Machu Picchu has been long been a dream destination for explorers and adventurers, but it’s not suited to the faint of heart. The trail can be challenging at times, yet the rewards at the end are priceless. For avian enthusiasts, guided bird watching tours of the famous trail can take this already amazing experience to a whole new level. The singularly unique environment of the Amazonian rainforest will provide once in a lifetime sighting opportunities that make the effort to navigate the trail more than worth the effort.
Off The Beaten Track
Although Machu Picchu is typically the prize destination for travellers to Peru, those on bird watching tours are hugely rewarded with time spent in the Tambopata National Reserve. This incredibly diverse national park is home to over 670 different species of birds, and also takes into account the many different avian species that inhabit the varying elevations of the terrain. Just a few of the different species that exist in the park include the Harpy Eagle, Hoatzin and thirteen different tinamou species.
Many bird watching tours head to the Tambopata National Reserve specifically for the opportunity to see the magnificent population of macaws that inhabit the area. The highlight of the tour is the chance to see eight different macaw species that have been recorded in the area (four large and four small), along with seventeen species of parakeets and parrots. Six out of the eight of the species of macaw can be seen at the park’s research centre’s clay lick.
Along with the amazing avian sighting opportunities the Tambopata National Reserve provides, the area also contains a huge variety of unique flora and fauna. The region has been referred to as the most bio-diverse place on Earth and is home to over 1000 species of butterflies, 200 species of mammals and more than 10,000 species of plants. Consequently, although the history and culture of the Incan trail should not be missed, a visit to Peru can be truly enhanced by exploring this fascinating bio-diverse ecosystem.
One of the greatest challenges, which even the most seasoned hikers and adventurers can experience while in Peru, is altitude sickness. No matter where the itinerary of bird watching tours lead visitors in Peru, the elevation will be much higher than most people are used to – but it will also afford the best sightings, so it is important for participants to to prepare and acclimate themselves prior to the climb. For many, this is a simple matter of tacking on an additional day or two to their itinerary purely for rest and adjustment prior to the onset of the trek.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for bird watching tours, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.