Day 1: Arrival in Lima. Today we arrive in Peru’s capital city of Lima. A M17026 representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to our comfortable city hotel. An afternoon stroll along Miraflores promenade is highly recommended, before meeting up with the group and your M17026 tour leader this evening for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Lima to Huaraz via Lomas de Lachay. We depart Lima early this morning heading along the northern coastline to the ‘mist oasis’ of Lomas de Lachay. Located only a few kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, Lomas de Lachay is a remarkable site. It is completely dependent on capturing moisture from ‘mist clouds’ rolling in off the ocean, such that in summer, it is a dry and inhospitable place much like the rest of the coastal littoral in Peru. However, a transformation takes place during the winter, and our visit here is timed to behold what should resemble a cloud forest, with tall green vegetation dripping with moisture. Driving slowly along the dirt access road, we should have our first encounters with Least Seedsnipe, Burrowing Owl, the endemic Coastal Miner, Peruvian Meadowlark and with a little luck, Tawny-throated Dotterels and Peruvian Thick-knees. Flowering scrub holds a number of ‘hummers’ including Oasis Hummingbird, Peruvian Sheartail and Purple-collared Woodstar. Short walks among the surrounding vegetation may turn up the endemic Thick-billed and Greyish Miners, small flocks of the endemic Raimondi's Yellow Finch, Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, Yellowish Pipit and Band-tailed Sierra Finch.
After an excellent start to our Peruvian adventure, we will drive northwards along the coast before turning east and climbing into the Andes. While much of the afternoon will be spent driving to Huaraz, we may have time for the odd birding stop en route. Species of interest in the foothills include Black-necked Woodpecker, Spot-throated Hummingbird, Piura Chat-Tyrant and Scrub Blackbird. We can expect to arrive at our hotel in Huaraz just before dark.
Day 3: Huaraz to Yungay, birding Huaylas & Puerto Libre. We will depart Huaraz this morning and head further north to Yungay some 60 km away. Passing Yungay, we traverse a pass towards the town of Huaylas. While seemingly unappealing, the scrubby habitat on the hillsides is home to two of the five endemic Inca-Finches, Great and Rufous-backed. Separated by little more than altitude, we will search for Great Inca-Finch at lower elevations before climbing higher for Rufous-backed Inca-Finch. The higher reaches of the pass are home to Mountain Parakeet, Canyon Canastero and Greenish Yellow Finch. The rare Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch is known from the area, while we can also expect to see Band-tailed Seedeater and Band-tailed Sierra Finch.
We will return to Yungay for lunch and a short rest before heading out to nearby Puerto Libre. While there may not be a huge number of species in the cactus-studded scrublands, it is home to an undescribed form of Pale-tailed Canastero (tentatively known as Ancash Canastero). The bird is not uncommon here and we should also find flocks of Greenish Yellow Finch and Drab Seedeater. Hummers are represented by Shining Sunbeam and Giant Hummingbird, while Black-crested Tit-Tyrant and Plain-tailed Warbling Finch are also present. Returning to Yungay, we can bird the local scrub patches and take in the spectacular views around us. While we bird the local surrounds, it is sobering to consider that we are birding in the ‘new’ Yungay, the old town being some 1,500 metres to the south. The old town of Yungay was erased from the map by the 1970 Ancash Earthquake that caused a huge debris avalanche (15 million cubic tonnes) burying the town and more than 20,000 people in a matter of minutes. The ‘old’ town is now a national cemetery and no excavation has ever been permitted.
Day 4: Lagunas Llanganuco & Abra Portachuelo. An early start will see us heading high above the town of Yungay and into Parque Nacional Huascarán. The imposing Nevado Huascarán is not only Peru's highest mountain at 6,768 m (22,200 ft), but also the world’s highest tropical peak. Named after the 16th century Incan emperor Huascar, the summit lays claim to the smallest gravitational force on earth. As we stand on the dirt road a little over 3,000 m above sea level, consider that the mountain right next to us is almost 4 km higher! Aside from the spectacular peaks and two emerald green lakes, the park has some of the most extensive and intact Polylepis forest in all of South America. We will leave the lakes and surrounding forests for a little later and head further into the park to reach Abra Portachuelo.
Abra Portachuelo is one of the best sites to find White-cheeked Cotinga, a scarce and generally tricky bird throughout its fragmented range. While the cotinga is the primary point of focus, we will also have plenty of other species to keep our appetites occupied including Tit-like Dacnis, Striated Earthcreeper, both White-browed and Giant Conebills and even a chance for the rare Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch. The recently split and endemic Baron’s Spinetail is rather common, as is Plain-tailed Warbling Finch and Stripe-headed Antpitta. As we head back towards Lagunas Llanganuco, we will make various stops in the paramo grasslands to search for the endemic Ancash Tapaculo, Blue-mantled Thornbill, D’Orbigny's Chat-Tyrant, Rufous-webbed Tyrant and Plain-breasted Earthcreeper. The picturesque lakes do not play host to many species, but residents include Crested Duck, Puna Teal and Andean Duck.
Having sampled some Polylepis species around Abra Portachuelo, we hope to gorge ourselves on even more of these specialities. Walking along the spongy paths through these slow growing trees is liable to turn up the endemic Black Metaltail, Rufous-eared Brush Finch, Rusty-crowned Tit-Spinetail, Hooded Siskin, Giant Hummingbird, Shining Sunbeam and more chances for Giant Conebill and Stripe-headed Antpitta. After what is sure to be the highlight day of this short extension, we will then make our way back down the mountain to Yungay for a celebratory final dinner and to discuss our forthcoming birding in Southern Peru.
Day 5: Yungay to Lima. We have a fairly time-consuming drive back to Lima today and much of our time will be spent travelling. Depending on our progress we may make the odd birding stop en route to our hotel for the night. We expect to arrive in Lima late this afternoon with enough time for a short rest before meeting up for dinner with any new birders joining the main tour.
- Tour Price: (Per Person) €1,740 * £1,270 * USD 1,950 * ZAR 26,280
- Single Supplement: €270 * £200 * USD 300 * ZAR 4,050
- Spaces Available: Spaces available
- Can be Linked With Classic Peru - Machu Picchu to Manu.
-Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we quote our tours in 4 currencies. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold (US$), and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 4 months before the tour.) The same applies to approximate flight and single supplement rates, which are also quoted in the respective fixed currency.
-Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration a small party supplement will have to be charged.
-Furthermore, these costs are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result.
-Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or the designated M17026 leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.
Tipping: As noted above, gratuities (drivers, hotel staff, restaurants etc.) are included on this tour. However, this does NOT include your M17026 leader/s. If, therefore, you feel that he/they have given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip them.
- Since some longish drives are necessary to reach the best areas for birds and animals, and as space in the vehicles is limited, it is important for the comfort of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly stick to 20 kg (44 lb) for check in luggage and 8 kg (+-18 lb) for hand luggage.
- Fitness: We will be birding some mountainous and high altitude areas on foot and along forest trails. Trails are sometimes steep and, depending on weather conditions, slippery. A good level of fitness is required for this tour.
- Peru is a large country and there is great variety in the climate, mostly determined by altitude. While we time our tours to coincide with the relative ‘dry’ season, rain is always possible and you should bring adequate rain gear as well as an umbrella. We spend some days at particularly high altitudes that are often very cold and windy with the potential for snow and sleet; warm gear is certainly required. The thinner atmosphere exposes one to higher concentrations of ultra violet light, precautions should therefore be taken against sunburn and sunglasses are advised.
- Crime is not commonplace for tourists in Peru; however, it is prudent to exercise caution as you would for any travel destination. Do not unnecessarily flaunt cash and valuables and do not leave valuables exposed in the vehicle.
- We will be birding in some remote areas well away from modern medical facilities.
- The hotels are generally of a comfortable yet sometimes basic standard throughout.
Arrival and Departure Details: This tour does not include any airfares. The Ancash Pre-tour extension will begin with a welcome dinner at our Lima hotel on day 1. Although this is scheduled as an arrival day, please do arrive in Lima by 17:00 to join us for dinner. The Ancash Pre-tour extension will end in Lima in the early afternoon of day 5.
The main Classic Peru tour will begin with a welcome dinner at our Lima hotel on day 1. Although this is scheduled as an arrival day, please do arrive in Lima by 17:00 to join us for dinner. For those participating on the Ancash Pre-tour Extension, you can expect to arrive back in Lima in time to freshen up and meet any new participants before dinner. The main Classic Peru tour will end mid-morning at Lima International Airport after a short flight from Cusco on day 20*. The Manu Wildlife Centre Post-tour Extension will depart from our Andean Foothill’s lodge after breakfast on day 1** (which is Day 19 of the Main Classic Peru tour). The tour will end at Lima International Airport mid-morning after an internal flight from Cusco.
*For those participants who are not continuing onto our Manu Wildlife Centre Extension, please note that you will depart by boat from our Andean Foothill lodge after breakfast on the morning of day 19, before driving back up the Manu Road to Cusco. This is a long, dedicated travel day and only our local agent will be accompanying you on this section of the journey. Our local agent will accompany you to dinner this evening before transferring you to Cusco airport for your flight back to Lima on the morning of day 20.
**We do not recommend that anyone joins up for the Manu Wildlife Centre Post-tour extension independently of the main Classic Peru tour due to the time, logistics and distances involved in reaching the starting point of this tour.
Flights: Lima International Airport (IATA: LIM) is the main port of entry for international flights into Peru for this tour, and is serviced by most international airlines. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences, but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. However: please do not book your international flights until you have consulted the M17026 office for confirmation on the status of the tour.
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