The Peruvian cloud forest is defined as forest at such an altitude that it’s penetrated by cloud cover. This creates an enchanting environment home to specific animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth. Located on the Peruvian Andes, here you can find one of Earth’s highest diversities of life. Enjoy a myriad of hummingbirds, butterflies, epiphytes, capuchin monkeys, spectacled bears, and many others, including the national bird of Peru. Because of its high levels of species and unique environment, the cloud forest should be on the list of every nature enthusiast and world traveler.
Our choice of a Cloud Forest Lodge in Peru is the Cock of the Rock Lodge, named after Peru’s national bird, which sits beside the highly diverse and world famous Manu National Park. The lodge is located right next to the display ground of one of the world’s most interesting birds, the brightly colored Cock of the Rock. These birds perform courtship dances in certain areas in the hopes of attracting and seducing a female. From the lodge, you will enjoy a guided tour to watch these birds and hear about their dances.
Located on a green eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes, enjoy tours from the Cock of the Rock Lodge to see different wildlife, such as the woolly monkeys, spectacled bears, hummingbirds, cock of the rocks, brown capuchin monkeys quetzals and more. Enjoy the trail circuit from the lodge leading you through fantastic stands of bamboo, near mountain streams, and through the forest or stay longer to enjoy the more extensive trail network to really explore this fascinating area.
The Cock of the Rock Lodge helps protect a 5,060 hectare (12,500 acre) private cloud forest reserve and its wildlife while showing visitors this little known yet highly biodiverse area. The lodge is composed of 12 double-occupancy wooden bungalows with private bath facilities then a separate large dining room.
To get to the Cock of the Rock Lodge, enjoy a 165 km (102 mile) from Cusco to the Cock of the Rock Lodge through various habitats of the Peruvian Andes. You will enjoy many different stops to explore Andean towns and cloud forest areas. The lodge rate includes a transfer service both from your hotel in Cusco on the first day and back to your hotel on the last day, plus guided services, accommodation, and all meals. All the double-occupancy bungalows of the Cock of the Rock Lodge include hot showers, flush toilets, and overlook incredible cloud forest.
Cloud Forest Itinerary
The first day begins as an overland journey from your hotel in Cusco through the Andes to the edge of the Andean reaches of Manu National Park at the point where the Andes begins the transition to the lush Amazon Rainforest. The journey is part of the experience as we will cross a range of interesting environments and stop on the route to enjoy Andean towns. We first stop at a mountain wetland area to see fantastic migrant and local waterfowl before crossing two mountain ranges and descending into the Cusco valley.
This stage of the journey follows a highway as it plunges through rapidly changing environments to enjoy steep cliffs, waterfalls and gorges. After a picnic lunch, we will continue on through grasslands, stunted trees in elfin forests, and into the cloud forest of orchids, bromeliads, hanging epiphytes, monster begonias, and incredible birdlife. We will then arrive at the Cock of the Rock Lodge in the afternoon, which is one of the best times of the day to visit the Cock of the Rock lek and watching their fascinating courtship display.
Day two begins as you wake in your comfortable bungalow at the Cock of the Rock Lodge for a second chance to see the lek, which we can watch from the observation blind so to not disturb the birds. We will then explore along the road, which is one of the best places to see different birds, as in terms of wildlife watching they are the equivalent of the Amazon’s rivers, and then explore the forest trails. We will walk along the road to find different birds and hopefully catch sight of some capuchin or woolly monkeys.
We will then return to the Cock of the Rock Lodge for a delicious breakfast and exploration of the forest at the roadside of the lodge or the miles of trails that wind their way through the valley. This is a great place to see some high altitude bird species, as well as orchids, bromeliads, ferns, lichens, mosses, as well as capuchin monkeys and woolly monkeys. This is also where some of the most colorful birds live of the cloud forest environment, such as blue-crowned motmots, golden-headed quetzals, umbrella birds, gray-breasted mountain toucans, blue-banded toucanets, banded-tail fruit-eaters, red-crested cotingas, fruit-eating tanagers, and a variety of flycatchers.
The afternoon can then be spent relaxing at the lodge and your balcony, enjoying the dining hall viewing platform, or you can choose to walk the trail on the south side of the Kosñipata River.
The third day starts with an early breakfast and another walk to the cloud forest highway to see some cloud forest birds. We will also have another opportunity to see monkeys if we didn’t catch them the first time. We will now start our drive to Cusco and enjoy the surrounding landscape as it changes from one environment to another.