Cloud Forests and Mountains of Manu

Diademed-Sandpiper-PloverPhotographer: Gary Rosenberg

The Manu Biosphere Reserve has the highest diversity of life on Earth and is one of the most important conservation units in the world. The Cloud forests and Mountains of Manu is a trip to the more temperate orchid and epiphyte laden montane and foothill forests. Here Spectacled Bears, Gray Woolly Monkeys and Cock-of-the-Rocks still live unmolested, we stay at a selection of the most comfortable and bird friendly lodges in the area.

Day 1:Arriving in Lima our staff will transfer to our hotel in Lima, which will vary depending on flight arrival times.

Day 2: Early morning flight to Cusco where your tour leader will greet you and we'll head out south of town with a picnic lunch to Huarcapay lakes. The lake is surrounded by Inca, and pre-Inca ruins. Here we will see a variety of high Andean waterfowl including Puna, Yellow-billed and Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Andean Duck and other wetland associated birds. White-tufted Grebe and Andean Coot will be here too. Depending on the time of year migrant North American shorebirds (waders) may be present.
We will be specifically on the lookout for Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Puna Ibis, Plumbeous Rail and Andean Negrito. Birds of Prey we may see include Aplomado Falcon, Cinereous Harrier, Variable Hawk and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. In the arid scrub around the lake we'll look for the endemic Rufous-fronted Canastero and also Streak-fronted Thornbird. We should find the pretty, endemic Bearded Mountaineer feeding in the tree tobacco (Nicotania sp.) with Giant Hummingbird and Trainbearers. Peruvian, Ash-breasted and Mourning Sierra-Finches will be here with Greenish Yellow-finch and Blue and Yellow Tanager. In the late afternoon we'll drive back to Cusco for a night in the old Inca capital. B: L:D
Day 3: Early start in our expedition bus. We will make a couple of selected stops in the inter-montane valleys specifically for two endemics. We'll take a picnic breakfast as the sun hits the slopes and colorful Quechua peasant farmers pass by with livestock creating a peaceful pastoral scene – our target here – the endemic Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. We should see Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chuiguanco Thrush and more. Our next stop is for the endemic Creamy-crested Spinetail, before arriving at the last Andean pass – Ajcanacu and if it's clear we'll be able to look out from the last range of the Andes over the Amazon basin stretching into the distance, as the Incas did in ancient times, worshipping the sun rising over the endless rainforest.
A side stop along the Tres Cruces road may find us Scribble-tailed and Line -fronted Canasteros, the newly described Puna Wren and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo. In the after-noon we will bird the upper limits of the eastern slopes. Working our way down the eastern slope of the Andes, the forest becomes more continuous and we will spend the afternoon birding to our accommodations at 2800 meters above sea level above Pillahuata. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed species flocks of Tanagers, Flycatchers and Ovenbirds. Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay and Mountain Cacique are among some of the many species we may find. In the evening we will go to a favorite spot where we have had luck calling in Swallow-tailed Nightjar. Night at the Wayquecha Biological Station B: L: D
Day 4: Depending on what we are missing we may go back to tree line or spend a full day exploring the humid temperate forest from tree line down. We'll start early near our Lodge. Our target birds after a hot breakfast and hot tea and coffee include – the recently, Moustached Flowerpiercer, Tit-like Dacnis, Golden-collared Tanager and the PunaThistletail. As the day warms we'll spend all day birding downhill through the forest looking for mixed feeding flocks that will contain Grass-green Tanager, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Black-throated Tody-Flycatcher, Barred Fruiteater, White-banded and White-throated Tyrannulets and much more. If we are lucky we may see Peruvian Treehunter, Golden-plumed Parakeet or Greater Scythebill. We'll stay again at the Wayquecha Biological Station for this night. B: L: D
Day 5: At breakfast we will be greeted with a varied dawn chorus and Red and White and the occabambae race of Rufous Antpitta should be calling. We will spend all day birding from the biological station at 2800 meters to our next stop at 1300 meters. This is pristine forest on a little traveled road. Some of the special birds on this stretch which we will look for include: White-rumped Hawk, Trilling Tapaculo, Black and Chestnut Eagle, Andean Guan, Scaly-naped Parrot, a wide variety of Hummingbirds including Collared Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Violet-throated Startfrontlet and Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Scaled Metaltail, White-bellied Woodstar. Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, the endemic MarcapataSpinetail, White-throated Antpitta, Barred and Band-tailed Fruiteaters, White-throated Tyrannulet, Ochraceous-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Pale-footed Swallow, Mountain Wren, Citrine Warbler and many Tanagers. Night at the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge near Union at 1300 meters. B: L: D {NOTE: If no space is available at Cock of the Rock Lodge we'll stay at the nearby comfortable Paradise Lodge}
Day 6 to 8: Cock of the Rock Lodge is situated in the pristine Cloud Forest of the Mountains of Manu just a few minutes' drive from a spectacular Cock of the Rock lek furnished with a blind (hides) which enable us to observe these colorful birds during their dawn mating rituals. Facilities at the Lodge include 12 large spacious en-suite bungalows with hot and cold running water, flush toilets and two single beds in each room plus several rooms with shared facilities – which room you get depends on how early you book!
Private bungalows have their own private balcony. Lighting is by candle and lantern but there is a small generator available for charging batteries. There is a large dining area and lounge overlooking a feeding station for Large-headed Capuchin Monkeys and Tayra's (a large mustellid related to the Martens). Hummingbird feeders attract several species right in the dining room sometimes including Rufous-webbed Brilliant and Peruvian Piedtail. There is trail system behind the lodge that enables you to see the under-story of the Cloud Forest first hand and facilitates seeing some species not likely from the road such as Chestnut-breasted Wren, Scaled Antpitta, Rufous-breasted and Short-tailed Antthrush's, Slaty Gnateater and the endemic Cerulean-capped Manakin.
Many spectacular waterfalls in the area are far enough away so as to enable hearing birdsong. Orchids abound with c. 80 species recorded around the lodge. One day we'll devote to the 2500-meter altitude zone, and one day to the 1500-meter zone. Possibilities include White-rumped Hawk, Solitary Eagle, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Crested Quetzal, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Highland Motmot, Black-streaked Puffbird, Blue-banded Toucanet, Olive-backed Woodcreeper, Montane Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Uniform and Variable Antshrikes, Slaty Gnateater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Scaled Fruiteater, Bolivian Tyrannulet, Inca Flycatcher (endemic), Yungas Mankin, Uniform Antshrike, White-throated Spadebill, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Yellow-rumped and Slaty Antwrens, Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Peruvian Piedtail (endemic) and lots more. We will also do some night birding here and we have been lucky previously with Foothill and Rufescent Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Lyre-tailed Nightjar and Andean Potoo. Nights at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. B: L: D.
Day 9: After a dawn breakfast accompanied by the singing of Andean Solitaires and Paradise Tanagers from the breakfast table, we leave San Pedro at 1300 meters and spend the day birding slowly down to the comfortable Villa Carmen at 500 meters. We will pay particular attention to the stretch between 1500 meters and 800 meters. This upper tropical zone forest has disappeared on much of the Andean slopes in South America because of its suitability for cash crops such as tea, coffee and coca, but in this part of Peru the forest remains untouched.
A spectacular new Tanager to science, yet to be described is along this stretch and we have seen it with several tours. Birds we have seen well on this stretch of road include: Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail, Speckle-faced Parrot, Chestnut-collared Swift, Peruvian Piedtail, Yungas and Three-banded Warbler, Long-tailed Sylph, Lanceolated Monklet, Versicolored Barbet, Russet Antshrike, Rufous-lored Tyrranulet, Marble-faced Bristle-tyrant, Fulvous-breasted Flatbill, Russet Antshrike, Olive-tufted Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Flycatcher, Dusky-green Oropendola, Golden-collared Honeycreeeper, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager and much more. We plan to arrive at the comfortable Villa Carmen Lodge in time for some birding and look for the endemic Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher along the way. Night at Villa Carmen Lodge. B: L: D
Day 10:The tripartite international boundary of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia is close and this are is characterized by large stands of Chusquea bamboo and here at Villa Carmen we will be looking for some specialties of this micro habitat including White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant, Flammulated Tody-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Manu Antbird, Goeldi’s Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Bamboo Antshrike, White-lined Antbird, Ornate Antwren and Dot-winged Antwren. Scarlet-hooded barbet is here too along with a wide variety of foothill species. After a leisurely lunch we’ll work the road to Atalaya where from lookouts we often see Blue-headed and Military Macaws B: L: D
Days 11 and 12:Two full days at the comfortable Amazonia Lodge. This family run Lodge has a bird list of around 650 species and others are continually being added to the list. The lodge is situated in the transitional zone at 500 meters, where the last low foothills of the Andes begin to flatten out into the lowland Amazon Basin proper. There are Butterfly bushes that attract various Hummingbird species including the pretty Rufous-crested Coquette, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Blue-tailed Emerald, Black-eared Fairy and Wire-crested Thorntail. A canopy tower on the hill enables us to watch canopy foothill flocks. We will be birding a variety of habitats over the next three days including floodplain and hill forest.
The possibilities around Amazonia Lodge are enormous but some species we will be on the lookout for include: Black-capped Tinamou, Blackish Rail, the strange Hoatzin, Buckley's Forest Falcon, Wattled Guan, Military Macaw, Blue-headed Macaw, Pheasant Cuckoo, Koepcke's Hermit, Rufous-webbed Brilliant, Bluish fronted Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Fine-barred Piculet, Red-billed Scythbill, Dark-breasted Spinetail, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Bamboo Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta's, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Mottle-backed Elaenia, Red-billed Tyrranulet, Johannis' Tody-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Black-backed Tody -Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Cuzco Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis - the list goes on....! We will have the possibility of night birding here and in the past we have seen: Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo. We will be reluctant to leave this very birdy place, but yet more awaits us in the Amazon lowlands. All nights will be spent at Amazonia Lodge. B: L: D
Day 13:T-day we say goodbye to our friends continuing into the lowland and return to Cusco by van arriving in the evening. Night in Cusco B: L
Day 14:Morning to explore Cusco and afternoon flight to Lima for your international flights B
Does not include air Lima - Cusco & Puerto Maldonado – Lima but we will purchase these on request – the price depends on when we get your full name, deposit and passport numbers – you can check current prices at www.LATAM.com, www.StarPeru.com and www.AVIANCA.com

Customer Testimonials

Sylvia Nye - USA

I was on the trip back May with Silverio with the Edward Thompson group. I have wanted to drop a line and send my thoughts over the trip. It was all so well planned, loving the lodging, and transportation with everyone so helpful and most of all knowledgeable. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Silverio, he has such a vast knowledge of the birds and environment of Peru—not just looking at a bird but hearing, finding them amongst the heavy thickets of bamboo or near the water—what an eye (and ears)! You are very fortunate to have him as a guide, professional but also social and also very capable. Thank you so much for such a wonderful trip.

Lynn Dunlap - USA

I'm writing to express my deepest appreciation for the tour I took through Manu Expeditions and Legacy Tours. I am so very happy to say that everything about the tour was wonderful. I was very appreciative of the logistical aspects of the tour. The hotels and lodges were great. And the meals were substantial and delicious. I was especially delighted by our alfresco lunches on the road--and very appreciative of snack packs we received while traveling. The complex arrangements for transportation were handled smoothly. The buses and boats were comfortable and the drivers and boatmen conscientious.

In particular, I would like to express my thanks for the guides. Silverio Duri is a superb birding guide. He located the birds and patiently helped our entire group to get our bins on them. And he equally patiently answered our questions about the birds, their habits, identification tips, etc.

I am delighted to recommend Manu to all my birding friends.

Submit a testimonial

Comments

I was on the trip back May with Silverio with the Edward Thompson group. I have wanted to drop a line and send my thoughts over the trip. It was all so well planned, loving the lodging, and transportation with everyone so helpful and most of all knowledgeable. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Silverio, he has such a vast knowledge of the birds and environment of Peru—not just looking at a bird but hearing, finding them amongst the heavy thickets of bamboo or near the water—what an eye (and ears)! You are very fortunate to have him as a guide, professional but also social and also very capable. Thank you so much for such a wonderful trip.

I'm writing to express my deepest appreciation for the tour I took through Manu Expeditions and Legacy Tours. I am so very happy to say that everything about the tour was wonderful. I was very appreciative of the logistical aspects of the tour. The hotels and lodges were great. And the meals were substantial and delicious. I was especially delighted by our alfresco lunches on the road--and very appreciative of snack packs we received while traveling. The complex arrangements for transportation were handled smoothly. The buses and boats were comfortable and the drivers and boatmen conscientious.

In particular, I would like to express my thanks for the guides. Silverio Duri is a superb birding guide. He located the birds and patiently helped our entire group to get our bins on them. And he equally patiently answered our questions about the birds, their habits, identification tips, etc.

I am delighted to recommend Manu to all my birding friends.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
9 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.