Just 3.5 hours northeast of Cusco—via a spectacular drive through the snow-capped Andes—Wayqecha Cloud Forest Biological Station is one of the world’s best sites to explore the lush cloud forest ecosystem bordering Manu National Park. Situated where the eastern slopes of the Andes meet the Amazon lowlands, the cloud forest absorbs moisture from passing clouds and is often blanketed in mist and fog. The constant supply of moisture allows a remarkable diversity of plants to grow here, which in turn supports thriving populations of birds, amphibians, and mammals.
The 1,400-acre property, owned and managed by the Amazon Conservation Association, is located at an altitude of 9,880 feet and serves as a protective buffer for Manu National Park, located immediately across the road. At Wayqecha, you can explore over nine miles of trails and a canopy walkway and see where the Andean grasslands transition into lush cloud forests and montane forests below. Winding through elfin forest, you can have close encounters with tanager flocks, maybe sighting a Grass Green or Golden-collared Tanager. Listen for the endemic but fairly common Red-and-white Antpitta, or a Marcapata Spinetail. Maybe catch sight of the recently seen Orange-breasted Falcon!
Other birds to look for include Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Glossy-black Thrushes, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Red-and-White Antpitta, Andean Guan, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, and many, many more.