Lima to Cusco Overland: The Pacific Coast, West Slope
and Apurimac Endemics, Andean Condors

This is a pre-trip extension to The Manu Biosphere Reserve tours or can be taken alone.

Inca-Tern

Photographer: Steve Gantlett

This is an epic trip in our comfortable bus, journeying from the dry Atacama Desert of the Lima coast up to the historic Inca capital city of Cusco in the high Andes! We will be travelling along a new paved highway which follows ancient Inca routes, acclimating gradually to the altitude as we head up into the Andes. The tour includes a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands with their enormous seabird colonies, the unique coastal fog vegetation hills and associated endemic birds, visiting an Andean Condor watch point, many little-known Peruvian endemics, spectacular scenery and even the famous Nazca lines!


Day 1: Arrive in Lima:Arriving in Lima our staff will transfer to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima.
DAY 2: LIMA TO PARACASLeaving Lima after breakfast Our first stop will be a small nature reserve on the outskirts of Lima, Villa Marshes. Here we will see Andean Coot, Puna Ibis, Great and White-tufted Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, White-cheeked Pintail, Franklin's Gull, Gray-hooded Gull, Bay-winged and Variable Hawk. Wren-like Rushbird and Many-colored Rush tyrant are here along with Least Bittern. We will make selected stops along the way in agricultural areas particularly for Peruvian Thicknee, Peruvian Pipit, Short-tailed Field Tyrant and others. Other possibilities include a variety of Seedeaters including Drab (endemic), Parrot-billed and Chestnut-throated as well as Scrub Blackbird and Long-tailed Mockingbird. Arriving in Asia we’ll drive inland to an area of low coastal hills that are covered in a unique 'fog vegetation' (i.e. the sparse plant life obtains its moisture almost entirely from condensation in this almost rainless landscape). Bare desert en route to the Lomas is home to the endemic Coastal Miner, whereas higher up in the hills we may find Grayish Miner and the endemic Thick-billed Miner. while other birds we may find on the green slopes of the Lomas are Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Variable Hawk, American Kestrel, Eared Dove, Croaking Ground-Dove, Oasis and Amazilia Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Swallow, Hooded Siskin, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Peruvian Meadowlark. If we are fortunate we will even find the rare and nomadic Raimondi's Yellow-Finch in this area (mostly November to March). A short distance away amongst the sparse cacti and large boulders we shall look for the endemic Cactus Canastero. We continue on to our colonial period hotel – Hacienda San Jose. We may hear and look for Tschudi’s Nightjar here B.L.D
DAY 3: THE BALLESTAS ISLANDS AND TO NAZCAAfter an early breakfast we will head to Paracas Bay and our boat trip. This 2-hour trip to the Ballestas islands will produce immense nesting colonies of Guanay Cormorants Peruvian Boobies and Inca Terns. Here we will also see colonies of South-American Sea-lions. Other targets here include the lovely Red-legged Cormorant, Blackish Oystercatcher, Peruvian Pelican, Gray Gull, the endemic Surf Cinclodes and Humboldt Penguin. Returning to shore we will explore the peninsular and see a variety of shorebirds, Chilean Flamingo, Elegant Tern and perhaps the endangered Peruvian Tern.

After lunch we will head for the Lumana plateau and the world-famous Nazca lines. Arriving in the late afternoon we will stop and climb a tower which overlooks one of these lines. Scholars believe that the Nazca lines, which range in complexity from simple lines to stylized plants and animals, were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 CE. We will then travel on to the town of Nazca itself, where we will spend the night at a comfortable winery hotel. Our host Olivia will feast us on organic vegetables, home-cooked chicken and grapes from her own vineyard! B: L: D
DAY 4: NAZCA TO ANDAMARCAYou will awake in our charming Nazca hotel to the song of the near-endemic Slender-billed Finch. Birds that we can find in the scrubby areas around the hotel include Yellowish Pipit, the endemic Black-necked Woodpecker, Pied-crested Tit-tyrant, Short-tailed Field-tyrant, Drab (endemic), Parrot-billed and Chestnut-throated Seedeaters, Scrub Blackbird, Peruvian Sheartail, Purple-collared Woodstar, Streaked Saltator and Long-tailed Mockingbird.

Leaving the hotel, we will start to ascend the Andes, making selected stops en route. Endemic birds we will be looking out for include Cactus Canastero, Grayish and Thick-billed Miners and the nomadic Raimondi’s Yellow-finch. We will also keep an eye out for an undescribed form of Dark-winged Canastero.

Arriving at Pampas Galeras, one of Peru's oldest nature reserves, we will take a side-road passing lakes and Andean bogs where we will spend time observing and photographing the Andean birdlife, Vischachas, Vicunas and large flocks of Alpaca and Llama.

In the late afternoon we will arrive at the village of Andamarca in the beautiful Sondondo valley, home of the Tijera dance. We will spend the night here in a simple hotel. B: L: D
(Note: it is an optional extra today to take a short flight enabling you to see the Nazca lines from the air. Please ask us if this would be of interest!)
Day 5: ANDAMARCA TO CHALHUANCAThis morning we will find ourselves at the Andean Condor watch-point at 7AM, coffee in hand, as up to 20 condors leave their dormitories and use the warm air updrafts to soar up out of the incredibly deep canyon and glide over our heads-watch your hats! Photographic opportunities are fantastic. This spectacle finishes at 9 AM with a sumptuous picnic breakfast, amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
After Condors and breakfast, we will head off, passing lakes which host most of the Andean waterfowl, Chilean Flamingo, Giant Coot and a range of pipits, sierra-finches and Canasteros. There is always a chance that we might find Puna Plover and Gray-breasted Seedsnipe during the drive.

In the late afternoon we will arrive at our comfortable country hotel near Chalhaunca, where we will spend the night. The local hockingi sub-species of Koepcke's Screech-owl is often found in the car park. B: L: D
DAY 6: CHALHUANCA TO LIMATAMBOWe will start today with some pre-breakfast birding close to our hotel. We will be looking for the usheri white-tailed form of the endemic Pale-tailed Canastero, as well as White-eared Puffbird and the inter-montane form of Peruvian Pygmy-owl.

After breakfast at our hotel we will drive through the bustling town of Abancay and on to a patch of humid scrub where we should see the endemic son to be described endemic Ampay Tapaculo. We will then move on to a side road where we recently discovered the endemic Apurimac Spinetail, which is common here. We will also keep an eye out for the endemic Kalinowski's Tinamou near the high pass above. If the day is clear we can also get excellent 'scope views of the recently excavated major Inca ruins of Choquequirao, across the Apurimac Canyon.

Endemics that we will hope to encounter during the day include Apurimac Brush-finch, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch, White-tufted Sunbeam, Rusty-fronted Canastero and Creamy-crested Spinetail. Other species that we might find include Streak-backed Canastero, White-winged Black-tyrant, Black-winged Ground-dove, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker and Shining Sunbeam.

We will also make a stop to visit the sculptured Sayhuite Stone, a monolith with more than 200 geometric and zoomorphic figures. This site is regarded as a center of religious worship focusing on water.

In the late afternoon we will arrive at our lovey hotel retreat in Limatambo, where we will spend the night. Koepcke’s Screech-owl, Peruvian Pygmy-owl and sometimes even Buff-fronted Owl can be found in the hotel garden. B: L: D
DAY 7: SORAYPAMPA AND ONTO CUSCOToday we will head up to a high alpine meadow, under the towering peak and glaciers of the Salcantay Massif. If the weather is clear the scenery is astonishing. Our quest today is to find the endemic Vilcabamba Tapaculo that inhabits nearby shrubbery. Other birds that we may see include d'Orbigny's Chat-tyrant, plus a variety of ground-tyrants, sierra-finches and cansteros. We alos have another chance at the Apurimac endemics should we have missed any. After a morning here and a picnic lunch under the glaciers we will head out to Cusco, stopping en route to admire the astonishing stonework of the little-known Inca ruins of Tarahuasi. We aim to arrive early in Cusco, allowing time for some relaxation and dinner (perhaps trying some Novo-Andean cuisine?) near the historic plaza. Night in Cusco. B: L: D
DAY 8: CUSCO TO LIMA AND HOMEEnd of the tour. Today we will either transfer you to the airport for your flights to Lima and home or connect you with one of our Manu Biosphere Reserve tours. Alternatively, we can arrange a visit to Machu Picchu or other cultural activities, at your request. B.
THIS TOUR CAN BE TAKEN AS A PRE-EXTENSION TO ANY OF THE MANU RAINFOREST TOURS OR SEPARATELY

Customer Testimonials

Ann and Dick Walker

Please keep us informed of any birding trips in the future. We would really enjoy another birding trip with you.

Chris Goodie - UK

Just a mailette to send you a belated but nonetheless huge THANK-YOU to you and your team for organising our recent 'Gooddie-and-friends' Rosenberg-extravaganza trip so flawlessly. The logistics are pretty complicated relative to other trips I've done, and everything was done with a seamless attention to detail; your field and backroom staff are a credit to Manu Expeditions to a man/woman. Having spent so long planning the damn thing our expectations were pretty high, but the reality exceeded even our lofty imaginings.

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Comments

Just a mailette to send you a belated but nonetheless huge THANK-YOU to you and your team for organising our recent 'Gooddie-and-friends' Rosenberg-extravaganza trip so flawlessly. The logistics are pretty complicated relative to other trips I've done, and everything was done with a seamless attention to detail; your field and backroom staff are a credit to Manu Expeditions to a man/woman. Having spent so long planning the damn thing our expectations were pretty high, but the reality exceeded even our lofty imaginings.

Please keep us informed of any birding trips in the future. We would really enjoy another birding trip with you.

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