Travel less than an hour from Cusco to get close to high elevation aquatic birds. A RAMSAR site that offer great opportunities for bird observation and photography, Enjoy those beautiful wetlands view of pre-Inca ruins, variety of birds and even migrants can be seen during activities.
Morning Departures from 5:00 AM
80$ per person
1/2 Day
1 Reviews
5 out of 5
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What's included

Departure Location
Cusco City - Transfer from Hotels , Airport , Bus Station
Return Location
Cusco City - Airport , Bus Station or any other location along the sacred Valley
Price includes
  • Activities Listed in the Program
  • Birdlist of the Location
  • Box lunch
  • Specialized Birding Guide with Spotting scope
  • Touristic Transportation
  • Unlimited Purified Water
Price does not include
  • Alcoholic Drinks

Half Day of Birding In Cusco – Huacarpay Lake

One of the best-located sites for birding near Cusco city. Huacarpay Lake is an ideal spot for spending a few hours, or even better, the entire day. While on a plus note the drive only takes around 40 minutes from the City centre. The wetland is situated at an altitude of 9908 Feet, this High-Andean wetland comprises four permanent lagoons and one temporary, two swamps and two rivers. It is part of the Pikillaqta Archeological Park. This wetland attracts many birds that reside here permanently or migration birds. If you join us on one of our tours, we can inform you of the best hot spots. As well as the best times of year to see specific bird species. It provides considerable food and refuge for various threatened species such as; the Peregrine and Aplomado Falcon and the 2 endemics; Bearded Mountaineer, and Rusty fronted Canastero.

From birds to nature to ruins, we have it all in store for you. And all in one day!

Birds at Huacarpay Lake – Day of Birding near Cusco

The Huacarpay Lagoon is part of a protected natural area, formed by singular and beautiful wetlands, full of wild Tobacco and eucalyptus shrubs. Due to this, these plants are very effective in attracting the hummingbirds in the area, such as; Giant Hummingbird, Sparkling Violetear, and Green-tailed Trainbearer. The vegetation and eucalyptus forest are also perfect for owls; Great Horned Owls and others like Streaked Fronted Thornbird, and Yellow-Billed Tit-Tyrant.

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 also seasonally Chilean flamingos amongst others.

This lake is surrounded by reeds which makes it easy to see birds such as; Yellow Winged Black-bird, Wren-like Rushbird, and the Many coloured Rushtyrant.

As a result, making it is possible to check around 50 species by day. See the complete Huacarpay Lake bird list via E-Bird

How to get the Huacarpay Lake from Cusco?

Huacarpay lake is near Cusco city and easily accessible by public transport, taxis and booking a tour that includes all transportation services including transfer from your hotels in Cusco or along the Sacred Valley after or before the trip.

 Archaeological Sites

The ruins of Urpicancha were built by the Wari culture, its name could be translated as the “House of the doves”. Its structures reveal the traditional Wari techniques. It is located on a small plateau with a huge mountain behind to the east of the lagoon Huacarpay in Cusco.

Furthermore, there are also a few other archaeological sites in the vicinity of the lake such as; Qaranqayniyuj, Choquepucjio, Kunturqaqa, Piquillacta.

If you want to join us on this spectacular birding tour, then look no further. A chance to witness and gain first-hand experience of these birds around a beautiful lagoon, in a stunning location. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars. The colours on some of these birds are so exquisite. You will not want to miss a thing. So, keep your eyes peeled, and your cameras ready to snap. To capture some rare and delightful creatures in their natural habitat. Above all, help us monitor these creatures.
Peru has great birding opportunities just for you. If you want more information, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be glad to help you with any enquiries you have. And we can help design a tour specific to your needs. That’s what makes us at Wild Watch Peru special.

Click the Book this Tour button below, you won’t regret your decision.

If you want more than a day, we have other 3 – 8 day tours available. Tracking and spotting these colourful beauties. Don’t miss out!!

  • Day 1
Day 1

Cusco - Huacarpay Lake

    Breakdown of the day;
  • Full day of Birding - Huacarpay Lake.
  • Urpicancha Ruins, "House of Doves."
  • Return to Cusco.

We will visit the lake early morning located some twenty-five kilometers south of Cusco, are situated above 10,500 feet. One of the lakes resembles an extensive saltpan interrupted here and there by beds of reeds, the other a shallow crater.

Both are lined with marsh vegetation, seem to be rich in nutrients, and attract birds for miles around. The lakes are surrounded by xeric ravines (quebradas in Peruvian Spanish) and rocky hills covered with shrubs, various cacti, tree tobacco, and small trees. The area deserves at least several hours of attentive birding and always seems to be a popular place from which to start our tour, since the viewing conditions are easy.

You'll want your scopes for this area, though your guide will have a scope along, too. The marshy shores and waters of the lakes support Andean water birds and waders, including White-tufted Grebe, Puna Ibis, Puna Teal, Yellow-billed Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Plumbeous Rail, and Andean Lapwing. In addition, there are usually a few boreal shorebird non-breeders or migrants (quite a few later in the season).

The extensive rush beds shelter Cinereous Harriers, Yellow-winged Blackbirds, Wren-like Rushbirds, and the beautiful Many-coloured Rush- Tyrant, and the scrubby slopes are home to a number of land birds, including Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Giant Hummingbird (at nine inches, the largest-bodied of the hummers). Streak-fronted Thornbird, large flocks of Greenish Yellow-Finches (usually). Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches, Band-tailed Seedeaters, and the endemic Rusty-fronted Canastero. Another Peruvian endemic, the spectacular Bearded Mountaineer, feeds at the tubular yellow flowers of the wild Tree Tobacco that grows in the outwash plains near the lakes.

Hanging above the slopes on occasion are Black Chested Buzzard-Eagles, and down them hurtle Aplomado Falcons in pursuit of some unsuspecting dove.

More about Cusco

User Reviews & Comments

  • Marina
    5 out of 5

    A relaxed day of birding with Luis. We saw a lot of waterbirds and hummingbirds. Really nice. Luis had good equipment and after huarcapay lake we visited an archelogical site where we saw the endemic hummingbird. Because of the rain we could not go up the mountain but visited a beautifull campsite full of hummingbirds. Amazing! Thanks Luis for a great day birding.

    10 February, 2020


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More about this tour

Travel less than an hour from Cusco to get close to high-elevation aquatic birds. A RAMSAR site that offers great opportunities for bird observation and photography.  Enjoy those beautiful wetlands view of pre-Inca ruins, a variety of birds and even migrants can be seen during activities.

  1. The  Huacarpay Lagoon is a wetland that is one of the birder's favorite sites around Cusco,  where you can find many more details.
  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of Cusco and Machupicchu which is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world and also a great location for watching birds in the south of Peru.
  3. Find the Bird List of Huacarpay lagoon via Ebird HERE


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Huacarpay Lake- Half Day - Birdwatching Tours from Cusco

80$ per person
1/2 Day

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