The Huacarpay Lake is situated at an altitude of 9908 Feet, this High-Andean wetland comprises four permanent and one temporary lagoon, two swamps, and two rivers, and is part of the Pikillaqta Archeological Park. This wetland provides considerable food and refuge to various threatened species such as Peregrine and Aplomado Falcon and the endemics; Bearded Mountaineer, and Rusty fronted Canastero. There is a collection of interesting species found in the area including most of the aquatic birds; Andean Coots, Common Gallinule, Puna Teals, Yellow Billed Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Puna Teal, and seasonally Chilean flamingos among others. This lake is surrounded by reeds where some birds appear easily to see such as; Yellow Winged Black-bird, Wren-like Rushbird, and the colorful Many colored Rushtyrant.
What to see there?
Landscape and Birds
The Huacarpay Lagoon is part of a protected natural area, formed by singular and beautiful wetlands, full of wild Tobacco, eucalyptus shrubs growing around the lake are very effective to attract hummingbirds in the area as Giant Hummingbirds, Sparkling Violetear, Green-tailed Trainbearers, and the vegetation and eucalyptus forest for owls, Great Horned Owls and others like Streaked Fronted Thornbird, Yellow-Billed Tit-Tyrant. Making it possible to check around 50 species by day.
Updated Bird List of Huacarpay Lake
Find the Bird List of Huacarpay lagoon via Ebird HERE
How to get to Huacarpay lake from Cusco?
The lake is near Cusco city and easily accessible by public transport, taxis and more effective booking a tour:
By Local Bus or Collectivos
There are few bus public transport that takes to the nearby towns, local, birders usually catch the public bus that goes to Lucre village, (the bus station is located in front of the Regional Hospital along La Cultura Avenue) or any other bus company that goes to Urcos and Andahuaylillas. the cost is around 3 soles by public transport, it could be an alternative for travelers that can intermediate speak Spanish.
Taxi driving takes around 40 minutes from Cusco city center so the rates are from 35 soles to 50 soles, the given rates are estimated, and the service basically transports you from your hotel and drops you off somewhere around the lake. (the rate only includes the transportation from the city to the lake )
Recommendations on Birding Purpose
Please bear in mind that you will need a pay an extra rate if you request for the transportation service to be waiting for you until you explore the lake, in fact, while birding you should know a few spots where the target species can be seen much often so it will demand to explore the area for at least 3 hours minimum and walking miles from one site to another so a better choice will be to hire an expert local guide and availability of transportation, for better arrangements please check our full day trip to Huacarpay Lake.
Surrounded by Archeological Sites
The ruins of Urpicancha were built by the Wari culture, its name could be translated as the “House of the doves”, is structures reveal the Wari’s techniques.
Located on a small plateau with a huge mountain behind to the east of the lagoon Huacarpay in Cusco. There are also a few other archeological sites in the vicinity of the lake such as; Qaranqayniyuj, Choquepucjio, Kunturqaqa, and Piquillacta.