Nature, Birds and Ruins - Full Day in Cusco | Birdwatching in Cusco

Daily Departures
120$ per person
1 Day
1 Reviews
5 out of 5


Travel less than an hour from Cusco to get close to high elevation aquatic birds. A RAMSAR site that offer great opportunities for bird observation and photography, Enjoy those beautiful wetlands view of pre-Inca ruins, variety of birds and even migrants can be seen during activities.
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What's included

Departure Location
Cusco City - Transfer from Hotels , Airport , Bus Station
Return Location
Cusco City - Airport , Bus Station or any other location along the sacred Valley
Price includes
  • Activities Listed in the Program
  • Birdlist of the Location
  • Box lunch
  • Specialized Birding Guide with Spotting scope
  • Touristic Transportation
  • Unlimited Purified Water
Price does not include
  • Alcoholic Drinks

Day of Birding In Cusco – Huacarpay Lake

One of the best-located sites  for birding near Cusco city, its an ideal spot for hours or the entire day, the drive only takes around 40 minutes from City center, the wetland its situated at an altitude of 9908 Feet, this High-Andean wetland comprises four permanent and one temporary lagoon, two swamps and two rivers, and is part of the Pikillaqta Archeological Park. This wetland provides considerable food and refuge to various threatened species such as Peregrine and Aplomado Falcon and the 2 endemics; Bearded Mountaineer, Rusty fronted Canastero.

Birds at Huacarpay Lake – Day of Birding near Cusco

The Huacarpay Lagoon is part of a protected natural area, formed by singular and beautiful wetlands, full of The wild Tobacco, eucalyptus shrubs growing around the lake are very effective to attract the hummingbirds in the area as Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Green-tailed Trainbearer. The vegetation and eucalyptus forest for owls, Great Horned Owls and others like Streaked Fronted Thornbird, Yellow-Billed Tit-Tyrant.

There is a collection of interesting species found in the area including most of the aquatic birds; Andean Coots, Common Gallinule, Puna Teals, Yellow Billed Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Puna Teal, and seasonally Chilean flamingos among others.

This lake is surrounded by reeds where some birds appear easy to see such as; Yellow Winged Black-bird, Wren-like Rushbird, and the colorful Many colored Rushtyrant.

Making it possible to check around 50 species by day,  see the complete Huacarpay Lake bird list via E-Bird

How to get the Huacarpay Lake from Cusco?

Huacarpay lake is near Cusco city and easily accessible by public transport, taxis and booking a tour that includes all transportations services including transfer from your hotels in Cusco or along the Sacred Valley after or before the trip.

 Archeological Sites

The ruins of Urpicancha were built by the Wari culture, its name could be translated as the “House of the doves”, is structures reveals the Wari’s techniques, is located on a small plateau with a huge mountain behind to the east of the lagoon Huacarpay in Cusco.

There also few other archeological sites in the vicinity of the lake such as; Qaranqayniyuj, Choquepucjio, Kunturqaqa, Piquillacta.

  • Day 1
Day 1

Cusco - Huacarpay Lake - High Andean Lagoon San Salvador

We will visit the lake early morning located some twenty-five kilometers south of Cusco, are situated above 10,500 feet. One of the lakes resembles an extensive saltpan interrupted here and there by beds of reeds, the other a shallow crater.

Both are lined with marsh vegetation, seem to be rich in nutrients, and attract birds for miles around. The lakes are surrounded by xeric ravines (quebradas in Peruvian Spanish) and rocky hills covered with shrubs, various cacti, tree tobacco, and small trees. The area deserves at least several hours of attentive birding and always seems to be a popular place from which to start our tour, since the viewing conditions are easy.

You'll want your scopes for this area, though your guide will have a scope along, too. The marshy shores and waters of the lakes support Andean water birds and waders, including White-tufted Grebe, Puna Ibis, Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Plumbeous Rail, and Andean Lapwing. In addition, there are usually a few boreal shorebird non-breeders or migrants (quite a few later in the season).

The extensive rush beds shelter Cinereous Harriers, Yellow-winged Blackbirds, Wren-like Rushbirds, and the beautiful Many-colored Rush- Tyrant, and the scrubby slopes are home to a number of land birds, including Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird (at nine inches, the largest-bodied of the hummers). Streak-fronted Thornbird, large flocks of Greenish Yellow-Finches (usually). Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches, Band-tailed Seedeaters, and the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero. Another Peruvian endemic, the spectacular Bearded Mountaineer, feeds at the tubular yellow flowers of the wild Tree Tobacco that grows in the outwash plains near the lakes.

Hanging above the slopes on occasion are Black Chested Buzzard-Eagles, and down them hurtle Aplomado Falcons in pursuit of some unsuspecting dove.

After birding around the lake we will drive along the Sacred Valley road  to San Salvador town and we will ascend the serpent like road that climp up the mountains and passing by valleys with scattered vegetation to look at least for a couple of Endemic , Chestnut Breasted Mountain Finch, White Tufted Sunbeam and other high elevations hummingbirds and birds such as: Red Crested Cotinga, Rufous Webbed Shrike-Tyrant.

Once we reach the lagoon on the top of the mountain range we will be able to look for some specilities; Giant Coot, Crested Duck, Black faced Ibis, Andean Goose and some canasteros on the short puna grass. by mid afternoon we will be ready to drive back to the city.

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User Reviews & Comments

  • Erik Chan
    5 out of 5

    My wife booked this tour, and I have to say I’m not usually into walking tours. But this 4 hour tour of the City was fantastic. Ken, our Irish guide was fantastic. We had a group of around 30 people, but that wasn’t a problem at all. Ken had a brilliant sense of humour, and was so knowledgeable about Berlin. The pace was perfect, and everyone felt part of the tour. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Berlin.

    10 October, 2018


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More about this tour

Travel less than an hour from Cusco to get close to high elevation aquatic birds. A RAMSAR site that offer great opportunities for bird observation and photography.  Enjoy those beautiful wetlands view of pre-Inca ruins, variety of birds and even migrants can be seen during activities.

  1. The  Huacarpay Lagoon is a wetland  which is one  birders  favorite sites around Cusco ,  here you can find much more details 
  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of Cusco and Machupicchu which is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world and also a great locations for watching birds in the south of Peru. See more at our Blog Here 
  3. Find the Bird List of Huacarpay lagoon via Ebird HERE


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Nature, Birds and Ruins - Full Day in Cusco

120$ per person
1 Day

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