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z Peru: Northern Amazonia

This tour is focused on the many specialties of the Northern Amazon area of Iquitos and San Lorenzo. Covering various sites, we will look for recently described or rare species such as Wattled Curassow, Iquitos Gnatcatcher, Allpahuayo Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye, and a vast array of river-island specialties. Includes two full days exploring the vast Amazonian rainforests of the San Lorenzo area, looking in particular for the rare and almost unknown White-masked Antbird!

Next Dates


Mostly good accommodation in Amazonian lodges, medium to good standard hotels for stays in cities and villages.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy, but we might take a few longer walks for a couple of hours at birding pace.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: Our tour starts in the evening at Tarapoto airport (TPP), from where we will transfer to our comfortable hotel for one night. NOTE: There are daily flights from Lima to Tarapoto. On request, we will be happy to help arrange your preferred connection.

Day 2: Early morning transfer to Yurimaguas, from where we will be flying to San Lorenzo. We will start looking for the main prize of the area, the mythical White-masked Antbird! Night in San Lorenzo.

Day 3-4: Our two full days at San Lorenzo will be devoted to finding White-masked Antbird, which we have a good chance of encountering since we have given ourselves plenty of time! Being in the middle of the Amazon, there will be opportunities to connect with many other specialties like Black-banded Crake, Amazonian Pygmy Owl,  Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Yellow-billed, White-chinned, and White-eared Jacamars, Black Bushbird, Lunulated Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Striolated Manakin, and many more. Nights in San Lorenzo.

Day 5: This morning, we will fly back to Yurimaguas and onwards to Iquitos, where we will stay for three nights. Our explorations begin this afternoon.

Day 6-7: During our time in Iquitos, we will have two days to explore different areas of white-sand forests at the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve in search of some recently discovered species. In particular, we will be looking for the Critically Endangered Iquitos Gnatcatcher, discovered here as recently as 2005 (nowadays considered by some authorities as a subspecies of Guianan Gnatcatcher), Ancient Antwren, Mishana Tyrannulet, and Allpahuayo Antbird. Additionally, we will have a chance to encounter localised species like Brown-banded Puffbird, Brown Nunlet, Pompadour Cotinga, Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Pearly Antshrike, Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant, and many more. We will also spend some time at night looking for some rare species like White-winged and Rufous Potoos, known from only a few sites in Peru! Nights in Iquitos.

Day 8: This morning, we will take a two-hour boat ride down the Amazon itself to reach Explorama Lodge, where we will stay for one night. On the way, we will make a couple of stops on river islands and look for island specialists such as Lesser Hornero, Pearly-vented Conebill, White-bellied and Parker’s Spinetails, the range-restricted Black-and-white Antbird, Castelnau’s Antshrike, and some more. We will arrive at Explorama in time for a delicious meal and some initial exploration, giving us our first opportunities to connect with some localised species like Orange-eyed Flycatcher, Pale-billed Hornero, and the recently (2011) described Varzea Thrush, only known from a couple of localities worldwide. Night at Explorama Lodge.

Day 9: This morning, before continuing down the Amazon, we’ll have time for some additional birding at Explorama and also visit a river island to look for species mentioned above, plus Southern Festive Amazon, Leaden Antwren, Ash-breasted Antbird, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper, and more. We will then continue downriver towards ExplorNapo and A.C.T.S. lodges, deep in the Amazon, where we will spend a total of six nights. At these sites, we will be sampling a large variety of specialties! Birding the Amazon can be hard, but the potential rewards are huge, so it is worth spending as much time as possible in these incredible and remote places. We will start with a three-night stay at A.C.T.S. Lodge, surrounded by pristine terra firme rainforest!

Day 10-11: During our two full days at A.C.T.S., we will explore several different trails, as well as the famous canopy walkway, which will allow us closer looks at canopy-dwelling species that are usually very hard to get good views of from the ground 40 m lower down! More than 500 species have been recorded here. The list of specialties is very long, but to name a few, we’ll look for Bartlett’s Tinamou (always shy and hard to see, but easy to hear!), Red-and-green Macaw, Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet, Pavonine Quetzal, Golden-collared Toucanet, White-chested, Collared, and Chestnut-capped Puffbirds, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Dugand’s Antwren, White-plumed and Hairy-crested Antbirds (often attending army ant swarms!), Black-spotted and Reddish-winged Bare-eyes, the rare Ochre-striped Antpitta (we’ll need luck for that one!), Black-tailed Leaftosser, Golden-headed and Wire-tailed Manakins, White-browed Purpletuft, and many more. We will also visit a lek of fabulous Black-necked Red Cotinga, which often attracts a dozen males and females - a unique sight! We will spend time at night trying to locate a booming Nocturnal Curassow, Crested and Spectacled Owls, “Northern” Tawny-bellied Screech Owl, and Long-tailed Potoos. Nights at A.C.T.S. Lodge.

Day 12: This morning, we will walk to the ExplorNapo Lodge for a three-night stay and start our exploration of this fabulous place.

Day 13-14: During our two full days at ExplorNapo, we will mostly be focusing on some special habitats like seasonally-flooded (varzea) and terra firme forests and young river islands of the Napo River, which each hold their own bird communities and specialties. On river islands, we will be looking for localised species like Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Lesser and Bay Horneros, White-bellied, Red-and-white, and Parker’s Spinetails, Castelnau’s Antshrike, Black-and-white and Ash-breasted Antbirds, Yellow-crowned and Brown Elaenias, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, Band-tailed Oropendola, and many more widespread species like Agami and Zigzag Herons, Plum-throated Cotinga, and Lined Seedeater, plus two species of River Dolphins! In the varzea and floodplains surrounding our accommodation, we have chances to find Lunulated and Black-headed Antbirds, Black-spotted and rare Reddish-winged Bare-eyes, Ash-throated and Chestnut-belted Gnateaters, Thrush-like Antpitta, the localised and cryptic Orange-eyed Flycatcher, Purple-throated Cotinga, Wire-tailed and Blue-crowned Manakins, and many more. Nights at ExplorNapo Lodge.

Day 15: This morning, after an early breakfast, we will transfer by boat first back to Iquitos and then onwards to Muyuna Lodge, located further south and holding a different suite of species. We will start our explorations in the afternoon.

Day 16-17: Our two full days at Muyuna Lodge, located on the south bank of the Amazon (and hence holding a slightly different avifauna from where we came), will allow us to cover a lot of ground and take several boat rides in search of the most-wanted birds of this site, namely the endangered Wattled Curassow (here at its most accessible site), shy Zigzag Heron, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Plain-breasted Piculet, near-endemic Black-tailed Antbird, Rufous-backed Stipplethroat, Saturnine Antshrike, and even the rare Bar-bellied Woodcreeper if we’re lucky, plus many more. We will also search for some mammals, including Pygmy Marmoset, the New World’s smallest primate. Nights at Muyuna Lodge.

Day 18: After some final birding at Muyuna, we will take a boat ride back to Iquitos (IQT), where this tour ends at midday.

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