A 3-day photography tour to The Cock‐of‐the‐Rock Lodge which is located at a 1600m/5200ft elevation in the Kosñipata Valley, 165km/102 miles by road from Cusco, and situated within the 5,060ha/12,500‐acre cloud forest reserve of the conservation group Peru Verde.
Our overland journey begins at 3,400m/11,150 ft, with an early departure from the highland city of Cusco. Today’s destination is the lush cloud forest region where the Andes fall away to the Amazon basin. This is a day of scenic drama and striking contrasts. We first visit a mountain wetland habitat teeming with migrant and local waterfowl, before crossing two mountain ranges between the Cusco valley and the Paucartambo valley, to a maximum altitude of 3,900m/12,790ft. Finally, we follow a sinuous ribbon of highway on its plunge through an extraordinary world of forested cliffs, waterfalls and gorges. We take leisurely stops to see mountain villages, a hilltop necropolis of chullpas (pre‐Inca burial chambers), and the abrupt ridge top of Ajanaco, which marks the final high point where the Andes begin their swoop into the Amazon basin. In clear weather we will see a breathtaking panorama of cloud forest and mountain giving way to the lowland rainforest plains far below us. After a lunch we descend through the startling and rapid environmental transformations characteristic of the tropical Andes, passing from grassland and stunted trees through elfin forest, until we wind through a lush and magical world of overhanging trees, giant ferns, monster begonias, countless orchids and bromeliads, and a diverse and teeming birdlife. We make frequent spontaneous stops, perhaps spotting a brilliantly feathered quetzal, a trogon, or the wild turkey‐like Guan.We reach the comfortable Cock‐of‐the‐Rock Lodge. (Box Lunch, D)
In the early morning, we have a chance to view the Cock‐of‐the‐Rock in full, raucous courting display. This lek and its observation blind are famous among birders, since nowhere else on the planet allows so many of these spectacular blazing red birds to be seen so easily. (Not that the very best months for viewing Cocks‐of‐the‐Rock are in September, October and November, although the males display throughout the year.) Afterwards we can stroll along the clearing formed by the nearby road, spotting other birds, and with luck some Brown Capuchin or Woolly Monkeys. After a hearty breakfast we can explore the forest overhanging the gravel road near the lodge, or some of the miles of trails that wind through the valley, to see high elevation cloud forest birds. This is a relaxed and enchanting day. As we amble among the woods and waterfalls we can marvel at the extraordinary variety of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, begonias, lichens and mosses ‐‐ and we also have a chance of sighting Woolly and/or Brown capuchin monkeys. Along the way we may encounter some of the most colorful denizens of the cloud forest, such as the brilliant Golden‐headed Quetzal, Gray‐breasted Mountain Toucan, Blue‐crowned Motmot,
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Umbrella Bird, Blue‐banded Toucanet, fruit‐eating tanagers, Red‐crested Cotinga, Banded‐tail Fruit‐eater, and a
variety of flycatchers. In the afternoon we can relax at the lodge, enjoying the dining hall viewing platform, or our private forest‐
overlook balcony. Or we can cross the river on the lodge’s private oroya (cable bridge) and hike the trail on the
south side of the Kosñipata River. (B, L, D)
After an early breakfast we set off once more up the cloud forest highway, pausing here and there to alight and stroll in search of more birds: ones we have already seen, but are too spectacular to ignore, and birds we are seeing for the first time. Or perhaps we will glimpse monkeys that have so far eluded us. We wind our way through the enchanted mountain landscape on our route back to Cusco, knowing that the memory of this will remain with us for years to come. (B, Box Lunch)
What is included?
- Overland transportation.Cusco to Cock-Of-The-Rock Lodge and back to Cusco
- Accommodation in the following lodge
- 2 nights Cock-Of-The-Rock Lodge
- Meals during the trip (begining with lunch on day 1 and ending with breakfast on day 3
What is not included?
- Air tickets
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as beverages, telephone call, tips, etc.
- Extras not mentioned in the itinerary