Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road and Lowlands September 2020

Tour Details

Duration: 20 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Date Start: September 01, 2020
Date End: September 20, 2020
Tour Start: Lima
Tour End: Lima

Tour Costs

Price: US$ 7,140 / £5,864 / €6,595 per person sharing (4-8 participants),  plus US$ 450  / £370 / €416 for domestic flights, which we will book for you

Single Supplement: US$ 1,460 / £1,199 / €1,348

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Price includes:
Accommodation (hotels and lodges)
Private land and river transportation
Admission fees
All meals (except where indicated)
Private tour leader
Bottled water in the field
Transfers from and to the airport

Price excludes:
All flights and airport taxes
Dinner the first night and any meal except breakfast on day 20
Any activity that is not described in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, alcoholic drinks, phone calls, internet access, etc.
Gratuities

Accommodation in Lima on day 20 if necessary

Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road and Lowlands

Our Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road is perhaps ‘the’ birding adventure of South America, and the Manu Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world.

Our 20-day trip will take you to the city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas, which will allow us to explore the mountains on the way to the world famous Manu Road. This road connects the Andes of Cusco with the Amazon basin in the Madre de Dios region. It runs along the mountains to 4000 meters elevation and then descends to 500 meters in the Amazon. Driving along this remote road will allow us to see different habitats and different altitudinal ranges, such as arid mountains and plateaus, paramo and elfin forest, humid cloudforest mountains, and then the Amazon basin of the Madre de Dios River, one of the most important Amazon River tributaries.

Each habitat exhibits a unique ecosystem and avifauna with some of the most representative birds of this part of the world, such as Andean Cock-of-the-rockAndean CondorTorrent DuckSungrebeSunbitternHoatzinRed-billed ScythebillParadise TanagerPale-winged TrumpeterRazor-billed CurassowUndulated TinamouLyre-tailed NightjarBlue-and-yellow MacawBand-tailed ManakinWhite-throated ToucanGrey-breasted Mountain ToucanPavonine QuetzalWhite-capped Dipper, and a lot of hummingbirds, including the endemic Bearded MountaineerGiant Hummingbird, and the handsome Rufous-booted Racket-tail.

In addition to these most-wanted and representative species the trip will provide a whole selection of range-restricted, country-endemic, and elusive species, such as Chestnut-breasted Mountain FinchCreamy-crested SpinetailRed-and-white AntpittaManu AntbirdYungas ManakinRufous-headed WoodpeckerPeruvian RecurvebillWhite-cheeked Tody-FlycatcherBlack-backed Tody-FlycatcherMarcapata SpinetailRufous-fronted AntthrushAmazonian AntpittaRed-billed Pied TanagerRufous TwistwingPurus and White-throated JacamarsOrange-fronted PlushcrownFine-barred PiculetScarlet-hooded Barbet, and Blue-headed Macaw. We will be lucky if we have encounters with the rare Harpy Eagle and Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, both of which occur in the lowlands of the Manu National Park.

Three obligatory natural history shows are possible to witness on this trip, namely the display of the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, the macaws and parrots visiting the clay licks to ingest the minerals they need for their diet every day, and finally the mixed-flock activity, where several species of birds can travel in a single flock through the forest, including army ant followers. The trip also offers good chances for wildlife, including species such as Emperor Tamarin and over seven species of monkeys, Giant Otters, and with luck Jaguar.

During this trip we will spend six days birding the mountains of Cusco and the upper parts of the Manu Road, visiting the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station and the Cock of the Rock Lodge, and 12 days visiting the main birding sites in the Amazon. First we will spend two nights at the recently-opened Villa Carmen Biological Station, which is a comfortable option for the lower Manu Road and the Atalaya area with independent rooms and private bathrooms, electricity, internet access, meal facilities, and a good selection of bird species including bamboo specialities – a great asset to our tours. Then we will visit the classic Hacienda Amazonia, where we will spend only one night, enjoying the beautiful grounds and hummingbird feeders, followed by four nights at the well-known Manu Wildlife Center, looking for several Amazonian specialists and visiting oxbow lakes and macaw clay licks, and then by three nights at the lesser-known but comfortable Los Amigos Biological Station in our quest for a handful of localized, prized species and good chances of tracking down mammals. Finally we will spend two days in the Puerto Maldonado area, where we will be near the Brazilian border to look for open-country specialists.

Join us for this great adventure!

Itinerary (20 days, 19 nights)

Day 1. Arrival in Lima

You will arrive at the Jorge Chávez International Airport near Lima and be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Casa Andina Miraflores, Lima

Day 2. Flight to Cusco, birding the Cusco area

We will have an early flight to the city of Cusco and start our birding day with exploring some wetlands and marshes near the city, where we should find species such as Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Yellow-billed Teal, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Plumbeous Rail, Cinnamon Teal, Andean Duck, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Andean Negrito, and other Andean wetland specialities. We will also encounter the first hummingbirds of the trip, including Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Green-tailed Trainbearer, and the endemic Bearded Mountaineer. We will have an easy afternoon in Cusco in order to rest well and acclimatize before starting our next day’s adventure.

Overnight: Casa Andina Hotel, Cusco

Day 3. Transfer to Pillahuata, birding on the way

Today we will leave Cusco to start exploring the famous Manu Road, one of the greatest bird-rich hotspots in South America. We will start looking for the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch and the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail. Other targets include Band-tailed Seedeater, Peruvian Sierra Finch, Andean Flicker, Aplomado Falcon, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Spot-winged Pigeon, Brown-backed and Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrants, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Grass Wren, Violet-throated Starfrontlet, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Tyrian Metaltail, Andean Guan, Grass-green Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Variable and White-throated Hawks, and many others. We will arrive in the Pillahuata area at 2800 meters elevation and stay at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station for two nights.

Overnight: Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station

Day 4. Birding the Pillahuata area

After an early breakfast we will be ready to look for birds around Pillahuata for species like Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Masked Trogon, the endemic Marcapata Spinetail, Golden-collared Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, the endemic Red-and-white Antpitta, Red-crested Cotinga, Masked Flowerpiercer, Trilling Tapaculo, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Streak-throated Bush Tyrant, White-banded, White-throated, White-tailed, and Black-capped Tyrannulets, Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager, Pearled Treerunner, Montane Woodcreeper, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Blue-backed Conebill, Collared Inca, Barred Fruiteater, and Black-throated Tody-Tyrant. If we are lucky we might find the nocturnal Swallow-tailed Nightjar after dinner.

Overnight: Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station

Day 5. Birding the San Pedro area

We will leave Wayquecha and descend to the cloudforest in the San Pedro area. We will look for mixed flocks along the road including species like Citrine and Three-striped Warblers, Andean Motmot, Blue-banded Toucanet, Yungas Pygmy Owl, Andean and White-eared Solitaires, Great Thrush, Blue-and-black and Blue-capped Tanagers, Golden-headed Quetzal, Black-backed Grosbeak, White-collared Jay, Southern Mountain Cacique, Superciliaried and Drab Hemispinguses, Pale-legged Warbler, and if we are lucky Solitary Eagle and Black-and-chestnut Eagle.

Overnight: Cock of the Rock Lodge

Days 6 – 7. Cock of the Rock Lodge

We will spend two full days around the Cock of the Rock Lodge, looking for a large selection of colorful species such as Paradise, Orange-eared, Golden, Spotted, Bay-headed, Blue-necked, Golden-eared, Slaty, Silver-beaked, Magpie, Saffron-crowned, and White-winged Tanagers, Blue Dacnis, Golden-collared and Green Honeycreepers, Versicolored Barbet, Black-faced Dacnis, Fiery-capped and Yungas Manakins, Black-eared Hemispingus, and others. In addition we should also find Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Long-tailed Tyrant, Yellow-breasted Warbling Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-backed Fire-eye, Stripe-chested Antwren, Slaty Antwren, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Scaly-headed Parrot, Chestnut-breasted, Mountain, and Moustached Wrens, Slaty Gnateater, and with luck Brown Tinamou around the lodge grounds. The hummingbird feeders attract Violet-fronted Brilliant, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Booted Racket-tail, Many-spotted Hummingbird, and Sparkling Violetear. The flowering bushes are good for Wire-crested Thorntail, Green Hermit, and Wedge-billed Hummingbird. We will also try for Rufescent Screech Owl and Lyre-tailed Nightjar after dusk, and if we are lucky we might find Andean Potoo at its daytime roost.

Overnight: Cock of the Rock Lodge

Day 8. Cock of the Rock Lodge to Villa Carmen Biological Station

Today we will enjoy the Andean Cock-of-the-rock display at the lek not far from the lodge, and after the show we will explore the area below the lodge, looking for the endemic Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, White-lined Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Bamboo Antshrike, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, and Bluish-fronted Jacamar. We will pass the villages of Patria and Pilcopata, where we have chances to see Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch, Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Plumbeous Kite, Roadside Hawk, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Plain-crowned Spinetail, and others. We will reach the Villa Carmen Biological Station, where we will spend two nights. After dusk we will try for Tropical Screech Owl and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl.

Overnight: Villa Carmen Biological Station

Day 9. Exploring the Villa Carmen area

We have a full day to explore the area around Villa Carmen, especially the bamboo trail, where we should find Manu Antbird, Bamboo Foliage-gleaner, Flammulated Bamboo Tyrant, Bamboo Antshrike, White-lined Antbird, Plain-winged Antshrike, Bluish-slate Antshrike, Ornate Antwren, Pygmy Antwren, Blackish Antbird, White-flanked Antwren, Black-throated Antbird, White-browed Antbird, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, the endemic Fine-barred Piculet, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Blue-headed Parrot, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Band-tailed Manakin, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Masked Tityra, Pectoral Sparrow, Collared Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, and with luck Blue-headed Macaw.

Overnight: Villa Carmen Biological Station

Day 10. Hacienda Amazonia

Today we will transfer to the Hacienda Amazonia for an overnight. The place is very good for hummingbird species, including Koepcke’s Hermit and also Rufous-crested Coquette, Gould’s Jewelfront, Golden-tailed Sapphire, and Wire-crested Thorntail, all easily seen from the lodge balcony. Other birds include Grey-necked Wood Rail, Speckled Spinetail, Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Blackish Rail, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Chestnut-eared and Lettered Aracaris, Black-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Lineated, Little, Yellow-tufted, and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers, Fasciated and Rufescent Tiger Herons, Crested, Casqued, and Russet-backed Oropendolas, and Sand-colored Nighthawk. At night we will try for Great and Common Potoos.

Overnight: Hacienda Amazonia

Day 11. Boat ride to the Manu Wildlife Center

After breakfast we will transfer by boat to the Manu Wildlife Center. The boat ride along the Madre de Dios River takes seven hours. During the boat trip we might see Black Skimmer, Pied Plover, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Great Black Hawk, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Red-and-green Macaw, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and Scarlet Macaw.

Overnight: Manu Wildlife Center

Days 12 – 14. Manu Wildlife Center

We will spend three full days here, looking for Amazon lowland species like Razor-billed Curassow, Pale-winged Trumpeter, Musician Wren, Southern Nightingale-Wren, Red-necked Woodpecker, Festive Coquette, Reddish Hermit, White-chinned Sapphire, Great Jacamar, Pavonine Quetzal, Grey Antbird, Dusky-throated Antshrike, Common Scale-backed Antbird, King Vulture, Black-fronted and White-fronted Nunbirds, Western Striolated Puffbird, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, and Dusky-tailed and Large-headed Flatbills. The macaw clay lick will provide great views of all local macaw species, such as Scarlet, Blue-and-yellow, Red-and-green, Chestnut-fronted, and Red-bellied Macaws. Other parrots include Southern Mealy Amazon, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-cheeked Parrot, Dusky-headed Parakeet, Rose-fronted Parakeet, and White-eyed Parakeet.

Overnight: Manu Wildlife Center

Days 15 – 17. Los Amigos Biological Station

Today we will leave the Manu Wildlife Center and travel along the Madre de Dios River for about two hours, looking for Orinoco Goose and also for Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns and Pied Plover, and with a lot of luck we might find the elusive jaguar resting along sandbars. We will continue our boat trip on the Los Amigos River, which is a tributary of the Madre de Dios River. Here we will look for the localized Red-billed Pied Tanager, Long-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Black-billed Seed Finch, Pale-eyed Blackbird, Rufous-fronted Antthrush, Black-faced Cotinga, and Varzea Schiffornis.
This location is particularly good for mammals, including more primates than other lodges with species like emperor tamarin and black-faced black spider monkey. Elusive mammals that can be seen at the Los Amigos River include ocelot, tayra, nine-banded armadillo, and with a lot of luck the seldom-seen short-eared dog.
Nocturnal hikes could provide sightings of Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl.

Overnight: Los Amigos Biological Station

Day 18. Transfer to Puerto Maldonado

We will have a long day to transfer by river and land to Puerto Maldonado. We will stay at the comfortable Cabaña Quinta Hotel.

Overnight: Cabaña Quinta Hotel, Puerto Maldonado

Day 19. Birding the Puerto Maldonado area

We have a full day to explore Puerto Maldonado and surroundings, looking for the localized Purus Jacamar and White-throated Jacamar and also for Black-faced Tanager, Red-breasted Blackbird, Grassland Sparrow, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Rusty-backed Antwren, Barred Antshrike, Picui Ground Dove, Southern Crested Caracara, and with luck the localized Rufous Twistwing.

Overnight: Cabaña Quinta Hotel, Puerto Maldonado

Day 20. Departure

We will transfer to the Puerto Maldonado airport to connect with our flight to Lima. We say farewell, and you connect with your international flights.

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

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Hello Chris, and I hope your New Year is off to a good start.
I’ve just returned from our custom tour with Eduardo and I want to tell you – he is a jewel! Very knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and seems to enjoy birding and helping other birders find and appreciate the birds.
I have graded this tour with an “A-“. The minus is because the food was not really very good nor tasty — with the exception of the last meal which was a delightful experience. But none of that is Eduardo’s fault. His guiding, listening and decorum were beyond reproach. He could many times describe where the target bird was, rather than just pointing and scaring it away. A true gentleman and very helpful when I needed help or clarification.
It would be a pleasure to go again with him. He was able to find 26 lifers for me when I expected at the most 19. Now my world list total is 7466 and counting!
He is trying to work something out for me in Peru, but that’s not until May – If we can come up with a feasible itinerary.
Meanwhile, know that you’re welcome to use any or all of this letter to encourage others to join your tours with Eduardo.
Stay well, keep birding. I plan to, too.

Kay Goodhue-Norland, Washington

PERU: MACHU PICCHU AND THE MANU ROAD TRIP REPORT JULY 2017

This is a sample trip report. Please email us (info@birdingecotours.com) for more trip reports from this destination.