This program can be run any time for anyone that wants to experience the cultural highlights of Peru and at the same do some excellent birding. It is aimed to birders who have a non-birding (but nature-interested) spouse, who prefer to have a large amount of cultural content in their trips to make everyone happy.
Or the other way around. The non-birder that find that the birding spouse get too bored when there are too many churches and ruins visited and no time for birding. Here you have time for both. It is a compromise, without really being a compromise, since you shall enjoy both worlds in a very relaxed way. Variants of this program may be set up at other dates.....let us know.
Birding highlights may include Peruvian Plantcutter, Tumbes Tyrant, White-winged Guan, Torrent Duck, Inca Wren, Masked Fruiteater, Cock-of-the Rock, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bearded Mountaineer, Polylepis specialists such as Royal Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, etc.
You experience desert, tumbesian dry forest, coastal and highland wetlands, high andean puna, interandean valleys, subtropical and temperate humid forest and Polylepis woodland.
The cultural highlights include the National Museum in Lima, Pachacamac, Batan Grande, Tucume, Sipan museum, Chan Chan, Moche, Sechin, Paramonga, Caral, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and finally Machu Picchu.
You will also experience the great community based conservation project at Chaparri near Chiclayo.
Day 1. Lima. Museum and Pantanos de Villa.
In the morning we will get an introductory guiding at the National Museum to learn about the pre-incan cultures of Peru. In the afternoon we shall be birding at Pantanos de Villa. If time permits we will also visit nearby Pachacamac ruins, which served as an oracle for the Incas and the Lima cultures before them. Evening flight to Chiclayo. Hotel Inti in Chiclayo.
Day 2. Bosque Pomac, Batan Grande, Tucume and Museo de Sipan.
Bosque Pomac is a Prosopis (mesquite) woodland in the protected valley of the pyramids of Batan Grande from the Sican culture peaking around 1100 AD. The morning at Bosque Pomac, should produce Peruvian Plantcutter, Rufous Flycatcher, Tumbes Swallow and many other Tumbesian endemics. We carry on through the archeological reserve to Tucume where Thor Heyerdal made excavations in the 90s. The museum at the site is well worth a visit. After lunch we continue to Lambayeque to visit the Lord of Sipan Museum. Sipan was a Moche culture peaking 500 AD. The findings here have been featured in National Geographic and been compared to that of Tutanchamon, due to plenty gold objects found and that the fact that the Lord of Sipan grave itself had not been altered by treasure hunters. Hotel in Chiclayo.
Day 3. Chaparri full day.
Chaparri is a community conservation and eco-tourism project. It is the first recognized communal reserve in Peru. At Chaparri about an hour from Chiclayo, we shall look out for Tumbes Tyrant and Tumbes Sparrow on our way. White-winged Guan and Spectacled Bear are re-introduced at the reserve and provide excellent photo oportunities.
Day 4. Chaparri, Tinajones dam and drive to Trujillo (200km).
In the morning we shall check out the hummingbird bath, where Tumbes Hummingbird, Amazilia Hummingbird, Purple-collered Woodstar and Peruvian Sheertail comes to drink and take a bath. Later birding t Tinajones dam with chance of seeing the rare Black-necked Ibis and many other waterbirds. The rest of the day we drive to Trujillo 200km to the south.
Day 5 Chan Chan AM and Moche PM. Drive to Casma (200km)
Trujillo has two of the absolute best archeological sites in Peru. Chan Chan was at its peak around 1300-1400 AD the largest town in the Americas and the capital of the Chimu empire.
Huaca de Sol and Huaca de la Luna are two impressive pyramids near Moche that has given the name to the empire that peaked around 400 AD. Drive to Casma. Not too much birding this day, but there is a wetland en route to Casma just outside of Chimbote where we hope to pick up some North American migrants as well as some resident waterfowl. Night in Casma.
Day 6. Sechin, Paramonga fortress and Caral. Drive to Lima (370km).
In the morning we shall visit Sechin, which is coastal precursor to the Chavin culture around 1800-900 BC and then drive via the Chimu fortress of Paramonga to the newly excavated archeological site Caral. Caral is the oldest civilization in the Americas (2600 BC). If time permits we shall end the day with some birding at Lomas de Lachay north of Lima, where endemics such as Cactus Canastero, Coastal, Grayish and Thick-billed Miners can be seen. Hotel in Lima near the airport.
Day 7. Cusco. Sacsayhuaman and Pisac archeological sites and Huacarpay lake for birding.
We make an early morning flight to Cusco. At arrival we travel directly through Cusco town to take some shots at Plaza de Armas while Cusco wakes up and the proceed to Sacsayhuaman which overlooks the town. Before most of the heavy traffic invades the town we are on our way to Huacarpay lake for some birds such as Bearded Mountaineer and Rusty-crowned Canastero, as well as a number of marsh birds such as Yellow-winged Blackbird, Plumbeous Rail, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant and Andean Duch. In the afternoon we proceed to the Pisac ruins and visit the famous Pisac market. The night is spent in the typcial andean village of Ollantaytambo, which is built on top of an inca town.
Day 8. For those that wish we make a predawn start to visit the Polylepis woodland at Abra Malaga, with birds such as Royal Cinclodes, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, White-browed Tit-Spinetail. At around noon we are back in Ollantaytambo for lunch and a short visit at the impressive Ollantaytambo ruins. Afternoon train to Machu Picchu.
Day 9. Machu Picchu.
In the early morning you have the choice of going up to Machu Picchu to watch the sunrise over the ruins or do some birding while the birds are active. In either case there is plenty of time to see the ruins. Some of the more special birds in the area are the endemic Inca Wren, Masked Fruiteater, Black-streaked Puffbird, Gould's Inca, White-eared Solitaire, Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Andean Guan, Green-and-White Hummingbird and many more. In the afternoon we shall take the train back to Ollantaytambo and on to then bus back to Cusco.
Day 10. AM in Cusco town sightseeing and shopping. PM flight to Lima.