Huacarpay Birding Tour

Cusco - Huacarpay Lagoon and San Salvador.


Half Day

Max. Altitude

11,200 ft - 3,413 m.


Bird Watching, Photography, History





Tour Description

The Huacarpay Lagoon, San Salvador and Wetlands in Cusco are situated at an altitude of 3,020 meters. This High-Andean wetland includes four permanent and one temporary lagoon.

It is part of the Pikillaqta Arqueological Park and the National Tourist Reserve.

Located in the upper northern part of the wetland are various Inca and pre-Inca remains, such as terraces that were used by the population that once inhabited the citadel of Pikillaqta. Pikillaqta was one of the most powerful regional centers of the Wari culture, which controlled almost all Peruvian territory from 600 and 1200 AD.

In Huacarpay lake is posible to find almost 60 resident avian species and vital resting grounds for migratory birds. Huacarpay provides significant food and refuge to various threatened birds species such as exotic storks and falcons. Others birds worth mentioning are the very attractive Sparkling Violetear, brightly-colored Rush-Tyrants, Yellow-winged Blackbirds, and the elusive Plumbeous Rail. You’ll also find several species of flycatchers, ducks, and members of the Frigillidae family here. Some of the seven species of raptors can be seen flying once the warms up.


Cusco – Huacarpay Lagoon & San Salvador 

9,908 ft – 3,019 m.

In the morning we will go from Cusco to Huacarpay lakes 30km, where we will head out with a picnic lunch to the Huacarpay lakes south of Cusco, Where we are going to see a variety of Andean and wetland birds, a selection of typical highland passerines like Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Rusty and Black-throated Flowerpiercer.

We will likely see the spectacular and endemic Bearded Mountaineer feeding in Nicotianas flowering bushes near the lake a spectacular hummingbird restricted to just a few arid valleys. Other birds we may well encounter here are White-tufted Grebe, Yellow-Billed, Puna and Cinnamon Teals, Yellow-billed Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Cinereous Harrier, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Variable Hawk, Plumbeous Rail, Puna Ibis, Andean Coot, Andean Lapwing, Andean Gull, Andean Flicker, Andean Negrito,the impressive Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, Black tailed and Green-tailed Trainbearers, the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero, Streak-fronted Thornbird, Wren-like Rushbird, Many-colored Rush Tyrant, White-crested Elaenia, Yellow-billed Tit-Tyrant, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Rufous-naped and Spot-billed Ground-Tyrants, Greenish Yellow-Finch, Peruvian sierra-Finch, Mourning sierra-Finch, Golden-billed Saltator, Yellow-winged Blackbird, Hooded Siskin and many more.

We will drive one hour from Huacarpay Lagoon to San Salvador, the main target birds are the Andean Goose, Crested Duck, Silvery Grebe, Black-faced Ibis and Giant Coot. Near by the lake we will search for Andean Hilstar. There are small patch of Polylepis forest for two endemics of peru, the Creamy-crested Spinetail and Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch. In the late afternoon we will come back to Cusco.


  • Birding Guide.
  • Picnic Lunch
  • Snacks, Mineral Water.
  • Private transport.

Not included:

  • Tips, Extra expenses.
  • Binoculars.
  • Binoculars.
  • Small back pack and confortable shoes.
  • Rain jacket or poncho (December – April).
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
  • Sun block (sun protection cream).
  • Snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, etc.
  • Camera, plenty of film and batteries.
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra Money (soles).


As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.

With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.

Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.


Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves.

Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.

Related Tours