Peru is one of the most important birding destinations in the world, containing so many wild and hard to reach places in difficult habitats , that even now new bird species are being discovered and described every year. Many areas remain unexplored by birdwatchers, and only recently have some fascinating places, with rich bio-diversity and a large concentration of species, become available to western enthusiasts. Peru is a wonderful country for any visitor, featuring breathtaking scenery, an impressive cultural heritage, and friendly and courteous people. You will enjoy travelling in remote places and seeing some of the world's most fascinating birds, while experiencing a taste of the rich culture, and staying in good quality accommodation.
It would be virtually impossible to cover the avifauna of Peru in a single visit, so we offer two very different holidays. This tour concentrates on the very important northern birding corridor, offering a long list of birds many of which will be new to most visitors, including some iconic and breathtaking species.
Our itinerary is exceptionally good for hummingbirds, including Koepcke’s Hermit, Black-throated Hermit, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-chinned Sapphire, Rufous-crested Coquette, Reddish Hermit, Blue-fronted and Green-fronted Lancebills, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Long-tailed Sylph, Speckled Hummingbird, White-bellied Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Collared Inca, Andean Emerald, Whitebellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Woodstar, Purple-throated Sunangel, White-bellied Woodstar, Royal Sunangel, Tawny-bellied Hermit and not forgetting Marvellous Spatuletail, perhaps the most spectacular hummingbird in the world. You can also expect tanagers, toucans, raptors, finches and fruiteaters, as we visit unspoilt forests where many brightly-coloured birds can be expected in the canopy. There are also chances of unforgettable Andean Condor and Cock-of-the-Rock, We also include an easy-going day to see Humboldt's Penguin and Inca Tern, and an extension to Machu Picchu can be added on request (see below for outline).
The holiday is carefully planned so you have enough time to enjoy spectacular birding, though we restrict ourselves to the more accessible areas. The committed 'world-lister' will need to visit locations not included here, where conditions might be more demanding. Should you wish to visit the southern part of the country, please see our Peru - Birding and Machu Picchu itinerary.
Peru is now easy to reach from the UK, with direct flights from London Gatwick to Lima. The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service includes your Hotel at Gatwick the night before our morning flight.
Day 1: Wednesday 2nd October
Enjoy your VIP Lounge at Gatwick, also included in the holiday price. We fly to Lima, arriving in the evening. We stay at a very comfortable hotel to recover from our long flight, and enjoy a good buffet breakfast the following morning. Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina Select.
Day 2: Thursday 3rd October Pucusana and Puerto Viejo
A gentle day to introduce you to Peruvian birding, as we drive south of Lima for about one hour to Pucusana, where we search the ocean cliffs for Inca Tern and Humboldt Penguin. On our return journey we visit Puerto Viejo's marshes, where the main attractions are Great Grebe, Peruvian Thick-knee, Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant and Grassland Yellow-Finch. On the beach it is usually easy to find Surf Cinclodes flying around the rocky areas. Return to Lima, where tonight we stay at a comfortable hotel immediately adjacent to the airport for your convenience. Overnight at Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel
Day 3: Friday 4th October Lima - Tarapoto
Early breakfast before crossing the road to the airport for our flight to Tarapoto. On arrival we drive to Alto Shilcayo, our first birding site. We enjoy a few stops along the road to have a first taste of tropical birds including Ruddy Ground-Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, White-tipped Swift, and Thick-billed Euphonia. After birding for a few hours we head to our very comfortable hotel to check in and have lunch. We then head out birding in the afternoon at Juan Guerra. This is a small town 15 minutes south of Tarapoto surrounded by tropical dry forests with some special birds including Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Stripe-chested Antwren, Marañon Slaty Antshrike, and Carmiol´s Tanager. Overnight for two nights at Hotel Tucan Suites.
Day 4: Saturday 5th October Tarapoto
This morning we drive for about 30 minutes to a Cock-of-the-Rock location in the mountains of Cordillera Escalera Reserve. We observe the birds from the roadside, not from the lekking area, which is inaccessible. This area is also good for Wattled Guan, Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and Maroon-tailed Parakeet. Nearby is the Koepcke’s Hermit Conservation Center, another private reserve created to protect this endemic hummingbird. The bird is usually easy to see at the feeders inside the reserve along with many other species including Gould’s Jewelfront, Black-throated Brilliant and more. We take lunch at spectacular Pumarinri lodge by the Huallaga River, about one hour from the Koepcke’s Hermit Conservation Center. Possible birds in the lodge gardens are Black-fronted Nunbird, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, or Green-backed Trogon. A memorable day!
Day 5: Sunday 6th October Tarapoto - Moyobamba
Today we drive northwest for about three and a half hours to the city of Moyobamba, with a stop to look for Oilbirds at Quiscarrumi Bridge. On arrival in Moyobamba we check-in at our lodge and take lunch. In the afternoon we explore around the lodge to see what birds we can find. Our accommodation is plain and unpretentious, but the birding is fantastic, with a very rich list of possibilities here! Overnight for two nights at Waqanki Lodge.
Day 6: Monday 7th October Moyobamba
We have a whole day at Waqanki, taking time to thoroughly explore the lodge surroundings, with lots of attention given to the hummingbird feeder station. Here the main attractions include Black-throated Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-chinned Sapphire, and fantastic Rufous-crested Coquette; this is one of the best hummingbird locations we have seen anywhere in the world, with up to 20 species possible. The forest around the feeders are extremely productive, and we look for Tataupa Tinamou, Green-backed Trogon, mixed flocks including Paradise, Black-bellied, Blue-necked, Guira, Golden, and many other tanagers, Mishana Tyrannulet and many more.
Day 7: Tuesday 8th October Moyobamba - Abra Patricia
We drive to renowned Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge, making a few birding stops along the road. The first is at Morro de Calzada, located 20 minutes from Waqanki. This mountain rises above the valley, and many exceptional birds can be found at its base, including Rufous Motmot, Blackish Nightjar, Mishana Tyrannulet, White-browed Purpletuft and Pale-breasted Thrush among others. Back on the road we drive northeast, leaving the Alto Mayo valley and entering the mountains of Alto Mayo Protected Forest. Rice paddies in the valley are good for Wattled Jacana, Spotted and Blackish Rail, and Green Ibis. Near the town of Aguas Verdes we visit another hummingbird feeder station that can produce Reddish Hermit, Green Hermit, Blue-fronted and Green-fronted Lancebills, and Violet-fronted Brilliant. Another important stop is before the town of El Afluente, a good spot to look for White-winged Tanager, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, fantastic Andean Cock-of-the Rock, and a myriad of other tanagers, woodcreepers, antbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers and more. We stop by the road two or three more times, taking a picnic at a scenic spot. We arrive at our lodge mid-afternoon, where in the gardens you will have time to enjoy many hummingbirds at the feeders: Green Violetear, Long-tailed Sylph, Speckled Hummingbird, White-bellied Woodstar, Sword-billed Hummingbird, and Collared Inca.
Late afternoon we make our first attempt (optional) to find enigmatic Long-whiskered Owlet, a tiny owl endemic to this mountain range. We walk down a trail for about an hour and wait for darkness, when the Owlet becomes active. We may also find Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Bicolored Antvireo and White-fronted Nunbird along the trail. Overnight at Abra Patricia Owlet Lodge where we stay for three nights.
Day 8: Wednesday 9th October Pomacochas and Huembo
Today we explore the northwestern slope of the Abra Patricia mountains. First we drive for about an hour to the Pomacochas Lake, high in the Andes. Here we could find Plumbeous Rail, Puna Snipe, Grassland Yellow-Finch and more. Then we drive to our next stop at Huembo Conservation Center, a nature reserve created to protect endemic Marvellous Spatuletail, perhaps the most spectacular hummingbird in the world. Other hummers attending the feeders might include Andean Emerald, Brown Violetear, White-bellied Hummingbird, Purple-throated Woodstar, Purple-throated Sunangel and White-bellied Woodstar. The forest inside the reserve is also an excellent place to see Emerald Toucanet, Speckled-faced Parrot, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Silver-backed Tanager, and more. After visiting Huembo we will explore for Black-crested Warbler, Citrine Warbler, Sickled-winged Guan, Lacrimose-mountain Tanager and more. We return mid-afternoon to the Lodge, with various walk options.
Day 9: Thursday 10th October Abra Patricia
Today we explore the southeastern slope of the Abra Patricia mountains. Birding here can bring superb birds such as Johnson's Tody-Flycatcher, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, endemic Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, and Rufous Spinetail. Next we visit Fundo Alto Nieva Private Reserve, where feeders attract Botted Racket-tail, Royal Sunangel, Violet-fronted Brilliant, Tawny-bellied Hermit, and other hummers. The forest around the house can produce White-capped Tanager, Crested Quetzal, Ornate Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, and many more. We take lunch back at the lodge, where the Hummingbird feeders will again be a constant distraction! This afternoon we walk for about two and a half hours along the “Grallaria Trail” that starts in the upper part of the lodge and goes down the hill. This humid mountain forest hosts birds such as Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Sharpe’s Wren, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Chestnut-crested Cotinga and Golden-headed Quetzal.
Day 10: Friday 11th October Abra Patricia - Moyobamba
Today we drive back towards the Mayo Valley. We make a few stops on the road near the town of Venceremos to look for Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. This place is also good for Black-mandibled, White-throated, and Channel-billed Toucans and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. After about two hours birding by the road we will arrive to the town of Aguas Verdes to spend a couple of hours at the hummingbird feeders and surrounding forest. We take lunch at our lodge, and again enjoy an absorbing afternoon at the hummingbird feeders and in the forest. Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.
Day 11: Saturday 12th October Moyobamba - Tarapoto – Lima
We return to Tarapoto to catch our flight to Lima, arriving in time for dinner. Overnight Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel
Day 12: Sunday 13th October Lima
We transfer to the airport, with those taking the Machu Pichu extension flying on to Cuzco, and everyone else flying back to the UK, arriving the following morning.
Machu Picchu and Cuzco extension
This extension can be taken directly after the holiday above, or at any other time; please contact our office for details.
Day 12: Sunday 13th October Lima - Cuzco - Urubamba
We arrive into Cusco and drive straight to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Lunch is at our hotel and we have the afternoon to acclimatise to the altitude. Birding around the hotel is excellent, and hummingbirds such as Giant Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, or Shining Sunbeam can be found. Overnight at Lizzy Wasi Lodge
Day 13: Monday 14th October Aguas Calientes: Machu Picchu
After an early breakfast we drive to the railway in the town of Ollantaytambo from where we take the Expedition train for the two hour journey to the town of Aguas Calientes. We arrive mid-morning and check into our hotel and acclimatise, with a few hours downtime until lunch. After lunch we visit the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. The site is at the peak of a mountain surrounded by the mighty Urubamba River, which runs east through the canyon almost half a mile below the citadel. Our guided visit includes the Temple of the Sun, The Tower, the Priestly Mansion, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Central Temple, the Plaza, and the fountains and channels that forms the “Inca Baths”. During our stay in Machu Picchu we will also have the chance to see some special birds including Inca Wren and many tanagers. Overnight for two nights at Hotel El Mapi
Day 14: Tuesday 15th October Aguas Calientes
We spend the morning walking and birding the forest below Aguas Calientes looking for Green-and-white Hummingbird, Andean Motmot, Ocellated Piculet, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Masked Fruiteater and many more. We take lunch at a local restaurant and then in the afternoon continue exploring the forest around Aguas Calientes looking for more birds and wildlife.
Day 15: Wednesday 16th October Aguas Calientes - Cuzco
This morning we take the train to Cuzco. The journey takes several hours and is incredibly scenic. We meet the bus on arrival and head to our hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we head to the archaeological site of Sacsayhuamán, one of the finest and most amazing architectural constructions of the Inca empire. As a plus during this excursion, we have the chance to find some special birds such as Andean Flicker, Bright-rumped Yellow-Finch, or Cinereous Conebill. Overnight for two nights at San Agustin Internacional Hotel.
Day 16: Thursday 17th October Cuzco
We will devote the morning to the historical heart of the city of Cuzco. Our first stop is at the Sun Temple, known as the Qorikancha; this temple, with its once gold-covered walls, was one of the most important buildings in the Inca civilization, built to honor the Sun God, Inti. We then visit the colonial style Main Plaza and the Cuzco Cathedral, which is rich in religious artworks.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. First stop is the Pisac traditional market, which is the best place to buy high quality handcraft and traditional products. People from all over Cusco come to this market to trade their everyday items. Then we continue our journey to the Salinas of Maras, the most important salt production area during Incan times, and nowadays the salt production is still important for very exclusive products.
Day 17: Friday 18th October Cuzco - Lima
We have the morning at leisure, with free time for shopping and walking around the city centre at your own pace. We have an early lunch in Cuzco before the flight to Lima. On arrival in Lima we have a few hours before our international connection home.
More Holiday Information
Accommodation is in comfortable hotels. Lima and Tarapoto hotels are of a high standard. Accommodation is less luxurious at Abro Patricia, where bathrooms are shared in the ratio two bedrooms to one bathroom, and at Waqanki Lodge, where comfortable en-suite rooms are plain and simple. These places offer relatively good standards in a remote area only recently available to western birdwatchers, and having visited both we are happy to include them in our holiday itinerary. Many of the hotels in this area are only recently available, and some do not yet have their own webpage.
Food Breakfast is usually served as a buffet, with a wide choice. Dinner is usually a plated meal, again with a choice, and traditional and local dishes are included. Lunches are generally taken in the field, though sometimes we will stop at restaurants and hotels. Vegetarian and other diets are welcome.
Walking is generally light/moderate. There is some uphill track and road walking, and an average level of fitness is required. More strenuous walking (eg at Abro Patricia), is optional, and in many places easy birding is readily available at feeders close to our accommodation.
Weather will be mixed. Mostly the temperature will be warm, with the possibility of rain. In some locations the weather is hot and humid, in others hot and dry, and at altitude can be cool and wet.
Insects There are biting insects, though not usually as a major problem.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights are by scheduled airline, from London Gatwick. If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, we will be happy to arrange this for you.
Wilson Diaz is a biologist based in north Peru. He start birding more than 10 years ago when working on a nature conservation project focused on an endemic hummingbird in north Peru. Since then, he has travelled extensively across the country, and has led many groups in north and south Peru. Wilson says: “When I travel I enjoy nature, and my greatest satisfaction is to share this joy with visitors”
Gerard Gorman is a highly experienced Leader for Heatherlea, including several birding trips to Peru.
Wilson and Gerard (above).
Wilson, Gerard and a Heatherlea group at Machu Picchu (below).
What's included in your holiday price:
* scheduled return flights between London Gatwick and Lima, airport taxes. Please contact us for prices involving connection from a different UK airport.
* ground transportation as outlined including all transportation in Peru in a modern and spacious air-conditioned vehicle.
* accommodation and all meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* the services of your leaders.
* entrance fees to parks and reserves, and tips to hotels and restaurants.
* departure taxes.
* The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions.
FREE! ‘Birds of Peru’ field guide by Thomas S. Schulenberg, Douglas F. Stotz, Daniel F. Lane, John P. O'Neill, Theodore A. Parker III, is included in your holiday price.
What's not included in your holiday price:
* personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, visa costs where necessary, optional tips to the driver and local guide, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.
WHY CHOOSE HEATHERLEA?
Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.
Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.
The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;
* We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 25 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
* Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
* Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
* All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
* Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.