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Titicaca or not 2 Titicaca (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
My sisters and I (tres hermanas) are planning a Peru birding trip Fall 2009 and are debating a side trip to Lake Titicaca. Our primary mission is birding for which we will have 3-4 weeks. So, the question is, given the time, would it be worth flying to Puna from Cuzco? Other than the Titicaca grebe, are there many birds there that can't be found farther north?

Thanks in advance!

Birding Peru

Well-known member
First of all you must realize that Peru is a big country with too many birds and birding areas to make it possible to do it all in just one trip. If your trip is going to Cusco anyway, Puno is close by to include in a trip.
However, in reality there are few birds in the immediate area of Puno that you can not get in Cusco. It is nevertheless a beautiful area and of course worth the trip therefore. I would take the tourist bus there or arrange for private overland transport. That way you can visit many interesting cultural sites en route. The bus-service includes a lunch and a cultural guide and many interesting stops (for culture - not birds). If you have private transport you could easily start birding at Huacarpay near Cusco and still be in Puno in the afternoon.
Titicaca Grebe is quite easily seen in Chiguata just SE of Puno and there is a very good hotel here. From Puno there is a good road over desolate puna (with chance of seeing Puna Rhea on the way) to Moquegua. There is also a very good road straight to Arequipa.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you need more info - or any services.

Gunnar Engblom

Kolibri Expeditions


Well-known member
Thanks Gunnar, that helps. And yes, Peru is huge! We spent 3 week in Ecuador last year, all in the north and east. Fantastic, with many different ecosystems in fairly close proximity. Given the time, we have pretty much put northern Peru off for another trip. Oh, and yes I am following parrallel thread about Manu and Tambopata... we too are undecided.

Will likely rent a car in Cuzco for trips around that area, maybe head to Puno because, as Gunnar says, it is worth seeing. I'm wondering about a circle (triangle?) route from Puno toward Moquesegua, then east on the 348 road to Desaquadero and back north to Puno. On my map it shows a large unnamed swamp about half way between Puno and Moquegeua, near Abra Chojaquirani. Does anyone know anything about this area? Is it drained and farmed (i.e. fiction)?

Birding Peru

Well-known member

I recently did a much too short trip from Puno to Moquegua in one day. Part of idea was to try to look for Puna Rhea south of Mazo Cruz, which you can find on your map. However the birding from Ilave to Conduriri was quite good so we arrived to Mazo Cruz quite late and the continuing road towards Capazo was in very bad condition. It is along this latter road where one would have a decent chance of finding the Rhea in the wild. There is a captive breeding center in this area. The personel of the same knows where to find wild ones.

So if you want to make a triangle a more reasonable one may be to do Ilave-Mazo Cruz -Desaguadero-Chuquito...and then the following day do either your route (the route is not so good I understand - but have not done it in years - and have no information regarding the wetland you see on your map) or do the the same Mazo Cruz route with stops at the lakes en route. These lakes did not have more than Chilean Flamingo when I visited, and do not seem to be able to replace Laguna Salinas above Arequipa to clean up on the flamingos.

Down on the coast there some wetlands that should not be missed. The wetlands at Ite (I have not yet visited myself but they are supposed to be outstanding) and Mejia lagoon further north. WHile your in that general area, you could do some serious scouting to try to find Chilean on the Peruvian side of the border, or much easier - but still not easy on the Chilean side near Arica.

Finish in Arequipa and make sure you visit Laguna Salinas and the polylepis scrub above the village of Chiguata.


Gunnar Engblom
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