Wildlife of Peru
an exploration of Peru's rich and fascinating natural world
19 April to 1 May 2020: A comprehensive sweep though diverse habitats from Humboldt penguins on the Pacific coast; through tropical Andean cloud forest around Machu Picchu; and culminating with an in-depth exploration of Peru's Amazon rainforest accompanied by one of the UK's leading naturalists.
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Sunday 19 April 2020 - Arrival day (Lima): For UK participants, the recommended non-stop flight from London Gatwick with British Airways departs around midday on 19 April and arrives in Lima around 7pm. Other flights can be met on request.
Lima and the Pacific coast
Lima was the centre of Spanish power in the Americas for three centuries. Today it is a bustling modern city which still retains some of its historical ambiance. Superb museums provide an excellent insight into the delights awaiting the traveller in the rest of the country.
Welcome dinner at the Sonesta Hotel El Olivar, a friendly hotel in the residential district of San Isidro with a small rooftop pool, where you will spend two nights.
Monday 20 April: A morning boat trip to the Palomino Islands, off Lima’s port, Callao. This is a chance to see a bustling fishing port at work, but the main attraction will be colonies of sea birds, Humboldt penguins, seals and sea lions, amongst which it will be possible to snorkel. An afternoon tour of the capital will include Casa Aliaga (a fascinating and historic private house).
Sacred Valley of the Incas
North-west of Cusco the fertile Urubamba valley (also known as the Sacred Valley) winds westwards, with picturesque villages, local markets and ruins framed by towering peaks.
21-22 April: Fly to Cusco and descend to the Sacred Valley for 2 nights at the lovely Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a contemporary hacienda-style hotel with wonderful views of the Andes mountains. There is an elegant bar and dining room, which serves fresh food directly from the hacienda's own ten acre organic garden. Visits here will include the enigmatic pre-Inca terraces at Moray, local markets, the spectacular Maras salt pans, and Piuray lagoon which teems with waterfowl.
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring sight: superb Inca craftsmanship perched amidst verdant vegetation high above the winding Urubamba river. The cloud forest that surrounds the site provides habitats for many unusual species: orchids, ferns, mosses and from the animal kingdom the Andean spectacled bear, colourful tanagers, toucans and Peru’s national bird, the Andean cock-of-the-rock.
Thursday 23 April: Travel by train to Machu Picchu and spend a night at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, with its private orchid trail (over 350 species), medicinal plant groves, and many butterflies (around 100 native species). Activities will include a guided exploration of the citadel, and a guided walk through cloud forest in search of an Andean cock-of-the-rock.
Take an afternoon train to Cusco.
According to legend, Manco Capac plunged his golden staff into fertile ground, finding the ‘navel of the earth’, and founded the capital of the Inca Empire. Today Cusco is probably Peru's most attractive city, a fascinating fusion of the past and present.
24-25 April: Spend 2 nights at the comfortable Aranwa Boutique Hotel, once a sixteenth-century colonial mansion, and just 2 blocks from Cusco's main square. Guided visits will include the Qoricancha temple; the cathedral, and nearby sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Puka Pukara.
The Amazon rainforest
The Peruvian Amazon is vast and largely unexplored. The Tambopata National Reserve is an area of pristine Amazon rainforest covering over 275,000 hectares and home to the world's largest macaw clay lick and a record number of species.
26-30 April: Fly from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, and journey by canoe up the Tambopata river. Stay at two lodges, Refugio Amazonas and the renowned and remote Tambopata Research Centre (TRC), run jointly by Rainforest Expeditions and the local Ese-eja native community. All rooms, while simple, have netted beds and private bathrooms.
Activities will include jungle walks, canopy exploration, and boat trips. Larger wildlife living in the area includes giant river otters, monkeys, peccaries, and deer; while the 480 bird species include parrots, toucans and macaws. We hope to visit an active harpy eagle nest; and TRC is adjacent to the world’s largest macaw clay lick.
Throughout the tour Nick Davies, together with the local specialist guides, will lead discussions on the flora and fauna of the forest ecosystem and the challenges faced by its inhabitants.
Friday 1 May: Boat transfer downriver and driven to the airport for homeward or onward connections (flights leave Puerto Maldonado for Cusco and Lima). For UK participants a non-stop British Airways flight to the UK departs Lima around 8pm, arriving just after 2pm on 2 May.
Prices start at £4,850 per person sharing a double/twin room, including internal but not international flights. Do contact us for availability, flight quotes, and booking conditions.
The trip scholar is Professor Nick Davies, Professor of Behavioural Ecology in the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University. See our trip scholar pages for further details.
This tour is for alumni of either Oxford or Cambridge Universities or those with a close connection to either.
The outline presented here was accurate when produced in January 2019 but we may need to add or omit visits; alter the length of stay in each place; or change routings to make the best connections. We reserve the right to substitute the trip scholar if they are unable to travel for reasons outside our control.