Northeast Andes Route

Best April to October – 7 days travel – 400+ species
8 endemics – 8 threatened species

About This Route

This route offers an amazing experience to visiting birders, including record-setting bird diversity and large numbers of endemic species that occur nowhere else, dramatic mountainous landscapes, some of the tallest waterfalls in the world, and archeological ruins belonging to ancient civilizations. Crossing from the steamy Amazonian lowlands up the eastern slope of the Andes into misty cloud forests and back down into arid interior valleys, every day brings the possibility of different birds to see. A series of bird feeding stations attracting hummingbirds, wood-quail, tanagers, and other species at various elevations, providing birders with close-up views of otherwise difficult species, including perhaps the most spectacular hummingbird species in the world – the Marvelous Spatuletail.

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 at 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 near villages and 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.

As in most of Peru, the rainy season runs from November to around March, but it can rain just about any time. May to September is the peak time 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.

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.

Note that this route can be continued to the coast to search for White-winged Guan and Peruvian Plantcutter (among many other good birds), or through the spectacular Maranon Valley to search for Yellow-faced Parrotlet and Gray-bellied Comet (and many other endemics). We aim to add more of these great northern Peru sites over time.

Route Information

Follow The Trail

  • Day 1: Waqanki

    Fly from Lima to Tarapoto, and drive to Moyobamba. En route, stop to see oilbirds from the Quiscarumi bridge. Visit the hummingbird feeders and orchid gardens at Waqanki, where the Rufous-crested Coquette delights photographers and many endemics can also be seen including the recently described Varzea Thrush and Painted Manakin. Overnight at Waqanki Lodge.

    Waqanki Lodge

    1 day

    Photographed by Fabio Olmos

  • Days 2-5: Abra Patricia

    After breakfast at Waqanki, drive to Owlet Lodge inside Abra Patricia Reserve. Johnson’s Tody-Flycatcher can often be seen beside the carpark here. Lunch at Owlet Lodge while enjoying new hummignbirds (the Swordbill is possible here) visiting feeders outside the dining hall. Take a short afternoon hike to an observation tower through the forest in the afternoon. Overnight at Owlet Lodge.


    On the following day, hike forest Grallaria and Tino trails during the morning. Lunch at Owlet Lodge and mid-afternoon siesta followed by a hike downhill to await nightfall and a chance to see the Long-whiskered Owlet. Later dinner upon return and overnight at Owlet Lodge.


    This day, after breakfast bird along the road that bisects Abra Patricia Reserve, with a stop at the Royal Sunangel Trail for this local hummingbird and Bar-winged Wood-Wren. Afternoon flexible, and also serves as an alternative opportunity for night birding depending on weather.


    On your last day at at Owlet Lodge, visit the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey Trail. More birding at Abra Patricia throughout day and possibly night.

    Owlet Lodge

    4 Days

  • Days 6-8: Huembo

    After breakfast at Abra Patricia, drive about an hour to Huembo to see the Marvelous Spatuletail, Little Woodstar and other hummingbirds. Hiking the Rio Chido trail nearby is also a possibility, where Pale-billed Antpitta and Russet-mantled Softtail are possible. Overnight at Huembo.


    After breakfast at Huembo Lodge the next day, visit the Huembo feeders and lakeshore at Pomacochas. Lunch at Huembo. Tour a working shade-coffee plantation at Huembo in the afternoon and look for Buff-bellied Tanagers in the local mixed species flocks. Dinner and overnight at Huembo.


    The next day, travel from Huembo to Gocta Falls (one of the tallest waterfalls in the world) and overnight at Gocta Lodge.

    Huembo Lodge

    2 Days

    Photographed by Dubi Shapiro

  • Day 9: Tarapoto

    Breakfast at Gocta Lodge, then drive back to Tarapoto. Either fly out of Tarapoto at night or overnight at Pumarini Lodge for flights out of Tarapoto the next day.

    Gocta Lodge

    1 Days

    Photographed by Nick Athanas


  • Main building, Owlet Lodge

  • Lodge room, Owlet Lodge

  • Common area, Owlet Lodge

  • Huembo Lodge

  • Bird feeders, Huembo Lodge

  • Observation Tower at Waqanki

    Guy Foulks

What You'll See

  • Amazing Birds

    Royal Sunangel

    Nick Athanas

  • Amazing Birds

    Marvelous Spatultail

    Dubi Shapiro

  • Amazing Birds

    Sword-billed Hummingbird 

    Sam Woods

  • Amazing Birds

    Rufous-crested Coquette  

    Andrew Whittaker

  • Amazing Birds

    Johnson’s Tody-Flycatcher

    Larry Thompson

  • Stunning Panoramas

    Abra Patricia Reserve

  • Interesting Owls

    Long-whiskered Owlet  

  • Birders in the field

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