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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Peru - The Northwest: Chiclayo to Cajamarca

Birding in Chachapoyas Territory

Tour Information

ENTERING PERU: United States citizens need a passport valid at the time of entry and with at least one blank page for an entry stamp, and a return airline ticket. Visas are not necessary; a tourist permit will be stamped into your passport upon arrival. 

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.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/peru.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Peru https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pe.html.

PACE OF THE TOUR:  We will be starting most mornings with breakfast around 5:30 a.m. and begin our daily birding at first light, but since the sun sets by 6:30, we will end some days having eaten dinner as early as 8 pm. Most days will include an after-lunch siesta and/or an hour or so off before dinner. During the day, about three quarters of the birding is on roadsides with easy walking, or sitting and watching hummingbird feeders. 

When on the road, we’ll not be far from the bus, but one should be prepared for long periods of standing and walking slowly, and a small travel stool is handy for those who find this tiring. There will be occasional owling excursions, eventually pre-dawn but usually after dinner, and these will of course be longer days. Morning owling could start as early as 4:00, followed by a later breakfast, but we’ll also end earlier on such days. Other days might have us owling in the evening followed by a later dinner around 8:30 or so, or possibly even after dinner for later owling, after which we won’t have an extra-early morning. 

Considering that the roadside and trailside vegetation may be wet from dew or rain, waterproof footgear is a necessity – waterproof hiking boots are best, but if you don’t mind having wet feet, a cheap pair of sneakers also works, as long as you have something dry to change into back at the room. Keep in mind that in the cool, moist environment around Leymebamba, damp shoes and clothing may not dry readily. 

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

We recommend contacting your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

Malaria and Yellow Fever:  Protection again both malaria and yellow fever are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please consult your physician. 

Zika Virus: This virus is expanding into South America including Peru, and health authorities are still trying to gauge its full impact. Couples who expect/hope to become pregnant should consult their physician.

Insects:  Many potential health problems can be prevented by adequate protection against insects. Even when mosquitoes may be sparse, biting gnats and chiggers can still be a nuisance. To be protected, bring plenty of spray repellent and wear long sleeves and pants when in the field. 

Anyone who is unusually sensitive to insect bites and stings (ants, wasps) should consider bringing an antihistamine such as Benadryl; ask your doctor for more information. Although pharmacies in Peru are excellent and well-supplied, they are impossible to visit during this tour’s schedule, so bring enough of the medications you normally use to last the duration of the trip. A first-aid kit will be carried with the tour at all times. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

CLIMATE: In Northern Peru, we can expect a variety of climate conditions as we’ll be at different elevations, and visit both dry and humid slopes of the Andes. From Chiclayo to Jaen, expect warm, tropical, and dry conditions. At Leymebamba we’ll be at a much more comfortable maximum of 7,200 feet (2200 m) with low temperatures perhaps dipping down to the low 50°F (10 C) at the coldest and daytime temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s F. This being a very moist climate, mornings at this temperature can feel downright chilly, and some will find long underwear, light gloves, and a light down jacket or fleece necessary, especially considering that rooms in the hotel are not heated. We’ll also visit two areas on both sides of the Marañon Canyon, at altitude above 10,000 feet, where temperature can drop down to freezing point and we even experienced snow falls on previous visits. As we will be at the beginning of the dry season, rain is a possibility, especially in the afternoons, but weather patterns are so unpredictable these days, it’s fully possible that we could see some days with no rain at all…or rain nearly every day. To deal with all climatic contingencies we recommend a rain jacket that could double as a windbreaker, warm clothes for the time we will be at high elevation, and light weight warm weather clothes for the lowlands. A compact umbrella is also essential for birding in light rain or very sunny days. A poncho is potentially useful for unexpected, heavy rains. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: We’ll stay at the best accommodations available and have reserved rooms with private baths at all locations where possible. In Lima we stay in a modern hotel near the international airport, as our flight leaves very early the next morning; we can recommend hotels in more upscale neighborhoods if you are planning to come a few days early or stay later and wish to do some exploring. 

All of our hotels have hot water, electricity with at least one outlet in the rooms, and some have Wifi. Chaparri Eco-lodge produces its own electricity with solar panels, and electricity is only available during the daytime and only in the dining area. Accommodation in Leymebamba and Celendín is really limited, and we have no choice other than to use a simple hotel at the main square, where nights are sometimes really noisy. In Leymebamba, nights can be chilly and there is no heat in the rooms but extra blankets are available. Keep in mind that power outages, while infrequent, do happen from time to time. A headlamp or small flashlight is important and may also come in use during our evening checklist sessions where overhead lighting may be suboptimal. 

FOOD: Other than a few picnic lunches, all meals will be at or near our accommodation. 

The specialties of the North of Peru region usually include different kind of fishes, “Ceviche” (raw fish marinated in lemon juice),“Lomo Saltado” (sliced beef cooked with onions, tomatoes and French fries), “Aji de Gallina” (sliced chicken in sweet yellow pepper sauce) and several other ways to prepare chicken, though nowhere in Peru is the food spicy unless you add the almost always available hot sauce or chopped pepper. At Leymebamba and Celendín food is much simpler, with most meals starting with a soup, followed by a plate with portion of a meat, vegetable, and a starch. On our final night we have a farewell dinner at a very upscale restaurant with a wide variety of Peruvian fusion specialties, especially famous for its seafood. 

Food Allergies / Requirements:  We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: Our land transportation will be in a bus or van supplied by our ground agent depending on group size. We will fly by commercial jet (such as an Airbus 320) on a regularly scheduled flight from Lima to Chiclayo, and back to Lima from Cajamarca at the end of the tour.

Updated: 02 August 2016