BIRD WATCHERS PARADISE
This Amazonian adventure is designed especially for bird watchers. With 18.5% of the world’s bird species and 45% of all neo-tropical species, Peru is a birder’s dream destination. The trip starts in Cusco and travels through various climate zones before reaching the Amazon basin. The southern Peruvian Amazon is home to myriad bird species, many exclusive to this region. Watching Peru’s national bird, the cock-of-the-rock, performing its courtship ritual dance, is an unforgettable display, as is the show put on by parrots and macaws. This unique trip also features the Amazon’s diverse animal and plant life. You will also travel through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and experience traditional Andean life.
Day 1. Cusco – Paradise Lodge (bus & hikes)
Starting early from Cusco, you will travel through Andean landscapes of unmatched beauty: deep valleys, highlands and rural communities where you will enjoy highland birds such as the mountain caracara, Puna ibis and Andean flicker, as well as the pre-Inca Lupacas burial towers, before arriving at the picturesque colonial town of Paucartambo, which has been the gateway to the Manu forests since pre-Hispanic times. Here you wll visit the church with its image of the Virgin of Carmen, and see the historic Carlos V bridge. Once you pass through Acjanaco Pass (3,850 meters/12,630 feet), the official entrance to Manu National Park, the road descends through the bird-rich, sparsely-vegetated Andean grassland ecosystem, before reaching the cloud forest in the afternoon. This area is a wealth of flora and fauna: it is the habitat of cock-of-the-rock, crested and golden quetzal, blue-crowned motmot, gray breasted mountain toucan, butterflies, ferns and orchids. To name just a few! After this big day you will spend your first night enjoying the comforts of Paradise Lodge (1,470 meters/4,821 feet).
Driving distance: 181 km/113 miles (6 to 8 hours, including 3 hours of hiking)
Included: lunch & dinner
Day 2. Paradise Lodge – Lodge (bus, hikes & boat)
After your first night in the cloud forest, you will enjoy a pre-breakfast walk to observe the cock-of-the-rock perform its daily ritual, in which a group of males put on an impressive show to attract females. Then you will return to the lodge for a healthy breakfast before continuing the trip to Pillcopata, embarking from the port of Atalaya. During this trip you will see plantations growing manioc, papaya, pineapple and coca, as well as local fauna such as squirrel monkeys and brown capuchin monkeys. And of course birds, including spix guans, plumbeous kites and black vultures. After dinner a short hike will present the opportunity to observe nocturnal life on trails surrounding the local Amazon forest lodge at which you’ll spend the night.
Driving distance: 71.6 km/44.8 miles (5 hours)
Included: breakfast, lunch & dinner
Day 3. Amazon Basin – Clay Lick - Paradise Lodge (boat & bus)
One of the highlights of a trip to the Peruvian rainforest is an early-morning visit to the parrot clay lick. You will never forget watching hundreds of parrots gather at the mineral-rich riverbank clay deposit, where their noisy feeding display is a kaleidoscope of color. You will observe Cuvier’s toucans, red and green macaws, blue-headed parrots and other species as they feed on the minerals. Afterward we will return to the lodge for breakfast. Your adventure continues with a several hour trail hike, returning to the lodge for a typical regional lunch. After lunch return to the river where you will ride a boat to Atalaya, where our car will be waiting to drive you back to Paradise Lodge in comfort.
Included: breakfast, lunch & dinner
Day 4. Paradise Lodge – Cusco (bus)
This is our last day in the forest. You will enjoy another opportunity to observe the cock-of-the-rock perform its daily ritual at the lick. After breakfast you will board the private bus for the return trip to Cusco, following the now-familiar route to Paucartambo. From here the trip follows the course of the Qenqomayo River to Colquepata and on to the high pass at Apacheta (4,100 meters/13,448 feet). From the high pass the bus descends into the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas, stopping along the way to enjoy the countryside, which is dotted with traditional Andean villages inhabited by weavers, llama herders and farmers. Along the way you will have the opportunity to take in spectacular views of the Pisac archaeological site. Choose hotel accommodation in Cusco.
Driving distance: 192 km/120 miles (6 hours)
Included: breakfast & lunch
- Specialized bilingual guide
- Accommodation in our private Paradise Lodge in the cloud forest (2 nights) and a typical lodge (1 night)
- Private bus transportation
- Motorized boat with cushioned seats, roof and life jacket
- All meals indicated on the itinerary:
- B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner (soup, main dish and dessert), BL= box lunch
- No additional charge for vegetarian diets
- Drinking water from Cusco
- Basic first-aid kit
- Specialized books are available during the trip
- Personal items and medicines (e.g., gear, clothing, laundry service, telephone calls)
- Tips to local staff (we recommend $8-10 USD per day of service per guide or driver)
- 1 photocopy of passport
- Hiking boots
- Light warm jacket
- Rain gear (poncho)
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Hiking shorts
- Sport sandals
- Insect repellant
- Pocket knife
- Camera and film (ASA 200/400) or memory card
- Battery charger (220 V)
- Binoculars for wildlife viewing (8 or 10X magnification)
- Zipper lock bags and garbage bags for keeping clothes and other personal items dry.
- Book Birds of Peru (optional)
A downhill ride along the dirt road to Pillcopata takes you through the lush heart of the cloud forest. The quiet of bicycling does not disturb wildlife, letting you enjoy the beauty up close while you take in the panoramic views of the tree-covered mountains around you.
Biking distance: 30 km/18 miles
White Water Rafting
Class II and III rapids race through dense forest vegetation on this tropical river adventure. Begin your river trip with a boat ride on the Kosñipata River. Expert river guides will then take you further down the Kosñipata through white water. After about an hour you will arrive at Pillcopata, where you will enjoy lunch before rafting the Upper Madre de Dios River to the confluence of the Tono and Piñi Piñi Rivers. You will raft and swim through the Coñac Cañon before returning to Paradise Lodge in the afternoon.
Duration: 3 to 4 hours