Central Colombia and the Santa Marta Mountains
A 15-day small group birdwatching tour to Colombia featuring many endemics with post tour extension to Puerto Inírida.
Limosa’s Colombia birding tour is an adventure that is designed to showcase the extraordinary diversity of birds in this avian-rich country which not only has the largest list of any nation on earth but is also home to over eighty endemics. During our two-week holiday, we hope to see almost one quarter of the 1,900 species which have been recorded in Colombia including at least 45 endemics and near endemics.
Our trip begins in Bogotá from where we fly to Pereira and then on to the Montezuma Rainforest Lodge where potential endemics include Dusky Starfrontlet, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer and both Black-and-gold and Gold-ringed Tanagers.
Moving on to explore the Rio Blanco Reserve, we hope to see both Brown-banded and Bicoloured Antpittas before visiting the Otún-Quimbaya Reserve for threatened endemics such as Cauca Guan and Multicoloured Tanager.
We will then fly north to Colombia’s Caribbean coast for the final part of our holiday, where we will travel inland to explore the isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta which is one of the world’s major endemic hotspots. There are many more unique species to look for here including Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Antpitta and Santa Marta Warbler.
The main tour will then conclude on the dry coastal strip where the final specialities could include Buffy Hummingbird, Chestnut Piculet and Vermillion Cardinal.
Our post-tour extension spends two days birding around Puerto Inírida in the Colombian lowlands where the birds will be very different with many new possibilities including the as yet undescribed "Inírida Antshrike". Returning to Bogotá, we plan to spend a final half day in the Sumapaz National Park looking for Green-bearded Helmetcrest and Apolinar's Wren among many other highland specialities.
Tour Dates & Prices
Sat 8th February 2025
Sat 22nd February 2025
Tour Cost: 15 Days from £5795 excluding international and internal flights
- Limosa Tour Leader
- Expert English-speaking local Colombian bird guides
- Five nights accommodation in comfortable but somewhat remote jungle lodges and seven nights in hotels.
- All main meals
- Minibus and 4x4 transport
- All excursions, entry fees and permits
- All tour-based tips and taxes
- Limosa checklist of birds
International and internal flights, insurance, drinks, airport meals/snacks and other items of a personal nature.
The Land Only Tour Cost is the amount you will pay Limosa.
Despite the end of pandemic restrictions, we have taken the decision to continue to price our holidays as excluding international flights.
To keep the process as simple as possible, we are working very closely with a dedicated agent at Travel Counsellors, Sacha Barbato, who is essentially now our “in house” flight consultant.
Sacha is a highly experienced independent ATOL bonded travel agent, and his contact details are as follows: email@example.com and 01603 360099
He will be able to advise you which flights we are using for this holiday (as it will be important all clients are on the same internal flights) and will be able to book these for you.
This will also give you the option to travel from a regional airport if you prefer.
If, however, you wish to book your own flights then please contact the office and we will advise which flights we intend to use.
Please note that the internal flights for the extension will need to be purchased via our ground agent in Colombia and we will invoice you separately for these.
- A Colombian birding adventure from the High Andes to the Santa Marta Mountains and Caribbean coast
- A multitude of ‘hummers’ among 450 or so species to look forward to on this remarkable 15-day tour
- Many Colombian endemic, near endemic and 'must-see' birds with plenty of birds with fantastic names such as Whooping Motmot, Ruby Topaz, Plushcap and White-tailed Starfrontlet
- Andean endemics including Gold-ringed Tanager, Brown-banded Antpitta and Cauca Guan
- 2 nights at El Dorado in search of Santa Marta endemics such as Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Warbler and Santa Marta Mountain Tanager
- Expertly led by Limosa’s Carl Downing and English-speaking local Colombian guides
- A post-tour extension to Puerto Inírida
Arrive in Bogota and fly to Pereira. Transfer to the Montezuma Rainforest Reserve (3 nights)
Birding Cerro Montezuma
Morning birding at Montezuma. Afternoon drive to Manizales (3 nights)
Birding Rio Blanco Reserve and Los Nevados National Park
Visit to Hacienda el Bosque. PM Drive to Otún-Quimbaya Reserve (1 night)
Birding in the Otún-Quimbaya Reserve. Afternoon flight to Barranquilla (1 night)
Morning birding at Isla Salamanca. Transfer to Minca (1 night)
Transfer to El Dorado Lodge. Birding San Lorenzo Ridge (2 nights)
Birding from El Dorado to La Guajira. (1 night)
La Guajira. Lunchtime flight to Bogotá for connecting international flights.
Drive to Villavicencio. Night in Villavicencio.
Early morning birding Bosque Bavaria. Lunchtime flight to Inírida. Afternoon birding around Inírida. Three nights in Inírida.
All day birding around Inírida.
Morning birding before flight back to Bogotá.
Visit to Sumapaz National Park. Evening flight to UK
As a birdwatching destination, Colombia has become one of the “must do” countries in South America and its bird list of more than 1,900 species is the largest of any country in the world! Among these are a quite remarkable array of Colombian endemic or near endemic species. Limosa’s exciting, 15-day tour focuses on the two key areas of central and northern Colombia giving us the possibility of seeing a spectacular range of specialities.
We start our holiday at the Montezuma Rainforest Lodge on Cerro Montezuma in the Andes where we will look for the endemic Gold-ringed Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Dusky Starfrontlet and Munchique Wood Wren. Lower down, we hope to find another highly desirable endemic, the stunning Black-and-gold Tanager plus Parker's Antbird, Crested Ant Tanager and Tatama Tapaculo (all endemic). We will also look for Beautiful Jay, Black Solitaire, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Choco Vireo, Glistening-green Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, Club-winged Manakin and many other species which are endemic to the Chocó region of southern Colombia and northern Ecuador.
Moving on to the Rio Blanco Reserve, there is a chance of observing several species of antpittas as these regularly come to feeding stations with the possibilities including Brown-banded, Chestnut-naped, Slate-crowned and Bicoloured. Dusky Piha, Black-billed Mountain Toucan and Ocellated, Spillmann's, Ash-coloured and Blackish Tapaculos are all possible and we will also need to be alert for the jay-like calls of the fancy White-capped Tanagers.
Another feature of the reserve is an amazing set of hummingbird feeders where we should see Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet, Green Violetear and White-bellied Woodstar.
Other species that we will hope to find here include Masked Trogon, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Black-banded Woodcreeper, Streak-headed Antbird, Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant, Black-capped and White-tailed Tyrannulets, Pale-edged and Golden-crowned Flycatchers, Mountain Wren, Citrine and Russet-crowned Warblers, Masked and Glossy Flowerpiercers, Capped Conebill, Grass-green Tanager, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager and Black-winged Saltator. We will also seek out bamboo specialists such as Black-eared Hemispingus and Plushcap and after dark may have an opportunity to go out in search of White-throated Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and Band-winged Nightjar.
We plan to spend our second day in this region in the high temperate zone of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, where patches of forest give way to paramo. Here, our primary target is the endemic and very localised Rufous-fronted Parakeet.
Flowering bushes also attract many colourful hummingbirds including Rainbow-bearded and Purple-backed Thornbills, Viridian Metaltail, Golden-breasted Pufﬂeg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet and Shining Sunbeam and these are occasionally joined by the nomadic and threatened Black-thighed Pufﬂeg which is sometimes present in good numbers, but at other times is entirely absent.
In the forest patches, we will look for Paramo Tapaculo, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Blue-backed Conebill, Blue-and-Black Tanager, the gorgeous Golden-crowned Tanager, Lacrimose, Hooded and Buff-breasted Mountain Tanagers, Black-backed Bush Tanager and Slaty Brushfinch, whilst more open areas and nearby wetland are home to Andean Teal, White-tailed Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Grass Wren and Pale-naped Brushfinch.
Our final morning in this area will be spent visiting a private hacienda where we hope to find Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan and the patchily distributed and extremely handsome Crescent-faced Antpitta.
The Otún-Quimbaya Reserve is where we will ﬁnd ourselves listening for the predawn calls of the endangered Cauca Guan. It was at this site that this previously thought-to-be-extinct species was rediscovered during the 1990s and as the sun rises, we shall try to locate this Colombian speciality along with the furtive Wattled Guan.
Dense brush at the forest edge at this reserve holds the inconspicuous Stiles’s Tapaculo (endemic) and whistles from the forest understory could indicate the presence of the smart Chestnut-breasted Wren, which is probably more numerous here than almost anywhere else in the species’ range. The reserve is also an excellent place for hearing, and then hopefully seeing, the secretive Chestnut Wood Quail and equally elusive Hooded Antpitta and we will need to scrutinise any mixed foraging ﬂocks we find for the localised Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher.
Searching the tanager ﬂocks, we have a chance to find the appropriately named and endemic Multicoloured Tanager with this site offering us a further opportunity to see the crimson-red Crested Ant Tanager.
More widespread species we could also find include the impressive Golden-plumed Parakeet and Inca Jay and along a nearby river, we are likely to ﬁnd the superb Torrent Duck.
Leaving the reserve, we shall take a flight north to Colombia's Caribbean coast, where we will start our exploration with a visit to Isla Salamanca in search of the endangered Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, as well as Chestnut-winged Chachalaca and Bronze-brown Cowbird (all endemic).
We will then leave the coastal lowlands and start to climb up into the hills on our way to the magnificent El Dorado Lodge. Russet-throated Puffbird, Whooping Motmot, Scrub Greenlet and Black-crested Antshrike are possible, as well as chances of Black-backed Antshrike, Cinereous Becard and (with a little luck) Military Macaws coming to their roost – we have occasionally seen a flock of up to 100 birds!
The highest mountains in all of Colombia are also found here, with permanently snow-capped peaks rising to 5,700m (18,700ft), although we shall only be birding up to c.2,800m (9,200ft). Completely isolated from the Andes, the slopes of the impressive Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range are a noted hotspot for endemic species and our destination is El Dorado, a reserve set up specially to protect the unique birds of this region.
The famous San Lorenzo Ridge on the edge of the Santa Marta Mountains is where we shall go in search of the many endemics that the reserve has to offer including White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Parakeet, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Streak-capped Spinetail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Santa Marta Brushfinch, Santa Marta Warbler, White-lored Warbler, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Santa Marta Seedeater and Santa Marta Mountain Tanager, whilst after dark we will hope to find the elusive and only recently described Santa Marta Screech Owl.
Other species could include White-tipped Quetzal, White-rumped Hawk, Black-fronted Wood Quail, Golden-breasted Fruiteater and Lined Quail Dove.
Heading back down from the mountains, we plan to stop at selected spots to look for Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner and Santa Marta Blossomcrown before concluding our tour in the dry coastal habitats at La Guajira where our focus will be on Coro endemics (which are shared with western Venezuela). Those we hope to see include Chestnut Piculet, Tocuyo Sparrow, Vermillion Cardinal and Buffy Hummingbird. Other possibilities include Double-striped Thick-knee, Bare-eyed Pigeon, White-whiskered Spinetail, Black-crested Antshrike, Russet-throated Puffbird, Venezuelan Flycatcher and Orinocan Saltator before we reluctantly return to the airport to fly home via Bogotá.
Our post-tour extension will take us to Puerto Inírida in the heart of the Orinco forest basin where we shall spend two whole days looking for white sands specialist species as well as enigmatic birds such as Capuchinbird, Pompadour Cotinga, Yapacana Antbird, Orinoco Piculet, Orinoco Softail and Rose-breasted Chat, as well as the as yet undescribed "Inirida Antshrike".
Our final morning will be spent in Sumapaz National Park just to the south of Bogotá where we shall look for the endemics Green-bearded Helmetcrest and Apolinar's Wren and the near endemic Bronze-tailed Thornbill.
Colombia is a magnificent and incredibly bird-rich country, with much to see so join us for an amazing experience for a trip packed with colourful birds and endemics.
Limosa Guide Carl Downing has spent the last 30 years birding and travelling throughout Colombia and has led over 60 tours across the country. Carl will be assisted throughout our holiday by English-speaking local Colombian bird guides.
Day 1: DEPART UK.
We shall catch an overnight flight to Bogotá.
Day 2: ARRIVE BOGOTÁAND TRANSFER TO MONTEZUMA RAINFOREST RESERVE
On arrival in Bogotá we shall transfer to an internal flight to the city of Pereira were we shall pick up our transport and head into the western Cordillera and our first destination Montezuma Rainforest Reserve. Three nights at Montezuma Rainforest Reserve
Days 3-4: CERRO MONTEZUMA
We have two full days to explore this fantastic area and on the upper slopes will look for the endemic Gold-ringed Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Dusky Starfrontlet and Munchique Wood Wren.
Another highly desirable endemic is the stunning Black-and-gold Tanager, with Parker's Antbird, Crested Ant Tanager and Tatama Tapaculo all possible. We will also look for Beautiful Jay, Glistening-green Tanager, Club-winged Manakin and many other Chocó endemics (which are shared with northern Ecuador). With luck we may also catchup with Greater Scythebill and White-faced Nunbird.
Around the lodge itself, there are several bird feeders where large numbers of tanagers and hummingbirds can often be seen and we may find Blackish Rail, as this is known to visit the gardens on a regular basis.
Day 5: CERRO MONTEZUMA TO RIO BLANCO RESERVE
After a final morning birding at Cerro Montezuma, we will drive to the Manizales for three nights. If time allows, we shall have a walk around the grounds of the Hotel where we may see a few tanagers and flycatchers as well as the resident Southern Lapwings that breed there. Night in Manizales
Days 6-7: RIO BLANCO AND LOS NEVADOS
We will make an early start for a full day visit to the nearby Rio Blanco reserve where we can look for many new species.
One of the potential highlights is a visit to some feeders where several species of antpittas come for mealworms with the possibilities including Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Chestnut-naped, Slate-crowned and Bicoloured.
Another feature of the reserve is an amazing set of hummingbird feeders where we can expect to see an excellent range of species which could include Green Violetear, Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Buff-tailed Coronet and White-bellied Woodstar.
As we explore the reserve, there will be plenty of other birds to look for with the possibilities including Dusky Piha, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Ocellated Tapaculo, Masked Saltator, Rusty-faced Parrot and Golden-plumed Parakeet. We will also need to be alert for the jay-like calls of the extremely smart White-capped Tanager.
Other species that we will hope to find here include Masked Trogon, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Tyrannine and Black-banded Woodcreepers, Streak-headed Antbird, Blackish Tapaculo, Rufous-crowned Tody-Tyrant, Black-capped and White-tailed Tyrannulets, Smoke-coloured Pewee, Pale-edged and Golden-crowned Flycatchers, Mountain Wren, Citrine and Russet-crowned Warblers, Masked and Glossy Flowerpiercers, Capped Conebill, Grass-green Tanager, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager and Black-winged Saltator.
We will also seek out several bamboo specialists with the possibilities including Black-eared Hemispingus and Plushcap, whilst after dark we may have an opportunity to go in search of White-throated Screech Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Rufous-bellied Nighthawk and Band-winged Nightjar.
On our second day in this area, we plan to visit the high temperate zone of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, where patches of forest give way to open paramo.
Our primary target here is the endemic and very localised Rufous-fronted Parakeet but we will also want to check any flowering bushes as these attract several colourful species of hummingbird including Buffy Helmetcrest, Viridian Metaltail, Golden-breasted Pufﬂeg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet and Shining Sunbeam.
On some occasions, the nomadic Black-thighed Pufﬂeg can be present in good numbers, but at other times it is completely absent. There is also a chance of the localised Mountain Avocetbill.
Other hummingbirds we will hope to see include the appropriately named Rainbow-bearded and Purple-backed Thornbills both of which are truly stunning when seen well.
The forest patches can be a good place to locate the superb Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Paramo Tapaculo, White-banded Tyrannulet, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Blue-backed Conebill, Black-backed Bush Tanager, Blue-and-black Tanager and the gorgeous Golden-crowned Tanager. Other colourful tanagers we could see here include Lacrimose, Hooded and Buff-breasted Mountain Tanagers. Two further nights near Manizales
Day 8: MANIZALES, HACIENDA EL BOSQUE AND TRAVEL TO OTÚN-QUIMBAYA RESERVE
Leaving our hotel on the outskirts of Manizales, we will make an early morning visit to nearby Hacienda El Bosque which is a private reserve that protects some remanent forest. This area can be good for the fancy Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan but it is also a known stakeout for the patchily distributed Crescent-faced Antpitta. As well as this gorgeous little antpitta, we will also hope to see Equatorial Antpitta which has been upgraded to a full species as part of the recent taxonomic revision which split ‘Rufous Antpitta’ into twelve species…..
We shall spend the late afternoon birding at the Otún-Quimbaya reserve walking the road through the reserve. One of our targets this evening could be calling Wattled Guan. Night in Pereira.
Day 9: OTÚN-QUIMBAYA RESERVE
We will need to make an early start to be out before first light to listen for the predawn calls of the endangered Cauca Guan. This relative of the Common Turkey was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered at this site during the 1990s.
As the sun rises, we shall try to locate this Colombian endemic along with the somewhat furtive Wattled Guan, whilst the booming calls of lekking Red-ruffed Fruitcrows are likely to ﬁll the air.
As we explore the trails, we will need to be alert for the whistling calls of Chestnut-breasted Wrens as they move through the forest understory. Indeed, this handsome bird is probably more numerous here than anywhere else in its range.
This reserve is also an excellent place for hearing, and hopefully seeing, the secretive and endemic Chestnut Wood Quail and the poorly known (and near endemic) Hooded Antpitta.
As mixed foraging ﬂocks pass by, we shall scrutinise these for the localised Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher and more widespread species we may well see include the impressive Golden-plumed Parakeet, Collared Trogon, Slaty Antwren, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant and Inca Jay. There will be also the chance for Torrent Duck, Black Phoebe and Torrent Tyrannulet on a nearby river.
There are several further endemics which can be found here including the stunning and appropriately named Multicoloured Tanager which has a somewhat restricted range in the Andes of central Colombia. Almost as impressive and also endemic is Crested Ant Tanager, and we will check any passing tanager flocks for both these species.
Whilst not as colourful as the tanagers, another potential endemic is Stiles’s Tapaculo which was only described in 2005.
We will need to leave the area after lunch returning to the airport from where we will fly north to Barranquilla on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Night in Barranquilla
Day 10: ISLA SALAMANCA AND MINCA
We will make an early departure for Isla Salamanca where we will look for several endemics including Chestnut-winged Chachalaca and Bronze-brown Cowbird. We will also make a special effort to find Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird which is primarily a bird of mangrove forest and nearby scrub. This species has an extremely small world range and is classified as endangered.
We then move inland to Minca where we start by looking for lowland species such as Russet-throated Puffbird, Whooping Motmot and Black-blacked Antshrike. There are also some hummingbird feeders where there is a good chance of finding the highly localised Coppery Emerald.
We plan to end our day with a late afternoon visit to a site where we hope to see up to one hundred Military Macaws coming in to roost. Night in Minca
Day 11-12: MINCA TO EL DORADO RESERVE
Minca is located at the base of the Santa Marta mountains which have the highest peaks in all of Colombia, are permanently snow-capped and rise to an impressive 5,700m (18,700ft). Completely isolated from the Andes, the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range are a noted hotspot for endemic species, and we have two full days to look for many of these.
We will make an early departure by jeep for El Dorado, a reserve set up specially to protect the unique birds of this region, with our destination being the famous San Lorenzo Ridge, which is located at c.2,500m. There is a spectacular lodge here and this will be our base for two nights as we go in search of many of these specialities. Those we hope to find include White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Parakeet, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Santa Marta Brushfinch, Santa Marta Warbler, White-lored Warbler, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Santa Marta Seedeater and Santa Marta Mountain Tanager.
Other species could include White-tipped Quetzal, White-rumped Hawk, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Black-fronted Wood Quail, Golden-breasted Fruiteater and Lined Quail Dove. In the evening, we will look for the elusive and the recently described Santa Marta Screech Owl. Two nights at El Dorado Reserve
Day 13: EL DORADO RESERVE TO LA GUAJIRA
We will have time for some final birding around the San Lorenzo Ridge before we begin our descent back to the lowlands. We plan to make various stops and new endemics could include Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Tapaculo and Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner.
Moving down to the coast at La Guajira, we will be able to look for several Coro endemics (some of which are shared with extreme western Venezuela) and are restricted to this very different and dry habitat.
Those we hope to see include Chestnut Piculet, Tocuyo Sparrow, Vermillion Cardinal and Buffy Hummingbird. We will also look for Double-striped Thick-knee, Bare-eyed Pigeon, White-whiskered Spinetail, Black-crested Antshrike, Northern White-fringed Antwren Russet-throated Puffbird, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Orinocan Saltator and Glaucous Tanager. Night in La Guajira
Day 14:LA GUAJIRA, FLY TO BOGOTA AND ONWARDS TO UK
We will have a few hours to look for any of the specialities of La Guajira that we may have missed the previous day and then it will be time to head to the airport for a lunchtime flight back to Bogotá with an onward international flight back to the UK.
Day 15: ARRIVE UK
DAY 14: LA GUAJIRA, FLY TO BOGOTA AND TRANSFER TO VILLAVICENCIO
Night in Villavicencio
DAY 15: BOSQUE BAVARIA, FLIGHT TO INÍRIDA
We shall visit an area of forest on the edge of Villavicencio before our flight to Puerto Inírida. Here we shall look for species such as Speckled Chachalaca, Lettered Araçari, Gilded Barbet, White-chested Puffbird, Spot-winged Antbird and Rufous-browed Peppershrike. If we are lucky we may also see the rare and local Orange-breasted Falcon. Night in Inírida
DAYS 16-17: ALL DAY BIRDING AROUND INÍRIDA
These two days will be spent walking a number of trails around Inírida looking for a long list of enigmatic birds. Species we could find include Orinoco Piculet, Capuchinbird, Brown Jacamar, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Orinoco Softtail, Speckled Spinetail, the as yet undescribed "Inírida Antshrike", Yapacana Antbird, Tropical Royal Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Yellow-crowned Manakin, Red-shouldered Tanager and White-naped Seedeater. Two further nights in Inírida
DAY 18: EARLY MORNING BIRDING AROUND INÍRIDA, FLIGHT TO BOGOTA
We will have a final morning to explore more of the trails that surround the town and additional birds we may see include Blue-throated Piping Guan, Blue Ground Dove, White-tailed and Green-throated Goldenthroat, Butterfly Coquette, Agami Heron, Collared Puffbird, Cream-coloured Woodpecker, Black Bushbird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Pompadour Cotinga and Yellow-green Grosbeak to name but a few. We will then leave for the airport and take a flight back to Bogotá where we will spend the night. Night in Bogota
Day 19: BIRDING SUMAPAZ NATIONAL PARK. TRANSFER TO INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
For the final birding excursion on the extension, we plan to spend a half day in the Sumapaz National Park hoping to see the endemic Green-bearded Helmetcrest and Apolinar's Wren and the near endemic Bronze-tailed Thornbill among many other highland specialities. We shall then head to the international airport for our evening flight back to the UK.
DAY 20: ARRIVE UK
The extension costs £2,895 per person (twin sharing) with a single supplement of £295.
- Limosa Tour Leader
- Five nights’ accommodation in ensuite rooms
- All meals from dinner on day 14 to lunch on day 19
- Ground transportation
- Reserve and Park entry fees, all tour-based tips (including drivers, local guides) and taxes
Not included: internal flights (which will need to be purchased via our Colombian ground agent and will be invoiced separately), insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Limosa’s Colombia birding tour focuses on finding a fantastic range of the endemic and near endemic species in this bird-rich country. We will visit a range of habitats from the high paramo in the Central Andes, lush cloud forest, the remote mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Caribbean coast at Isla Salamanca and La Guajira. The list of potential species is spectacular, and we hope to see at least 450 species and potentially 45 endemics and near endemics.
We will be making early starts most days as bird activity in Colombia is at its best during the first three hours of daylight. These will be tempered with leisurely lunches, afternoon siestas (where possible) and occasional relaxed afternoons, plus some early finishes in the evenings.
Breakfasts and dinners will generally be taken at our lodge/hotel and lunches may be picnics in the field or at a hotel/lodge/restaurant depending on the plans for that particular day.
All the lodges and hotels we have selected provide comfortable accommodation with private facilities.
Laundry services will be available at some of the locations for a modest fee but it would probably be advisable to bring enough quick drying clothes with you as many locations rely on lines to dry washing.
At Los Nevados, we will be birding for a short time at up to 4,100m (13,450 feet) but most of our birding will be done at lower elevations. The highest elevation we will stay at is in Bogotá at c.2,600m (8,500 feet).
Colombia has a tropical to temperate climate (due to the effects of altitude) and our tour runs during one of the two Colombian ‘dry seasons’. Rainfall can (and does!), of course, occur year-round in the mountains and rainforests. It can often be cool and misty in the mountains and cloud forest, and it will be cold and breezy in the early morning on the paramo at Los Nevados, where warm, waterproof clothing including gloves, scarves and a warm hat will be required.
In contrast, our birding on the Caribbean coast near Barranquilla and La Guajira will be in hot to very hot conditions (26-32C/79-90F) although in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (at Minca and El Dorado Lodge), where most of our time in the north will be spent, we will enjoy pleasant to cool upland temperatures with a likely high of c.25C/77F.
Bird photography is generally tricky in the forests due to low light levels but there will be good to excellent photographic opportunities in more open habitats especially at feeders around the lodges and at the coast.
12 nights accommodation at good, medium grade hotels and lodges in Colombia. All rooms have private facilities.
Our hotels at Minca and Santa Marta are especially characterful and geared up for wildlife watchers. Hotel Minca is newly refurbished and has a fine view and setting, with numerous hummingbird feeders to enjoy whilst El Dorado Lodge, our base in the Santa Marta Mountains, is fairly simple with accommodation in cabins accessed down a flight of stairs and a path. The rooms are lovely and kept very clean and the birding here is out of this world!
There will be five additional nights on the extension with all of these in comfortable accommodation.
All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with breakfast on arrival in Bogotá on Day 2 and concluding with breakfast there prior to our flight home again on Day 14 or lunch on Day 19 for those on the extension.
Food is generally good in Colombia, with large portions! Try a traditional Colombian Paisa lunch with beans and rice, pork and banana. Steaming mugs of hot chocolate are another a great Colombian tradition to look forward to!
Colombia is a mountainous country so expect some trails to be steeper in parts but these are always taken slowly, at normal birding pace with frequent stops. Wherever possible, we aim to drive uphill in our vehicle and walk back down the slope.
The walking effort is mostly easy, but moderate at times due to the terrain and the altitude.
As one would expect, rainforest trails can sometimes be wet, muddy and/or slippery underfoot, so sturdy waterproof walking shoes or lightweight boots with stout corrugated soles for grip are essential..
Despite the end of pandemic restrictions, we have taken the decision to price our holidays as excluding all flights.
To keep the process as simple as possible, we are working very closely with a dedicated agent at Travel Counsellors, Sacha Barbato, who is essentially now our “in house” flight consultant.
Sacha will be able to advise you which flights we are recommending for each holiday, and he will be able to book these for you.
This will also sometimes give you the option to travel from a regional airport if you prefer.
Minibuses, driven by local drivers, and equipped with air-conditioning.
At the Montezuma Reserve and in the Santa Marta Mountains, we must use 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers or similar as the unmade roads are very rough in places. Please note that rides in these will be bumpy and can be a little uncomfortable at times, and the going is slow, but the distances to be covered are not great.
Please let us know on your booking form if you want to be on the extension.
View a gallery of images for this tour below, click on an image to view as full size with caption