On our first day, we will bird along the coast of Lima, where we take the Panamerican Highway to the coastal marshes of Villa. We hope to come across various water birds such as White-cheeked Pintail, various species of gulls and terns, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, and others. This day will include a mid-morning arrival to the fishing village of Pucusana where we will board a small boat and bird the bay in search of Inca Tern, Red-legged Cormorant, Peruvian Pelican, and more.
We will spend the night in Peru’s capital of Lima, originally named the City of Kings. This part of the old Peru capital, complete with colonial mansions, is where the Viceroyalty lived their lavish lifestyles. We will visit the historic center of the city, the Plaza Mayor. And then the nearby San Francisco Basilica, its catacombs, and the Cathedral of Lima, all completed in the 17th century.
From Lima, we will take a flight to the Amazonian port city of Iquitos where we will spend a day birding Allpahuayo Mishana National Park. We will also visit some of the European influenced buildings dating back to the short-lived 20th century rubber boom.
The next day we will board the La Perla Cruise Ship – a spacious floating hotel, complete with large comfortable cabins and amazing views of the river and jungle. The ship’s outdoor deck is the perfect place to watch wildlife and relax. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to explore the towns that line the Amazon’s tributaries. Along the rivers we may encounter colorful macaws, parrots and caciques flying overhead, Horned Screamers rising from stream banks and other fascinating wildlife that include the bizarre Hoatzin, Umbrellabird, sloths, primates, and much much more. To round our trip out we will be entertained with live music on the boat and the river cruise guides will give lectures about the origins of the Amazon and other topics.
Our boat adventure will begin up the Marañon River to the confluences of the Marañon and Ucayali rivers, where the mighty Amazon begins. We will take an off-boat excursion to search for wildlife in the communal reserve of Yanayacu de Yacapana. During the excursion, we’ll likely see the biggest water plant in the world (Victoria’s Regias), lizards, sloths, and beautiful pink dolphins. When it gets dark we’ll search for caimans, capybaras, and owls.
Early mornings will bring us unforgettable sunrises on the Amazon river. We’ll take a small boat to shore to enjoy a short walk and observe the birds of the communal reserve, the Yanayacu de Yacapana. We hope to see macaws, sloths, monkeys, toucans, trogons, quetzals, and parrots among others. Later we will take an excursion to explore the tributary rivers, like the Yarapa where we can observe a variety of animals such as iguanas and sloths. In the afternoon, there will be a short geography lecture and a discussion about the species that we have been observing.
We will visit the butterfly farm project of Vista Alegre, where we will learn about the Amazon butterflies and their ecological importance. Optional night excursion to search for caiman, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, anacondas, nocturnal monkeys among others.
On another excursion we will navigate the black waters of the Yarapa River. We will then continue sailing on the path of the Ucayali, toward the confluence of the Marañon river. Our destination is Piranha Creek, one of the first tributaries in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and we will take an excursion by boat to explore Piranha creek. Later, we will take a trek in the jungle, where we will learn about medicinal plants, while on watch for strange insects on the Amazon and more birds of course.
You will have the opportunity to see life from another perspective while visiting with communities along the banks of the river. Later, we will visit the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve to search for the endangered Arrau Turtle (Podocnemis expansa), locally called the Charapa Turtle.
A special highlight of the cruise will be our visit to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, a vast area of Amazonian jungle and seasonally flooded forest in northeastern Peru, bordered by the Marañón and Ucayali rivers. Known as the ‘jungle of mirrors,’ it is home to hundreds of bird species, Spider Monkeys, Pink River Dolphin, and incredible jungle flora, including 22 species of orchid! Our afternoon will involve a canopy walk and later a ceremony will be held with shamans in St. Regis, where we will learn about the ancient secrets of the rainforest. Later, we will be part of a tree planting ceremony. On a warm night, we will take a boat ride through the incredible reflective black waters of the river.
Another day we will head for the black water stream of San José de Zarapanga called Shiriyacu to fish for piranhas using traditional techniques. We will visit the Kukama Prado village to learn about ancient traditions and ancestral medicine. Then, we will be part of a cooking demonstration to learn about dishes of the Peruvian Amazon. In the afternoon, a boat excursion will be offered before sunset in the Amazon River, searching for caymans, frogs, tarantulas, anacondas, all while enjoying the sounds of the forest.
After enjoying our last delicious breakfast on board the boat, we will proceed to Iquitos. We will finish this remarkable trip with a stop at the Rescue Center Amazon, where we will learn about their work and you will be able to see incredible manatees.
Trip Leaders: Dan van den Broek and local guides
When: March 9 – March 19, 2022
Fee: $5,495 member / $5,795 non-member*
Single supplement: $1,850
Group size: Limited to 15 participants
*Fee Includes: All ground transportation, double-occupancy lodging, all meals and snacks, tips for meals/drivers/porters/local guides, trip materials, entrance fees, excursions, and the services of your skilled leaders.
What is NOT included: Trip fees do not include airfares and alcoholic beverages.
Dan van den Broek
Dan has over 15 years of experience leading international birding trips and teaching classes for Portland Audubon. With prior experiences at Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Redwood Sciences Lab, Klamath Bird Observatory, Costa Rica Bird Observatory, and Avifauna Northwest, Dan brings immense enthusiasm and passion for birds and natural history to all of his trips.