Finally a tour for those that can not walk for long stretches without a break. We have reduced the walking to an absolute minimum. We have chosen a mixture of very good lodges and some more basic community lodges on the possibilities to see birds without doing to much walking. It has been some challange to find the right balance, but we believe this recipe will be a winner. Some of the lodges does not have private en-suite bath, but in these cases the communal bathrooms is in the same building within less than 10 meters from the room on the same floor. The communities owning the lodges we use are still learning about eco-tourism. We will actively bring members of the communitiers to the more posh lodges so they can see how their own lodges can be improved.
By being a bit flexible using some of the newer not so well known lodges, it assures us to have the best habitat near the lodges.
For instance the key habitat with bamboo at Blanco is very accessible, with broad trails and easy to work. At most other lodges the bamboo could be tricky to work, as it is difficult to get to and often narrow trails. There is also a small macaw lick that I believe is less distance away then the major one at Blanquillo that everyone visits. By doing some of the most comfortable community lodges, we can add Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel without surcharge as long as we are 6 people.
Day 1. Lima-Cusco.
We fly early to Cusco to make way straight away to Ollantaytambo, via the impressive ruins at Sacsayhuaman above Cusco town. The train leaves at 9.15 from Ollantaytambo. From the train-window we shall be able to spot the stream-tied Torrent Duck, Torrent Tyrannulet and White-capped Dipper. The splendid Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is really the only hotel in town which is possible for disabled to stay. The The hotel has plenty of hummingbird feeders and bird tables, where birds can be seen with very little effort.
The possible hummers here include the endemic Green and White Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Gould´s Inca, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Long-tailed Sylph and White-bellied Woodstar. The feeding tables attracts a multitude of colorful tanagers such as Saffron-crowned, Blue-necked and Flame-faced tanager and sometimes even Highland Motmot and Cock-of-the Rock shows up.
We shall also have a guided tour to the orchid garden in the hotel
Should you want to save 90 US$ you can stay instead in Hatunchay Tower, which has elevator access, however you will not have access to the Pueblo Hotel, so it would be of little advantage.
Day 2. Machu Picchu.
We shall continue birding the Pueblo Hotel in morning before we take the bus to the entrance to Machu Picchu. There is some Chusquea bamboo neat the entrance that we will check for the endemic Inca Wren. The ruins themselves have many stairs, and it be difficult to visit completely, but you get a very nice view from the entrance. The access road back to Aguas Calientes can be quite good for birding, so after our visit to the ruins we shall continue down this road to pick up additional species such as White-winged Black-Tyrant, Dull-colored Seedeater, Mitred Parakeet, Sclater?s Tyrannulet, Ocellated Piculet, Andean Guan and many more. After a late buffet lunch in Aguas Calientes and some souvenir shopping we shall take the train back to Ollantaytambo.
Day 3. Abra Malaga.
The Polyelepis forest is out of the question for poor walkers, but there is still good roadside birding for things like Sword-billed Hummingbird, White-tufted Sunbeam, Andean Parakeet, Diademed Tapaculo, etc. so it is worthwhile to do this day tour. In the afternoon we travel back to Cusco.
Day 4. Huacarpay and Manu road. Wayquecha Lodge.
In the morning we shall visit Huacarpay on the way for lake birds and the endemic hummingbird Bearded Mountaineer. Other birds include the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird, Plumbeous Rail, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and many others.
It will take around four-five hours before we reach good forest, but there are many highland species that can be seen on the way such as Mountain Parakeet, Black-tailed Shrike-Tyrant, Cinereous Ground-Tyrant and Spot-winged Pigeon.
Birding the temperate woodland beyond Tres Cruces, we will specifically look for Puna Thistletail and Diademed Tapaculo. Lower down we may find the endemic Red-and-White Antpitta. Yungas Pygmy-Owl and species like Marcapata Spinetail, Rufous-capped Thornbill, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Blue-banded Toucanet, Hooded, Grass-Green and Scarlet-breasted Mountain-Tanager can be seen near Esperanza and the Wayquecha Lodge and research station where we will spend the night.
Day 5-6. Cock of the Rock Lodge.
On the way to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge Kolibri Expeditions have staked out a day-roosting Andean Potoo, just next to the road, with very high hit-rate during 2007-2008. We aim to be at the Cock-of-the-Rock lek at 4PM. A night we can (if we still have energy, look for Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Rufescent Screech-Owl and the undescribed "San Isidro-Owl" that recently has been seen near the lodge ? apparently the same that is known from San Isidro in Ecuador.
The following day we shall do continued birding in the vicinity of Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge in the morning. Specifically, we shall be looking for a new soon to be described tanager - "San Pedro Tanager" that lives in the bamboo. We shall bring a box lunch and look for specialties such as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Stripe-chested Antwren, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Black-streaked Puffbird, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet and Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher
At the lodge Black-throated Brilliants, Many-spotted Hummingbird, Wire-crested Thorntail and Booted Racket-tail come to the hummingbird-feeders and Yungas Manakin, Paradise Tanager and Versicolored Barbet visit the bird-tables.
Day 7. Amazonia Lodge.
We shall continue to Amazonia Lodge and on the way look for specialties such as Amazonian Umbrellabird, Peruvian Piedtail, Cerulean-capped Manakin, Black-streaked Puffbird, Russet Antshrike, Lanceolated Monklet and Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher. The bamboo holds species like Ornate Antwren, Bamboo Antshrike and White-cheeked Tody-Tyrant. Other birds here include the endemic and recently described Cinnamon-faced Tyrannulet, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Russet Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antshrike and Rufous-webbed Brilliant. The road between Pilcopata and Atalaya has produced a number of very good species in the past, such as Military and Blue-headed Macaw, Wattled Guan, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Manu Antbird and Pheasant Cuckoo, Rufous-crested Coquette, Spangled Cotinga, Yellow-billed Nunbird and Fine-barred Piculet. In the afternoon we will start to explore Amazonia Lodge, where we will also spend the night. Shared baths, but next to the room, so should not present a major problem. Hot water showers.
Day 8. Amazonia Lodge to Blanco.
At Amazonia lodge the specialties include Koepcke´s Hermit, Rufous-vented Ground- Cuckoo, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Long-tailed Potoo, Amazonian and Thrush-like Antpitta, Red-billed Tyrannulet, Fiery-capped Manakin and many more. Special features at Amazonia Lodge include the famous jeep-track, which is very good for crossing Tinamous (including Black-capped Tinamou).
We will bird Amazonia to midday continue down river with motorized canoes. On the lake itself it is easy to Sungrebe and Snail Kite. We shall also look for Pale-eyed Blackbird in this area.the community run Blanco Lodge. Here we shall stay in private cabins with en- suite bathrooms. Only cold water.
Day 9. Blanco Lodge
There is very good mature floodplain forest with many species of monkeys such as Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarins and good and wide trail. Not far from the lodge there is an extensive bamboo and a small cocha. One walks for on flat ground through the bamboo for 20 minutes and reach 30 meter steel canopy tower that can be very productive. Nearby there is a small Macaw-lick that is active in late mid-morning.
Some highlights we have seen recently include Black-faced Cotinga, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, White-cheecked Tody-Tyrant, Ash-throated Gnateater and Long-billed Woodcreeper.
Day 10-11. Manu Wildlife Center.
The best known of all the lodges in the area. We shall be staying in very comfortable cabins with private bath and hot water showers. There are plenty of birds in the clearing with lots of hummingbird attracting flowers. The grid trail system next to the lodge has wide flat trails that are easy to walk. The main trail to the Tapir colpa does go uphill the first 600m but after this is relatively flat and wide. The colpa itself may be a bit far away for less able walkers. MWC has a good tower that is easily accessible with a good metal staircase. We shall make excursions by boat to other easy and flat trails to work for species such as Banded Antbird and Semi-collared Puffbird.
Day 12. MWC-Shintuya.
We shall return upriver and from the village Itahuania we will bird roadside habitat again on the road to Shintuya in the afternoon. There are some great look-out points over the Amazon and good spots to look for Great Jacamar, Blue-headed Macaw and Red-billed Tyrannulet on the way. In Shintuya we stay at a small community lodge with rooms housed in one big building with shared bath that is only a few meters from your room on level ground.
Day 13. Road travel between Shintuya to Cock-of-the Rock Lodge.
We travel back top Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge today. There is good bamboo on the way that gives species such as Dot-winged Antbird and Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher. The lodge clearing has produced Needle-billed Hermit and Fiery-capped Manakin
Once again we shall stay at the comfortable Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.
Day 14. Cock-of-the Rock Lodge ?Wayquecha.
Yet another day on Manu road. We shall work our way upwards to Wayquecha again. We shall take considerable time at the raptor lookout spot, where we often see Black-and-Chestnut and Solitary Eagles. Night in Wayquecha.
Day 15. Wayquecha-Cusco-Lima
We work the temperate zone again. Travel slowly back to Cusco from where our flight leaves at 4.30 PM.