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Archeology and Birding: Marvelous Spatuletail and Machu Picchu


Birding and Archeology (Highlights of all Peru)

Sometimes you will just have to compromise your birding with your spouse. For other birders there is more to life than just birding. Peru is a great destination to combine birding with archaeology just like Egypt or Mexico. Welcome to our exclusive program, which combines the best of Peru - all categories.
During the full three weeks, you will visit the famous archaeological sites of Machu Picchu near the Inca capital of Cusco. But furthermore the impressive Nazca Lines (optional), the burial sites of Sipan and Tucumé, as well the Kuelap ruins - home of the cloud forest people of Chachapoyas.

The birds are also among the best. Marvellous Spatuletail (of course), as well as White-winged Guan, Peruvian Plantcutter, White-bellied Cinclodes, Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Cock-of-the-Rock (extension), Royal Cinclodes (with some luck), an impressive Macaw-lick (extension) and loads of others.

The scenery is outstanding with desolate alpine habitat at Marcopomacocha and Abra Malaga, vast coastal deserts (Nazca option), misty cloud forests at Abra Patricia and Machu Picchu and lush tropical rain forest and slow-flowing rivers in Manu (extension).

You will have plenty of opportunity to buy explicit handicrafts and to mingle with the descendants from the people of the sun - the Incas.
You never thought you could see so many birds on a non-birding trip! Or vice versa - You never thought you could see so many interesting archaeological sites on a birding trip. It is really not a compromise, but full value on both accounts.

In summery - you´ll get the best of Peru on this trip.

No Departures for this Tour

If the departure dates don't fit you, please suggest another date.

Marvelous Spatuletail and Machu Picchu

Day 1. Friday. Late arrival to Lima (depending on your flight). You either stay at five star luxury hotel El Olivar in San Isidro with a nice birdy park outside or in a mid-range hotel in Miraflores. No meals.

Day 2.  AM Pantanos de Villa. You will spend the morning before any museum opens at the marshes of Villa. The birds include Great Grebe, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Plumbeous Rail and Peruvian Thickknee among many others. Later in the morning you will visit the Archaeological museum where the ancient cultures of Peru are didactically displayed. After a buffet lunch in the bohemic Barranco district, tasting many Peruvian specialties including Ceviche, we shall be visiting the famous Mujica Gallo Gold Museum. In the late afternoon we fly to Chiclayo where you shall stay at Gran Hotel Chiclayo or adequate Hotel Inti. B. L. D.

Day 3. In the morning we bird around Batán Grande (Peruvian Plantcutter, Rufous Flycatcher, Tumbes Swallow and many others) where some 20 truncated pyramids are located within the largest Algarrobo (Prosopis sp.) forest of Peru. In mid morning we will visit Tucumé or valley of the Pyramids of the Sicán culture that succeeded the Mochica. The nicely displayed site museum was made by Thor Heyerdahl who excavated here.


On the way to Chaparri, we will make a short stop at Tinajas lagoon, where often Black-faced Ibis can be seen. The rest of the morning in Chaparri. An oasis in the dessert. NIght at Chaparri

Day 4. We set off the morning to a lazy start watching the Hummingbirds coming to drink and bath in the small pool in the creek. The feeders bring in White-tailed Jay, Collared Antshrike and others. When the heats sets in, we shall make our way to the aclaimed archaeological museum Sipán of the Mochica culture (1st-7th century AD). Lunch en route to Jaen, which is the next stop on a long trip there. There should be time for some afternoon birding near Jaen with species such as Marañon Crescentchest, Marañon Slaty Antshrike, Chinchipe Spinetail and others. Night in Hotel Pimms in Jaen. B.L.D.

Day 5. After some birding in the the early morning looking for the endemic Little Inca-Finch and then make a long drive Kuelap that shall be visited in the afternoon.  Kuelap is a citadel of the Chachapoyas culture - the people of the clouds from around 800 AD. It is scenically located and many birds can be seen nearby such as the endemic Peruvian Pigeon and Marañon Thrush. We spend the night in the pleasant Chillo guesthouse, which has a staked out Koepcke's Screech-Owl on its premises.

Day 6. It is well worth our while to continue south to Leimebamba. With the road being improved, we hope this shall be a less dusty experience than in the past. Here is a great museum over the Chachapoyas culture, that should not be missed. Furthermore, the nearby area offers fantastic birding. The museum itself has hummingbird feeders in the garden and there is great cloudforest nearby where Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan in quite common. The hotel situation is not as good, but the small Laguna the Condor provides clean double room with hot water and is quite adequate as it is only for one night.

Day 7. We will do additional birding near Leimebamba for species such as Russet-mantled Softtail, Coppery Metaltail, Blackish Tapaculo and others. In mid-morning we shall travel back north via Pedro Ruiz to Pomacochas where we will search for the best Hummingbird of them all - the rare Marvellous Spatuletail. Night at the comfortable Puerto Pumas Hotel. B.L.D.

Day 8. We continue to Abra Patrica area where there is some excellent cloud forest and endemic species such as Royal Sunangel, Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Lulu´s Tody-Flycatcher and many others. Night at newly opened Abra Patrica Lodge.

Day 9. All morning birding around Abra Patricia.

Day 10. Birding the lower section of the Abra Patricia road and then leave for Tarapoto. Night in Tarapoto.

Day 11. Birding the Yurimaguas road in the morning before our flight to Lima and on to Cusco later in the afternoon. In the afternoon we shall have chance to visit the Sun temple Coricancha and the impressive fortress Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco.

Day 12. In the morning we shall be visiting Huacarpay lake with Bearded Mountaineer as the main target and later Ollantaytambo Inca Ruins in the Sacred Valley. After lunch we shall board the train to Machu Picchu. We shall spend the afternoon visiting the ruins (usually less people then). These impressive ruins are the most famous of Peru and an icon of worldwide recognition. Even with hoards of tourists Machu Picchu does not stop to impress. The setting above the Urubamba river is spectacular. Night at exclusive Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel.

Day 13. Those that so wish may do an additional entrance to the ruins (extra cost) to see the sun-rise. However, birding is good, so birders may want to take advantage of the excellent birding opportunities nearby. There are a couple of birds that are particularly easy to get at Machu Picchu, such as the endemic Inca Wren and the stream-tied Torrent Duck. Also the endemic Masked Fruiteater, Highland Motmot, White-cheeked Solitaira and maybe also a male Cock-of-the-Rock in the beautiful gardens of Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel Night at Pakaritampu Hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Day 14. Wednesday. Visit to Abra Malaga - spectacular views of Mt Veronica (5750 meters) and endemic birds such as Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Parodi´s Hemispingus, Marcapata Spinetails and many others including Tanager flocks on the wet north slope at Canchayoc. Near the pass there is a remnant Polylepis forest where rare birds such as Royal Cinclodes, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, White-browed and Tawny Tit-Spinetails, Giant Conebill, etc occur. For those that so wish you can make an exciting down-hill walk through the Tastayoc valley and meet the car at the bottom. B.L.D. In the afternoon you will return to Cusco. Hotel choice of 5-star hotel (Libertador) or 3-star hotel (TBA). B.L.

Day 15. Most of day free day in Cusco. Our flight to Lima leaves in late afternoon-

Excursions possible from Lima

Ticlio area. The best highland birding in Peru with Diademed Sandpiper Plover and White-bellied Cinclodes and extraordinary scenery at 16.000 feet. Birder or non-birder will love this place!!! Altitude sickness is usually not a problem during the day visit as the exposure is very short. You will spend only 5 hours over 4000 meter (13000 ft), so by drinking lots of fluid, eat very little and not doing any physical work it will affect you very little. Consult you physician if in doubt. B.L. You will be taken to the airport for your connecting flight. Near the airport we will occupy a couple of rooms where you can change, have a shower and repack your things. If you have a day or two to spare before flying back, let us know and we can arrange additional excursions.

Nazca Lines. The Nazca lines are mysterious drawings, geometric figures and long lines made by the Nazca culture around 200AD in the dessert some 560 km south of Lima. Nobody knows for certain what their function were, but it seems likely it had to do with persuading the gods to bring water, the essential for the agriculture.

Full day pelagic birding. The pelagic is one of the birding highlights in Peru, with Markham's, Ringed, Wedge-rumped and White-vented Storm-Petrel, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, several species of Albatrosses and Humboldt Penguin usually seen. We also often see two or three species of dolphins. With some luck we may even spot a whale.



Still working on getting my notes and photos together.  Still can't stop grinning from ear to ear and telling everyone that I can round up to listen about the trip.  I have given out your website several times already - once in the airport on the way home.

Archeology and Birding - Marvelous Spatuletail and Machu Picchu.

Laura Graham, Wisconsin.


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