Apurimac Endemics, Abra Malaga and the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu

Enigmatic Machu Picchu and endemic Andean Birds



Photographer: Fabrice Schmitt

During this 7-Day tour we will take the Belmond Vistadome train to visit the famous Inca ruins of Machu-Picchu, visit some very good temperate cloud forest and look for some of the rarest birds on earth in the Polylepis woodlands of the High Andes and surrounding grasslands. We will also look for rare endemics of the Apurimac Canyon with the stunning glaciers of the Salkantay Massif as a back-drop. We will stay at comfortable country hotels throughout.

THIS SHORT TRIP GIVES YOU ACCESS TO A POSSIBLE 25 PERUVIAN ENDEMIC BIRD SPECIES

Day 1:Leaving Cusco, we will make a picturesque 1.5-hour drive through the Andes to the Inca town of Limatambo, making a stop for lunch along the way. We should arrive at our country guest house in good time to relax and do some birding in the hotel garden. Some night birding will be optional here as the endemic Koepcke’s Screech-owl, Peruvian Pygmy-owl and even the rare Buff-fronted Owl can be seen in the garden. After a delicious evening meal, we will have a good night's rest in preparation for an early start in the morning. B: L: D


Day 2: After an early breakfast we will head for Mollepata and on to Soray Pampa, situated under the towering glaciers of the Salkantay massif. Here we will search for the very localized and endemic Vilcabamba Tapaculo. We will then spend the morning searching for Apurimac endemics such as Apurimac Brush-finch, Apurimac Spinetail, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch, White-tufted Sunbeam and Creamy-crested Spinetail.

Other possibilities this morning include d’Orbigny’s Chat-tyrant, Peruvian Sierra-finch, Cinereous Conebill, Black-backed Grosbeak, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Giant Hummingbird, Plain-colored Seedeater, Red-crested Cotinga, Tit-like Dacnis, Plumbeous Sierra-finch, Cream-winged Cinclodes, Tyrian Metaltail, Pale-tailed Canastero and White-eared Puffbird and many others.

After lunch we will head for the historic Inca town of Ollantaytambo, where we will spend the night in a comfortable hotel where we shall spend 3 nights. B: L: D
Day 3: After an early breakfast and then spend the rest of the day exploring the humid temperate forest. Starting at a large patch of Chusquea bamboo we should see Parodi’s Hemispingus and Puna Thistletail, both endemics. Other endemics that we hope to find today include Unstreaked Tit-tyrant, Marcapata Spinetail, Inca Wren and Cuzco Brush-finch.

Other species we hope to see today will include Drab, Three-striped, Black-eared and White-browed Hemispingus', Golden-collared Tanager, White-throated and White-banded Tyrannulets, Andean Ibis, White-rumped Hawk, Sierran Elaenia, Diademed and Trilling Tapaculos and Rufous (Urubamba) and Undulated Antpittas.

In the evening we will return to our hotel in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas for the night B: L: D
Day 4:

After breakfast we will head for the Polylepis woodland at Abra Malaga where we will devote the whole morning to exploring this unique habitat. Our major target bird here will be the endemic Royal Cinclodes, which Manu Expeditions re-discovered here in the 1980's.
Other endemics we will be hoping to see here include Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant, White-browed Tit-spinetail and Junín Canastero. Other possibilities will include Line-fronted Canastero, Tawny Tit-spinetail, Giant Conebill, Stripe-headed Antpitta, Puna Tapaculo, Tit-like Dacnis, Blue-mantled Thornbill, Andean Condor and Thick-billed Siskin.
After birding the upper portions of the woodland, you can choose to either walk down-hill through the Polylepis to the valley floor or be driven back down in our bus.

Back on the valley floor we will take our picnic lunch, whilst checking through a variety of ground-tyrants and sierra-finches. We will then concentrate on some local endemics to be found on the west side of the pass, including Creamy-crested Spinetail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, White-tufted Sunbeam and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-finch.

In the late afternoon we will once again return to our hotel in Ollantaytambo for the night. B: L: D

NOT INTERESTED IN RUINS?
IN THAT CASE YOU HAVE THE OPTION OF RETURNING TO CUSCO THIS EVENING!



Day 5:

After an early breakfast we will take the 2.5-hour Belmond train journey to the world-famous Inca ruins of Machu-Picchu. From the train we will certainly see Torrent Ducks and White-capped Dipper on the Urubamba river, but we will get closer looks at both species once we have left the train.

Arriving at the ruins, birding will take a back seat for once as we are taken on a guided tour of this mystical archaeological complex. However, we will still note the White-tipped Swifts which will be flying overhead! After lunch we will look for Inca Wren which is quite common in the bamboo around the ruins and then we will descend into the Urubamba gorge for some late afternoon birding.

We will then spend the night at our comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes (alternatively we can upgrade you to the Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel by request). B: L: D

Day 6After breakfast we will spend the morning birding the railway track along the Urubamba river. Here in the remnant cloud forest, we will be looking specifically for the endemic Masked Fruiteater, as well as Sclater's and Bolivian Tyrannulets, Silver-backed Tanager, Pale-eyed Thrush, Black-streaked Puffbird, Oleaginous Hemispingus and Capped Conebill. Mixed flocks will contain many species of tanager and the endemic Green and White Hummingbird is also common here.

After a late lunch at our favorite French bistro, we will return on the tourist train to Cusco, where we will spend the night. B: L: D
Day 7You will have the whole morning free to wander around and explore the old Inca capital. In the afternoon we will either transfer you to the airport for your flights to Lima and home or connect you with one of our other tours. Alternatively, we can arrange other cultural activities, at your request. B.
Does not include air Lima - Cusco –Lima. You can check current prices at
www.LATAM.comand www.AVIANCA.com


THIS TRIP MAY BE COMBINED WITH THE 20 DAY MANU TOUR

Customer Testimonials

Gloria and Jeb Baldi - USA

First, I wish to thank you for the reliable airport pick-up you sent us on October 3rd. It was so reassuring to arrive late at night and have Victor and his father, Manuel, at the gate to retrieve us.

Secondly, my husband and I want to let you know that the quality of the Manu guides, Silverio and Percy, was just outstanding. We are sure you are well aware of Silverio's abilities as a bird guide and naturalist, and we were so impressed with his unique background, as well as, his guiding and managing abilities.

Terry Moore – USA

First, I wish to thank you for the reliable airport pick-up you sent us on October 3rd. It was so reassuring to arrive late at night and have Victor and his father, Manuel, at the gate to retrieve us.

Secondly, my husband and I want to let you know that the quality of the Manu guides, Silverio and Percy, was just outstanding. We are sure you are well aware of Silverio's abilities as a bird guide and naturalist, and we were so impressed with his unique background, as well as, his guiding and managing abilities.

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Comments

First, I wish to thank you for the reliable airport pick-up you sent us on October 3rd. It was so reassuring to arrive late at night and have Victor and his father, Manuel, at the gate to retrieve us.

Secondly, my husband and I want to let you know that the quality of the Manu guides, Silverio and Percy, was just outstanding. We are sure you are well aware of Silverio's abilities as a bird guide and naturalist, and we were so impressed with his unique background, as well as, his guiding and managing abilities.

First, I wish to thank you for the reliable airport pick-up you sent us on October 3rd. It was so reassuring to arrive late at night and have Victor and his father, Manuel, at the gate to retrieve us.

Secondly, my husband and I want to let you know that the quality of the Manu guides, Silverio and Percy, was just outstanding. We are sure you are well aware of Silverio's abilities as a bird guide and naturalist, and we were so impressed with his unique background, as well as, his guiding and managing abilities.

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