With an early start, there are several doable bird-watching day trips from Lima. Pantanos de Villa is a 396-hectare, protected marsh within the Lima city limits. Here, you can see over 130 coastal marsh species, and the area is accessible by public transportation.
For guaranteed sightings of the Humboldt penguin, your best option is the Pucusana fishing village. Public transportation also covers this route.
An absolutely excellent bird-watching guide and source is Princeton-trained biologist Thomas Valque’s Where to Watch Birds in Peru, available through the American Audubon Society or www.granperu.com/birdwatchingbook. PromPeru’s website (www.perubirdingroutes.com) is also chock-full of good information.
To make your trip more efficient and learn more, you’ll probably want to contact a guide. Thomas Valque’s company Gran Perú (tel. 01/344-1701, www.granperu.com) leads a variety of scheduled tours, and can also coordinate day and private trips.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition