BIRDING ROUTES IN PERU
Northeast Andes Route
This route is packed with endemics and restricted-range threatened species. Facilities are generally good and travel is easy. The new lodge at Abra Patricia is the highlight of the route, along with the Marvelous Spatuletail reserve at Huembo where male spatuletails can be seen at the feeders. Access is via the multiple daily jet flights from Lima to Tarapoto, then via paved road all the way to the spatuletail site via Abra Patricia.
The route begins in tropical lowland forest and progresses up to around 7,500 feet – too low to present altitude sickness issues. This is a great place to start a Peru trip as it allows acclimatization for a few days before going higher in the Cusco area in the south. The route starts in areas originally dominated by the Incan culture and arrives to the edge of what was once the stronghold of the Chachapoyans who most people believe were never truly conquered by the Incas. There are many small roadside stalls selling locally-grown fruits and artwork, and small towns and villages have indigenous communities. The area is known for its rice and coffee cultivation, and Tarapoto is a medium-sized city with many restaurants and modern facilities.
Like most of Peru the rainy season runs from November to around March, but it can rain just about any time. May to September are peak months for visiting due to weather, but the wetter months can also be very good for birding. The climb through the Alto Mayo Protected Forest to Abra Patricia is spectacular and allows for many productive roadside birding stops. Many areas of good forest are worth a look and only the best-known stops are highlighted.
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