Colombia Andes and Caribbean Coast Birding Tour | Uncover Colombia
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Diverse Bird Species

Discover Colombian birdlife and culture during this Colombia birding tour from the East and Central Andes to the Caribbean coast. Explore different ecosystems like wetlands, paramo, montane forest and mangroves while having the opportunity to spot the majestic Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), Bogota Rail (Rallus semiplumbeus), Chesnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus), Black-thighed puffleg (Eriocnemis derbyi), Golden-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera) and more. Along with visiting historic cities such as Bogota and Cartagena and real coffee plantation, you will travel to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This high coastal mountain range provides the chance to see the highest concentration of endemic birds in South America.


EXPERIENCE TYPE Birding, Eco-Tourism & Local Traditions

Colombia Birding Tour

Tour Highlights

Colombia Birding Tour La Florida Wetland

La Florida Regional Park

La Florida is a green heaven of nearly 200 acres inside the urban matrix of Bogotá. At this park, you will have the opportunity to see over 40 species, including endemic and threatened bird species. The lake has an area of open water and some reeds along the borders, great for spotting rails, ducks and other wetland specialities.

Colombia Birding Tour Chingaza Natural park

Chingaza National Natural Park

Chingaza National Natural Park covers 190,000 acres of paramo, Andean forests and East Andean foothill forests. Most of the park is covered by the paramo ecosystem where you will find a variety of birds, including the Colombian national bird: the majestic Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus).

Rio Blanco Natural Reserve

Rio Blanco Nature Reserve

Rio Blanco is an important IBA and conservation area that is already recognised as one of the best bird watching sites in Colombia. The reserve has an altitudinal range of between 2,239 and 3,699 meters, covers an area of 7,949 acres and protects cloud forests and paramo. More than 335 species have been recorded here, including several endemics and endangered species.

Otun Quimbaya Fauna & Flora Sanctuary

This national protected area was created in 1996 and belongs to the "Bosques del Oriente de Risaralda" IBA (Important Bird Area). It is located on the west slope of the Central Andes in an area well recognised for its biological richness and of course its birds. The sanctuary covers 1,208 acres between 1,749 and 2,250 meters above sea level, where clouds drench the mountains with misty rains. 

Paramo del Ruiz

Paramo del Ruiz is a protected area situated below Ruiz Volcano. Its landscape is a combination of paddock, elfin forest, patches of bamboo and paramo. This area is a great spot to see two near-endemic hummingbirds: the Black-thighed puffleg (Eriocnemis derbyi) and Golden-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera).

Isla Salamanca National Park

This protected area is the only one in the country that belongs to the management category of "Park Way," since the highway that connects the cities of Barranquilla and Santa Marta cross the park through its length. Several wetlands, lagoons and mangroves cover the area, providing a home for several species of fauna and flora associated with this habitat. 

Colombia Birding Tour Santa marta El Dorado Reserve

El Dorado Bird Reserve

This reserve protects some 1,729 acres of cloud forest between 900 and 2,599 meters above sea level and was created to protect part of this important area of endemism called Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, which is part of the buffer zone of Sierra de Santa Marta National Park. 

Colombia Birding Tour

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

The charming town of Zipaquira is famous for its salt mines and for the Salt Cathedral. This must-see cathedral was built inside the network of monumental chambers and tunnels that were left behind when commercial mining operations ceased. The walk-through Stations of the Cross inside the mine are a poignant representation of Jesus' last steps, and they culminate in a three-part cavernous subterranean cathedral.

Colombia Birding Tour

Historic Centre of Bogota

The capital city of Colombia has grown around La Candelaria, the famous colonial neighbourhood where most of the historic sites, museums and ancient churches are located. Practically every street corner in La Candelaria marks an important event in Colombian history.

Colombia Birding Tour

Visit to a Coffee Plantation

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to visit an authentic, functioning coffee farm to learn about the planting, picking, drying and roasting processes that culminate in your morning cup of coffee.

City Tour in Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias is one of the most fascinating, romantic and beautiful colonial cities in Latin America. Located on the Caribbean coast, this UNESCO World Heritage site is full of history, colourful streets and friendly people, making it a fairy tale city of romance.

Colombia Birding Tour Santa Marta

City Tour in Santa Marta

Santa Marta, founded by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1525, is the oldest city in South America. The city is rich in history and well-preserved colonial architecture. Santa Marta is also the home of the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, where the national hero, Simon Bolivar, died in 1830.

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive in Bogota

Day 1

We will meet you at the airport to take you to your hotel in Bogota. In the evening, we will have a welcome dinner.

Overnight: Bogota

Meal Plan: Dinner  

AM Birding at La Florida

PM Historic Tour in Bogota

Day 2

Your first birding experience starts at La Florida Park, a small wetland considered the best spot to see the Bogota Rail (Rallus semiplumbeus) and other endemic species. Then, we will spend the rest of the day in the historic area of the city, La Candelaria. This neighbourhood is adorned with interesting architectural styles and museums. We will admire the world's largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold at the Gold Museum and get panoramic views of the city from the top of Cerro de Monserrate.

Overnight: Bogota

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM Chingaza Natural Park

PM Hummingbird Observatory

Day 3

We will continue our birding experience around Chingaza Natural Park. This area is famous because of its spectacular scenery of montane elfin forest and paramo. Plus, this is where you can find most of the Eastern Andean highland (near) endemic bird species. We will also visit a quaint hummingbird observatory to spend a few hours enjoying nearly 25 species of hummingbirds feeding in the gardens surrounding the Spanish-style house.

Overnight: Bogota

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

PM Flight to Pereira

Day 4

You cannot leave the city without visiting one of its main highlights: the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. This cathedral, located 50 km north of Bogota and built inside the caves of an old salt mine, is a true testimony to the miners' faith in a higher power and one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture. Then, we will head back to Bogota for an afternoon flight to Pereira, where you will spend the night at a coffee farm. You may have the opportunity to see some birds surrounding the house and the green areas of the farm.

Overnight: Pereira

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM Coffee Plantation

PM Otun Quimbaya

Day 5

As coffee production is an important part of Colombia’s culture, we will start the day by visiting the coffee plantation of the farm to learn all the details of the coffee-making process, from planting the coffee beans all the way through the picking and roasting process. We will finish this experience with a great cup of coffee before starting the journey towards Otun Quimbaya. You will spend the afternoon and early evening birding at this beautiful flora and fauna sanctuary where clouds drench the mountains with misty rain and where more than 300 bird species can be seen.

Overnight: Otun Quimbaya Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM Otun Quimbaya

PM Rio Blanco

Day 6

We will spend the morning exploring the natural reserve where Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax) and Chesnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) amongst many others bird species can be spotted. Then, we will go to Rio Blanco, one of Colombia’s best birding sites and a very interesting place for lovers of skulking species.

Overnight: Rio Blanco Lodge

Meal PlanBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Rio Blanco Nature Reserve

Day 7

We will spend the day exploring this reserve and have the chance to see no less than seven species of Antpitta, including the endemic Brown-banded (Grallaria milleri) and the near-endemic Bicoloured Antpitta (Grallaria rufocinerea), plus 5 species of Tapaculo, including Ash-coloured (Myornis senilis) and Ocellated (Acropternis orthonyx)

Overnight: Rio Blanco Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM Paramo del Ruiz

PM Flight to Santa Marta

Day 8

Paramo del Ruiz is a protected area situated below Ruiz Volcano. Its landscape is a combination of paddock, elfin forest, patches of bamboo and paramo. This area is a great spot to see two near endemic hummingbirds: Black-thighed puffleg (Eriocnemis derbyi) and Golden-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis mosquera). We will go to a hummingbird observatory to see nearly 25 bird species. In the afternoon, we will fly to Santa Marta, the oldest surviving city in South America.

Overnight: Santa Marta

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM City Tour in Santa Marta

PM Transfer to El Dorado

Day 9

We will spend some time learning about Colombia’s history during a visit to Quinta the San Pedro Alejandrino, where Simon Bolivar, the commander-in-chief of the patriot army who liberated Colombia from Spanish rule, died in 1830. Then we will spend the afternoon and early evening birding at El Dorado, bird reserve located in the foothills of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and known as the reserve with the highest concentration of endemic birds in South America.

Overnight: El Dorado Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

El Dorado Bird Reserve

Day 10

We will start the day birding at La Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, a small mountain ridge separated from the main Santa Marta mountain by a deep valley. Its highest point is 2,700 metres, which is high enough to find most of the endemic bird species in the area.

Overnight: El Dorado Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

AM El Dorado Bird Reserve - Isla Salamanca

PM Cartagena

Day 11

Early in the morning, we will spend more time birding at El Dorado before starting our journey towards Cartagena. On the way, we will visit Isla Salamanca, a natural park with extensive mangrove forests. At Isla Salamanca, we will look for some of the bird species found in this area, such as the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (Ortalis garrula), Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae), Chestnut Piculet (Picumnus cinnamomeus) and Bicolored Conebill (Conirostrum bicolor). At the end of this visit, we will continue towards Cartagena.

Overnight: Cartagena

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

City Tour in Cartagena

Day 12

Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities in South America and is worth to spending a day walking around the cobbled streets of the old town and visiting the main historic sites. You will be amazed by the walls surrounding the city and Castillo de San Felipe, the greatest and strongest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies. It defended the city from many attacks, including a British siege in 1741. You will have the afternoon at leisure for your own exploration.

Overnight: Cartagena

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

AM Mangrove Forest – La Boquilla

PM Flight to Bogota

Day 13

In the morning, we will go to La Boquilla, a small fishing village located 7 km north of Cartagena. At La Boquilla, we will take a trip in a wooden canoe across the mangroves in La Cienga de Tesca. During this trip, we will be able to see native and migratory birds and learn about the flora and other fauna found in this ecosystem. We will also learn how to traditionally fish. We will visit the key places in the town like the cemetery, the main street and the cultural house. We will also have a traditional lunch in the village. In the afternoon, we will take a flight back to Bogota.

Overnight: Bogota

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinne

End of the Tour - Flight back Home

Day 14

At the time requested, we will transfer you to the airport for your international flight back home.

Meal Plan: Breakfast

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • 13 nights' accommodation
  • Domestic flights
  • Private ground transport
  • Meals as defined in the itinerary
  • Birding and local tour guides fluent in English
  • Entry tickets to natural parks and reserves mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entry tickets to museums and tourist locations mentioned in the itinerary

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Tips and other discretionary expenses

Accommodations

We have carefully chosen the right accommodations with different styles and standards depending on the cities, small towns or natural reserves visited. We personally ensure that each property has the right combination of features such as cleanliness, location, friendly staff and good service.

THANK YOU

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