Peru Manu: Machu Picchu Extension: Oct 03—09, 2018

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Price: $4,295
Departs: Lima
Tour Limit: 10
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (663.8 KB)

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Tour Leaders

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Doris Valencia

Doris Valencia, a naturalist born in Cuzco, Peru, began her study of the Manu wilderness at ...


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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu— Photo: Steve Hilty

This optional extension offers a chance to visit the impressive Inca site of Machu Picchu, to wander amongst the most remarkable stone ruins in the world, and also to bird the Urubamba Valley.

Our trip will begin with a drive across the highlands between Cuzco and the city of Urubamba and then continue onward to the ancient city of Ollantaytambo. With a picnic lunch in tow we will make a stop or two en route for raptors and perhaps also at a small marsh. The final part of this lovely drive will take us along the rushing Urubamba River (called Vilcanota here) where we could see Torrent Ducks and perhaps the local Spot-winged Pigeon.

On our second day we will depart early for a high mountain pass. The drive will take us past snow-capped mountains, enormous glacier-filled valleys, golden panoramas of puna grassland, and Inca ruins. We should be able to find three Peruvian endemics in the drier middle elevation zone: White-tufted Sunbeam, Creamy-breasted Spinetail, and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. As we continue up this road we should see views of snow-capped ridges and a splendid panorama of mountain scenery at almost every curve. With luck we could even see an Andean Condor. For the more energetic in our group we may make a short, optional hike up to low Polylepis woodland at about 14,500 feet (4375 m) to search for several more endemics including White-browed Tit-Spinetail, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant and, with luck, even a Royal Cinclodes. This is also a great place to see Stripe-headed Antpitta and Puna Tapaculo. 

Early the following day we will board a train for Machu Picchu, arriving in time for mid-morning birding around our hotel before taking a bus up to the ruins. Located on a high ridge, this most famous and spectacular archaeological site is surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs that fall away to the river far below. After the train leaves at 3:00 p.m. we will have the site almost to ourselves and enjoy the magic of seeing Machu Picchu in that special late evening light.

On our last morning at Machu Picchu we will bird the subtropical forests in the valley below the ruins, where we may see Torrent Duck; Andean Guan; Plum-crowned Parrot; Mitred Parakeet; Green and Sparkling violet-ears; Chestnut-breasted Coronet; Green-and-White Hummingbird; Gould’s Inca; Speckled Hummingbird; Variable Antshrike; Sclater’s, Mottle-cheeked, and Ashy-headed tyrranulets; Russet-crowned Warbler; and numerous tanagers, including Saffron-crowned, Blue-necked, Silvery, and Golden-naped. These are but a few of the many fabulous birds we may encounter on this special extension.