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Peru is a vast, spectacular andimmensely varied country thatsupports an enormous wealth ofwildlife including a number of the world'siconic species. On this tour two of thesespecies, Spectacled Bear and AndeanCondor, act as a tantalising focus that willlead us to some contrastingly different andvery special regions of the country and anexciting range of wildlife, scenery andculture.We begin our tour in the southern city ofArequipa, famous for the beautiful whitebuildings of its old colonial centre and itsdramatic setting beneath the toweringvolcanic peaks of El Misti and Chachani.We will have ample time to explore the oldcity, including the famous and verybeautiful Santa Catalina convent. FromArequipa we will then travel across thebreathtaking volcano-studded landscapesof the high, dry altiplano towards the smallmarket town of Chivay. Near Chivay is theColca Canyon, one of the deepest canyonsin the world and noted both for itsspectacular scenery and its very visiblepopulation of Andean Condors. We willspend two mornings here in this dramaticsetting watching as the Condors leave theirroosts on the cliff ledges and circle aroundthe canyon rim before gaining altitude withthe first of the morning's thermals andsoaring off to forage over the surroundingmountains and valleys. This is an almostunique opportunity to see these enormousand majestic birds at such close quartersand will surely be one of the highlights ofthe tour. As the Condors leave for the dayso we can look further afield and enjoy theViscachas clambering among the rocks,the Giant Hummingbirds flitting around thecactus flowers and a range of other wildlifethat adds to the appeal of this fantasticplace.We next undertake a spectacular returnjourney back to Arequipa. Climbing out ofChivay over a high pass, we will stop at avast marshy plain called Pampa de Troca,targeting a range of high Andean birds thatare likely to include Chilean Flamingoes,Puna Ibis, Grey-breasted and Rufous-belliedSeedsnipes, various ground-tyrants andhandsome little Andean Negritos. NoisyAndean Flickers are common on the rockyslopes nearby and small birds of thegrassland and scrub include various sierrafinches and the striking little Black Siskin.Our journey then progresses out onto thehigh golden grasslands of the Pampa laAguada where we are likely to see herds ofwild Vicuna, a common and characteristicanimal in the region.After a night in Arequipa, we fly north backto Lima and on to Chiclayo in north-westPeru, a region well known for its tropical dryforests which are home to an extraordinaryvariety of endemic birds and other wildlife.We will spend four days in the ChaparriEcological Reserve, based at a rustic,peaceful and charming lodge from wherewe can explore our rugged and dramaticallybeautiful surroundings. This is one of thebest places to see Spectacled Bears asthey are quite common in the area andrelatively confiding because of thelongstanding protection and lack ofdisturbance which the reserve has affordedthem. Largely vegetarian, and the only bearin South America, they will be our principaltarget here and with patience and luck wehave a good chance of encountering oneduring our stay. Chaparri and itssurroundings offer much more than justbears, however, and during our stay wehope to encounter mammals such asSechuran Fox, White-tailed Deer andGuayaquil Squirrel plus a wide range ofcolourful and localised birds includingPacific Parrotlet, Scarlet-backedWoodpecker, Elegant Crescent-chest,White-edged Oriole, Tumbes Tyrant and thecritically endangered White-winged Guan.While at Chaparri we will also visit thehumid, higher altitude forests towardsTocmoche where we have further chancesof finding a Spectacled Bear and thenearby Tinajones Reservoir where we willlook for the rare and distinctive coastalform of Black-faced Ibis.Leaving Chaparri we will spend a dayexploring various sites on the coastal plainaround the city of Chiclayo, including theatmospheric Bosque del Pomac with itsancient adobe pyramids and areas ofMesquite forest, home to the TumbesSwallow and the engaging PeruvianPlantcutter, a rare and enigmatic speciesnow restricted to just a few sites in this partof Peru. After a flight back to Lima we conclude ourtime in Peru with a boat trip out to thePalominos Islands. This little archipelago,while not as dramatic as the celebratedBallestas further south, neverthelesssupports good numbers of Humboldtcurrent seabirds and a very healthypopulation of impressive Southern SeaLions. It will provide a perfect finale to anexciting and action-packed trip that willhave introduced us to two very contrastingand very special areas of this fabulouscountry.Peru - Spectacled Bears & Andean CondorsA 13-day wildlife adventure exploring the dry forests of northern Peru in search of Spectacled Bears and endemic birds, plus the south's spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest.Sunday 29th September - Friday 11th October Cost: £3,095Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Lima.Day 2Fly Arequipa.Day 3Arequipa; drive Chivay.Day 4/5Chivay and the ColcaCanyon.Day 6Arequipa.Day 7Fly Chiclayo; transferChaparri Lodge.Day 8/10Wildlife excursions fromChaparri Lodge.Day 11Transfer Chiclayo; flyLima.Day 12Palominos Islands.Depart Lima.Day 13Arrive London.AccommodationA delightful, community-owned eco-lodge in the north. Comfortablehotels in the south.Food All included in the price.Grading Grade A.Focus Birds, mammals and other wildlife.Leader Andy Smith.Single room supplement£295.Extensions An extension to Cusco and MachuPicchu is highly recommended.Web quick search: PER07208Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryCHICLAYO PACIFIC OCEAN PERULIMA CHIVAYAREQUIPACHAPARRIBOLIVIA CHILE ECUADOR COLOMBIA BRAZIL COLCARIVER AND CANYONSpectacled Bear Vicunas on altiplanoAndean Condor

Northern Peru is arguably theoverlooked highlight of a trulydiverse and spectacular country.With a mountainous backbone dissectedby the mighty Marañon River and itstributaries, this vast region is abiogeographic jigsaw that is surely yet toreveal many hidden wildlife secrets. We willexplore it on this adventurous tour, as wetravel from the midst of the verdantAmazonian lowlands to the breathtakingUtcubamba Canyon, over the WesternCordillera of the Andes, and throughdesert and dry foothills before concludingat Chaparri Lodge and the crashing surf ofthe Pacific.This will be a spellbinding journey offeringa wealth of opportunities to enjoy theregion's spectacular scenery and richarchaeological heritage, as well as anornithological feast that may include suchlegendary gems as the remarkableMarvellous Spatuletail, endemic Inca-finches, the endangered White-wingedGuan (which was thought to be extinct forover 100 years), and a huge variety ofmore widespread species such as AndeanCondor, King Vulture and Andean Cock-of-the-rock. Without doubt, this is one of theworld's most tantalising birdingdestinations!We begin our tour with a flight to Iquitos,from where a short boat ride will deliver usto a well-appointed Amazonian lodgewhich allows us to embark on our holidayin style! Here we will explore a variety ofAmazonian habitats, seeking the birds andwildlife of the region. We will pay specialattention to an area of rare white-sand forest where there are several endemics,some only recently discovered, and to theinhospitable habitats on the islands in theriver where several specialist species havealso evolved. We should also seemonkeys, river dolphins, caiman and muchmore as we explore this region on foot andby boat.We next spend two days exploring thehumid forests to the east of the Andes,home to such species as Royal Sunangeland huge mixed species flocks teemingwith colourful tanagers. The lowerelevations here also accommodate suchsought-after species as Andean Cock-of-the-rock and Amazonian Umbrellabird.We'll eventually bird our way up to the highpass of Abra Patricia. The stunted forestsaround the pass, amidst the most awe-inspiring scenery of the tour, are home tosome of Peru's least known species. Thenew birders' lodge here, Owlet Lodge, isideally placed overlooking the forestedridges falling away to the east, and will beour base for the next two nights. The Long-whiskered Owlet (after which our lodge isnamed), is one of the great ornithologicalmysteries of the continent. Discovered in1976, it was for many years only everencountered by a handful of mist-nettingresearchers. Finally, in February 2007, itwas discovered naturally by researchersand has been seen by a regular trickle ofkeen birders since then.Remaining in the Andes, we next explorethe drainage basin of the mighty Marañon,one of Peru's principal Amazoniantributaries. The area comprises anincredibly complex topography and it ishere in these mountains that another suiteof endemic species has evolved. Travellingup the spectacular Utcubamba Valley tothe Andean town of Chachapoyas, we will,over the course of two days in the region, explore the area for birds, and also samplethe remnants of the incredible Chachapoyaculture which include the fortress of Kuelap(considered by many to rival Machu Picchufor its grandeur and location), theimpressive cliffs and sarcophagi of Karajia,and the museum of Leimebamba (thelagoon of the mummies).After crossing the Marañon itself, we willspend a night in the town of Jaen tosearch the nearby areas for suchendemics as Marañon Thrush and LittleInca-finch. Next, we cross the lowest passin the Andean chain (at just 2,200 metres)and, leaving the Andes behind, move ontowards the dry coastal lowlands of theTumbesian region of Peru, one part of themost diverse centre of bird endemism onthe planet. Based at the rustic andcharming Chaparri Ecological Reserve (runby the local community), the traditionalcabins provide a comfortable base fromwhich to go in search of such species asthe critically threatened White-wingedGuan and the endemic Tumbes Tyrant, aswell as such mammals as White-tailedDeer and Sechuran Fox.This coastal plain was once also home to adiversity of pre-Inca civilisations, includingthe Muchik who left behind a rich heritageof fine gold and silver jewellery in theiradobe pyramids. We will see some ofthese huge structures at the PomacArchaeological Sanctuary (which is alsohome to many of the endemic birds of theregion) and, during a short visit to theTumbas Reales Museum in Lambayeque,we will be able to marvel at the treasuresof the Lord of Sipan. These werediscovered as recently as 1988 and arenow displayed in a splendid new museumthat was recently named as one of theworld's 10 best small museums by the ArtNews magazine of New York.Northern PeruAn 18-day holiday combining the best of northern Peru's birds, wildlife and culture. Thursday 11th October - Sunday 28th October 2012 Cost: £3,895Thursday 10th October - Sunday 27th October 2013 Cost: £3,895Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationCHICLAYO PACIFIC OCEAN PERU LIMA JAEN MOYOBAMBA TARAPOTO IQUITOS LEIMEBAMBA CHAPARRI BOLIVIA CHILE ECUADOR COLOMBIA BRAZIL Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Lima.Day 2/4Muyuna Lodge.Day 5Iquitos.Day 6Reserva Alpahuayo,Tarapoto.Day 7Moyobamba.Day 8/9Owlet Lodge, AbraPatricia.Day 10Puerto Pumas.Day 11Kuelap, El Chillo.Day 12Jaen.Day 13Tucume.Day 14/15Chaparri EcologicalReserve.Day 16Chiclayo.Day 17Lima/in flight.Day 18Arrive London.Accommodation A mixture of the best availablelodges and hotels, some verycomfortable, some more rusticthough clean; most have privatefacilities.Food All included in the price.GradingGrade A/B. Easy day walks only.Focus Birds, other wildlife andarchaeology.LeaderPepe Moscoso or Alejandro Solano.Single room supplement£395.Web quick search: PER01209Chaparri Ecological ReserveMarvellous SpatuletailPink River Dolphin