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Peru - Spectacled Bears & Andean Condors

Tour Code: PER07

A 13-day wildlife adventure exploring the dry forests of northern Peru in search of Spectacled Bears and endemic birds, plus the south's spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest.

13 days from £3995(inc flights) Land Only Price: £3395 SRS: £395


Peru offers an extraordinary variety of scenery and wildlife. It is also home to some of South America’s most iconic species, and this tour focuses on two of them – the Spectacled Bear and Andean Condor. Beginning in the tropical dry forests of the north-west, we will search for Spectacled Bear and other Tumbesian wildlife, before flying south to the attractive colonial town of Arequipa. We’ll travel through a breathtaking landscape of volcanic peaks and high dry altiplano towards the Colca Canyon, the world’s second deepest. We’ll spend two mornings here, watching Andean Condors, before concluding our holiday with a trip to the beautiful Palominos Islands.

  • Spectacled Bear around Chaparri
  • Tumbesian mammals such as Sechuran Fox & White-tailed Deer
  • Birds such as Tumbes Tyrant & White-winged Guan
  • Search for Tumbes Swallow & Peruvian Plantcutter in Mesquite forest
  • Vicunas against stunning backdrops in the altiplano
  • Andean Goose, Giant Coot & Andean Negrito at the Pampa de Troca
  • Easy to photograph (relatively!) Andean Condors in Colca Canyon
  • A visit to ancient adobe pyramids at Bosque del Pomac
  • Led by an expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels in the south. A delightful, community-owned eco-lodge in the north.

Spectacled Bear (Rob Williams)

Spectacled Bear (Rob Williams)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Lima

Day 2 Fly Arequipa

Day 3 Arequipa; drive Chivay

Day 4/5 Chivay & Cocla Canyon

Day 6 Arequipa

Day 7 Fly Chiclayo; transfer Chaparri Lodge

Day 8/10 Wildlife excursions from Chaparri Lodge

Day 11 Transfer Chiclayo; fly Lima

Day 12 Palominos Islands; depart Lima

Day 13 Arrive London

Peru is a vast, spectacular and immensely varied country that supports an enormous wealth of wildlife including a number of the world’s iconic species. On this tour two of these species, Spectacled Bear and Andean Condor act as a tantalising focus that will lead us to some contrastingly different and very special regions of the country and an exciting range of wildlife, scenery and culture.

We begin our tour in the southern city of Arequipa, famous for the beautiful white buildings of its old colonial centre and its dramatic setting beneath the towering volcanic peaks of El Misti and Chachani.  We will have ample time to explore the old city, including the famous and very beautiful Santa Catalina convent. From Arequipa we will then travel across the breathtaking volcano-studded landscapes of the high, dry altiplano towards the small market town of Chivay. Near Chivay is the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world and noted both for its spectacular scenery and its very visible population of Andean Condors. We will spend two mornings here in this dramatic setting watching as the Condors leave their roosts on the cliff ledges and circle around the canyon rim before gaining altitude with the first of the morning’s thermals and soaring off to forage over the surrounding mountains and valleys. This is an almost unique opportunity to see these enormous and majestic birds at such close quarters and will surely be one of the highlights of the tour. As the Condors leave for the day so we can look further afield and enjoy the Viscachas clambering among the rocks, the Giant Hummingbirds flitting around the cactus flowers and a range of other wildlife that adds to the appeal of this fantastic place.

We next undertake a spectacular return journey back to Arequipa. Climbing out of Chivay over a high pass, we will stop at a vast marshy plain called Pampa de Troca, targeting a range of high Andean birds that are likely to include Chilean Flamingoes, Puna Ibis, Grey-breasted and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes, various ground-tyrants and handsome little Andean Negritos. Noisy Andean Flickers are common on the rocky slopes nearby and small birds of the grassland and scrub include various sierra finches and the striking little Black Siskin. Our journey then progresses out onto the high golden grasslands of the Pampa la Aguada where we are likely to see herds of wild Vicuna, a common and characteristic animal in the region.

After a night in Arequipa, we fly north back to Lima and on to Chiclayo in north-west Peru, a region well known for its tropical dry forests which are home to an extraordinary variety of endemic birds and other wildlife.  We will spend four days in the Chaparri Ecological Reserve, based at a rustic, peaceful and charming lodge from where we can explore our rugged and dramatically beautiful surroundings. This is one of the best places to see Spectacled Bears as they are quite common in the area and relatively confiding because of the longstanding protection and lack of disturbance which the reserve has afforded them. Largely vegetarian, and the only bear in South America, they will be our principal target here and with patience and luck we have a good chance of encountering one during our stay. Chaparri and its surroundings offer much more than just bears however, and during our stay we hope to encounter mammals such as Sechuran Fox, White-tailed Deer and Guayaquil Squirrel plus a wide range of colourful and localised birds including Pacific Parrotlet, Scarlet-backed Woodpecker, Elegant Crescent-chest, White-edged Oriole, Tumbes Tyrant and the critically endangered White-winged Guan.  While at Chaparri we will also visit the humid, higher altitude forests towards Tocmoche where we have further chances of finding a Spectacled Bear and the nearby Tinajones Reservoir where we will look for the rare and distinctive coastal form of Black-faced Ibis.

Leaving Chaparri we will spend a day exploring various sites on the coastal plain around the city of Chiclayo, including the atmospheric Bosque del Pomac with its ancient adobe pyramids and areas of Mesquite forest, home to the Tumbes Swallow and the engaging Peruvian Plantcutter, a rare and enigmatic species now restricted to just a few sites in this part of Peru.

After a flight back to Lima we conclude our time in Peru with a boat trip out to the Palominos Islands. This little archipelago, while not quite as dramatic as the celebrated Ballestas further south, nevertheless supports good numbers of Humboldt current seabirds and a very healthy population of impressive Southern Sea Lions. It will provide a perfect finale to an exciting and action-packed trip that will have introduced us to two very contrasting and very special areas of this fabulous country.

Spectacled Bear, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Spectacled Bear, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Spectacled Bear, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Our party birding, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Giant Swallowtail Butterfly , Chaparri Lodge, Cliclayo (David Allison)White winged Guan, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Tarantula, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Saechuran Fox, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Golden bellied Grosbeak, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Phyllodactylus reissii, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Collared Antshrike, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Peruvian Meadow lark, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Pacific Hornero, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Green Iguana, Chaparri Lodge (David Allison)Burrowing Owl, Chiclayo (David Allison)Rock paintings at Sambay (David Allison)Down to the cave at Sambay (David Allison)Alpacas on hillside (David Allison)Andean Goose (David Allison)Vicuna (David Allison)Vicuna (David Allison)Road to wards Arequipa (David Allison)Agricultural terraces, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Condor Cross, Colca Canyo (David Allison)Andean Condor, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Andean Condors, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Maca church, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Catia, Sambay (David Allison)Rio Colca, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Rufous collared Sparrow (David Allison)Vizcacha, Colca Canyon (David Allison)White winged Cinclodes, Colca Canyon (David Allison)Wilson's Phalarope (David Allison)Peruvian Pelican, Palominos Islands (David Allison)South American Sea Lion, Palominos Islands (David Allison)
P.C.
Leicestershire
The trip was fantastic. We saw everything we wanted to, although the bear sighting was fairly brief. Andy Smith was an excellent tour leader (as well you know) and all the accommodation was also excellent. As you predicted we loved Chaparri most of all, although Chivay and Arequipa were both great places, and the food at all of these was also very good. The local guides were also first rate. So, all in all, another great trip with so many highlights, including: Torrent Ducks at the hotel at Chivay; condors almost taking our heads off as they flew literally no more than three or four feet above us; Vizcacha in the snow as we drove back to Arequipa; arriving at Chaparri at night and crossing the wobbly bridge; the hummingbirds at Chaparri first thing in the morning; standing at the top of the hill, scanning the horizon for bears and spotting one; Bosque del Pomac - what a great wood - and Inca Terns and sea lions.
L.S.
Dorset
The wildlife, especially the Spectacled Bears, Condors and Humming Birds were most co-operative and made the trip both exciting and awe inspiring. The hotels in Arequipa and Chivay were full of character, exceptional surroundings and helpful staff.
S.W.
Nottingham
To see a wild Spectacled Bear had long been a dream of mine. To see a female with two tiny cubs was quite literally beyond my wildest dreams! We had prolonged views on four consecutive days - totally amazing. The 'interactive' sea-lions on the last day were just incredible, an almost surreal experience. Great to see Humboldt Penguins too on this superb boat trip.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Tue 25th September 2018 - Sun 7th October 2018

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£3995

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Peru

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Andy Tucker
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Mammals

Tour Reviews

The trip was fantastic. We saw everything we wanted to, although the bear sighting was fairly brief. Andy Smith was an excellent tour leader (as well you know) and all the accommodation was also excellent. As you predicted we loved Chaparri most of all, although Chivay and Arequipa were both great places, and the food at all of these was also very good. The local guides were also first rate. So, all in all, another great trip with so many highlights, including: Torrent Ducks at the hotel at Chivay; condors almost taking our heads off as they flew literally no more than three or four feet above us; Vizcacha in the snow as we drove back to Arequipa; arriving at Chaparri at night and crossing the wobbly bridge; the hummingbirds at Chaparri first thing in the morning; standing at the top of the hill, scanning the horizon for bears and spotting one; Bosque del Pomac - what a great wood - and Inca Terns and sea lions.
P.C., Leicestershire