Peru is home to more than 1800 bird species, including 45% of the world’s neo-tropical species, making it the perfect destination for birders. Leaving the city of Cusco, you will travel through a number of climate zones on the way to the Amazon basin. The southern Peruvian Amazon is home to hundreds of bird species, many of them endemic. Unforgettable experiences include watching Peru’s national bird, the cock-of-the-rock, as it performs its courtship dance, as well as the extraordinary spectacle of hundreds of parrots and macaws gathering at dawn. This unique trip will also introduce you to the Amazon’s animal and plant life, as well as taking you through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will be able to experience traditional Andean life.
After an early start departure from Cusco, we will travel through Andean landscapes composed of fertile valleys, high grasslands and rural communities. It is possible to spot highland birds such as the mountain caracara, Puna ibis and Andean flicker during this part of the trip. We will also pass pre-Inca Lupaca culture burial towers, before arriving at the picturesque colonial-era town of Paucartambo, which has been the gateway to the Manu forests since the Incas first explored this territory. Here you will have time to visit the charming local church and view the historic Carlos V Bridge. Leaving the village, we will continue as far as Acjanaco Pass (3,850 meters / 12,630 feet), the official entrance to Manu National Park, from where the road descends through Andean grasslands rich in birdlife, before reaching the cloud forest in the afternoon. This ecosystem is home to a wealth of flora and fauna and is the habitat of the cock-of-the-rock, crested and golden quetzal, blue-crowned motmot and gray-breasted mountain toucan, as well as butterflies, ferns and orchids. You will spend your first night of the trip in our comfortable 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 & evening meal
Today, before breakfast, we will take our first walk in the cloud forest to observe the cock-of-the-rock as it performs its daily ritual, with groups of males putting on an impressive display to attract females. We will then return to the lodge for a nourishing breakfast, before leaving for Pillcopata, and taking to the river at the small port of Atalaya. During this trip we will pass plantations of manioc, papaya, pineapple and coca leaves. These forests are home to squirrel monkeys and brown capuchin monkeys, and there will be a chance to spot a variety of birdlife, including spix guans, plumbeous kites and black vultures. That evening, after our meal, there will be time to walk in the forest around the lodge, where you will be able to observe nocturnal fauna and listen to the many sounds of the forest.
Driving distance: 71.6 km / 44.8 miles (5 hours)
Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal
Today we will experience one of nature’s most remarkable spectacles, as we make an early morning trip to a macaw and parrot clay lick. Here several species of parrots and macaws gather at mineral-rich riverbank clay deposits to feed, creating an incredibly colorful and noisy display. This is a chance to observe Cuvier’s toucans, red and green macaws, blue-headed parrots and other species, as they feed on the minerals essential to their digestive process. After witnessing this remarkable event, we will return to the lodge for breakfast. Today’s adventure will continue with a long, leisurely walk along forest trails in search of birdlife and other fauna, before we return to the lodge for a lunch consisting of typical regional dishes. In the afternoon, we will travel by boat to the port of Atalaya, where our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to the Paradise Lodge.
Included: Breakfast, lunch & evening meal
Your final day in the forest will begin with another chance to observe the male cock-of-the-rock perform its daily mating dance. After breakfast, we will board our private bus for the return trip to Cusco, on the road to Paucartambo. From this colonial period village, our route will follow the course of the Qenqomayo River to Colquepata, from where we will continue to the high pass at Apacheta (4,100 meters / 13,448 feet). From here we will descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with time to stop along the way and enjoy the Andean scenery, with its traditional villages of weaver communities, llama herders and farmers. We will also pass the spectacular Inca archaeological site of Pisac during this day’s traveling, above the picturesque village of the same name, which is famous for its local market. In Cusco you will be transferred to your selected hotel accommodation.
Driving distance: 192 km / 120 miles (6 hours)
Included: Breakfast & lunch
During this exhilarating downhill ride along the dirt road to Pillcopata you will pass through the heart of the cloud forest. Because cycling does not disturb wildlife in the way that traveling by car does, this is a unique opportunity to enjoy the biological diversity and fine scenery of these mountain forests.
Biking distance: 30 km / 18 miles
This trip includes Class II and III rapids, on a river surrounded by dense forest vegetation. The river trip begins with a relaxed boat ride along the Kosñipata River. Expert river guides will then take you further down the Kosñipata over white water. After about an hour’s rafting we will arrive at Pillcopata in time for a delicious lunch, after which we will continue our rafting trip on the Upper Madre de Dios River, as far as the confluence with the Tono and Piñi Piñi Rivers. Here you will have the opportunity to raft and swim through the Coñac Cañon, before returning to the Paradise Lodge in the afternoon.
Duration: 3 to 4 hours