Peru: North Amazonia

This tour is focused on the many specialties of the Northern Amazon area of Iquitos and San Lorenzo. Our time in Iquitos will be divided between white-sand forests of Allpahuayo Mishana near the town itself, Explorama, Explornapo, A.C.T.S. (Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies) and Muyuna Lodge, where 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. We will then fly to San Lorenzo, where we will have two days to explore the vast amazonian rainforests of the area, looking in particular for the rare and almost unknown White-masked Antbird!

Next dates

27 October - 13 November 2023

Tour length: 18 days

Group size limit: 6


Julien Mazenauer and local leader

Spaces available

Day 1: Participants will be met in the evening at Tarapoto airport by the leaders, 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: Today we will transfer early morning 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!

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 with plenty of time available! 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 Jacamar, Black Bushbird, Lunulated Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser, Black-necked Red Cotinga, Striolated Manakin and many more.

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. We will in particular be looking for some the critically endangered Iquitos Gnatcatcher discovered here as recently as in 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 localized 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, only known from few sites in Peru!

Day 8: This morning, we will take a two hours 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 stops on river islands and look for island specialists such as Lesser Hornero, Pearly-vented Conebill, White-bellied and Parker’s Spinetail, restricted-range Black-and-white Antbird, Castelnau’s Antshrike and some more. We will arrive on time at Explorama for a delicious meal and some initial exploration, giving us our first opportunities to connect with some localized species such as Orange-eyed Flycatcher, Pale-billed Hornero and the recently (2011) described Varzea Thrush, only known from a couple of localities worlwide.

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 as well as Southern Festive Amazon, Leaden Antwren, Ash-breasted Antbird, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper and more.

We will then continue down-river towards ExplorNapo and A.C.T.S. lodges, where we will spend a total of six nights at both sites, deep in the Amazon, allowing us to sample a large variety of specialties! Birding the Amazon can be hard, but the rewards are huge so it is worth spending as much time as possible remotely settled in these great places. We will start by a three-nights 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 a number of different trails as well as the famous canopy walkway, allowing us closer looks to canopy-dwelling species that are usually very hard to get good looks at from the ground 40 meters lower down! More than 500 species has 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 Parrotlets, Pavonine Quetzal, Golden-collared Toucanets, 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.

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

Day 13-14: During our two full days at ExplorNapo, we will mostly be focussing on some special habitats like seasonally-flooded (varzea) and terra firme forests and young river islands of the Napo River, which each holds its own bird communities and specialties. On river islands, we will spend quite some time looking for localised species like Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Lesser and Bay Hornero, 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 or Lined Seedeater, plus two species of River Dolphins! In the varzea and floodplains surrounding our accomodation we have chances to find Lunulated Antbird, Black-spotted and rare Reddish-winged Bare-eyes, Lunulated and Black-headed Antbird, 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.

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, Black-tailed Antbird (almost exclusively found in Peru), Rufous-backed Stipplethroat, Saturnine Antshrike or even the rare Bar-bellied Woodcreeper if we’re lucky, plus many more.  We will also search for some mammals like Pygmy Marmoset, the New World’s smallest primate.

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

Tour details

Cost: $ 9,950
Deposit: $ 1,500
Single room supplement: $420

Accommodation: Mostly good accomodation in Amazonian lodges, medium standards to good 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.