Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Peru: The Manu Biosphere Preserve and Machú Picchú. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING AND LEAVING PERU: For United States citizens a valid passport and return airline ticket are required. Visas are not necessary, as a tourist card will be issued on entry. Your passport, as a general rule, should be valid for at least six months after the date the tour ends. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Peruvian embassy. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour. As of October 2010, travelers must pay a $32 per person airport tax on departing from Lima at the end of the tour; this tax can be paid in US dollars or in soles. Consult with your airline on arrival to find out whether this tax is still imposed. Sometimes the airlines include this fee in the ticket price.
MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Peru in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Peru here.
HEALTH: Malaria is not common in the Manu area, but it does occur, and the Centers for Disease Control have determined that travelers taking an appropriate antimalarial drug are considerably less likely to contract the disease. Prophylaxis for chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria is recommended.
Immunization against yellow fever is recommended by the CDC for travel in Peru and every other trip into the deep tropics.
The CDC currently also recommends the following vaccines (see your doctor four to six weeks or earlier before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect): hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG); typhoid; and as needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. You can view the latest CDC traveler’s advisories here.
Mosquitoes may be sparse, but sandflies and chiggers can be a problem. Bring plenty of spray repellent. Anyone particularly sensitive to insect bites and stings should consider bringing an antihistamine; ask your doctor for more information.
It is virtually impossible to visit a pharmacy during this tour, so bring enough of your normal medications to last the entire trip.
This trip is not excessively arduous, but it does include two days at elevations over 11,000 feet. If you have a heart problem, please consult your doctor about visiting these higher elevations.
CLIMATE: Peru’s climate varies widely. Coastal Lima is seasonally foggy, damp, and chilly, making a sweater necessary. Cusco, an Andean town, is cold at night and early in the day. As we bird around Cusco and head out of town, it will be cool and clear. During the afternoon, it can be very bright, and sun protection should be used. In the eastern lowlands, expect temperatures in the 70s to high 80s (F) with high humidity. Rain is always a possibility in the eastern Andes and lowlands.
PACE OF THE TOUR: As with most birding in the tropics, we have only 12 hours of sunlight for birding. Sunrise is early in Peru, as early as 5:15 am, thus we will be rising early (4:30 am) on several mornings to get to our birding sites; on many days, though, we’ll be done with our evening meal and the day’s bird list by 8 pm.
Be aware of the effects of altitude. We will be at elevations up to nearly 11,000 feet (3,200 m) for the first few days of the tour. Much of our birding will be on foot, and uphills, downhills, and some rugged terrain are inevitable (this is the Andes!). Furthermore, there are one or two walks longer than two miles, but we’ll describe the conditions so that participants can opt out as they wish.
ACCOMMODATIONS: In Cusco, we stay in a comfortable, standard hotel, with private bathroom facilities and electricity. Singles are available. Elsewhere on the tour, our accommodations are more basic; single accommodation cannot be guaranteed at Wayqecha Lodge.
At Pillahuata, we stay at Wayqecha Lodge, a biological research station perched on the edge of a wild ravine overlooking the endless cloud forest of the Kosnipata Valley. Facilities include eight twin rooms, each with two twin beds. For every two rooms there is a shared bathroom with shower (hot water) and toilet. Electricity for charging batteries is available for a limited in the evenings in the dining hall. The elevation here is about 9,500 feet (3,000 m); temperatures may drop to 46º F (8º C) at night. There are no laundry facilities here.
Cock-of-the-rock Lodge is situated in the pristine cloud forest of the mountains of Manu, just a few minutes walk from a spectacular Cock-of-the-rock lek furnished with comfortable blinds to observe these colorful birds during their dawn mating rituals. Facilities at the lodge include 12 spacious bungalows with private facilities; each room has hot and cold running water, flush toilet, and two single beds. Each bungalow has a private balcony and bird feeder. Lighting is by candle and lantern, but there is a small generator for charging batteries for a limited time each evening in the dining hall. The large dining area and lounge overlook a feeding station for birds and Tufted Capuchins, and hummingbird feeders attract several species. Laundry services are unreliable here.
Amazonia Lodge has individual rooms but shared bathroom facilities consisting of several toilets and hot showers in an adjacent building. There is one electrical outlet per room. Meals are taken in a large eating hall. Laundry services are often available here, but there is an outdoor wash basin and place to hang laundry (bring your own detergent).
The Manu Wildlife Centre is a relatively new facility, where we stay in cabins with private bathroom facilities (hot water showers and flush toilets). All beds have mosquito netting. There is a generator for recharging batteries, available mid-day and again in the evenings in the dining hall. The walkways are lit by kerosene lamps, the rooms by candles. A bar and eating hall complete the compound facilities. Laundry can be done here for a fee.
DRESS: Informal dress throughout. Be prepared for muddy trails.
TRANSPORTATION: Our land transportation will be by private bus. Most road travel will be on unpaved roads.
SMOKING: We request that you not smoke in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group.
If any lodge, accommodation, or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than the WINGS policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information and Conditions. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to Southeastern Peru will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Updated: June 2013