Natural Highlights of Peru: Cusco, Cloud Forest and Cock-of-the-Rock
Spend 11 days exploring Peru’s magnificent sights and wildlife on this comprehensive tour of the country’s highlights. This itinerary is ideal if you’d like to explore some of the country’s key sights but also include a thorough discovery of its incredible wildlife at the same time. Perfect for those who may have visited Peru in the past, or for those who wish to spend more time in the rural areas rather than the ruins, this trip offers the best of both worlds with time spent in Machu Picchu, Cusco, Manu Cloudforest and Lima.
- Stay in the former capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco
- Visit the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu with a guide
- Spot an amazing variety of wildlife in Manu Biosphere Reserve
- Observe the fascinating daily rituals of the cock-of-the-rock bird
- Learn more about macaws on a visit to the Macaw Lick Project
Day 1 – Arrive in Peru
Fly to Peru and land in the capital city, Lima. On arrival you will be driven to your hotel in the city. You’ll have a short time to explore the city’s colonial landmarks before flying to Cusco the following day.
Day 2 – Fly to Cusco
Take a short internal flight to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. Once described as the ‘bellybutton of the world’ by the ancient Inca, the city is today still famous for its food – much of which is produced in the mountains that surround the city – and its colonial and ancient ruins.
Day 3 – Explore Machu Picchu
Travel from Cusco up to the ancient ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu, where you’ll tour the magnificent ruins in the company of a knowledgeable guide. Walk among the intriguing 15th-century ruins of buildings and terraces, including Intipunku (the Sun Gate).
Day 4 – Travel to Manu Cloud Forest
Drive to Manu Cloudforest in the very heart of Peru, crossing the Andes and descending into the dense jungle that’s home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. During your stay you may spot colourful specimens such as the blue-crowned motmot and the golden quetzal, as well as golden and orange-eared tanagers.
Day 5 – Search for the cock-of-the-rock
Staying in the cloudforest you’ll spend today walking through the steamy jungle to observe the daily rituals of the colourful cock-of-the-rock bird. Resplendent in crimson feathers, the male birds perform a collective display to attract females.
Day 6 – Venture deeper into the forest
Enjoy a free day to venture deeper into the cloudforest, exploring the forest trails and fruit plantations tended by farmers. There will be more opportunities for bird watching, as well as mountain biking and whitewater rafting which can be organised by your lodge.
Day 7 – Discover Cocha Salvador and Concha Otorongo Lakes
Manu is also home to a number of lakes which you’ll visit today. Cocha Salvador is one of these, an unspoilt oxbow lake located deep within the park that is home to a group of giant otters, black caimans, cormorants and other unusual birdlife. Sailing across the lake by catamaran provides a closer look at the resident wildlife, but you can also walk the surrounding trails to see various monkeys such as tamarins. At Lake Otorongo, another oxbow lake, it’s possible to view giant otters from an 18 metre-high watch tower.
Day 8 – Travel to Manu Wildlife Centre
Following the region’s rivers you’ll continue downstream until you reach Manu Wildlife Centre, located in the centre of the biosphere reserve. At the centre you’ll be able to view tapirs and other mammals, parrots, macaws and parakeets, which flock to the area to lick the nearby clay pans.
Day 9 – Visit the Macaw Lick Project
The clay pans of Manu draw thousands of macaws and other birdlife to the area, which lick the clay as an essential aid to their digestion. Located at Tambopata Research Centre, the Macaw Project is an important initiative researching the macaws of Peru: monitoring nests, increasing survival rates and understanding the impact of tourism on the clay licks that sustain the birds. Learn more about these fascinating birds on a visit to the research centre.
Day 10 – Travel to Lima via Puerto Maldonado
Leaving the cloudforest behind you’ll travel to Puerto Maldonado where you’ll board an internal flight to Lima.