Great Northern Peruvian Birding Route 15-Day Tour

  • 15 days on Great Northern Peruvian Birding Route, with acclaimed guides. 

  • From Pacific to Andes to Amazon: huge variety of eco-systems & species.

  • 2018 price from £3,298 / $US 4,290 p/p, when sharing a twin/double room.

  • Single Supplement: £245 / $US 300

  • Includes all land transport, lodging, guided excursions and most meals. 

  • 2019 Dates: Thu, 13th - Wed, 26th Sept.

NB. For a longer, more in-depth version of this tour - including Leymebamba, Abra Barro Negro and Cajamarca - have a look at our 21-day tour which moves westwards, from the Amazon Basin, across the Andes, to end up in the Colonial city of Cajamarca. 

15-DaY Great Northern Peruvian Birding Route itinerary:

DAY 1 - CHICLAYO – PUERTO ETEN - TUCUME

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Peruvian Pelicans.jpg

On arrival at Chiclayo Airport, we welcome you.

On the way to our hotel, we stop to explore the coastal lagoons, sand dunes and marshes between Pimentel and Puerto Eten. Sea-watching from top of hill south of Puerto Eten. 

In the evening, we drive to Tucume

Overnight at Los Horcones de Tucume, or similar. 

Possible birds: Cinnamon Teal, herons & egrets, Kelp, Grey & Grey-hooded Gulls, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant, Yellowish Pipit, Burrowing Owl, Peruvian Thick-knee, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Coastal Miner, Peruvian & Blue-footed Boobies, Neotropic, Guanay & Red-legged Cormorants, possible Waved Albatross, skuas & shearwaters, Inca, Peruvian & Elegant Terns, Harris’s & Savanna Hawks.

DAY 2 - POMAC DRY FOREST

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Huaca in Pomac Dry Forest.JPG

We spend all day in the Bosque de Pomac dry forest area, including a visit to the pre-Columbian pyramids, looking for specialities of the western side of the Andes.

Lunch at Los Horcones.

Optional afternoon visit to the Museo Tumbes Reales in Lambayeque.

Spotlighting in evening for species such as Scrub Nightjar and Sechuran Fox.

Overnight at Los Horcones de Tucume, or similar. 

Possible birds: Pacific Parrotlet, Grey & White Tyrannulet, Baird’s Flycatcher, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Peruvian Plantcutter, Tumbes Sparrow, Superciliated Wren, Cinereous Finch, Scarlet-backed and Guayaquil Woodpeckers, Necklaced Spinetail, Cinereous Conebill, Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Fasciated Wren, Peruvian Pygmy Owl, Short-eared Owl, Scrub Nightjar.

DAY 3 - TUCUME TO HUANCABAMBA via ABRA PORCULLA

We depart Tucume early in order to head eastwards and upwards into the Andes Mountains. We stop en route at the mountain pass of Abra Porculla for high altitude birding.

We will makes stops along the road between KM 56 & 59, on the lookout for Andean Condor.

We then leave highway to turn north towards Huancabamba, arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight at Hotel Panoramico in Huancabamba, or similar. 

DAY 4 - HUANCABAMBA: SAPALACHE & CERRO CHINGUELA

All day trip north through Sapalache to high cloud forest and elfin forest at Cerro Chinguela (Chinguela Hill), close to the Ecuadorian border, with an interesting variety of species, many of which do not occur in equivalent habitat south of the Marañon River.

Overnight at Hotel Panoramico in Huancabamba, or similar.

Possible birds: Highland Tinamou; Golden-headed Quetzal; White-throated Quail-Dove; Bearded Guan; Amethyst-throated Sunangel; Neblina Metaltail; Andean Hillstar; Rainbow-bearded Thornbill; Buff-winged Starfrontlet; Black-mandibled Toucan; Dusky Piha; Ocellated Tapaculo; Chestnut-naped, White-bellied, Slate-crowned, Peruvian & Rufous Antpittas; Many-striped Canastero; Ash-browed Spinetail; Spectacled Prickletail; Brown-backed Chat-tyrant; White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant; Sedge Wren; Paramo Pipit; Golden-crowned Tanager; Black-chested, Scarlet-bellied, Lacrimose & Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers; Glossy & Masked Flowerpiercers; Pale-naped Brush-Finch; Masked Saltator; Black-headed Hemispingus.

DAY 5 - HUANCABAMBA to JAEN

Return from Huancabamba to main highway, then to Jaen. Some roadside birding, especially late afternoon around Tamborapa, where there is a good chance of spotting crakes and rails.

Overnight at Hotel El Bosque, Jaen, or similar. 

Possible birds: Purple-collared Woodstar, Three-banded and Grey & Gold Warblers, Chapman’s Antshrike, Piura Chat-Tyrant, White-headed Brush-Finch, Line-cheeked Spinetail, Lesser Goldfinch, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Red-crested Finch, Peruvian Pigeon, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Greater Ani, Spotted Rail, Lesser Nighthawk.

DAY 6 - JAEN to GOCTA

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Gotas de Agua ACP.jpg

Early morning drive to Gotas de Agua (Drops of Water) a dry woodland and scrub reserve near Jaen, where we are guided by owner and expert, Luciano Troyes. The 1,800ha reserve is the best birding site in north Cajamarca.

Lunch in Jaen.

Afternoon drive to Gocta, with roadside stops along the way, such as at Marañon river bridge, a Marañon Spinetail site, a Cattle Egret colony, and a Crescentchest site on the road up to Cocachimba.

Overnight at Gocta Andes Lodge.

Possible birds: Collared Antshrike, Red-crested Finch, Tataupa Tinamou, Maranon Crescentchest, Little Inca Finch, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Peruvian Pygmy Owl, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Maranon & Chinchipe Spinetails; Fasciated Wren, Maranon thrush, Buff-bellied Tanager, Hooded Siskin, Golden-bellied Grosbeak.

DAY 7 - GOCTA FALLS from SAN PABLO; HUEMBO RESERVE

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Gocta Falls.jpg

We drive across the valley to the village of San Pablo. For here, we walk the upper trail to the mid-point of Gocta Falls (the Falls have two drops). There are wonderful views of the surrounding scenery all along the way, and we will have our packed lunch at one of these viewpoints.

On return to our accommodation, we drive to the Huembo Reserve. Established to protect the Marvelous Spatuletail, it also attracts 11 other hummingbird species. It has good trails on which to bird.

NB. There is the option to visit Kuelap archaeological ruins in place of today’s excursions.

Overnight at Gocta Andes Lodge.

Possible birds: Pale-billed, Rusty-tinged, Chestnut-crowned & Rusty-breasted Antpittas, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Variable Hawk, Rufous-capped Antshrike; Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Mountain Velvetbreast, White-capped Tanager, Peruvian Wren, Torrent Duck; Marvellous Spatuletail, Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Green & Sparkling Violetears, Bronzy Inca, Green-tailed Trainbearer, White-bellied & Little Woodstars; Yellow-bellied and Black & White Seedeaters, Marañon Thrush, Azara’s Spinetail, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Montane Woodcreeper, Golden-winged & Lulu’s Tody-Tyrants, Flavescent Flycatcher, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Rusty-winged Barbtail, White-eared Solitaire.

DAY 8 - GOCTA to ABRA PATRICIA, via GRANADA HIGHLANDS

We depart Gocta Lodge and drive east through the Granada Highlands, via Chachapoyas, Molinopampa, Granada, Jumbilla and Puente Vilcaniza to Abra Patricia. Renowned amongst birders, the Alto Nieva Private Reserve (1,275 ha / 3,150 acres) has excellent accommodation, providing an ideal base. It is next to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (182,000 ha / 450,000 acres). 

We arrive late afternoon, and take an evening walk to look for Long-whiskered Owlet

Overnight at Owlet Lodge, or similar. 

Possible birds: Great Thrush, various cloud forest hummingbirds, high altitude tanagers & flowerpiercers, Barred Becard, Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-naped Brush-finch, Pearled Tree-runner, Long-whiskered Owlet, Common Potoo.

DAY 9 - ABRA PATRICIA

All day birding at Abra Patricia

In the evening, spotlighting for Cinnamon Screech Owl.

Overnight at Owlet Lodge, Abra Patricia, or similar. 

Possible birds: As yesterday & perhaps Chestnut, Ochre-fronted, Rusty-tinged & Rusty-breasted Antpittas, Lulu’s Tody-Tyrant, Long-tailed Antbird, Grass-Green, Yellow-scarfed, Flame-faced & Silver-backed Tanagers, Green & Black Fruiteater, Sickle-winged Guan, Cinnamon Screech Owl.

DAY 10 - ABRA PATRICIA TO MOYOBAMBA – CALZADA & WAKANKI

We leave Abra Patricia and head east towards Moyobamba, via a site for spotting Royal Sunangels, Afluente, Yacumama & Morro de Calzada. 

The Wakanki private reserve is located on the ridge of Mishquiyacu- Rumiyacu and is host to 300 bird species ... along with orchids and bromeliads.

Spotlighting for nightjars. 

Overnight at Wakanki Fruiteater Lodge or Puerto Mirador Hotel, Moyobamba.

Possible birds: Royal Sunangel, Bar-winged Wood-Wren, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Russet-crowned Crake, Cinnamon Flycatcher, tanagers, Short-tailed Hawk, Chestnut-bellied Seedfinch, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Rufous Motmot, Coraya Wren, Long-tailed Tyrant, Rufous Nightjar, other possible nightjars.

DAY 11 - RIO ROMERO; MOYOBAMBA to TARAPOTO

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Tingana Reserve, Moyabamba, San Martin - Boat Tour.jpg

We take an early morning canoe ride from Santa Elena, paddling for several hours along the backwaters of the Romero River, in the heart of riverine forest.

Later in the morning, we observe hummingbirds from a tower at Wakanki, and then have lunch here.

Afternoon drive to Tarapoto via Quiscarrumi Bridge, a good place to spot Oilbirds.

Evening birding along Shilcayo River.

Overnight at Tucan Suites, Tarapoto, or similar. 

Possible species: White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-crested Coquette, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Green & Brown Violetears, Long-billed Starthroat, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Great-billed, Black-throated & Rufous-breasted Hermits, Fiery-capped Manakin, Yellow-bellied Tanager, Oilbird, White-eyed Parakeet, Russet-backed Oropendola, Black-billed Thrush, Lettered Aracari, Pale-legged Hornero.

DAY 12 - THE TUNNEL at CERRO ESCALERA

Early morning departure, with packed lunch, north-eastwards from the town - on the road to Yurimaguas which crosses the Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area (149,870 ha) - to the high-forested ridge at Cerro Escalera.

We stop at the highest point, the 100m-long (328 ft) ‘Tunnel’ which cuts through the top part of the 900m-high (2,953 ft) mountain. This is cloud forest habitat with different avifauna from the dry forest down below.

We spend the rest of the day at various sites at this altitude, in the company of a local guide. A box lunch is provided. 

Overnight at at Tucan Suites, Tarapoto, or similar.

Possible birds: White-tipped Swift, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Koepcke’s Hermit, Yellow-crested, Yellow-bellied, White-winged & Dotted Tanagers, Short-billed & Purple Honeycreepers, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Black-faced Dacnis, Lineated & Red-stained Woodpeckers, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, White Hawk, Blackish Pewee, Dusky-chested & Cliff Flycatchers, Mishana Tyrannulet, Black Antbird, Channel-billed Toucan, Golden-collared Toucanet, Blue-crowned Manakin, Orange-breasted Falcon.

DAY 13 - JUAN GUERRA & PUMARINRI

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Pumarinri Amazon Lodge Room.jpg

We depart Tarapoto this morning, in order to travel south to the village of Juan Guerra. From here, we take a trail eastwards into the forest.

We drive to Pumarinri for lunch. Then, in the afternoon, we take a boat ride upriver to Shapaja.

Overnight at Pumarinri, a quality lodge with comfortable, spacious en-suite rooms, set on the slopes of the Huallaga River at an altitude of around 230m (755 ft). 

Possible birds: Troupial, Short-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Blue-crowned Motmot, Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, Hook-billed Kite, Rufous Casiornis, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, White-browed Antbird, Green Jay, Lettered Aracari, Speckled Chachalaca, Black-throated Mango, Great Antshrike, White-winged & White-banded Swallows, Drab Water-Tyrant, Black Phoebe, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Green-backed Trogon, Hoatzin, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Pied Lapwing.

DAY 13 - PUMARINRI – WATERFALL TRAIL

Chiclayo-Tarapoto Birding 15D - Pumarinri Amazon Lodge Grounds.jpg

Morning walk up the Rainforest Trail to Pucayaquillo Waterfalls. Good for antbirds & raptors. Chance to swim in waterfall pool. 

Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge. 

Possible species: Peruvian Warbling, Black-faced, Spot-winged & Chestnut-tailed Antbirds, Fiery-capped Manakin, White Hawk, Double-toothed & Swallow-tailed Kites, White-browed Purpletuft, White-winged Becard, White-collared Swift, White-flanked Antwren, woodcreepers, tanagers.

DAY 14 - HUALLAGA RIVER from CHASUTA

Today we drive to the village of Chasuta, on the banks of the Huallaga River. Here we board a boat to take us to the lowland forest on the south bank.

Overnight at Pumarinri Lodge

Possible birds: Masked Duck, Wattled Jacana, Green Kingfisher, Black-capped Donacobius, Cobalt-winged & Canary-winged Parakeets, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Great Antshrike, Barred Antshrike, Violaceous Jay, White-browed Antbird, Northern Slaty Antshrike, Chestnut Woodpecker, Blue-crowned Trogon, Mishana Tyrannulet, Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Comb Duck, Pied Lapwing, Sand-coloured Nighthawk, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Stripe-chested Antwren.

DAY 15 - TARAPOTO - HOME

At the appropriate time, we transfer you to Tarapoto Airport for your flight to Lima and onward.

End of tour. 

NB. You may wish to extend your tour by going in search of the elusive Scarlet-banded Barbet. Alternatively, you could go deep into the Low Amazon Basin, to San Lorenzo in the province of Loreto, with a whole new selection of bird and animal species. Ask us how.