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'Peru Birds and Culture'

What makes this trip special?

The White City

The White City

Arequipa

Gleaming serenely in its 'eternal spring' sunshine, Arequipa's historical centre is a beautiful ensemble of baroque churches and fine colonial buildings in the white stone of the region. Narrow streets run between grand plazas, with views of 3 snow-capped volcanoes.

Condors

Condors

Colca Canyon

You wait in the early morning sun at a look-out above the world's deepest canyon. Soon condors begin to appear, riding the thermals from their roosts somewhere in the cliffs below. They rise up to your level, circling so close you can almost hear the wind in their wings. They circle again, and soar away to hunt over the altiplano, or to valleys a hundred miles away and more.

Textiles on the Lake

Textiles on the Lake

Taquile Island

Taquile Island is home to a self-sufficient Quechua-speaking traditional community, world-renowned for dramatic finely woven fabrics and traditional dress.

Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

The Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley was heaven on Earth for the Incas. You can easily see why. A lush steep-sided valley wih a wide floor brought alive by the Urubamba river tumbling through its fields and pastures. Great for country walks, striding out on the highlands above, exploring some very very fine Incan ruins, and shopping in local markets. Hearty food, sparklingly clean air - it's the kind of place you might feel you could live in some day.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Absolutely unmissable. One of the most world's evocative sites, an Incan sanctuary beautifully set among seemingly impenetrable mountains, lost for centuries. Approach it by the Inca Trail, or by rail. Truly wonderful.

Centre of the Incan world

Centre of the Incan world

Cusco

A hugely atmospheric city, steeped in its Incan past, with so much to explore. Fine temples of intricate stonework, narrow lanes running to wide plazas, vibrant traditional cultures, busy markets, lively arts, bustling restaurants, with the Andes on all sides. One of the world's great travel destinations.

A lodge in the Amazon rainforest

A lodge in the Amazon rainforest

Southern Amazon

Stay in a lodge in the Amazon rainforest reachable only by river. Once at the lodge guides take you on trips deep into the forest on foot or by boat, with so much to see and learn about its wildlife and how this complex ecosystem works.

Itinerary map for Peru 'Peru Birds and Culture' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Designer's notes

Partners and travelling companions who share a love of travel, but where one is a more avid birder than the other should find this trip provides a perfect compromise. There are plentiful opportunities to bird in some really interesting places, well-seasoned with the high spots of Peru's cultures and history.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Peru Birds and Culture'

DAY 1

Lima

You are met on arrival at Lima airport and driven to your hotel beside an ancient olive grove, now a lovely city park, in the upmarket residential district of San Isidro.

DAY 2
B

Pucusana and Pantanos de Villa marsh

You are driven south from Lima, birding, to the fishing village and weekend retreat of Pucusana. In countryside en route you may find Peruvian Thicknee, Yellowish Pipit, and Short-tailed Field Tyrant. Take a boat trip around the bay at Pucusana for Humboldt Penguin, Inca Tern, Peruvian Booby, Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes, Blackish Oystercatcher, Grey Gull, Peruvian Pelican, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorant. En route back to Lima visit the RAMSAR coastal marsh at Pantanos de Villa for Great and White-tufted Grebe, Andean Coot, Andean Duck, Puna Ibis, Wren-like Rush-Bird, Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, Least Bittern, Burrowing Owl, Cinnamon Teal and White-cheeked Pintail. On an adjacent beach look for terns, plovers, sandpipers and Coastal Miner.

DAY 3
B

El Olivar Park then Arequipa

A stroll in lovely El Olivar Park by your hotel is a civilised way to start the day with a little unguided birding. Amiable upmarket locals bid you “Good morning” in English as they jog, walk and tai-chi amid the century-old olive trees. Many of Lima’s common birds are found here: Canary-winged, Scarlet-fronted and Red-masked Parakeet, Blue-and-white and Barn Swallow, Rock Croaking and Eared Dove, Peruvian Sheertail, Oasis and Amazilia Hummingbird, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Vermillion Flycatcher, Blue Gray Tanager, Bananaquit, Saffron Finch, Scrub Blackbird, Shiny Cowbird, Longtailed Mockingbird, Groove billed Ani, Southern-bearded Tyrannulet, Pacific House Wren, Coastal Miner, and Red-backed and Harris Hawk. After breakfast at your hotel you are driven to the airport for a late morning flight to Arequipa. You are met at the airport and taken on a private tour of the ‘White City’. On your visit to Santa Catalina Monastery look for Peruvian Sheartail in its flower-filled gardens.

DAY 4
BL

Colca - Canyon

A morning’s journey by road across the altiplano of Pampa de Augada Blanca at 4500m, passing llama, vicuna and Andean Geese, to your hotel in the Colca Canyon. Afternoon free.

DAY 5
BL

Condor Cross, Lake Lagunillas to Puno

An early start to Condor Cross on the lip of the canyon. Here you have a very high chance of eye-level views of Andean Condor gliding soaring and circling past you on thermals rising from a precipitous section of the canyon, flying so close you can hear the wind in their feathers. Lunch at Chivay then drive (4hr) across the Salinas y Aguada reserve to Puno on Lake Titicaca. The tourist bus pauses for a photo stop and leg stretch at Laguna Lagunillas: a short opportunity for puna birds such as Chilean and Andean Flamingo, Giant Coot, Andean Hillstar, Puna Plover, Puna Snipe, Silvery Grebe, and Mountain Parakeet.

DAY 6
BL

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is home to all the high Andean waterfowl including the endangered, flightless endemic, the Short-winged (or ‘Titicaca’) Grebe. You take a boat trip to the floating reed islands of the Uros and then on to Taquile Island, while watching out for the Titicaca Grebe, White-tufted Grebe, Cinnamon, Puna and Speckled Teal. Back in Puno your hotel garden close to the lake shore may offer Wren-like Rushbird, Many-coloured Rush- Tyrant, Puna Yellow-Finch, Puna Canastero, Mourning Sierra-Finch, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, White- winged Cinclodes, Andean Flicker, Bare-faced Ground-Dove, and Eared Dove.

DAY 7
BL

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Early flight to Cusco to be met on arrival and driven into the Sacred Valley. You break the journey at a wayside enterprise where you can feed llamas and alpacas, and see traditional spinning, weaving and dyeing. At the picturesque market town of Pisac you browse the stalls or, for a small entrance fee, visit a small botanical garden with hollyhocks, arums, cacti, agapanthus and plot of local vegetables, pulses, corn and potatoes. You visit the very fine Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo up steep stone steps. Stay in the Sacred Valley for 3 nights.

DAY 8
BL

Two days of excellent birding with a specialist local bird guide, targeting the Abra Malaga region. In dense montane scrub near Penas you search for Great Sapphirewing, Cinerous Conebill, Shining Sunbeam, Rusty-fronted, Junin Canastero and Taczanowski’s Tinamou (luck required). Continuing beyond Abra Malaga Pass, with the chance of condor overhead, you take a trail to a patch of elfin polylepis where the critically endangered Royal Cinclodes is found with other polylepis specialists: White-browed and Tawny Tit-spinetail, Line-fronted Canastero, Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, Giant Conebill, Blue-mantled and Purple-backed Thornbill

DAY 9
BL

Another early start to bird beyond Abra Malaga pass in lush cloud forest and Chusquea bamboo. Star birds here are Imperial Snipe and Parodi’s Hemispingus, and the endemics Marcapata Spinetail, Puna Thistletail, Inca Wren, Unstreaked Tit-tyrant and Cusco Brush-Finch. Among many others are Scaled Metaltail, Stripe-headed and Undulated Antpitta, Puna, Diademed and Trilling Tapaculo, Saphire-vented (Coppery-naped) Puffleg, Sierran Elaenia, Golden-collared Tanager, Andean Ibis and Three-striped Hemispingus, and local endemics Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch and Creamy-crested Spinetail.

DAY 10
BLD

Machu Picchu

This morning you are taken to the train station at Ollantaytambo for the train journey to Machu Picchu along the narrow gorge of the Urubamba river (Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper). You are met at the village and guided to the bus that runs up the switch-back mountain road to the Incan sanctuary itself. Take lunch, then meet your local guide for a tour of the ruins. While exploring the citadel you might take your eyes away from the Incan stonework for Cusco Brush-Finch, Green-and-White Hummingbird, White-tipped Swifts and in the bamboo areas, Inca Wren. Back by bus to the village to stay 2 nights.

DAY 11
BD

A free day at valley level, with excellent birding along a seldom-used railway track beyond the village for Sclater’s and Bolivian Tyrannulet, Silver-backed, Saffron-crowned, Flame-faced, Rust-and-Yellow and Beryl-spangled Tanager, Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Mitred and Barred Parakeet, Pale-eyed Thrush, Masked Fruiteater, Black-streaked Puffbird, Oleaginous Hemispingus, Capped Conebill, White-eared Solitaire, Highland Motmot, Andean Guan and Andean Cock of the Rock.

DAY 12
B

Cusco

Morning free for further birding or a return to Machu Picchu for a walk to the Sun Gate for a classic view of the ruins. Train back to Ollantaytambo, alight and return by road to Cusco.

DAY 13
B

Your local guide collects you from your hotel this morning for a visit to Sacsayhuaman astride its hill above the city. You return for lunch and join a shared tour of Cusco, visiting the Temple of the Sun, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral.

DAY 14
B

Amazon

Travel to the Amazon for 4 nights at a lodge in Tambopata which we will help you select. With extra days and longer logistics you could instead visit Manu or Iquitos.

DAY 15

At your Amazon lodge.

DAY 16

At your Amazon lodge.

DAY 17

At your Amazon lodge.

DAY 18

Lima

Returning by air to Lima you are met on arrival and transferred to a city centre hotel for the night.

DAY 19

Return to Lima airport for your flight onwards or home.

Guide prices for 'Peru Birds and Culture'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid range hotels + Manu Wildlife Centre £5,580
Upper range hotels + Manu Wildlife Centre £6,345
Top range hotels + Manu Wildlife Centre £7,715
Mid range hotels + Tambopata Research Centre £5,370
Upper range hotels + Tambopata Research Centre £6,135
Top range hotels + Tambopata Research Centre 2 people sharing £7,500
Mid range hotels + Heath River Wildlife Centre 2 people sharing £5,385
Upper range hotels + Heath River Wildlife Centre 2 people sharing £6,150
Top range hotels + Heath River Wildlife Centre 2 people sharing £7,525
Mid-range hotels + Reserva Amazonica 2 people sharing £4,895
Upper range hotels + Reserva Amazonica 2 people sharing £5,655
Top range hotels + Reserva Amazonica 2 people sharing £7,030
Mid-range hotels + Hacienda Concepcion 2 people sharing £4,840
Upper range hotels + Hacienda Concepcion 2 people sharing £5,615
Top range hotels + Hacienda Concepcion 2 people sharing £6,985
Prices are per person and include:
  • all transport within Peru inc domestic flights: (LIM-AQP; JUL-CUZ-PEM-LIM)
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • Services of private English speaking specialist birdwatching guides in Lima on Day 2 and at Abra Malaga on Days 8 & 9
  • Private tours with regular English-speaking local guides while sightseeing in Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco
  • Shared boat excursion on Lake Titicaca
  • Shared services on resident bird guides at the Amazon Lodge of your choice from Day 14 onwards
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Peru Birds and Culture'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 93%

rating

Me -Amazon; my wife -walk through Sacred Valley in hailstorm.

rating
rating

Wayqecha Lodge and Mach Picchu Pueblo

Seasonal information for 'Peru Birds and Culture'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Peru Birds and Culture'

Days 1 - 2

Novotel Lima

Lima

Best value hotel in easy walking distance from the lovely El Olivar Park which is great for some early morning birding. Friendly up-market locals walk their dogs, perform yoga, tai chi and jogging here amid the centuries old olive trees. All rooms have private bathrooms and are well appointed with a desk, TV, internet access, hair dryer, safety deposit box and tea and coffee making facilities. The hotel also features an indoor pool and a fitness centre.

Novotel Lima
Hotel exterior
Day 3

Sonesta Posada del Inca

Arequipa

In a superb location next door to the Cathederal and the Plaza de Armas (main square) in central Arequipa, Sonesta Posada del Inca offers a comfortable base from where guests can explore the city.  All 58 of its guest rooms have cable TV, a direct dial telephone, mini-bar and safety deposit box.

There is a restaurant at the hotel called Inkafe which features a balcony with beautiful views in the evening over the lit up central square and cathedral. There are a variety of other options for eating out in the area.

Sonesta Posada del Inca
Double room
Day 4

Casa Andina Standard Colca

Chivay

Located close to the Colca Canyon in the village of Chivay, the accommodation consists of 51 rooms in semi-detached stone cottages with thatched or clay roofs, scattered around the grounds with stone paths interconnecting them.  The hotel features an onsite planetarium with daily English & Spanish presentations. The pitched-ceiling restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and in the evenings local musicians and dancers performing Andean and Colca musical traditions.

 

Casa Andina Standard Colca
Hotel
Days 5 - 6

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca

Puno
rating

Average rating 5.0 (2 ratings)

Sonesta Posadas del Inca's Lake Titicaca hotel is situated about 5km outside of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca in a truly fantastic location.

The 62 guest rooms all have cable television, sound proof windows, air conditioning, direct dial telephones and safety deposit boxes.

There is a restaurant with panoramic views of the lake which serves a varied menu. Outside the hotel The Yavari is moored. The Yavari was a ship built in England in 1862 and delivered in pieces to Lake Titicaca from the southern Peruvian/Chile border by mule. The ship is currently undergoing a full restoration and for a small donation you can have a tour.

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca
Outside of the Hotel
Days 7 - 9

Hotel Hacienda del Valle

Sacred Valley

Located just 10 minutes from the Ollantaytambo train station, Hacienda del Valle is positioned in the heart of the Sacred Valley and offers guests a peaceful stay where they can relax in the hotel's pretty flowering gardens. The on-site restaurant serves produce grown in the hotel grounds and the cosy bar offers a wide range of cocktails.

Hotel Hacienda del Valle
Twin room
Days 10 - 11

El Mapi

Machu Picchu Pueblo
rating

Average rating 4.5 (4 ratings)

El Mapi is Inkaterra's new, 48-room, functional,  contemporary style hotel located in the centre of Machu Picchu Pueblo - the village at the base of Machu Picchu's mountain. Bedrooms are small but well appointed each with blackout curtains, 100% cotton sheets, down duvets, hypoallergenic pillows, cotton bath robes, natural herbal amenities, 32" flat screen TVs and tight-focus reading lights. There is a cafeteria offering organic salads, fresh sandwiches, homemade soups and pastries which is open until 11pm and a bar with free Wi-Fi. Oxygen is available upon request.

El Mapi
Superior room
Days 12 - 13

Casa Andina Standard San Blas

Cusco

Situated half way up the hill from Cusco's Plaza de Armas in the artisan residential neighbourhood of San Blas an area of narrow steep lanes. This friendly, mid range, characterful small hotel is in a restored 18th century colonial house. Rooms are arranged around a central courtyard, with  simple and clean standard rooms. The upstairs suites have a small kitchenette and balconies with views across the rooftops of the city. The hotel has a bistro restaurant next door called Tika specialising in SE Asian/Peruvian fusion, and there is complimentary tea and coffee as well as Wi-Fi in the lobby.

Casa Andina Standard San Blas
Superior room
Days 14 - 17

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Madre de Dios River
rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

A luxury eco-lodge situated in the heart of a private 42,000 acre ecological reserve, surrounded by vast Peruvian rainforest. The lodge has 35 rooms and four cabañas options are offered: Superior, Superior Rio, Amazonica Suite and Tambopata Suite. All cabañas have private bathrooms with hot water, fully equipped with bathrobes, slippers, towels and environmentally friendly toiltetries. There is a tree canopy walkway and tree house which both provide fantastic views of the rainforest. Other facilities include a dining room and bar serving Peruvian dishes from the region prepared with fresh, local ingredients; and the Ena spa located on the banks of the Madre de Dios River.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
Tambopata suite
Day 18

Novotel Lima

Lima

Best value hotel in easy walking distance from the lovely El Olivar Park which is great for some early morning birding. Friendly up-market locals walk their dogs, perform yoga, tai chi and jogging here amid the centuries old olive trees. All rooms have private bathrooms and are well appointed with a desk, TV, internet access, hair dryer, safety deposit box and tea and coffee making facilities. The hotel also features an indoor pool and a fitness centre.

Novotel Lima
Hotel exterior