This birdwatching tour, starting from Lima, crosses the Andes to the deep tropical rainforests of Manu. Of course, we could not conceive of a birdwatching trip in southern Peru without including the most famous tourist site in the world, Machu Picchu, where we can marvel at one of the wonders of the New World. And don’t worry: there are even endemic birds there. Primarily a birdwatching journey, this tour also allows for an immersion in the Inca history of Peru.

15 days
From 4290 US$
Birding tours Birding tours
Photo and bird watching tours Photo and bird watching tours

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Xavier Amigo

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Xavier Amigo
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15 15 days

Day 1: Arrival in Peru - Lima

We will transfer to your hotel after you arrive at Lima International Airport. Your guide will give you a short briefing on the upcoming trip. If the flight schedule allows, we will visit the Pantanos de Villa coastal reserve south of the city. These coastal marshes are home to many resident species and can be very interesting staging areas for migratory birds at certain times of year. We’ll return to the hotel for some rest at the end of the day. For those who wish, visiting the colonial districts of the Peruvian capital at your own pace is possible.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel in Lima in the peaceful Miraflores district.

Welcome and local transfer

Great Grebe, White-cheeked Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Peruvian Thicknee, Plumbeous Rail, Belcher's Gull, Kelp Gull, Gray-headed Gull, Franklin's Gull, Black Skimmer, Yellowish Pipit, Peruvian Meadowlark, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Grassland Yellowfinch

Day 2: Lima - Cuzco – Huarcapay lake

This morning, we will fly to the ancient Inca capital, Cuzco. As soon as we arrive, we will board our private transport and head south of the city to the high-altitude lake of Huarcapay. Here, an array of localized species awaits us. We will also look for some species of Furnarids that are typical of these xerophytic Andean environments. Our main objective will be to observe the rare Bearded Mountaineer hummingbird, which feeds on tobacco flowers. We’ll return to Cuzco in the early afternoon for a peaceful tour of the city, where we’ll discover the highlights of the colonial and pre-Hispanic architecture and history of the Inca capital.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

White-tufted Grebe, Silvery Grebe, Andean Ruddy Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Puna Teal, Andean Gull, Giant Hummingbird, Bearded Mountaineer, Andean Negrito, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Rusty-fronted Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Golden-billed Saltator, Line-fronted Canastero, Scribble-tailed Canastero, Puna Thistletail, Diademed Tapaculo, Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, White-browed Conebill, Three-striped Hemispingus, Drab Hemispingus

Day 3: Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo

This day will essentially be a day of relaxation as we visit the historical and archaeological highlights of one of South America’s most emblematic Inca areas. We will explore different archaeological sites in the "Sacred Valley" and the small Inca village of Ollantaytambo. We will stroll through the traditional Sunday market of the colonial village of Pisac, between Andean tubers, wool handicrafts, and traditional clothes. We will also have the opportunity to visit part of the archaeological site of Pisac, which overlooks the city. We’ll enjoy lunch in a local country restaurant in or around Urubamba before departing to the less-touristic village of Chinchero. We will then stroll through the village streets to discover some of the remains of the Incan past of this mystical, high-altitude place. Afterward, we’ll return to Ollantaytambo.  There are two options for the late afternoon. Those who wish can visit the Inca site of Ollantaytambo at their own pace. The rest of the group can go for a short bird walk around the village in search of some range-restricted species.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

White-tufted Sunbeam, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Junin Canastero, Bearded Mountainer, Tit-like Dacnis, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch.

Day 4: Abra Malaga – Aguas Caliente

Early this morning, we will head to the highlands and the Abra Malaga pass. This famous birding site is home to several special ecosystems. We will look for several endemic hummingbirds in the mixed high-Andean forests and flower gardens on the drive up. At the pass, we will explore extremely specific environments at an altitude of more than 4000 meters: scrub, herbaceous areas, Polylepis woods, and rocky peat bogs. After surveying these high-altitude ecosystems, we will descend along the eastern side of the pass to subtropical and cloud forest areas. We will pay particular attention to the large bamboo patches (Chusquea) that line the road. At the end of the day, we will return to Ollantaytambo, where we will take the last train to Aguas Calientes, the village at the foot of Machu Picchu.

Dinner and overnight stay in a charming hotel.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Andean Goose, White-winged Diuca-Finch, Giant Conebill, Tit-like Dacnis, Line-fronted Canastero, Puna Thistletail, Streak-throated Canastero, Tawny tit-Spinetail, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Puna Tapaculo, Royal Cinclode, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Inca Wren, White-browed Conebill, Slaty Tanager, Three-striped Hemispingus, Parodi's Hemispingus, Scaled Metaltail, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous Antpitta, Diademed Tapaculo, Golden-collared Tanager, Rufous-bellied Bush-Tyrant

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Aguas Caliente

Early in the morning (5:30 am), we will leave for the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, a mysterious Incan citadel discovered in 1911 by the American anthropologist Hiram Bingham.  We will visit the Plaza de Armas, the Circular Tower, the royal dwellings, and the Temple of the Three Windows. We will also have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the ruins. We must not forget our binoculars to enjoy the rich birdlife around the ruins: we will look for Inca Wren, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Masked Fruiteater, Sclater's Tyrannulet, and Variable Antshrike. After the arrival of the hordes of tourist buses from Cuzco, we will descend to Aguas Calientes through the high-altitude temperate forests.

Dinner and overnight stay at the same hotel.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Day 6: Aguas Calientes – Cuzco - Ajcanacu – Pillahuata - Wayqecha

This morning, we will take the train to Ollantaytambo and then our private bus to take the southern route through the sandy landscapes of the eastern cordillera, discovering different ecosystems and typical Andean landscapes and mixing birding and archaeological stops. It is a long way to the Tres Cruces pass, but the panorama from this point is breathtaking. This is the start of the famous Manu Road. We descend gently through high-altitude elfin forest and temperate forest sectors to the Wayqecha Lodge, located 15 kilometers from the pass. Several endemic species are present along this route, and we will try to find them all. We arrive in the late afternoon at the Wayqecha Lodge in the heart of the high part of the Manu road. For the more adventurous, going out at night during the next two evenings will be possible.

Dinner and overnight in Wayqecha.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide, entrance to the Wayqecha reserve

Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chuiguanco Thrush, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Scribble-tailed and line-fronted Canasteros, Puna Wren, Puna and Diademed Tapaculo, Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, White-browed Conebill, Collared Jay, Mountain Cacique, Swallow-tailed Nightjar

Day 7: Wayqecha Biological Station

We will spend the whole day in the heart of the Wayqecha Reserve. This reserve is home to a vast territory covered by a magnificent temperate forest. We will walk the various trails of this conservation area in search of the many specialties of the area. We will look for gigantic mixed tanager flocks and listen for the characteristic songs of the antpittas present at this altitude. In the afternoon, we will walk along the main road, where the slightly more open environments will offer more photo opportunities and a different mix of species. In the evening, we’ll go on a night excursion in search of the nocturnal birdlife of the area, particularly the magnificent Swallow-tailed Nightjar, which is actually quite common in this area.

Dinner and overnight at the same lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Golden-plumed Parakeet, Andean Parakeet, Yungas Pygmy Owl, White-throated Screech-Owl, Gould's Inca, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Violet-throated Startfrontlet, Scaled Metaltail, Long-tailed Sylph, Masked Trogon, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Pearled Treerunner, Trilling Tapaculo, White-crowned Tapaculo, Barred Fruiteater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Barred Becard, White-eared Solitaire, White-collared Jay, Grass-green Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Mountain Tanager, Moustached Flowerpiercer

Day 8: Wayqecha – Cock Of The Rock Lodge

Today we will take the full day to travel from the temperate forests around Wayqecha Lodge to the subtropical forests of the legendary Cock of the Rock Lodge. Along this incredible altitudinal gradient, we will make several stops at well-known sites such as the "tunnels,” but also wherever the magnificent forest seems favorable to birding. We will arrive in the middle of the afternoon at the Cock of The Rock Lodge, where we will be able to use the last hours of the day for some "Veranda Birding.”

Dinner and overnight stay in the Cock of the Rock Lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide, entrance to the CORL reserve

Hooded Tinamou, Solitary Eagle, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Blue-banded Toucanet, Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-backed Treehunter, Red-and-white Antpitta, White-throated Antpitta, Band-tailed Fruiteater, Inca Flycatcher, Fulvous Wren, White-eared Solitaire, Black-faced Brushfinch

Day 9: Cock Of The Rock Lodge

Early in the morning, we will enjoy one of the most fabulous spectacles the Andean subtropical forests can offer: a live lekking performance from the Andean Cock-of-the-rock. After plenty of time observing this memorable performance from the bright-orange males of this eastern subspecies, we will leave their surreal calls behind to walk along the paths of the lodge in search of the area’s other specialties. After a well-deserved meal and some time to relax on the veranda, watching the incessant ballet of hummingbirds, we will head back to the main trail to bird around the lodge until nightfall. After dinner, we will enjoy a night walk in search of the nocturnal birdlife of the area, as well as some mammals and reptiles.

Dinner and overnight at the same lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Black Tinamou, Brown Tinamou, Torrent Duck, Rufescent Screech-Owl, Black-Streaked Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Ash-browed Sponetail, Scaled Antpitta, Crested Quetzal, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Yungas Manakin, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Moustached Wren, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Slaty Tanager.

Day 10: Cock Of The Rock Lodge – Villa Carmen

We’ll do some final birding throughout the morning in the different ecosystems of the reserve - gallery forests, swamp areas, and adjacent bamboo forests - before taking our dugout canoe up the Madre de Dios River to Atalaya, where our transport will be waiting for us for a short transfer to our next accommodation: the scientific station of Villa Carmen (500 masl), near Pillcopata. After settling into this new accommodation recently opened to tourism and receiving a short briefing on the project, we will start exploring the station’s surroundings.

Dinner and overnight stay in a Biological Station.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide, entrance to the Villa del Carmen reserve

Horned Screamer, White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Flammulated Tody-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu Antbird, Goeldi’s Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Bamboo Antshrike, White-lined Antbird, Ornate Antwren and Dot-winged Antwren, Scarlet-hooded Barbet

Day 11: Villa Carmen's bamboo forests

The distinct bamboo ecosystems of the Manu bio-region have generated a very specific evolutionary process, with many endemic species specially adapted to this niche. We will also have the opportunity to visit and explore the great Piñipiñi river valley and its different types of vegetation that host a large number of understorey species, including many antbirds (thamnophilidae) and antthrushes (formicaridae). The night walks here can also be very productive, both in terms of birds and mammals, and we could observe night monkeys, Tayra, Kinkajou, Opossum, and other reclusive nocturnal mammals.

Dinner and overnight at the same charming lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Military, Blue-headed and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, White-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher, Manu, Striated, Goeldi's, and White-lined Antbirds, Ihering's Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike, Large-headed and Dusky-tailed Flatbills, Flammulated Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Brown-rumped and Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaners, Red-billed Scythebill, Dot-winged Antwren, Ornate Antwren, Rufous-breasted Piculet, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Peruvian Recurvebill, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Amazonian Antpitta, Red-necked Woodpecker, Striolated Puffbird, Scarlet-hooded Barbet, Fine-barred Piculet

Day 12: Villa Carmen - Atalaya - Manu Willife Center

From Villa del Carmen, we continue our descent to the small port village of Atalaya to board our canoe down the Madre de Dios River, leaving behind the green ridges of the eastern foothills to plunge deeper into the wet lowlands. Careful scanning of the riverbank may reveal some new species: Sand-colored Nighthawk, Neotropic Cormorant, the curious Orinoco Goose, Great Black-Hawk, the rare Sunbittern, and perhaps some Capybaras, the world's largest rodent. With some luck, we should also be able to spot the majestic and iconic Razor-billed Curassow, a species driven to near extinction in most of the Amazon but still quite common here. Cocoi and Capped Herons, Tantalus, the enormous Jabiru, Roseate Spoonbill, Horned Screamer, Greater yellow-headed Vulture, Plumbeous kite, the graceful Swallow-tailed Kite, Crane Hawks, Black Caracara, Bat Falcons, Pied Plover, and many species of Terns, Macaws, Kingfishers, Cotingas, Cowbirds and Oropendolas are all encountered along this mythical river. Finally, we arrive at the Manu Birding Lodge, where we settle into our cabins.

Dinner and overnight stay in a superior lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Day 13: Salines and hides

This will be another day full of birding and photo opportunities. We will visit some hides strategically placed in front of natural feeding areas called collpas, which attract a wide range of species emblematic of the Amazon basin. This morning, we will focus on a clay lick where an extraordinary number of parrots (psittacidae) gather every morning. The rest of the day will be dedicated to watching hummingbirds around the lodge and exploring different trails in terra firme forest.

Dinner and overnight stay at the same superior lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide, entries to the various hides

Day 14: Laguna Blanco & tapir saltpan

This morning, we will depart early to the Blanco oxbow lagoon for various bird, mammal, and reptile observations. We will spend some time observing and photographing all these species from the floating platform. Back on land, we will bird the different trails to look for new species, many of which are endemic. This area combines many ecosystems: bamboo forest, varzea, and terra firme, giving us many biotopes to visit. Armed with a lot of patience, we will also visit the mammal salt lick, where, with some luck, we will be able to observe Tapir, Peccary, and maybe even a Jaguar.

Dinner and overnight stay at the same superior lodge.

Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Day 15: Manu Wildlife Center – Puerto Maldonado – Lima

After breakfast, we will travel down the Madre de Dios River for three hours to reach the town of Boca Colorado, the gold capital of the region. From there, we will take the road to San Carlos for 45 minutes. A new 15-minute crossing by canoe will allow us to explore the Inabari river and reach Puerto Santa Rosa. The last two hours of the trip will take us to Puerto Maldonado, on the Brazilian border, for our flight to Cuzco. We will take an immediate flight to Lima for our international connection.

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Private transport, English-speaking specialist guide

Dates of the next departures

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Prices per person

2 travelers 4 travelers 6 travelers
5,960 US$ 4,720 US$ 4,290 US$

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  • Private transport (petrol, road taxes, parking, insurance for the vehicle and its passengers).
  • Entrance fees to the natural sites mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All transfers as mentioned.
  • Specialised English-speaking guide throughout the trip.
  • 24-hour assistance.
  • Accommodation in double rooms with private bathroom.
  • Meals as mentioned, picnics for some hikes.

Not included

  • International flight. (You can consult our list of tour operators offering flights).
  • Excursions and activities indicated as optional in the programme.
  • Entrance fees to archaeological sites.
  • Luggage weight supplements for flights (23 kg allowed on internal flights).
  • Some dinners (count between 12 and 18.00usd/meal).
  • Single room supplement.
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks during and outside meals.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Personal insurances and bank commissions for payments.

Important note

Itineraries may be subject to last minute changes due to natural disasters or changes in domestic legislation. The visitor must take into account and accept the possibility of last minute changes in the organisation of the trip. The operator therefore reserves the right to make any changes necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the travellers and to comply with the laws in force. The hotels are given as an indication subject to availability at the time of booking the tour. In case of unavailability, a hotel of the same category will be proposed.

Your guides for this trip

Percy Avendaño

Percy Avendaño

en es
With more than 10 years of experience as a bird guide, Percy knows perfectly his country, which he explored from north to south, from Chiclayo to Manu, but also in Bolivia. The vocalizations of the avian species of these two countries have no secret for him. Moreover he knows extremely well the modern and past history of the region which he also explains with enthusiasm and passion.
William Aranibar

William Aranibar

en es
Originally from Cusco, William is well versed in many natural and historical aspects of southern Peru. He knows the Manu region like the back of his hand. He has been working as a naturalist and birdwatcher guide for more than 10 years now. In addition to his knowledge in ecology, he is strongly linked to the environmentalist movements of the region and in particular with a project of recollection of garbage and sensitization of the local populations in all the zone of Manu. He will accompany you during your naturalist and ornitho trips in the south of Peru.

Characteristics of the trip

Travel theme

Ornithology, photography and culture


Bilingual guide


From 4 to 6 people

Arrival city


Departure city



Charming Hotels, Lodges and Hacienda



Physical condition

moderate (some walks at altitude, although slow, can be tiring)
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