Birdwatching in Colombia is the most interesting for enthusiastic birdwatchers. It’s home to over 1,800 bird species or nearly 20 % of all bird species on Earth. The flora is typical of cloud forests, with wax palms, the trumpet tree, orchids and bromelias. Today, Colombia has over 100 Important Bird Areas including Chocó, Valle del Cauca, the Amazon, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the coffee zone, and the Eastern Plains.
On this birdwatching tour to Colombia, you will travel to the Central Andes (Río Blanco, Los Nevados and Otún-Quimbaya), where Antpittas, Tapaculos and mountain birds rule in the coffee-heart of Colombia. Next fly to Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Minca and San Lorenzo) in the North, where birding is on the tallest coastal mountain on earth. Further, the peninsula of La Guajira is where about 170 bird species can be seen, such as the Pileated Finch, Buffy Hummingbird and Vermilion Cardinal.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 16-DAY COLOMBIA BIRDWATCHING TOUR…
And, relax on the white sand beaches along the Pacific Coast.
Start in Río Blanco, designated as an Hydro-graphic and Forest Reserve, it has a tremendous bird activity and birding starts right at your cabin lodging. Starting with about 20 species of hummers, you can view in the nearby forests, the shy antpittas, Rusty-faced Parrots, Parakeets, Mountain-Toucans, and Masked Saltator.
The highlands are great for viewing the Mountain-Tanager, Cinclodes, Cotinga, and Antpittas that love hopping on top of dead Frailejón stumps in response to playback. And, you can get magnificent views of Andean Condors (Colombia´s national bird) soaring over astonishing mountainous landscapes.
The Otún-Quimbaya, a Flora and Fauna Sanctuary hold a wealth avifauna. Here you can have magnificent close-up views of endemic Cauca Guans and striking Red-ruffed Fruitcrows. Exploring the sanctuary trails, you can see Torrent Ducks in the crystalline waters of the Ucumarí River, and in the nearby grounds, a Multicolored Tanager.
Next fly to Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Minca and San Lorenzo). The Minca Mountains feature the largest number of endemic birds in Colombia and hosts North American and Canadian migratory birds. Due to the area’s unique geographical isolation, many species can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
The Tayrona National Park is located only a few kilometres from Santa Marta. You can reach bays, unspoilt beaches, coral barriers, lush vegetation, mangroves and mountains. The peninsula of La Guajira is the northernmost land of Colombia and of South America, where about 176 bird species can be seen, among which the Pileated Finch, the Buffy Hummingbird and the Vermilion Cardinal.
Colombia’s biggest international airport is Bogatá’s Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado. Direct services from Europe to Bogotá are offered by Iberia (Madrid and Barcelona), Air France/KLM (Paris), Avianca (Barcelona and Paris) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt). Avianca also operates flights from Madrid to Cali and Medellín. In South and Central America, Lan links Bogotá with major Latin American cities.
By boat from Brazil, Peru and Panama: From the Amazon region it’s possible to cross to or from Colombia into Manaus, Brazil, and Iquitos, Peru, by taking a riverboat.
Central Andes and the Caribbean Region
(16 Day – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Bogotá On arrival at El Dorado airport in Bogotá you will be met by our representative and take a private transfer to your hotel of your choice.
Overnight at Hotel de la Opera
Day 2 – Transfer
Manizales Private transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Manizales.
On arrival, private transfer to Reserva Ecológica Río Blanco and stay one-night.
Overnight in a simple “vivero” or lodge (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Birdwatching - Río Blanco Lowlands
Manizales The Río Blanco municipal reserve is a few kilometres from Manizales and is part of the western side of the Andean mountain range. This cloud forest is considered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as Colombia’s best place for birdwatching. Here you can see the greatest variety of hummingbirds around feeders, 334 bird species of which, 13 are endemic, 29 are migratory, 14 are in peril of extinction, some are ornithological specialties such as the Brown-banded Antpitta and the Mask saltator and a must see is the yearly migration of birds of prey. There are also about 350 mammal species, diurnal butterflies and orchid species.
Overnight in “vivero” or lodge (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Birdwatching - Río Blanco Midlands
Manizales Due to Río Blanco’s size and diversity in height (2.200 to 3.800 m), there are three areas to visit according to elevation. In the midlands, you can observe about 100 more species, among which the Black-thighed Puffleg.
Overnight in “vivero” or lodge (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Birdwatching - Río Blanco Highlands
Manizales In the highest part of the reserve, after a one tour car trip, more typical species of the “páramos”, such as the Andean Lapwing and the Páramo tapaculo, among others, can be seen.
Overnight in “vivero” or lodge (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Transfer
Parque Nacional Los Nevados Private transfer to Los Nevados National Park. Located only 52 km from Manizales, it has perennial snows on the highlands. The park has three different eco-systems and there are about 40 species to be seen here, including the Rufousfronted Parakeet, the Tawny Antpitta, the Bearded Helmetcrest, the Black-backed Bush-Tanager and the Golden-crowned Tanager.
Overnight in Centro de Visitantes El Cisne (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Birdwatching
Santuario deFlora y Fauna Morning devoted to birding in Ecoparque Los Alcázares, near Manizales, which marks the start of the coffee growing region ecosystem and where you can observe some 100 species among which the Redheaded Barbet and the Great Antshrike.
Afternoon transfer to the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Otún Quimbaya created to protect the biodiversity of the pre Andean rain forest whose lakes, waterfalls and rivers make the perfect habitat for numerous bird species, tapirs of the “páramos”, howler monkeys, spectacled bears, tour circuits insects and about 200 butterfly species.
Overnight in Santuario de Flora y Fauna Otún Quimbaya (B, D)
Day 8 – Birdwatching & Transfer
El Cairo Morning for birding in the western forests of Risaralda where the Multicolored Tanager, the Cauca Guan, the Torrent Duck, the Red-ruffed Fruitcrow and the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock can be sighted.
Afternoon transfer to El Cairo in the Valle del Cauca department, three hours from Pereira. El Cairo municipality borders with the highlands of the Chocó department which offers a wonderful view of Cerro El Torrá and the plains of El Chocó.
Overnight in Reserva El Cairo (B, D)
Day 9 – Birdwatching & Transfer
Minca Morning birdwatching in Reserva Natural Cerro del Inglés, a place of invaluable biological importance, and entry to the Chocó where humid rain forests offer a biodiversity of orchids, exotic plants and birds. Over 120 species can be observed including the Gold-ringed Tanager, the Blackand-gold Tanager, the Glistening-green Tanager and the Black-chested Fruiteater are worth mentioning.
Afternoon transfer to the airport for flight to Santa Marta. Private transfer to Minca, a picturesque village 20 minutes from Santa Marta on the road that leads to the Sierra Nevada de Santa
Marta. Located in an area of humid rainforest, it is a perfect habitat for numerous bird species.
Overnight in Hotel Minca (B, D)
Day 10 – Birdwatcher’s Paradise
Minca Minca and the surrounding mountains are a birdwatcher’s paradise.
The Minca Mountains feature the largest number of endemic birds in Colombia and hosts north American and Canadian migratory birds. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has about the same number of bird varieties as the whole North American continent: there are 628 known birds and over 70 migratory species that fly from the United States and Canada. Due to the area’s unique geographical isolation, many species can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Overnight in Hotel Minca (B, L, D)
Days 11 & 12 – Ecological Reserve
San Lorenzo The Cuchilla de San Lorenzo extends from the town of Minca through a wide coffee plantation area to the confines of the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada. It is considered one of the world’s main ecologic reserves and rare birds, as well as 15 endemic species such as the Myiotheretes pernix, Pyrrhurra Viridicata and Anthocephala floriceps, can be seen here.
Overnight in San Lorenzo (B, L, D)
Day 13 – Birdwatching - Tayrona National Park
La Guajira Morning for bird watching in Tayrona National Park. The park is located on Colombia’s northern Atlantic coast and a few kilometres from Santa Marta. It covers 15,000 hectares of which 12,000 are on land and 3,000 are maritime. From the main entrance is at El Zaino, 34 kilometres from Santa Marta, you can reach bays, unspoilt beaches, coral barriers, lush vegetation, mangroves and mountains.
Numerous species inhabit the park: over 100 mammals, 3.760 birds and numerous reptiles. Afternoon departure to the desert-like area of La Guajira.
Overnight in Hotel Arimaca (B, D)
Days 14 & 15 – Birdwatching Tour
La Guajira The peninsula of La Guajira is the northernmost land of Colombia and of South America. It borders with the Caribbean Sea in the north and Venezuela to the east. About 176 species can be seen here, among which the Pileated Finch, the Buffy Hummingbird and the Vermilion Cardinal.
Overnight in Hotel Arimaca (B, L, D)
Day 16 – Depart
Bogotá Morning for birding of marine birds of which the main target is the Lepidopyga Lilliae. Afternoon transfer to Santa Marta Airport and departure by flight to Bogotá. Arrival, private transfer to your hotel.
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
Overview Most of Columbia is an unknown territory and some of the Columbians. Although there is mist and mystery about Columbia, it is without a doubt, a dramatically beautiful country with diverse terrain and weather. It is the only country in South America to border the Pacific and the Caribbean, Colombia offers a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest near Leticia to the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia.
Where to go Colombia’s three major cities; Bogotá, Medellín and Cali are cosmopolitan in nature, with a vibrant cultural scene and festive nightlife. But it is the small towns scattered throughout the country that are more interesting. Colombia’s coffee-growing region, the Zona Cafetera, offers breathtaking walks in the foothills where the bean is grown, accommodation in authentic fincas (coffee farms) and excellent trekking.
In the West, the Andes Mountains extend into the country in three ranges running north-south. In the southeast are the grassy prairies, the jungles and the rainforests of the Amazon. The country’s jungles also hide wondrous archaeological treasures, like the ancient city of La Cuida Perdida and the monuments, tombs and burial mounds at San Augustin and Tierrodentro.
In the centre of the country lies its capital Bogotá; the city blends Colombian tradition with Spanish colonial influences. A major drawcard for tourists is the Spanish colonial port of Cartagena with its spectacular walled old town, a medieval wonderland of palaces, monasteries, plazas and overhanging balconies. Historical landmarks include the Capitol Municipal Palace and the Plaza Bolivar cathedral; Santa Marta’s modern hotels and white beaches. The two are also great bases for a five-day trek to the archaeological ruins of La Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City.
Almost un-Colombian in their feel, the remote Caribbean islands of San Andrés and Providencia both offer great diving, crystal-clear waters and – particularly in Providencia’s case – a unique Raizal culture.
When to go December through March is Colombia’s high season with plenty of sunny days; ideal for exploring the country’s charming towns and cities, the coffee district, and relaxing on the beach. April brings sporadic rain but persistent rainfall is very unusual. Remember, Easter is a popular time for regional tourism.
July and August brings a short dry season and a good time to visit Colombia. September onwards, tourism begins to decline but it can still be a good time to visit as dry weather can still be enjoyed, and the advantage of off-peak travel should not be overlooked.
Visas British nationals can enter Colombia for up to 90 days as a visitor without a visa at the discretion of the Colombian Immigration Officer on arrival. You may need to provide evidence of return or onward travel. Check the latest entry requirements with the Colombian Consulate General in London before you travel.
If you enter Colombia by land from either Ecuador or Venezuela, make sure you have your passport stamped by the immigration authorities. Failure to do so may result in a fine on departure. If the immigration office on the border is closed, seek help at the nearest office of Migración Colombia.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Colombia.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk