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4 Day Peruvian Amazon Birdwatching Safari in San Juan de Yanayacu, Loreto

Muyuna Amazon Lodge, San Juan de Yanayacu, Peru

Amazing Birding Safari in Peru

The Peruvian Amazon supports over 2,000 species of birds, excluding the 250 or so aquatic species. This amount is almost a quarter of the world’s total. Although this is a great number, it increases seasonally with migrant birds from Patagonia or North America. This is why Muyuna Amazon Lodge thought it was necessary to give it the importance it deserves, with a special program through which you can watch birds and learn their customs, told by expert guides in the area. Birds lovers will not find another paradise in the whole world like this one.

Key information

  • Minimum group size: 1 person
  • Starting point and ending point: Iquitos

Highlights

  • Night and day expeditions to look for animals
  • Expert bilingual naturalist guides with small groups
  • Visit a small and remote local village to see the lifestyle of the jungle people
  • Transfer from Iquitos to Muyuna Lodge on the Amazon River and back
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in a buffet style
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Bottled water

Styles


4 activity days
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Terrace
  • Medical assistance
  • Tour assistance

You will be accommodated at Muyuna Amazon Lodge, in the village of San Juan de Yanayacu, about three hours (140 kilometers) from Iquitos. Muyuna was designed and built by people from the community of San Juan de Yanayacu, keeping a strict relation to the architecture.

Since the level of the Amazon and its tributaries can vary a few feet, Muyuna is constructed on stilts. The rooms are fresh and have hermetically protected mesh screens on the windows and roof. There is a large dining room for socializing and hammocks to enjoy your leisure time.

Muyuna Lodge is a small and intimate lodge. Distribution is done according to what the customer needs (single bungalows, double or matrimonial bungalows, family bungalows, etc.). In addition, each cottage has a full en-suite and modern bathroom. All rooms have a terrace with hammock overlooking the forest or the river where you can see, for example, dolphins swimming during the flood season. You can be pleased by colorful sunsets and by the deafening silence of the rain forest at night.

There is no electricity in the lodge, and lamps give a magical touch to the tropical night. The hallways are also lit. Due to the low population density in the area, there are no antennas, therefore no cell signals. Muyuna Amazon Lodge are in constant communication with the Iquitos office by radio. In the afternoon, using a small generator, they can charge the batteries of cameras and laptops.

Muyuna employs residents of San Juan de Yanayacu, besides having strong ties with the community, giving a much-needed financial support. Muyuna and their activities are done in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The residents grew by having the forest as their habitat, not fashion, electricity, Internet, or luxuries. Their intention is not to change their habits, so when, during the excursions, you go to the village, the visit is very spontaneous.

Muyuna Lodge is not a resort. The bungalows are basic but comfortable and clean. There is no electricity, no internet, no cell signal, no newspapers. What they try to do is preserve the natural environment.

Program

Even a non-ornithologist wants to see toucans, macaws, and parrots, and this can be a reality around Muyuna Lodge. But, if you are truly a birdwatcher, surely you want to see other species. Your guides will help you identify the different species of birds by their coloring and behaviors. As part of its service, Muyuna offers morning, day, and night excursions to observe birds. This will allow you to watch many rare species of the Peruvian Amazon.

If you want to learn something of the varieties and their behaviors, here is a little theory: near Muyuna, you can see the hyacinth macaw (Ara hyacinthus) that uses its powerful curved bill to break hard nuts and seeds. It is the finest and rarest species of the parrot family. Macaws are widely distributed and, fortunately, still quite common. Your guides will help you identify the different species by their coloring.

The main food of the toucans is fruits. Their long bill is ideal to reach figs and berries at the ends of thin branches. They prey on small animals and even eggs and nestlings of other birds. The white-throated toucan’s frog-like croak is one of the ways to avoid confusion with the nearly identical yellow-ridged toucan which has a polysyllabic yelp. The guides are able to point out the difference.

Hummingbirds can move their wings up to eighty beats per second. With so much energy, they need to eat every two hours. They can be seen near the heliconia flower. Harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is the world’s most powerful bird of prey. They are the major predators of monkeys and sloths. Other raptors are eagles, hawks, kites, falcons, and owls. It is very common to see the black collared hawk.

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is known as the "prehistoric bird". It is similar to archoeopterix, a bird which is now extinct but very interesting. It is believed that the animal was in transition between dinosaurs and birds. The hoatzin, like the archoeopterix, has three claws on the middle joints of the wings.

The loud calls of the oropendolas make them hard not to notice, also because they have chosen one tree of the Muyuna Lodge to put their nests in. During the nocturnal excursions, it is easy to see several owls (strigidae, otus choliba), nighthawks (caprimulgidae), the potoos (nyctibius spp), nightjars that have loud calls, pauraque (nyctidromus albicollis), and sand-coloured nigththawk (chordeiles rupestris). These birds roost on riversides at night and are easily picked out by their eye-shine reflected in the torchlight.

There are many other species missing. However, without a doubt, the most important is the wattled curassow. Your guides will explain why it is an emblematic bird and necessary to add to your list.

Muyuna offers morning, day, and night birdwatching excursions. This will allow you to watch the most exotic species of the Peruvian Amazon fauna. In the company of your bird specialist naturalist guides, you will visit different habitats (varzea and terra firme rain forests and islands), so the birding tour of Muyuna Lodge is the most complete in the entire Amazon River.

Day 1: Airport or hotel - Muyuna Amazon Lodge

You will be transferred from the airport or your hotel to the port to go to the lodge. In the harbor, your speed boats will be waiting for you, ready to travel for three hours upriver on the Amazon. Arriving at the lodge, the Muyuna staff will welcome you. After setting in your bungalow, you will have lunch. To get used to the place, you will take a short walk through the surroundings to identify the flora that the birds are looking for (for example, it is easy to see the hummingbirds around the heliconia flower).

  • Meals: Lunch and dinner

Day 2: Rain forest expedition

Very early in the morning, you will take an expedition into the remote rain forest to see the Piurí (wattled curassow / Crax globulosa) which is a critically endangered bird restricted to western Amazonia and which can only be seen in Peru, at Muyuna Lodge.

In the afternoon, while you enjoy the greenest sunset of your life, take a boat ride along the Yanayacu River, looking for more different species of birds of the flat forest, such as parrots, macaws, jacanas, kingfishers, herons, seedeaters, flycatchers, antbirds, tinamus, doves, pigeons, screamers, muscovy ducks, cormorants, etc.

After dinner, the Amazon rain forest will surprise you again, showing you that it changes by night. You will have a nocturnal excursion to look for nocturnal birds while you listen to the deafening sound of silence. Pootos, pauraques, night herons, bats, owls, nocturnal hawks will accompany you.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Six-hour walk, Lake Corrientillo canoe ride

After breakfast, if your physical state is slightly strong and if water level permits it, you can take a long walk. You will walk behind Muyuna. The walk may last for six hours. On this path, the guide will explore the jungle with you, pointing out more birds and other kinds of wildlife, such as chachalacas, hummingbirds, cuckoos, nunbirds, woodpeckers, fruitcrows, tinamus, doves, pigeons.

Here, you are not only going to see birds, but also insects, tamarin, and squirrel monkeys, pygmy marmoset, colorful butterflies, and, if you are lucky, you may see an anaconda crossing your path.

In the afternoon, you will take the canoes on Corrientillo Lake, looking for different species of birds, such as the white throated toucan, yellow ridged toucan, ara caries (small toucans), egrets, herons, kingfishers, oropendolas, hoarned screamers, caciques, comorans, anhingas, vultures, antbirds, black collared hawks, antshrikes, antpitas, tapaculos, barbets, woodpeckers, togons, hummingbirds, etc. The guide will tell you about their behaviors and life. At night, you will take a night walk to see nocturnal birds.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Islands of the Amazon

Very early in the morning, you will visit the islands of the Amazon to see endemic birds like Parker´s spinetail, white-bellied spinetail, leaden antwren, and riverside tyrant, that live in the islands. Also, the festive parrot that lives in the varzea and along the rivers, olive-spotted hummingbird that is one specialized to live in the islands of the Amazon, little woodpecker, red and white spinetail, black-tailed antbird that is a rare species and not well known, black and white antbird are other species living in the area.

Later, you will be taken by motorboats to the other side of the Amazon River just to see how the difference of land can have different species of birds. The typical birds that can be seen in the high jungle are the cushuris (a type of duck), swallow fish, etc. As you are in the Amazon River, you will take this magical moment to see the pink Amazon River dolphins playing around your boat.

On the way back to the lodge, you will see the biggest aquatic plant in the whole world, the Victoria Regia. After lunch, your grateful bird watching trip will come to an end. You will sail about two hours back to Iquitos and then to the airport or your hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Note: Excursions are included in the price and you can make your own program. Once you're at Muyuna, you can coordinate the activities with the guide, but always dependent on weather and river level. What is done during the day tours is flexible and can change according to your preferences.

Location

This safari will take you to the Peruvian Amazon. The Peruvian Amazon supports over 2,000 species of birds, excluding the 250 or so aquatic species. This amount is almost a quarter of the world’s total (500 species in Europe and 700 in North America). Although this is a great number, it increases seasonally with migrant birds from Patagonia or North America.

The most important advantage of Muyuna is the strategic location. Muyuna is located up river, far away from Iquitos city, the capital of the Peruvian department of Loreto, very close to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

Features

Activities

  • Table tennis

General

  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Hammock
  • River
  • Terrace

Services

  • Free bottled water
  • Free toiletries
  • Medical assistance
  • Mosquito net
  • Tour assistance

Food

During your stay, you will be provided with lunch and dinner on the first day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner on days two and three, and breakfast and lunch on the fourth day. Meals are served in a buffet style. The menu is balanced between Peruvian and international food, so you can taste typical dishes in combination with mild flavors. They use small amounts of salt, sugar, and oil. If you are vegetarian or have restrictions on some foods, please let Muyuna Amazon Lodge know in advance. The meats they use are pork, beef, fish, and chicken.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Muyuna Amazon Lodge can also create special tours for groups with a particular interest for an extra fee (biologists, physicians, bird watchers, etc.).

What's included

  • Night and day expeditions to look for animals
  • Visit a small and remote local village to see how different a life style the jungle people have
  • Expert bilingual naturalist guides with small groups
  • A list of animals that have been in the area of Muyuna
  • Transfer from the airport to the port or hotel in Iquitos
  • Navigate from Iquitos to Muyuna Lodge on the Amazon River and back (140 kilometers, for about three hours)
  • Tents, mattresses, and everything you need in case you want to camp in the middle of the virgin forest
  • Batteries chargers for cameras, laptops, etc. at certain times
  • Fruit basket and coffee table at your disposal
  • First aid kit which includes serum against poisonous snakes (no worries, in 14 years they have not use one)
  • Monopoly, scrabble, chess, mini-soccer games, and a ping pong table
  • Biodegradable amenities like shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and liquid soap
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in a buffet style
  • Bottled water
  • 3 nights accommodation

What's not included

  • Airfare and airport taxes (however, they can help you organize the trip, planning the route, and buying the tickets)
  • Laundry (coordinate with the manager at the lodge)
  • Tips for baggage handlers
  • Tips for guide and staff members
  • Travel insurance or health insurance

How to get there

Arrival by ferry / boat

The tour to Muyuna Lodge departs from Iquitos at 9:30 a.m. every day and arrives at the lodge at about 12:30 p.m. The tour ends on the last day after lunch, arriving in Iquitos at about 4:00 p.m. so you will have time to get to the airport and take an afternoon flight. If your flights are not consistent with this schedule, they can adapt to your itinerary for an additional fee.

It's preferable to travel with the sunlight, so they don’t send boats from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Or, otherwise, you can stay overnight in Iquitos, which is worth it. There are many things to do, places to visit, and good food.

To your knowledge, global warming is also affecting the Amazon. In July, August and September, the dry season, the water level is so low that sometimes it´s necessary to walk a few minutes from the Amazon to Yanayacu River. Then a small boat waits for you to take you through the Yanayacu to Muyuna. The same applies when going back to Iquitos.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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