Peru Discovery with Audubon Society of Greater Denver

September 7-14, 2019


DAY 1 (Sat, Sept 7): Arrival in Lima ~ Greeting upon arrival and transfer via a short walk to your hotel.

Accommodations: Wyndham Costa del Sol – Lima Airport

Meals: None

DAY 2 (Sun, Sept 8): Lima/ Cusco/ Manu Paradise Lodge ~ Morning flight to Cusco.  From there, we’ll start our drive along the newly paved road to Manu Paradise Lodge where we’ll spend the next two nights (drive time approximately 6 hrs). Paradise Lodge is nestled in the cloud forest between the Kosñipata and San Pedro rivers, with magnificent views of the endlessly varied green tones of the surrounding forest.  We will travel through Andean landscapes composed of fertile valleys, high grasslands and rural communities. It’s 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. 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.

Accommodations: Manu Paradise Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated Travel Time – Cusco to Paradise Lodge: 6 to 8 hours, including 3 hours of hiking w/ birding

Lodge Elevation: 4820 ft

DAY 3 (Mon, Sept 9): Manu Paradise Lodge ~ 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 lek 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 Guan, Plumbeous Kite and Black Vulture. For those interested in discovering the nocturnal sights and sounds of the cloud forest, a night hike is available after dinner.

Accommodations: Manu Paradise Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 4 (Tues, Sept 10) – Manu Paradise Lodge/ Sacred Valley ~ After another visit to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek and breakfast, we’ll depart to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  Our drive will take us through the gorgeous Andean landscape, past villages that are home to traditional weaver communities, llama herders and farmers.

Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Sacred Valley

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated Travel Time – Paradise Lodge to Sacred Valley: (5-5.5 hours)

Hotel Elevation: 9420 ft

Sacred Valley, Peru

DAY 5 (Wed, Sept 11) Sacred Valley/ Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu ~ After breakfast, we’ll head to the Ollanta train station to board the first-class Vistadome train for a scenic ride through the valley’s dramatic scenery.   Upon arrival at Aguas Calientes, we’ll head up to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu for our private guided tour. There’s time for birding and self-guided exploration at Machu Picchu this afternoon.  This evening, we’ll stay at Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Located just a short distance from the bustling town of Aguas Calientes, guests feel miles away, deep in the cloud forest here.  More than 200 species of birds, 370 native orchid species, and 110 species of butterfly can be found just outside your room.

Accommodations: Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Machu Picchu Elevation: 6,560 ft

Hotel Elevation: 6,700 ft

DAY 6 (Thurs, Sept 12): Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu/ CuscoThere’s time today for another visit to Machu Picchufor more birding and exploration. An optional Huayna Picchu hike is available for anyone interested.  Birding at our hotel is also encouraged.  You have the rest of the day to enjoy the amenities and guided excursions on offer at your hotel.  Afternoon Vistadome train to Poroy Station and transfer to our hotel with an evening arrival.

Accommodations: Casa Andina Standard Cusco Plaza or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Hotel Elevation: 11,150 ft

DAY 7 (Fri, Sept 13) Cusco/ Chonta/ Pincopata Ecocamp ~ Morning departure to the Condor Viewing Point at Chonta. Along the way, we will stop and explore one of two archaeological sites: Kuillarumiyoc or Tarahuasi. These sites were important ritual sites during the height of the Inca Empire and still hold great significance today in Quechua society. While driving further, we will enjoy the landscape of the Limatambo Valley and spot small farming communities nestled among the valley. Upon reaching Chonta, we will walk for approximately an hour along a narrow track with spectacular views of the Apurimac Canyon. We are almost certain to have the site completely to ourselves as most tourists tend to visit the area later in the afternoon. At the viewing point, there will be time to relax and observe the condors soaring over the canyon, while a specially prepared boxed lunch will be served. After lunch, we will return to our vehicle and continue to our final destination, Pincopata Ecocamp.  Upon arrival at Pincopata Ecocamp, we will be greeted with a lovely refreshment made from seasonal fruits and taken to our domes to enjoy a hot shower and a deserved rest. If rest is not your thing, you may prefer to go birding around the camp.  After dinner, there’s time for nocturnal birding in search of two local endemics (Koepcke’s Screech-Owl and Buff-fronted Owl).

Accommodations: Pincopata Ecocamp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Chonta Elevation: 11,155

Ecocamp Elevation: 9,350 ft

Estimated Travel Time – Cusco to Pincopata Ecocamp: (3.5 hrs)

DAY 8 (Sat, Sept 14) – Pincopata Ecocamp/ Cusco/ Lima/ Departure ~ There’s time this morning for more birding around the camp.  Return drive to Cusco in time for afternoon flight to Lima.  Connect to flight home.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Price: $4495* per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement: $630*

Includes accommodations, private transfers, expert local guide on private basis, Vistadome train tickets, two days of entrance fees and bus tickets to Machu Picchu, round-trip flights (LIM-CUZ), meals starting with breakfast on Day 2 through lunch on Day 8, and ASGD trip host (Karl Brummert – Executive Director). A donation to ASGD will be made on behalf of all trip participants.

Exclusions: international airfare, passport/visa fees, Huayna Picchu permit (optional on Day 6), alcohol, optional activities, personal expenses, taxis, travel insurance, and gratuities.

*Pricing is subject to change until deposit received and domestic flights are booked.  A 3% discount will be applied to payments by check.

Manu Paradise Lodge photos by Bertie Gregory.