eco
TOURS-LATIN AMERICA & WORLDWIDE
Nature & Culture - hand in hand


Colombia, with its diverse landscapes, is home to more bird species than any other country in the world. With almost 2,000 species, be prepared to be in awe of the spectacular avifauna as we explore Colombia’s lush cloud forests, wetlands,coasts, valleys, and high mountain plains on this 14-day adventure. Join to us to visit this dynamic birding destination as we enjoy the culture, gastronomy and fine people Colombia has to offer. Spend the first morning of birding at Finca La Arucana, which will be a great introduction to the birds of the Colombian Andes. Amid the cloud forests surrounding the infamous El18, search for a variety of species as well as visit an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek. The birding is amazing, with mixedspecies flocks of Multicolored, Purplish-mantled, Scrub and Golden-naped Tanagers foraging among the mist-laden trees along side Green-and-Black and Scaled Fruiteaters, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia and Golden-headed and Crested Quetzal. Next, descend to the Choco Bioregion, on the Pacific coast, to one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. in search of Collared Aracari, Rose-faced Parrot and Chestnut-backed Antbird. Your next stop is in the Cauca Valley. The Sonso Lagoon is one of Colombia’s largest wetland reserves and home to Bare-faced Ibis, Cocoi Heron, White-throated Crake, Blackish Rail and Wattled Jacana. With luck you may encounter rare species such as Pinnated Bittern, Bar-crested Antshrike, and the endemics Apical Flycatcher and Grayish Piculet. Keep our eyes open for Horned Screamer – a large bird that can be described as a cross between a turkey and a goose.

Traveling northeast, you will continue on to the Coffee Triangle, to the Otun-Quimbaya Sanctuary in search of the endemic Cauca Guan and for the best views in the world of Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. Then, head to Manizales, also in the Central Cordillera of the Andes in the cloud forests of the Rio Blanco Reserve, which host more stunning species such as White-capped and Grass-green Tanager, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Ocellated Tapaculo, Black-billed Peppershrike; plus an excellent chance to see two endemic species: Brownbanded and Bicolored Antpitta at the worm feeders. After a couple of days at Rio Blanco, we will head to Manizales to our hotel Termales del Otono, featuring a host of mineral-rich hot springs. The next day we climb into the mountains and above tree-line to reach the high plains-like Paramo of the Nevado del Ruiz. The surreal Paramo habitat consists of windswept short grasses dotted with the fuzzy leaved Espeletia. In the Paramo, search for the impressive Bearded Helmetcrest, Tawny Antpitta, Scarlet-bellied, Mountain-Tanager, Andean-tit Spinetail, Blackbacked Bush-Tanager and the rare Rufous-fronted Parakeet.

After a long day at high elevation, you return to the hotel to the enjoy the hot springs before returning to Cali the next day. One more night in Cali will give you the chance to explore the city before catching flights home the next morning. Join us in a beautiful country with an unsurpassed diversity of fauna and flora. Please check out our Trip Report further down.

 

Fact File

- 14 birding days in Colombia visiting world-famous National Parks and nature reserves
- start and finish in Cali
- using various accommodation at different habitats, most of them offer great on site birding


Highlights

-famous birding areas in the Cali area:  Finca La Araucana, Bichacue Yath Reserve and Andean-Cock-of-the-rock Lek, El 18 and Bosque de San Antonio,
San Cipriano, Cauca Valley
with Sonso Lagoon, Otun Quimbaya Sanctuary, Rio Blanco Reserve, Paramo of the Nevado del Ruiz, Manizales area
- wide variety of birds including lots of endemics, mammals, reptiles, butterflies and habitats


Accommodation

4 nights close to Cali, 1 night at Buga, 2 nights at Otun Quimbaya, 2 nights at Rio Blanco Reserve, 2 nights at Manizales, 2 nights at Cali, 1 overnight flight home
Extension possibility to the incredible Santa Marta, Minca, El Dorado area



Departure Dates

Nov-April

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar


Price


Ask for the actual price.
Our price includes:

  • all travel as noted in the itinerary;
  • all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);
  • 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);
  • services of the leader(s);
  • trip materials.


Not included:

  • flights to and from Budapest;
  • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
  • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
  • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
  • excess baggage charges;
  • telephone calls;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • compulsory personal insurance.


If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

Activity level

  • Generally easy to moderate walks
  • Lots of onsite wildlife observing possibilities
  • Weather generally favourable


Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Cali and transfer to our hotel, birding on the way and onsite in the Western Cordillera.

Day2 Finca La Araucana, Bichacue Yath Reserve and Andean-Cock-of-the-rock lek

We will rise early and head to Finca La Araucana, where we will spend the morning birding from the balcony and the sprawling grounds. The feeders at La Araucana offer close-up views of many species, including Green Honeycreeper, Bay-headed Tanager, Flame-rumped Tanager and the near-endemic ScrubTanager. We will feast our eyes and cameras and then take a tour of the property in hopes of running into the very vocal Bar-crested Antshrike and large groups of Spectacled parrotlets. We then head to have lunch at the Bichacue Yath reserve, a beautiful moss and fairy garden that also offers great birding opportunities. The aternoon will be spend on a short hike to the Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek.

Days3-4 El 18 and Bosque de San Antonio

Next morning we will bird nearby, along a jeep track that passes through fragments of cloud forest with good mixed flock activity. Birding here can be very productive and we will search out three endemics, Chestnut Wood-quail, Grayish Piculet and Multicolored Tanager. A paradise for Tanagers, we will also look for Purplish-mantled, Summer, Golden, Scrub, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, and Golden-naped Tanagers,as well as Ash-throated Bush-Tanagers and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager. Other birds we might see in this area include Golden–headed Quetzal, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Scaled Fruiteater,Green and Black Fruiteater, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Black-billed Peppershrike, Chestnut-breasted and Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Greenish Puffleg, Montane Woodcreeper, Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant, Redfaced Spinetail, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails, Streaked Xenops and Narino Tapaculo. It will be easy to see the hyperactive Cinnamon Flycatcher, and a delight to listen to Andean Solitaire. An impressive show of hummingbirds and Tanagers can be observed at a private house known as “Raul’s Place”, including the following species: Purple-throated Woodstar, Blue-headed Saphire, Brown Violetear, Green Violetear, Fawn-Breasated Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, Wedgebilled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, White-necked Jacobin and Tawny-bellied Hermit. The night will be spent at Hotel El Faro and the next morning we will bird at the higher elevations of the Bosque de San Antonio. After devoting the morning to the Bosque de San Antonio, we will have lunch at a friend’s house, where the serene environment, great hospitality and impressive feeders mix together for the perfect afternoon. We will then return to El Faro for some rest considering that next day is one of the longest travel days.

Day5 San Cipriano

We will leave the hotel at 4 am for our 2.5-hour drive to Cordoba. From Cordoba we will load up on “brujitas” and have a pleasant 20 minute rail ride to the town of San Cirpiano. The area is a protected reserve and is the source of drinking water for the nearby port city of Buenaventura. Located in the Choco Bioregion, it is known for being one of the wettest places on the planet. Here we will hike several trails were we will come across Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Strip-billed Aracaris, White-tipped and Blue Cotinga,Rose-faced and Blue-headed Parrots, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-chested Puffbird, and Purple-throated Fruitcrow. Blue-whiskered, Emerald, Palm, Dusky-faced, Tawny-crested and Rufous-winged Tanager are also possible. We will also have chances for Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Ruffous-tailed Jacamar, Ocellated, Jet, Stub-tailed and Bicolored Antbird, plus Long-tailed Tyrant amongst many others. We can swim and/or float the Rio Escalerete, a refreshing, pristine river. We will return to San Cipriano and head to Buga for the night. Buga is a lovely town with a lot of character and we will be staying in the colonial style Hotel Guadalajara. Those who wish can tour the town or relax at the hotel pool.

Day6 Sonso Lagoon

We will rise early and be at the Sonso Lagoon within ten minutes. The lagoon is one of the only remaining wetlands in the Cauca Valley and one of Colombia’s best wetland birding localities. The wetland is teeming with aquatic birds, so we will search the waters for Wattled Jacana, Anhinga, Little Blue, Cocoi and Striated Herons, Snowy Egret, Bare-faced and Glossy Ibises, Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Cinnamon Teal, Osprey, Snail Kite, Black-necked Stilt, Neotropic Cormorant, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, and Spotted and Least Sandpipers. Rare species we might come across include Pinnated Bittern, the endemic Apical Flycatcher, Roseate Spoonbill, Ruby Topaz and Horned Screamer. Along riparian areas it is possible we seeSouthern Lapwing, Greater Ani, Ringed Kingfisher, Northern-Crested and Yellow-headed Caracara, Spotbreasted Woodpecker, Southern Beardless and Mouse-coloured Tyrannulets, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Grey and Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters, Blue-black Grassquit, and Cinereous Becard. At nearby oxbows, locally called madres viejas we will also be able to observe the attractive Jet Antbird, Orange-crowned Euphonia, and Slate-headed Tody-Flycatchers plus the beautiful Fiery Topaz. After a long morning birding temperature gets high, so we will have a break and lunch at a nearby restaurant that has some of the best “sancocho”, typical Colombian soup. We will have the afternoon to enjoy the pool and dine in Buga and in the afternoon we will head out on a 3.5 hour drive to the Otun –Quimbaya Reserve, where we will spend the night.

Days 7-8 Otun Quimbaya

We will rise early in the morning and start birding at the Otun-Quimbaya Reserve, at the doorsteps of our hotel. We will be received by the sounds of howling monkeys and the endangered, endemic Cauca Guan. They are relatively easy to see here, although they were believed to be extinct until a population of the species was rediscovered in 1990. Otun is also one of the best places in the world to observe Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. Birding along a dirt road will be productive in finding forest skulkers such as the endemic Chestnut Wood Quail, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Stile’s Tapaculo, a recently described endemic, Moustached Antpitta and Russet-crowned Warbler. We will also focus attention on the road and adjacent areas, where mixed groups assemble such in a birder’s dream with species like Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Three-striped Warbler, Canada Warbler. Masked Trogon, Inca Jay, Black-billed Peppershrike, Marble-faced and Variegated Bristle-Tyrants, Highland Motmot, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Golden-fronted Redstart, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Orange-bellied Euphonia, and Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercer can be seen here. After a productive day of birding we will return to the lodge for another night. The next morning we will devote to find the famous torrent duck, before having an early lunch and heading to Manizales which is about 3-hour drive. We will stop and bird at a roadside lake where we will be able to add many new birds to our list including Pied Grebe, Masked Duck and Blackish Rail. We will spend the next two nights at the Rio Blanco Reserve, touted as one of the three best birding sites in the world.

Days 9-10 Rio Blanco Reserve

Manizales is in the center of the famed Coffee Triangle, and is a great city from which we can visit several reserves that hold some of Colombia’s rarest and most threatened species. We will be staying at Rio Blanco 2 nights, were the accommodation is rustic but very clean and birding is simply superb. It is possible to observe five species of Antpitta including the endemic Brown-banded, plus Bicolored, Chestnut-crowned, Chestnut-naped and Slate-crowned Antpitta within a few hours at the three feeders located within a short hike from the lodge. The endemic Rufous-fronted Parakeet and the very rare Masked Saltator are usually also observed in the vicinity of the lodge. Along with endemic and rare species, this area boasts many sought after species that include Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Golden-faced Redstart, Dusky Piha, Black-billed and Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanagers, Grass-green and White-capped Tanager, Powerful Woodpecker and the often heard, but hard to see Tapaculos, such as Ocellated, Blakish and Spillman’s Tapaculos. Plushcap, Black-billed Peppershrike, Mountain Cacique and Golden-plumed Parakeet are also can be found. The reserve boasts several well-maintained trails and hummingbird feeders which attract various species including Tourmaline Sunangel, Buff-tailed Coronet, Speckled Hummingbird, Bronzy and Collared Inca, Mountain Velvetbreast, the tiny White-bellied Woodstar and Long-tailed Sylph. After 2 full days of birding at Rio Blanco we will head to Manizales for 2nights at Hotel Termales del Otono, with mineral-rich, medicinal hot-springs and great views of the Central Andes.

Day11 Nevado del Ruiz

Today we will head to the Nevado del Ruiz, following a road through patches of forest that give way to Paramo, a tropical grassland above treeline. The scenery is magical with velvety frailejon plants adding a touch of surrealism. Temperatures will be cold, and we will reach elevations upwards of 13,000 feet. We will seek out high elevation specialists that include: Bearded Helmetcrest, Paramo Tapaculo, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Viridian Metaltail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Black-backed Bush-Tanager, Glossy Flowerpiercer and the endemic and very hard to find Rufous-fronted Parakeet. We will search for this endemic along a 2km stretch of the road that passes through elfin forest. Also fun to watch is the Tawny Antpitta, which is very tame in this area. We will also be able to bird near a glacial laguna called Laguna Negra, were it is possible to see Many-striped Canastero, White-tailed Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Andean Tit-Spinetail, White-chinned Thistletail, Andean Duck, Andean Teal, Grass Wren, and Pale-naped Brush-Finch. A bonus is the variety of seedeaters in the Paramo, including Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Paramo and Plain-colored Seedeaters. After a day of birding we will head to Termales del Otono for another night.

Day12 Manizales

We will spend the morning birding at Alcazares City Park, which offers amazing birding opportunities within Manizales city limits. Targets here include Red-headed barbet, Flame-rumped Tanager and the endemic Bar-crested Antshrike. Other birds we might encounter include Bay-breasted Tanager, Emerald Toucanet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Streaked Saltator. For lunch we will have Ajiaco, a typical Colombian soup made with potatoes and chicken and garnished withcapers and cream…..deeeelicious. We will head on a 4 hour drive back to Cali, where we will spend the night in Hotel Casa Alferez, located in the trendiest and exclusive sector of Cali. We will have dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant to recap on the good times we had during the trip.

Day13 Day in Cali and suburbs

We will have a morning tour with the Dolmetsch Arboretum’s director, Alvaro Calonje followed by a lunch. The arboretum is one of the largest in Colombia and boasts a collection of 2200 species of plants from around the world. It also offers great birding opportunities. We will spend the night at Hotel Casa Alferez in the plushest area of Cali.

Day14 Depart Cali

Transfer to the airport from Hotel Casa Alferez to catch flights.

Day15  Arrival home after an overnight flight

Extension possibility

6days/5nights extension possibility at the World-famous Santa Marta mountains, Minca & El Dorado, a real heaven for endemics.

Tour to Colombia

  • Colombia's diverse birdlife at stunning landscapes

     

    Colombia, with its diverse landscapes, is home to more bird species than any… Read More +

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Highlights

Pygmy Cormorant

Dalmatian Pelican

Squacco Heron

Glossy Ibis

Ferruginous Duck

Levant Sparrowhawk

Eleonora's Falcon

Lanner

Rock Partridge

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Great Spotted Cuckoo

Scops Owl

Pallid Swift

Bee-eater

Roller

Three-toed Woodpecker

Calandra Lark

Crag Martin

Red-rumped Swallow

Tawny Pipit

Alpine Accentor

Rufous-tailed Scrub

Robin

Black-eared Wheatear

Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush

Ring Ouzel

Eastern Olivaceous

Warbler

Olive-tree Warbler

Eastern Orphean

Warbler

Subalpine Warbler

Sardinian Warbler

Balkan Warbler

Semi-collared Flycatcher

Sombre Tit

Western Rock Nuthatch

Woodchat Shrike

Nutcracker

Alpine Chough

Spanish Sparrow

Hawfinch

Rock Bunting

Black-headed Bunting