Chonta Andean Condor Watching
Chonta Condor Watching
Chonta Condor Watching–When you’re in Cusco, you can’t miss a trip to Apurimac Canyon, a stunning natural wonder that’s twice as deep as the USA’s Grand Canyon and a perfect place to spot Andean Condors with our naturalist Leader. This overnight trip is a great way to get there and experience southern Peru’s beautiful highland landscapes, typical villages, and wildlife. En route we’ll visit the intriguing & little known Inka Sites of Killarumiyoq (Moon Temple) and Tarawasi. Then we’ll get an innocent community “Chonta” located on a hilltop, surrounded by spectacular vistas around (deep valleys, snow-capped mountains like Salkantay). A perfect village to immerse in their daily life, where we’ll have a chance to interact with locals, that way to understand about their culture, food, religion, language, economy, etc. At this highland plain, we’ll set up our tents, then at night, we’ll have an amazing sky view with clear milky way, the perfect place to shoot some sky photos. And to crown your tour, admire the spectacular Andean Condors soaring in their natural habitat.
Duration: 2 Days / 1 Night
Physical Rating: 2 – Easy, Light, Nothing too Challenging. Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea, river, lake kayaking.
Service Level: Upgraded
Group Size: Small Private Group. Small group experience, Min 02 – Max 08, Avg 04.
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Day 01. Cusco – Killarumiyoq – Tarawasi – Chonta Village
Our excitement mounts as we board our private van for the three hours long drive to the trailhead and the camp site Chonta Village (11,808 feet). En route we’ll stop at the less known Incan ruins of Killarumiyoq, and Tarawasi led by our Leader. When we get the valley of Limatambo, we’ll continue driving up through switchback road to get the camp site. Just near it’s located the highland village of Chonta, that afternoon will immerse into this typical highland village, a perfect place to learn about the life of Andean Quechua people, as we live for a while doing things what they like to do, that way to engage completely with them, and having a memorable experience. At night the sky will sparkle right above us, letting us to shoot awesome night pictures of the milky way. All meals included.
Day 02. Chonta Village – Condor Sighting – Cusco
Today’s breakfast makes us ready for the Condor safari adventure in the very deep canyon of Apurimac, After having breakfast we’ll hike for about one and a half hours to get the lookout points, on the way we can see some highland birds, like Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Finch, Creamy-crested Spinetail, Rusty-fronted Canastero, Unstreaked Tit-Tyrant, Chestnut-breasted Mountain-Tanager, and many other species. When we arrive at the lookout point, we’ll have a stunning view of the deep Apurimac Canyon, and the roaring river of the same name flowing through. After mid-day, the condors will start to treat us with their flights coming up from the bottom of the canyon right above us, where they’ll be making a nice show for us, a perfect time to shoot national geographic type photos.
We shall stay at this marvelous spot for 2-3 hours in order to keep enjoying their flights and wait for more condors soaring upwards, being transported by thermal winds. The majestic Andean condor (vulture gryphus) may reach up to 26,247 feet in height and in Andean cosmology, he is believed to transport the souls of the departed into the spirit realms. It is on the sheer cliffs further down near the river where the condors nest and roost are. To watch this beautiful bird with a wing span of up to 10,49 feet soaring to the backdrop of the breath taking canyon is an experience that may deeply touch you. In the early afternoon, we start our hike back to Chonta and drive back to Cusco arriving there around 7 pm. All meals included, except for the last dinner.
Note on Itinerary
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
– Round trip private van.
– First aid-kit.
– Meals: All meals included with an option for vegetarians, gluten-free, lactose-free, etc.
– Entrance fee to the park.
– Camping Equipment Black Diamond 4 season tent (04 people tent for 02 people).
– Other camping equipment, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a kitchen tent, manned by a professional cooking staff.
– Tour Leader (Local naturalist).
– A professional Quechua chef who grew up in the countryside.
– Sleeping pad (Therma-Rest mattresses) and pillow.
– Outdoor toilet tents with chemical toilets at our campsites.
What’s Not Included
– Extra expenditure during the tour, such as bottle water, soda, alcoholic drinks, extra snacks.
– Sleeping bags, you might get them rented from us US$ 5 per day.
– Travel Insurance.
– Travel and health insurance (bring copies with you please), we highly recommend to get an insurance of trip cancellation, interruption; an insurance to protect your travel investment, Included with your pre-departure package, bring your travel insurance to cover trip cancellation, interruption, baggage loss and delay, emergency medical evacuation insurance and emergency medical expense insurance. Any unexpected situations occurred during the journey and which are beyond our control, including changes in scheduling trains or flights, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, etc. it should be covered by the passenger as a whole. Also, if you for physical reasons of health cannot continue the trek or walk, and will need emergency evacuation then all charges incurred such as transportation, hotel, ambulance, doctors, medication, hospitalization, etc. will be at passenger’s expense.
– International or internal airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Detailed Itinerary, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Chonta Camp Site
We make hiking and camping in the Andes as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of Trek Leaders, and all your gear is carried for you, leaving you free to hike with just a light daypack to hold your camera, water bottle, jacket, etc. Our camp amenities include a dining tent with a dining table, chairs with backs, camp meals prepared by our highly trained staff, toilet tents with chemical toilets. Our camp crew takes care of all camp chores, including bringing tea or coffee to your tent each morning and providing beautiful picnic lunches each day at a scenic spot along the trail. Accommodations are in sturdy mountain-four season tents, mountain-four season sleeping pads, pillows. Our camps are operated to the highest environmental standards. Most trip members bring their own sleeping bag, but we can arrange for you to rent them in Cusco at our office if you prefer.
Tents: Black Diamond tents. Our tents are 4 season and roomy, high-quality 4-person mountain tents (used for only two people) and 2-person tents (used for singles).
Sleeping Pads. Therma-rest 4 season. Our Sleeping pads are confortable and high-quality mountain type.
From USD 350.00 Per Person
Prices are quoted in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars.
To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are tier priced according to the number of full-paying participants on the trip.
All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. If you are willing to share accommodations, we will match you with a roommate if one is available. If we cannot match you with a roommate, the “forced single supplement” is listed if applicable.
Trip Payment Schedule.
– At the time of reservation: 50% of total balance.
– 90 days prior to departure: Balance should be paid fully, or once upon your arrival in Cusco the other 50% of final balance must be paid fully.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule.
– Minimum fee (Chonta Condor Safari permit fee): $100 per person
– 61-90 days prior to departure: 30% of trip cost
– 46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
– 45 days or less: 100% of trip cost
Meet Our Fabulous Leaders
A professional Crocotrail Travel Tour Leader with a deep knowledge of the destination and a focus on customer service makes all the difference. Our leaders are experts in Inca history, nature, birding, gastronomy, local language, etc, with a profound connection to Peru’s fascinating traditional culture. They take care of all the details so that you can savor the experiences of the trip. And just as important, they have a remarkable gift for sharing their extensive knowledge and favorite places. Our Tour Leaders have the warmth, endless energy, and that special “it” factor that transforms a trip into an unforgettable journey.
Make the most of Peru’s natural beauty with outdoor picnics on each adventure tour, and Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine in each tour destinations and outdoor tours. So food is awesome!
Our chefs are to Food what Leonardo da Vinci is to Art, so we rely on really experienced Quechua chefs who were trained and chosen to make this food in the mountains, and they are our stars.
You’ll be surprised and delighted at the variety and quality of our on-the-trail cuisine, a blend of freshly made Peruvian & Fusion dishes with vegetarian options. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in our enclosed dining tent, complete with table and chairs. Each morning, you’ll wake up to hot coffee, cocoa, and a choice of teas brought right to your tent. This is followed by a freshly prepared breakfast of eggs, pancakes, fruit salad, Quinua porridge, fresh juice, French toast, or oatmeal. As you start the day’s hike, we provide tasty trail snacks including fresh fruit and chocolate.
Lunches consist of a wide variety of dishes, depending on the day, including delicious roast guinea pig (a local delicacy dish), beef, chicken, fish, pasta salads, soup, casseroles, and other offerings, or surprises with appetizers and delicious desserts. They are served at a comfortable and scenic spot along the trail where our staff has set up tables and chairs, and quite often an open tent for shade. At each lunch stop, we set up our own private toilet tent and chemical toilet for minimal impact on the environment.
This trip is Level 2, Easy, Light, Nothing too Challenging. Most activity is between 1,640 and 10,500 feet. The maximum elevation we reach is 11,808 feet. Trails can be rugged, not the well-maintained trails you may be accustomed to in your country. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed. Our group will walk in group along the trail during the excursion for about one to three hours. On the trail, you will just carry your own daypack for the items that you want with you on the excursion, such as a water bottle, camera, and a jacket. Our extra gears are left in our van.
– Travel insurance (and some copies).
– Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us).
– Backpack to carry your things.
– Phone, power bank battery, camera charger and adapter.
– Torch or headlamps.
– Deet or mosquito repellent ( recommendable 30% DEET).
– Hiking poles ( or you can rent one pair from us).
– Rain gear (especially if traveling in the wet season, from October to March).
– Comfortable hiking clothes, including warm clothes for the nighttime.
– Good hiking boots with protector ankle or similar, and one pair of flip-flops or light sandals.
– Sunblock and sunglasses.
– Hiking long sleeve T-shirts.
– Hiking trousers.
– Ear Plugs.
– Thermal underwear.
– Hiking socks.
– Water bottle or canteen.
– American dollars and Peruvian soles in cash.
– Sun hat, cap, and warm hat and gloves for the nighttime.
– Toilet paper, and face tissue paper.
– Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen).
– Personal first-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may take).
– For more info you can visit Gear Lexicon https://www.alpineascents.com/pdf/gear-lexicon.pdf
When to Go
The Chonta Condor watching can be explored all year around except in late January and February, the rainiest months, when the trail is blocked and damaged sometimes by the rainfall. The trail reopens in March and April, when the rains lighten up and the mountains are still green. High season begins in May and extends through September, as these are the driest months. October through December are considered shoulder season, when occasional rain is possible, but keep in mind that the highlands of Peru are a temperate desert and it is not uncommon for it not to rain for weeks at a time even in the height of the rainy season. This is also the time with the fewest hikers on the trail, more flowers in bloom, and fewer tourists at Machu Picchu as well as in Cusco. Temperatures in the Cusco-Machu Picchu region range from the high 60s in the daytime to the low 40s at night, with some variation depending on the time of year you go.