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Cusco & Manu Lowlands Tour - 19 Days

Cusco & Manu Lowlands Tour
5550

This 19 day birding tour explores a deeper side to Peru. Probably you know Peru for its great biodiversity, but Peru is also famous for its rich cultural heritage, mainly from the Inca culture. However, 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.

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 one hour 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. 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.

Day 3
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 Giant Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, or Shining Sunbeam.

Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 4
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. We plan to spend about two hours exploring the archaeological site.

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 5
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 Hemispingus, 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 6
Day 6 - Cusco - Manu Road

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 Conebill, Blue-backed Conebill, and much more

Overnight at Wayqecha Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, boxed-lunch, dinner.

Day 7
Day 7 - 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, Marcapata Spinetail, 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 8
Days 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.

Day 9
Day 10 - 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, 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 10
Days 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 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 11
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.

Day 12
Days 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. Possible special birds here are Pavonine Quetzal, and Rufous-fronted Antthrush. 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.

Day 13
Day 16 - Tambo Blanquillo - Los Amigos lodge

After breakfast we take a boat to Los Amigos lodge. Lunch at the Lodge. After lunch we will focus in terra firme habitats, where Grey-headed Kite, Barred-forest Falcon, Double-toothed Kite, are possible. Some quite common species here 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 find.

Overnight at Los Amigos Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 14
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, or Amazonian-Streaked Antwren; around the lake we could have good sightings of the enigmatic Hoatzin, Black-collared Hawk, Pygmy and Green-and-Rufous Kingfishers, 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 mixed 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.

Day 15
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 Antwarbler, 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.

Day 16
Day 19 - Puerto Maldonado - Lima

Morning at leisure. A shuttle bus from the hotel will take you to the airport for the flight to Lima. Once in Lima, you will be at the airport for your international connections.

Meals: Breakfast.

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

Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Guanay Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Surf Cinclodes, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Bearded Mountaineer, Giant Hummingbird, Inca Wren, Green-and-white Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Ocellated Piculet, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Tit-like Dacnis, Parodi’s Hemispingus, 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, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, White-browed Conebill, Grey-breasted Mountain-toucan, Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-tanager Golden-collared Tanager, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Masked Trogon, Barred Fruiteater, Handsome Flycatcher, Inca Flycatcher, Versicolored Barbet, Yungas Manakin, Lanceolated Monklet, Fine-barred Piculet, Rufous-crested Coquette, Bamboo Antshrike, Grey-cheeked Nunlet, White-cheeked Tody-tyrant, Flammulated Bamboo-tyrant, Chesnut-capped Puffbird, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Black-tailed Trogon, River Tyrannulet, Spotted Tody-flycatcher, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Peruvian Recurvebill, Goeldi’s Antbird, Pavonine Quetzal, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Red-and-Green Macaw, Fiery-capped Manakin, White-collared Puffbird, White-eyed Antwren, White-throated Antbird, Cinereous Mourner, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Bar-bellied Woodcreeper, White-winged Shrike-tanager, Pink-throated Becard, Opal-crowned Tanager, Opal-rumped Tanager,Long-crested Pygmy-tyrant, Black-faced Cotinga

What is included?

  • Lodging as described in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation and driver throughout the tour
  • Private boat for the Amazonian part of 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

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

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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.

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Tour Dates Tour Availability Price Spaces Left
04/05/2020 - 22/05/2020 available USD 5,550
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19 Days

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This tour is operated by: Green Tours

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Tour Facts

  • Lima, Cusco, and Manu
  • Set Departure Tour
  • On Request
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • 19 days
  • Moderate
  • English
  • Lima airport
  • Lima airport