Dates & Prices
Dates: 15 – 30 October (plus 30 Oct – 2 Nov Macchu Picchu extension)
Price: £4,795 (Machu Picchu extension £1,095)
Single Room Supplement: £795 (Machu Picchu £100)
Deposit: £500 per person
Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, drinking water, domestic flights, ground & river transport, services of guides, printed & bound holiday report and a donation to Butterfly Conservation
Not Included: International flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items
Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to Butterfly Conservation
Leader(s): David Geale
Group Size: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 guests plus 1-2 leaders.
Grade: Gentle pace & easy walking. Ideally suited to photography
- A not to be missed opportunity to go butterflying with expert guide David Geale in the hotbed of butterfly biodiversity!
- Enjoy several hundred butterfly species and perhaps as many as 500, from the 2,500 known species in the part of Peru we’ll be exploring
- Staggering diversity of butterflies and other wildlife in one of the most bio diverse parts of the world!
- Potential thrill of helping to discover a species new to science!
- Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
- Improve your butterfly photography with hints & tips from David
- Optional extension to visit the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu
- Contribute to butterfly conservation
An exciting butterfly watching and photography expedition to the Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru, led by one of the best experts in the tropics!
David Geale has led nature (especially birdwatching) tours in the Neotropics since 2001, but began specializing in butterflies in 2011. Since that time he has become one of the most prolific photographers of wild butterflies in the Andean countries especially, where he has led more butterfly photography tours than anyone else over that time period.
Learning from local enthusiasts and through much experimentation, he has become recognized as an expert in various baiting techniques – which is the key to making butterflies accessible and cooperative for cameras!
Groups are always impressed with his helpfulness and knowledge in identifying the day’s butterflies during evening “ID sessions” and these have become a notable and popular fixture during his tours.
An exciting butterfly watching holiday in Peru, led by David Geale, one of the best butterfly and bird guides in the tropics!!
New for 2017! Join our exciting butterfly expedition to Peru with expert guide David Geale! Prepare to be beguiled by the sheer abundance of butterflies of every shape and colour you can imagine! The part of Peru we’ll explore has around 2,500 known species and we should see between 250 – 500 of those during our visit – bring plenty of memory cards for your camera!
Spanning habitats from the Amazonian lowland rainforest all the way up to the treeline high in the Andes, the Manu Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s greatest concentrations of biodiversity. Although best-known for its jaguars, tapirs, macaws, and cock-of-the-rocks, the sheer diversity of Manu’s butterflies is equally impressive: over 1300 species have so far been recorded at a single site in the lowlands (a world record!), while around 2250 species have been recorded in the Andes! On this tour we will get you close-up photo opportunities of as many of these beauties as we can, while enjoying the pristine surroundings in one of the world’s great national parks.
We’ll begin the tour by flying from Lima to the historical Andean town of Cusco, driving from there to the lush cloud forests along the famous Manu Road where we’ll spend our first four days in the field. Exploring different elevations along the low-traffic gravel road, we can expect a huge range of butterflies including up to a dozen Perisama numberwing species, a great variety of impressive firetip skippers (Pyrrhopygini), and even several swallowtails and morphos. At the upper elevations we can also expect an incredible diversity of satyrs (Satyrinae) and dartwhites (Catasticta), while the lower cloud forest often produces some exciting hairstreaks (possibly including Arcas imperialis and Lamasina ganimedes).
Our next destination will be truly out in the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest – the world’s hotbed of butterfly diversity! We’ll spend 5 nights at a very comfortable lodge while exploring the various forest types on an excellent network of trails. Right behind the lodge, there is a creek whose banks we will keep heavily baited and check every day for new visitors. We often attract multiple species of spectacular Caria metalmarks here, while a supporting cast of Pierids, Nymphalids, and Hesperids is sure to keep us busy. Out in the forest, we’ll look especially for mysterious metalmarks, many of hich try to escape our attention by perching underneath leaves, as is the habit of such genera as Eurybia, Euselasia, Nymphidium, and others. We’ll also visit a canopy tower perched in an impressive ceiba tree, from where we may find some canopy-dwelling hairstreaks and will certainly be able to appreciate the complex vertical layering of the rainforest. As well as all these butterflies, we may be distracted by several species of monkeys including wonderful Emperor Tamarins, and those interested can visit a forest-interior clay-lick at night in the hopes of seeing an elusive Brazilian Tapir. This same clay-lick by day is popular with butterflies of all stripes, especially including several flashy Prepona and Morpho species, and more glittering metalmarks. Sometime during our stay, we will spend time on river sandbars too, where we can hope to attract a few striking Baeotus along with clouds of sulphurs (several species) and a variety of pretty swallowtails (Heraclides, Neographium, and others).
Finally, it’s definitely worth butterflying at dawn and dusk, with several spectacular scarlet-eye skippers (Nascus, Bungalotis) possible and even the strange metalmark Eunogyra satyrus that displays in the forest understory at dusk. All in all, these should be very exciting days of butterflying, and it will be hard to get on the boat at the end of it – or it would be, if we weren’t heading for another great site!
Our final new site is a rustic but comfortable lodge back in the foothills of the Andes. We will again rely on our bait to pull in a great variety of butterflies including plenty of clearwings (Ithomiini) and longwings (including the genus Heliconius, famous for their complex mimicry patterns); this is also a relatively good site for the rarely-seen and spectacular Batesia hypochlora. There are a couple of excellent stream crossings where we hope to create puddle parties with several species of crescents (Melitaeini) and spurwings (Antigonus) among others. After two nights here, we’ll return to the Manu Road for another 3 days of spectacular butterflying – with over 2000 species recorded along the road, there will be lots more to find! We’ll return to Cusco for one night before completing the main tour by catching a flight back to Lima.
Those interested can join us to visit the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu instead of flying to Lima. Aside from the ruins themselves, which are usually considered one of the seven “wonders of the world,” there is a nice selection of butterflies to look for here. Notable are many poorly-known montane clearwing species (Ithomiini), Caligo placidianus (a giant owl-butterfly), and of course a selection of hairstreaks and even a few montane metalmarks. After two nights at Machu Picchu, we’ll return to Cusco for our final night before flying to Lima to complete the tour.
We hope to welcome you on what promises to be a truly memorable holiday!
Days 1-2 (15th & 16th October): Arrival in Lima, flight to Cusco & on to Manu. We’ll firstly meet in Lima. Then, after an early morning flight from Lima to Cusco, we’ll head straight down for the cloud forest. After driving through the high Andes for the morning (perhaps stopping for our first butterflies – Itylos, Junonia, Vanessa – on the way), we’ll enter Manu National Park in the afternoon. On our way down to San Pedro, we’ll look for our first cloud forest butterflies along the road.
Days 3-4 (17th & 18th October): Manu Road. The Manu Road is one of the world’s best butterflying roads. Travelling through beautiful Andean forest from the treeline to the lowlands, there’s no end to what we can expect here. Our base will be at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, perfectly placed at 1400 m. elevation near the middle of the road. There are plenty of species from all families, including genera such as Prepona, Adelpha, Memphis, Dalla, Anteros, and a variety of wonderful hairstreaks. We can also expect our first Morpho and Caligo species during these days.
Day 5 (19th October): Into the Lowlands. Today we’ll leave the cloud forest early – this will be our longest travel day of the trip as we drive 2 hours and then enjoy a relaxing 7 hour boat trip. But we will be back on the Manu Road later in the trip! Along the boat ride, we’ll look for puddle parties on the river beaches and make stops where appropriate. These impressive gatherings often include a few swallowtail species as well as many sulphurs and whites – Neographium, Phoebis, and even Baeotus may be among our finds. Late in the day, we’ll arrive at Manu Wildlife Centre, our base for the next 4 days of lowland butterflying.
Day 6-9 (2oth – 23rd October): Manu Wildlife Centre. MWC is a world-class jungle lodge, and we’ll have four full days to explore the area. The river beach and a stream behind our cabins are great butterfly magnets, and we can hope for congregations including 3 species of sparkling Caria, many Marpesia daggerwings, Doxocopa, and several surprising skippers. Of course, many of the most unusual butterflies are found inside the pristine rainforest, and we’ll explore the trails looking for Euselasia, Eurybia, many species of glasswings, Morpho, Catoblepia, Cithaerias, Pierella, and countless others. We’re likely to have photographed at least a couple hundred species at MWC alone by the time we leave!
Day 10 (24th October): Back to the Foothills. Today we’ll reluctantly board our boat for a ride back towards the Andes, heading for Amazonia Lodge in the foothills. We will have the option of spending more time at MWC in the morning, at river beaches along the boat trip, or at Amazonia Lodge in the afternoon.
Day 11 (25th October): Amazonia Lodge. We’ll have a full day around Amazonia Lodge; the habitat here is different from MWC and we can expect a different set of species. There are several good trails with frequent light gaps and stream crossings, and these are often very productive for butterflies. We hope to find some nice crescents here (especially Eresia species), as well as Heliconius longwings, and a seemingly endless variety of colourful skippers including several Astraptes flashers. We’ll also enjoy the rustic but friendly and comfortable lodgings here, especially the open porch in the evening.
Day 12 (26th October): Up into the Andes. We have just 3 hours of travelling today, so we can spend most of the day at Amazonia Lodge if we wish. By the end of the day, we’ll be back at Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, our home on the Manu Road.
Days 13-14 (27th – 28th October): Manu Road revisited. We’ll have two more full days on the Manu Road – this is a good idea as these cloud forest areas are among the world’s wettest areas and we can expect some rain. There is sure to be more to look for; see the summary of days 2 and 3 for what we can expect.
Day 15 (29th October): Back to Cusco. Today will be our best chance to spend the late morning and middle of the day at higher elevations, looking for some unusual satyrs including Pedaliodes, Lymanopoda, Manerebia, and others – if we’re lucky, we may even find a stunning Junea! In the afternoon, we’ll return to Cusco and settle in to a comfortable hotel for the night.
Day 16 (30th October): Machu Picchu Extension Begins. Those concluding the tour will fly to Lima (and beyond) today, while the rest will continue with a train ride to Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the spectacular Inca Ruins after settling into our hotel.
Day 17 (31st October): Machu Picchu Butterflies. This morning we’ll have a look around for butterflies, especially concentrating on the railroad tracks below town. We can expect some interesting glasswings including Pteronymia and Oleria species, as well as Perisama numberwings, and others.
Day 18 (1st November): Back to Cusco, again. Today we’ll catch the train back to Cusco and settle in for our final night in Peru.
Day 19 (2nd November): Flights. The Machu Picchu Extension will conclude today with a flight to Lima for your international connections and journey home.
New holiday for 2016 so testimonials will follow later
New holiday for 2016 so reports will follow later