Recurvebill, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Flammulated Bamboo-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill and many more.

Night Villa Carmen.

Day 3
Day 3 - Birding Villa Carmen to Amazonia Lodge

Apart from the birds mentioned above, VIlla Carmen now has an Amazonian Antpitta coming to a feeding station, as well as a feeding station for Black-capped Tinamou, and other tinamous.

We continue to a small oxbow lake called Machu Wasi to get closer to some waterbirds. This is a good place for Horned Screamer and Pale-eyed Blackbird, as well as Black-capped Donacobius and Rufous-sided Crake. Capibaras are often be seen in the lake.

Later we continue to Amazonia Lodge.

At Amazonia Lodge we also concentrate on the lodge clearing that has an enormous variety of birds including many hummingbirds such as Gould’s Jewelfront, Koepcke’s Hermit, Rufous-crested Coquette, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Grey-breasted Sabrewing and many tanagers such as Magpie Tanager and Masked Crimson-Tanager.

Mammals include Red Howler Monkey, Saddle-backed Tamarins and Squirrel Monkeys and Night Monkey.

Night at Amazonia Lodge

Day 4
Day 4 - Birding Amazonia Lodge to Wayquecha

Absolutely one of the best birding porches in the world at Amazonia Lodge. It is excellent for bird photography with many species of hummingbirds and tanagers. There is also a good trail by a lake where one can, with patience, get close-up photographs of Hoatzin, Sungrebe and Sunbittern. On the trail we also often see Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Undulated and Black-capped Tinamous, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Amazonian Antpitta and Fiery-capped Manakin.

We need to return around mid-morning to go from Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge to the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station (2,900m) in the temperate cloud forest zone. We are closer to Cusco from here, and it will ensure that we have plenty time to reach Cusco,

The journey between Cock-the-Rock-Lodge and Wayquecha has often rewarded us with sightings of Andean Potoo. At Wayqecha we’ll look for Swallow-tailed Nightjar at dusk.

Day 5
Day 5 - Birding Wayqecha to Cusco.

Wayqecha is managed by the conservation NGO ACCA. The cabins are comfortable and spacious. Departure from Wayqecha will be around 9.00 to allow for a few stops en-route. We’ll be at Cusco airport for a flight around 5:00 or 6:00 pm. The area near Wayqecha is very good for Red-and-White Antpitta and Rufous-capped Thornbill. There are also often good Tanager flocks which sometimes pass at close range for good photo opportunities. The flocks include Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Pearled Treerunner and many more.

On the way to Cusco, if time permits we may visit a highland lake above San Salvador, where there are Giant Coot and Crested Duck. Lower down, and going into the Sacred Valley, we look for the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch and Bearded Mountaineer.

This trip is good to combine with our Machu Picchu and Abra Malaga 5 day program or our short North Peru trip with Marvelous Spatuletail combined with some day tours in Lima.

Top five birds on the 5 day Birding Manu road itinerary

  • Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
  • Hoatzin
  • Sunbittern
  • White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher
  • Amazonian Antpitta

What is included?

  • Standard service (Kolibri Pro)
  • - Include lodges with rooms with shared baths (Cock of the Rock Lodge and Amazonia Lodge) and lodges with dorms (Wayqecha and Villa Carmen)
  • - All food
  • - Expert Guiding
  • - Transport
  • - eBird checklist at the end of the day
  • - Safe treated water (bring water container to fill up)
  • MST Premium Service (US$300 per person additional option)
  • - As per Standard service (Kolibri Pro)
  • - Double occupancy with private showers at all lodges
  • - One time entry at Andean Cock of the Rock Lek.
  • - Printed checklist for nightly list tally
  • - Free transfers at Lima airport

What is not included?

  • Bottled drinks (pro service)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses.

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Why book with Kolibri Expeditions?

Kolibri Expeditions is the only company that offers tiered pricing on some birding trips - our Manu road trips are among those. Manu road has gotten many premium lodges in recent year, and prices have soared. With us you can choose what comfort level you prefer. Our 5 day birding Manu road runs every Monday-Friday or on request. It is very time efficient program to maximise your birding time. If you have little time and a keen interest in hummingbirds and beatiful tanagers this is a trip for you. It is a suitable trip both for beginner birders and bird photographers, since the birds at the many feeders we visit are easy to see and to get photos of. It is also a great trip for serious traditional birders with little time, since there are many restricted range species and iconic birds on the route and very high species diversity. The serious birder will be pleased to know that there are no planned siestas during this trip. The guide will be available the whole time for birding. Some less intense birders may take advantage of taking it easy at the lodge and photography by the feeders, but those who want non-stop birding will get that. Serious traditional birders and listers should know that it is possible to add other programs before and after this trip. Don't hesitate to ask us for tips.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

5 Days

Price & Availability

USD1,375 / per person
This tour is operated by: Kolibri Expeditions

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Operator Review Summary

4.75 Based on 12 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Manu road with start and end in Cuzco
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 5 days
  • It is always great birding, but we don't recommend to do the trip between Dec and March due to heavy rainfall and risk for landslides.
  • No limit.
  • Moderate
  • No
  • English, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian + (Japanese and Mandarin with translator).
  • Cuzco
  • Cuzco