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Peru - Macaws and Machu Picchu (non-trek)

Tour Code: PER06

A 16-day holiday combining Peru's rich Pacific coast, the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, 3 nights in the Manu cloudforest at a Cock-of-the-rock lek, and one of the world's finest wildlife spectacles: an isolated macaw clay-lick on the upper Tambopata River in the south-eastern rainforest.

16 days from £4995(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4495 SRS: £595

When designing this tour to Peru back in 1999 it was difficult to know what to leave out, such are the multitude of possibilities!  The highlights for us, we decided, were the spectacle of the Humboldt Current ecosystem and the world's biggest macaw clay-lick (in Tambopata, not Manu!), the cloudforests of manu, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Such is the richness and

  • Thousands of Humboldt Current seabirds and Southern Sealions
  • The world's biggest Macaw clay-lick, surrounded by pristine upper Amazonian rainforest
  • A sprinkling of exciting mammals including an outside chance of Jaguar or Tapir
  • An opportunity for serious cloudforest birding along the Manu Road
  • The world's most accessible Cock-of-the-Rock lek with 3 nights at lodge of same name
  • Condor and Sunbittern among many other avian specialities
  • Short historical tours of Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu - we don't ignore the culture


All included in the price except evening meals in Cusco. Allow £50.


A mixture of comfortable lodges and hotels (most with private facilities).

Cock-of-the-rock (Peter Price)

Cock-of-the-rock (Peter Price)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Lima

Day 2 Islas Palomino, Lima

Day 3/6 Tambopata Rainforest

Day7/8 Cusco and Sacred Valley

Day 9/13 Cock of the Rock Lodge, Manu

Day 14 Machu Picchu and train to Cusco

Day 15 Lima and depart

Day 16 Arrive UK

DIV style="FONT-SIZE: 16px; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial'"> P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">Peru epitomises what, for many of us, are those unique characteristics which make South America so fascinating: a profoundly rich history and culture; wonderfully varied geography and topography, including some of the most spectacular scenery and biodiverse ecosystems on Earth; and, of course, an immense bird list comprising over 1,800 species!

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">This tour focuses on three of the most rewarding sites in Peru. First, we visit Islas Palomino along the Pacific coast, then the south-eastern rainforest and isolated macaw clay-lick on the remote upper Tambopata River. Finally, we visit South America’s best known and most spectacular archaeological site, Machu Picchu.

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">We begin our tour from Lima, with a boat trip out from Callao, Peru's principal port. A short distance offshore lie the Palomino Islands. Bathed in the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt current these small but rugged islands are home to thousands of raucous and inquisitive Southern Sea Lions, as well as Inca Terns, Peruvian Boobies, Peruvian Pelicans, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, and Humboldt Penguins. Keeping a close eye on the sea, on the journey to and from the islands, we may also see White-vented Storm Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters and Peruvian Diving Petrels. Occasionally, Bottlenose Dolphins put in an appearance too. Later in the day, after lunch, we'll explore the quiet wetlands of Pantanos de Villa on the southern outskirts of Lima, looking for species such as Wren-like Rushbird, Many-coloured Tyrant and Peruvian Thick-knees.

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">Next, a domestic flight takes us high over the majestic Andes and down into the Amazon Basin and the jungle boom-town of Puerto Maldonado. Following a short bus ride to the native Eseja community of Infierno, a 45-minute motorised canoe journey takes us up the Tambopata River to a comfortable jungle lodge, our base for one night. From here we strike out upstream, away from civilisation, and stay beside one of nature’s most spectacular sights; at dawn the next day, with dry weather, we hope to see hundreds of Scarlet, Red-and-green and Blue-and-yellow Macaws descending onto an almost vertical bank of red clay to take advantage of the high mineral and salt content of the soil. It should be a sight to behold, and one of the highlights of our holiday. Our days will be spent on the trails that take us through superb virgin floodplain rainforest as we search for inner forest birds, such primates as Red Howler, Dusky Titi, Brown Capuchin, Squirrel Monkeys and, with luck, the endangered Black Spider Monkey. The lowland rainforest ecosystem is a fascinating one and there is so much to learn. For those wishing to do so there are clear rainforest streams to bathe in and, on red-letter days, the sighting of a Brazilian Tapir or a Giant River Otter is not out of the question. A handful of our groups in recent years have also had magnificent views of Jaguar. After three nights in this remote, pristine setting at Tambopata Research Centre, we journey downriver to Puerto Maldonado to catch a flight to Cusco in the heart of the Andes for the final leg of our holiday.

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">Our first evening will wisely be spent acclimatising to the altitude in Cusco with a gentle city tour. Next, we will enjoy a day exploring the area, including a visit to the Huacarpay lakes. We will look out for Cinnamon, Speckled and Puna Teal, Andean Negrito, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-coloured Rush-tyrant, Bearded Mountaineer and Cinereous Harrier. Moving around to the north of Cusco and the Pisac ruins, we hope to see Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch and Bearded Mountaineer amongst a fine selection of Andean birds. We will be free in the evenings to explore some of Cusco’s varied restaurants and perhaps sample some of the local culinary specialities.

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">On this ‘non-trek’ departure we will next visit Cock-of-the-rock Lodge, located at an elevation of 5,200 feet in the Kosñipata Valley, 102 miles by mountain pass from Cusco, and situated within the 12,500-acre cloudforest reserve of the conservation group Peru Verde. Over a stay of three nights we will enjoy the peace and simple comfort of this lodge, a couple of minutes’ walk from which the world's largest, most accessible and tamest known group of displaying Andean Cock-of-the-rocks awe and delight visitors with their twice-daily courting antics.

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">Finally we drive back to Cusco and travel by train to The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Far too many people visit this spectacular area on a day-trip from Cusco and miss out on the time needed to fully appreciate this unique location. Ours will be an overnight experience never to be forgotten. 

P style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: 'Arial',serif; MARGIN-LEFT: 0cm; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0cm">Finally, we must take the train back along the Urubamba Valley back to Cusco, where we stay overnight before our return to Lima and our onward flight to London.


Paracas coastal scenery (Steve Wakeham)Red-legged Cormorant (Mike and Karen Galtry)Humboldt Penguins (Ian Williamson)Inca Tern (Peter Price)Elliot's Storm Petrel (Mike and Karen Galtry)Great Grebe (Roger Wasley)Peruvian Pelican (Mike and Karen Galtry)Black-necked Woodpecker (Mike and Karen Galtry)Vermillion Flycatcher (Mike and Karen Galtry)Peruvian Thick-knee (Mike and Karen Galtry)Surfbird (Mike and Karen Galtry)Nazca LinesBurrowing Owls (Roger Wasley)Black Caracara (Mike and Karen Galtry)Hoatzin (Roger Wasley)Clay Lick View (Mike and Karen Galtry)Scarlet Macaws (Peter Price)Blue and Yellow Macaw (Mike and Karen Galtry)Collared Puffbird (Mike and Karen Galtry)Peruvian Spider Monkey (Mike and Karen Galtry)Amazonian Pygmy Squirrel (Mike and Karen Galtry)Cock-of-the-Rock (Mike and Karen Galtry)Andean Cock-of-the Rock (Peter Price)Manu Road (Peter Price)Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan (Mike and Karen Galtry)Shining Sunbeam (Mike and Karen Galtry)Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Mike and Karen Galtry)Masked Trogon (Mike and Karen Galtry)Chestnut-breasted Coronets (Mike and Karen Galtry)Highland Motmot (Mike and Karen Galtry)Crested Quetzal (Mike and Karen Galtry)Great Potoo (Mike and Karen Galtry)White-winged Black-tyrant (Mike and Karen Galtry)Colonial church of La Compania, built in 1576 by Jesuits, CuscoMachu Picchu (Thomas Mills)Machu Picchu ruins (Thomas Mills)Torrent Ducks (Roger Wasley)The train from Machu Picchu to Cusco (Thomas Mills)
I thought Jose Antonio Padilla was an excellent guide/tour leader. He worked hard finding birds and making sure we were all OK. All in all it was an excellent holiday and, to be honest, I didn't want to leave.
I really enjoyed the holiday. The hotels and lodges were good. The trip description was accurate, giving us a broad spectrum of birds, scenery, culture and history.
Our guide had a superb knowledge of birds and wildlife generally and knew a lot about Peru's history and ancient sites.
K. & A.T.
We have just returned from a fabulous Macaws and Machu Picchu holiday…the success of our holiday was due to a great extent to the wildlife expertise and organisational skills of our leader Pepe Rojas. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for the fauna of his native Peru was positively infectious. He went to great lengths to ensure that everyone in the party 'got on the bird'. Apart from his wildlife expertise I was particularly grateful for his caring support when I was under the weather for 24 hours. Bottom line - would we travel with Naturetrek again? We are already looking at Just Tigers!
I had a fantastic trip to Peru. I have nothing but admiration for the amount of effort, skill and enthusiasm shown by Percy and the local guides. We were in safe hands throughout and I was able to get to areas which I could not have dreamed of reaching without the assistance of Naturetrek.
As a Naturetrek tour leader myself, I would like to put on record how excellent our local leader, Pepe, was for this trip. It is impossible to fault him. His knowledge, enthusiasm and consideration for every possible thing from major to the less important was truly first class. He held the group together supremely well and was very keen to ensure that all clients got what they wanted from the trip. He did all this with a wonderful sense of humour. As with all my fellow guests, it was with some sadness that we parted company from Pepe at the airport. I know, he would be keen to lead other Naturetrek trips and I can wholeheartedly recommend him for this - grab him while you can! As for accommodation and transport and all connections - everything went very smoothly. We saw a lot of this wonderful country and both my wife and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Thank you one and all.
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Fri 28th September 2018 - Sat 13th October 2018



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4495 More info

Room sharing options: Both Male & Female sharing is available More info

Visiting: Peru

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I thought Jose Antonio Padilla was an excellent guide/tour leader. He worked hard finding birds and making sure we were all OK. All in all it was an excellent holiday and, to be honest, I didn't want to leave.
S.B., Pembrokeshire