HIGHLANDS/MACHU PICCHU/MANU ROAD TOUR
|Duration:||13 days, 12 nights|
|* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.|
Our Peru Highlands, Machu Picchu, and Manu Road Tour features the central highlands of Peru including famed Machu Picchu and bird-rich Manu Road, the latter an altitudinal transect through the eastern Andes of central Peru. The tour is designed for those who only have two weeks to spend in Peru. The birding potential of this tour is superb with well over 400 species likely. The best time to take this tour is July-January. Accommodations range from quite basic facilities to moderately-priced hotels with reasonable but not luxurious facilities and typical eco-lodges. Participants should be willing to accept moderate sacrifice of creature comforts in exchange for fantastic birding.
The tour begins with a morning of birding at Villa Marshes and Pucusana south of Lima for some coastal specialties followed by an afternoon flight to Cusco, situated at 10,000-ft altitude in the central Peruvian Andes. Next morning is a transfer into the highlands to a new birding site along the Mollepata Road and nearby Soraypampa, an area featuring several localized endemic species. The following two days are devoted to birding cloud forest, the Carrizales area, and the high elevation pass at Abra Malaga. A morning train to Machu Picchu starts the next day, devoted to a visit of the ancient Inca ruins and nearby Agua Calientes, before taking a train back to Cusco for the night. From there the tour is devoted to birding Manu Road, starting with a stop at the high elevation Huacarpay Lakes area followed by two days in the mid-elevation site at San Pedro, a lower subtropical site at Villa Carmen Biological Station, and finally a high elevation site at Wayqecha Biological station before returning to Cusco for an early eventing flight to Lima.
Next morning is a train ride to Aguas Calientes at lower elevation followed by an afternoon at Machu Picchu Archaeological Site. After a morning of birding next day around Aguas Calientes, transfer by train to the ancient Incan town of Ollantaytambo where most buildings are constructed of adobe but our hotel is comfortable and of more modern construction. Following morning the tour reaches its highest altitude, nearly 14,000-ft at Abra Malaga Pass where numerous highland specialties are to be found. Then transfer back to Cusco for an overnight stay before continuing next morning to some nearby highland lakes surrounded by semi-arid scrub. From there continue along the upper Manu Road with birding stops en route, arriving at Wayqecha Biological Station in mid-afternoon. The drive offers panoramic views of the Andes as well as several highland specialty birds. Afternoon birding around Wayqecha and an overnight there. Next day is roadside birding all day while descending Manu Road, arriving in the San Pedro area and Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge late afternoon. The lodge was the first constructed along the road and offers comfortable accommodatons. After two nights and a full day of birding the private reserve at this middle elevation site, continue downslope to the small port town of Atalaya Manu on the banks of the Rio Madre de Dios followed by a short 15-min boat ride upriver to the Amazonas Lodge. This lodge offers very good accommodations, hummingbird viewing, and superb lowland birding. After two nights return to Cusco up Manu Road. The following morning bird the nearby Saqsawaman Archaeological Site in the highlands above Cusco before returning to Lima for end of tour.