Join us for a stunning Manú National Park nature tour. Stretching across thousands of square miles on the eastern flank of the Andes of Peru, Manú National Park and the biosphere reserve that surrounds it encompasses a continuous tract of pristine wilderness that preserves the entire spectrum of Andean slope ecosystems – from high Andean puna grasslands to lowland Amazonian rainforest. By stretching across so many altitudes and habitats, this biosphere reserve lays claim to the most diverse fauna and flora of any park in the world: over 1,000 bird species, 160 mammal species, and 4,385 plant species have been recorded within its boundaries with more still being discovered. Due to its superlative biodiversity and pristine natural habitats, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1987. By following the very ‘birdy’ Manú-Kosñipata Road and staying at lodges at different altitudinal zones, this Peru nature tour offers a rich transect of all the habitats present in the Manú Biosphere Reserve.
The Manú National Park tour begins in Lima, where nutrient-rich upwellings from the cold Humboldt Current provide nourishment for teeming seabird colonies that include boobies, cormorants, and penguins. After a short flight to Cuzco, we travel across natural high mountain grasslands and fields farmed for centuries in search of endemics such as Bearded Mountaineer and Creamy-crested Spinetail. Once we reach the crest of the Acjanaco Pass above treeline, the landscape tumbles downward into progressively taller and wetter forest. Our first stop is Wayqechua Biological Station, where we explore misty elfin forests teeming with high elevation tanagers and hummingbirds. Then, we continue to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge where lush cloud forests harbor exuberant leks of Andean Cock-of-the-rock, mixed flocks of technicolor tanagers such as Paradise, Saffron-crowned, and Beryl-spangled, and virtuoso songsters such as Andean Solitaire and Chestnut-breasted Wren. A little further down at Villa Carmen Biological Station, we explore spiny Guadua bamboo and foothill rainforest for the iridescent Bluish-fronted Jacamar, adorable Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher, and skulking Manu Antbird.
Finally, we reach the awe-inspiring Amazonian Rainforest: a habitat layered in diversity, complexity, and beauty. Here, we spend four full days soaking up the spectacle of parrot clay licks attended by hundreds of parrots, visiting quiet oxbow lakes inhabited by prehistoric Hoatzins and elegant Agami Heron, watching for colorful toucans and cotingas from canopy platforms, and seeking out large mammals such as Giant Otter and South American Tapir. All in all, this Peruvian birding tour covers one of the greatest birding roads in the world.
- Visit the full spectrum of Andean slope habitats, including puna grasslands, elfin forests, cloud forests, and lowland rainforest, each with their own special collection of birds, animals, and plants
- Marvel at the timeless lek display of Andean Cock-of-the-rock, a spectacle of sound and color
- Enjoy over fifty species of hummingbird on this route with such evocative names as Bearded Mountaineer, Shining Sunbeam, Wire-crested Thorntail, Booted Racket-tail, and Violet-throated Starfrontlet
- Witness the lively congregation of hundreds of parrots, parakeets, and macaws at a clay lick, where these noisy birds feed on the mineral-rich soil
- Seek endemic birds found only in Peru such as Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, Red-and-white Antpitta, and Seaside Cinclodes
- Be inspired by the biological richness of the Manú-Kosñipata Road, a classic birding route that traverses one of the most biodiverse regions in the world
Photo credits: Banner: Rufous-crested Coquette by Miguel Lezama; Black-faced Dacnis by Carlos Sanchez; Collared Trogon by Robert Martinez; Andean Cock-of-the-rock by Greg Smith; Llama at Machu Picchu by Howard Topoff; Curl-crested Aracari by Carlos Sanchez; Machu Picchu, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Giant Hummingbird by Carlos Sanchez; Inca Tern by Miguel Lezama.