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Arequipa Tours - Tours in Colca
Arequipa has a special attraction for naturalists, as it enables visitors to enter some of the most spectacular areas of southern Peru. The National Sanctuary of the Mejía Lakes is made up of floodlands covered with swamp-like vegetation and totora reeds which serve as a haven and a resting place for dozens of resident and migratory bird species.
The Salinas & Aguada Blanca Reserve is an ideal spot for watching waterfowl, vicuña herds and occasionally guanacos (Lama guanicoe). The region features sweeping high-Andean meadows, marshlands and flooded areas with peculiar geological formations created by wind erosion (the Maucarquipa and Puruña stone formations).
The area, which is fringed by a vast high Andean plain, is split by the Colca River. The bird species in the valley are similar to species that inhabit steppes elsewhere in the Peruvian highlands. However, the cropfields and steep cliffs afford the possibility of sighting fascinating species not to be found anywhere else, such as the majestic Andean condor, the largest bird on Earth capable of flight, which is found in the part of the valley called the Cruz del Condor, near the village of Cabanaconde.
The climate is dry and balmy, sunny by day and frigid at night, with average annual temperatures of 20°C. The best time of year for birdwatching in the Mejía Lakes area is in summer in the Southern Hemisphere (from January to March).
The Mejía Lakes lie 150 km or two hours from Arequipa, south of the Tambo River delta. Access to Salinas & Aguada Blanca is via the dirt roads that run from Arequipa to the Colca Valley (150 km or three hours) or the city of Puno. The Puno route is best, running through a vast queñual forest (Chiguata, 3,200 masl) and continues on to the vast Lake Salinas.
Flight of the Condor
We leave Cusco early in the morning in our specialized overland vehicles. Approximately mid-morning we visit the interesting tombs of Ninamarca, commonly known as "Chullpas". We continue to Paucartambo, a picturesque Spanish colonial town, and then to the Acjanacu pass, which marks the beginning of the Cultural Zone of Manu Biosphere Reserve. Here, a thick cloak of clouds provides perpetual humidity and makes an ideal habitat for epiphytic plants such as bromeliads. This varied and fascinating world is home of the Cock of the Rock, the Spectacled Bear, Orchids, Tree Ferns (one of the oldest living plants), mosses and lichens. This cloud forest exists between 2000 and 3500 meters above sea level, and at least 50% of the plant species found here are endemic to this region. Overnight in our open air lodge "San Pedro".
Today we wake up very early to observe the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola peruviana), Peru's national bird. At about 5:00AM as many as several dozen come together for an exhibition of a mating ritual dance in a place called Lek. The males of vibrant reddish orange feathers, display their crest showing off and posturing for the females. The females, fewer in number, watch to select the most suitable males. After breakfast we continue in our overland transport*1 down the narrow road between waterfalls and canyons toward the town of Pilcopata *2 and the Atalaya Port. Here, we board our covered, outboard motor boat and head down the Alto Madre de Dios River for approximately 15 minutes toward our private reserve of "Erika" where we will hike through an interesting trail system in the transitional area (between high jungle and low jungle). Overnight in the lodge.
After breakfast we board our canoe for a three-hours trip down the Alto Madre de Dios River to Boca Manu's airstrip ( where optional flights coming from Cusco may bring new members to join our group. The plane flies over the Andes to a narrow gravel landing strip in the jungle. Flight takes approximately 45 minutes) Boca Manu village, located at short distance from the confluence of the Manu River and the Alto Madre de Dios River, is the last place to buy your fresh supplies and cold drinks before setting off again in the canoe. Now we enter the Manu River and the Reserved Zone, stopping in a white sand beach where we camp along the riverbank. Short walk around the area.
After registering in the official tourist logbook at Limonal, the Park Rangers Headquarters and having an early breakfast, we follow the Manu River until we arrive Salvador Lake, our base campsite (screened dining room, bathrooms, radio communication is available). This canoe ride gives us the opportunity to observe the immensity of the rainforest and the diversity of bird life, reptiles and mammals. You will often see animals sunning on beaches, or foraging for food in the trees lining the riverbanks. We arrive early in the afternoon and have lunch before setting off on a jungle trail. Here, we will be on the lookout for wildlife inside the rainforest and on Salvador Oxbow Lake, until the sun goes down and we return to the camp. We explore Salvador Lake by paddling quietly along on a catamaran to observe unique species of birds, monkeys, caimans and with luck, the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). This endangered species can be seen swimming, fishing, feeding and playing.
Alcoholic beverages / meals.
Tips or taxes.
An official tourist guide
All entrance tickets and fees.
Tours as described
02 Night accommodation in selected hotel in Arequipa.
01 Night accommodation in selected hotel in Chivay.
Prices from US$ 420.00 (per person based in double occupancy)
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