Day 1 - Lima, transfer to hotel
Arrive in Lima from your home city. We'll welcome you at the Jorge Chávez Airport and take you to your hotel for check in.
Day 2- Lima, Arequipa
Transfer to Lima´s airport Arrival at Arequipa
Transfer from Arequipa airport to Colca Canyon
From Arequipa we quickly change altitude as we descend to Colca Canyon. The Colca Canyon is one of the world’s deepest gorges with a maximum depth of 10,607 ft. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Along the route, we enjoy spectacular vistas of snowcapped volcanoes, endless rolling plains. Afternoon to relax.
B, Box lunch, dinner
Day 3- Arequipa to Colca Canyon, Arequipa
Condor´s Cross Vantage Point is one of the most popular sections in the Colca Canyon, the Cruz del Condor, or Condor Crossing is where we will see these majestic birds soaring in the strong air currents. Other notable bird species present in the Colca include the Giant Colibri, the largest member of the hummingbird family, as well as the Andean Goose, Chilean Flamingo, and Mountain Caracara. Animals include vizcacha, a rabbit-sized relative of the chinchilla, zorrino, deer, fox, and vicuña, the wild ancestor of the alpaca. Visit the village of Cabanaconde, high among the canyon’s terraces.
Trip back to Arequipa
B, box lunch, dinner
Day 4- Arequipa to Cusco, Sacred Valley, Transfer to the airport Arrival to Cusco, Visit Maras and Moray in the Sacred Valley: we travel across a high rolling plain with magnificent views of Andean snow peaks to visit the magnificent agricultural terraces of Moray where different levels of terraces are carved into deep bowls/sink holes that were used by the Inca to experiment with and adapt Andean crops to the altitude. Then we continue to visit the famous salt ponds of Maras.…. The salt world, here the local people have been processing and harvesting salt for over 1000 years. Later, we return to our hotel and have a Cultural Expeditions Signature Cultural Immersion Evening with dinner and a bird/orchid specialist.
B, Box lunch, dinner
Day 5- Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Trip to Aguas Calientes on the Machu Picchu train
A fully private tour of the famous “Orchid Trail” located in the gardens of the Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel. Meander through the orchid garden to spot some of the hotel’s 372 different native orchid species in their natural habitat, the world record according to the American Orchid Society. Discover this extraordinary plant family, which has captured the human imagination for centuries. You will find the largest orchid flower in the world – the Phragmipedium caudatum, to the tiny flowering specimens properly appreciated only through a magnifying glass, there are orchids to amaze both the newly inquisitive and the expert, including species new to science which have been discovered on the hotel grounds. This hotel also has a lot of feeders both for hummers and tanagers. Gould´s Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronets, White-bellied Woodstar and Green-and-white Hummingbird are seen in the garden.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is a luxury hotel (one must stay at their hotel in order to see the Orchid Trail.)
B, box lunch, dinner at luxury Machu Pueblo Hotel
Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Early breakfast before transfer to the railway station at Ollantaytambo for the train to km 104, and the start of your trek. We will ride aboard the Vistadome train, taking in stunning views of the mountains all around, with snowcapped peaks in the distance as we slowly lose elevation and head into high altitude cloud forest.
Our destination, the Machu Picchu gateway town of Aguas Calientes, is reachable only by train and is nestled among stunning steep mountains shrouded in cloud forest. Start of the Royal Inca trail, for which we will depart the train before reaching Aguas Calientes. We will commence our hike by crossing a hanging bridge over the Urubamba River to approach the small but interesting Inca archaeological complex of Cachabamba. After a brief visit of this site we will begin a four hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna 2700m/8829 ft; an important Inca spiritual site, and one of the finest of all Inca ruins. We hope to see
orchids along the way but will certainly find them at the Winay Wayna site. Here we will spend time in search of several species before lunch. After, you will continue down the original Inca Trail towards Machu Picchu looking for the most frequent genera of orchid; Aa, Epidendrum, Lycaste, Masdevallia, Maxillaria, Oncidium, Odontoglosum, Phragmipedium and the Sobralia, the most spectacular being the Masdevallia veitchiana. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge
above Machu Picchu to finally reach Intipunku or Gate of the Sun, at 2700m/8829 ft. From here the trail winds downhill (45 minutes) into the lost citadel of Machu Picchu, at 2400m. Arrival to Machu Picchu and transfer down to Aguas Calientes and accommodation at the luxury 5 star Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
Day 6: Machu Picchu, Cusco For our birding tour we’ll go to the old train station: We’ll have time to check the old train station for species shown on the way and time to do some owling. Andean Guan, Mitred Parakeet, Speckle-faced (Plum-crowned) Parrot, White-tipped Swift, Green-andwhite Hummingbird (endem- ic), Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Booted Racket-tail, Ashyheaded Tyrannulet, Barred Becard, Andean and White-eared solitaires, Pale-legged and Russet-crowned warblers, Silver backed, Golden-naped, Saffron-crowned, Bluenecked, and Rust-and-yellow Tanagers, Oleaginous Hemispingus, Chestnut-capped and Tricolored brush-finch, Olivaceous Siskin, Highland Motmot, Dusky-green Oropendola and many more. We’ll try to see Fasciated Tiger-Heron and Torrent Duck along the river that we have seen in the last time. In Aguas Calientes one can take an easy hour or so stroll along the side of the railway line to Mandor Gardens. The gardens are in a side valley with gentle waterfalls. There are orchids along the way, and ferns, Begonias and many plants. On our Machu Picchu tour we can also visit the Sanctuary Lodge on top of Machu Picchu and tour their orchid gardens. You also find the Inca Wren, Green-and-white Humingbird and Cusco Brush-finch on the top. After full morning birding & orchids, we’ll take our lunch and we’ll go to the train station for our train to Cuzco.
B, box lunch, dinner
Day 7: Cusco, Aguajales, Huacarpay lagoon, Manu Road
South Valley visiting Aguajales and Huacarpay lagoon, to observe wader birds
We’ll start our birding day with a nice breakfast and we’ll go to Huacarpay Lake. We’ll have selected stops by walking slowly at around 11,000 feet. We plan to spend time birding by the lake edge: marshy grassland, and shrubby quebradas, with two endemics, Bearded Mountaineer and Rusty-fronted Canastero, among our targets, as well as a number of widespread high-Andean species and after a few hours of easy birding on the best spot for bird specialist in the lake. We’ll start in our expedition to MANU ROAD. We’ll make some selected stops in montane valleys on the way to Wayqecha Station. We’ll take a picnic Lunch by the slopes and colorful Quechua peasant farmers pass creating a peaceful pastoral scene. We may see Andean Hillstar, Andean Flicker, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Chiguanco Thrush and more before arriving at the last Andean pass Ajcanacu. We’ll be able to look out a nice landscape from the last range of the Andes over the Amazon basin, as the Incas did in ancient times, worshipping the sun rising over the endless rainforest. A side stop should find us Scribble-tailed and Line-fronted Canastero and maybe Puna and Diademed Tapaculo. 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 time birding around. Possibilities are many but we hope to encounter mixed species flocks of Tanagers, Flycatchers and Furnarids: Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan, Collared Jay and Mountain Cacique are among some of the many species we may find.
B, box lunch, dinner
Day 8: Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, Posada Amazonas
Transfer to Cusco airport
Arrival to Puerto Maldonado and the Posada Amazonas
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, 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 Tyrannulet, Johanne’s’ Tody-tyrant, Yellow-browed Tody-flycatcher, Black-backed Tody -Flycatcher, Ornate Flycatcher, Band-tailed, Fiery-capped and Round-tailed Manakins, White-thighed Swallow, Golden-bellied (Cuzco) Warbler, Black-faced Dacnis - the list goes on.... We will have the possibility of night birding here: Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl, Tawny-bellied Screech-owl, Great, Long-tailed and Common Potoo.
Transfer to the lodge
B, Box lunch and dinner
Day 9: Posada Amazonas, Tres Chimbadas Oxbow Lake, Ethnobotanical Tour
Parrot Clay Lick. This clay lick is only a twenty minute walk from Posada Amazonas. From a blind located about twenty meters away you will see dozens of parrots and parakeets descend on most clear mornings to ingest the clay on a river bank. Species such as Mealy and Yellow- headed Amazon, Blue-headed Parrot and Dusky headed Parakeet descend at this clay lick. The clay lick is active at dawn, during the late mornings and mid-afternoons.
Ceiba Trail Hike. We leave from the lobby at Posada Amazonas and embark on a two-hour hike to the largest tree in the vicinity: a giant ceiba tree. During the hike we will focus on the natural history of the rainforest and its principal taxonomic groups.
Farm Visit. A thirty-minute boat drive downriver takes us to the most complete farm in the community of Infierno. The owner grows a diverse variety of popular and unknown Amazon crops. In his garden, just about every plant and tree serves a purpose.
B, L, dinner
Overnight at Posada Amazonas
Day 10: Puerto Maldonado to Lima airport
Transfer to Puerto Maldonado airport
Flight back to Lima to take your flight home or on to further expeditions
Machu Picchu was AMAZING!!! It was everything we imagined it to be and more!! The myriad orchid species were spectacular as well. A definite highlight.
I also really enjoyed the jungle with its many species of birds and animals. Our accommodations were wonderful. The place was beautiful, yet simple. Perfect for what we were after.
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See Peru's Birds and Orchids with an Expert
See Birds and Orchids with an Expert
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