Colombia Caribbean Birding

Colombia Caribbean Birding Tour

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9 Days / 8 Nights PRIVATE TOUR
with an optional 5 day / 4 night extension

Join us for a birding safari like no other. With more than 1,950 species (almost 20% of the world's total) Colombia is really the place for birding enthusiasts. There are more species of birds in this country than in any other. It is easy to see why. Colombia is tropical, yet it also has ample elevation changes due to the Andes, furthermore it has both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The Andes become complex in Colombia, splitting into three ranges, which increases habitat diversity, as well as rain forest valleys between the mountains. Colombia also comprises a vast portion of the amazon and the Orinoquia region. These different habitats ensure an abundance of bird species. The tour begins in the colonial city of Cartagena, on Colombia's Caribbean coast. The safari winds it's way along the coast before making a turn into the mountains. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain in the world and one of the most important endemism centers in the world, with 22 species of birds found only in this area. Join us on a search for many of these endemics including the Santa Marta Screech Owl, Antpitta, Mountain Tanager, Tapaculo, Foliage-gleaner, Brush finch, Parakeet, Sabrewing, Bush-tyrant, Seedeater, Warbler, and a plethora more! This trip can also take us to Isla Salamanca and Flamencos National Parks, where birding through mangroves and coastal wetlands, along the ocean and in dry scrub forest should yield species such as the near endemic Buffy Hummingbird, the endemic Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Russet-throated Puffbird, the near endemic Chestnut Piculet, Bicolored Conebill and Panama Flycatcher.


Santa Clara Hotel in Cartegena

Day 01: (Saturday) ARRIVE CARTAGENA
Arriving meet our staff as you exit customs. They will transfer you to the Santa Clara Hotel. The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a hotel filled with stories. Housed in a former convent constructed in 1617 it offers the perfect blend of the colonial architecture and luxury. Its privileged location, in the heart of the historic center, is close to Cartagena's main tourist attractions. Overnight Cartagena

Botanical Garden Guillermos Piñeres

Just 30 minutes from Cartagena is one of the most important ecological attractions of the region, with a living collection of more than 300 species of Colombian Caribbean plants and one of the few virgin native forests in the region. The Botanical Garden Guillermos Piñeres has several special collections and over 1 mile of trails. In the forest a very special spring of water runs all the year. It is an ideal place to know and learn about the fauna and flora of the Colombian Caribbean. In the afternoon a tour of the Old City with it's famous museums, historic buildings and fortress. Overnight Cartagena
Meals: Breakfast

Chachalaca and Russet-throated Puffbird

After breakfast, drive to Barranquilla and enjoy an afternoon of birding in search for the endemic Chest- nut-winged Chachalaca. This is one of the most attractive Chachalacas in Colombia and possibly all of South America. The dry forests in the outskirts of town will also provide opportunities for species such as the very photogenic Russet-throated Puffbird and the common Brown-throated Parakeet.
Overnight at the Hotel Barranquilla Plaza
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hummingbird and Whooping Motmot

We will rise early and spend the morning birding at Isla Salamanca National Park, 35 minutes from Barranquilla, where we will bird the newly rebuilt walkways through the mangroves in search of Saphire-throated Hummingbird, Bicolored Conebill, the common Brown-throated Parakeet, Green and rufous Kingfishers, and Yellow-chinned Spinetail among many others. We will also have time to bird some wetlands in the area in search of Northern Screamer and other specialties. After a morning of birding we will embark on a 2-hour drive to Minca, a quaint little town with nice lodging along the river. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca is a great location to bird for lower elevation species. We will arrive in town and visit some hummingbird feeders where Rufous-breasted Hermit, Black-throated Mango, Long-billed Starthroat, the near endemic Red-billed Emerald and Violet-crowned Wood Nymph can be found. We will also have time to explore the surroundings in search of birds such as Black-backed Antshrike, Scaled Piculet, Swallow Tanager, Rufous- tailed Jacamar, Keel-billed Toucan, Masked Tityra, and Whooping Motmot.
We will overnight at the Sierra's sound lodge. Located in the picturesque village of Minca, the ecological capital of Santa Marta it is a special place because it is an oasis embedded between the river Minca and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. Minca is about 2,150 feet altitude. You will enjoy exploring the natural surroundings including the waterfalls and the Blue Fountains plus the flower and coffee cultivations. Overnight Minca
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Room at the El Dorado Lodge

Day 05: (Wednesday) MINCA TO EL DORADO LODGE
This day will have us birding through a vast altitudinal gradient, birding different elevations along the road to El Dorado Lodge. Birding up the mountain will surely yield a large number of species, including Golden-winged Sparrow, Rosy Thrush-tanager, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, the recently described Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Rusty Breasted Antpitta, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Black-backed Ant- shrike, the magnificently colored Blue Naped Chlorophonia and the attractive Rufous-capped Warbler. We will stay in the heart of the reserve at the El Dorado lodge. Overnight El Dorado Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Santa Marta Mountain Tanager and White-tipped Quetzal

Rising early we head up to higher elevations towards Cerro Kennedy, in search of these endemics: Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, Santa Marta Bush-tyrant and Brown-rumped Tapaculo, among many others. We will have a picnic at high elevation with great views of the Sierra Nevada, and bird along the road on our way down, hoping to run into awe inspiring species such as Swallow Tanager, Grove-billed and Santa Marta Toucanet, Black-chested Jay, the endemic White-lored Warbler, Golden-breasted Fruiteater and the near endemic White-tipped quetzal. After dinner we will certainly scout for the endemic and recently described Santa Marta Screech-owl. Overnight El Dorado Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner

Santa Marta Antpitta and Black-fronted Wood Quail

Day 07: (Friday) EL DORADO
After breakfast we will have time to enjoy the well- maintained feeders at the lodge. Hummingbirds that visit the feeders include the endemic White-tailed Starfrontlet, White-vented Plumeteer and Long-tailed Hermit. The bananas attract the endemic Santa Marta Brush finch and also the endemic Colombian brush finch, and the many flowers in the garden attract White-sided and Black Fower piercer. We will spend some time trying to see Santa Marta Antpitta, a skullker that will definitely take some work. A day of birding near the lodge will have its rewards, a special treat being the near endemic Black-fronted Wood-quail that visit the lodges compost pile in the afternoon. Overnight El Dorado Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Departing the hotel we drive back to Cartagena with birding stops along the way. Arriving Cartagena we enjoy the comfort of the Santa Clara. Overnight Cartagena
Meals: Breakfast

Staff transfers you to the airport for your international departure.
OR extend your stay to visit Tayrona National park, Rio Hacha and Los Flamencos National Park

COLOMBIA CARIBBEAN Birding Tour extension

5 days / 4 nights

Finca Barlovento

We will spend the day birding the road en route to our beach-side hotel. We will make stops to catch any birds we missed on the way into the reserve. We will spend the night at Finca Barlovento, an exquisite lodge right on the beach that is touted as one of the best places to stay in Colombia. Located right next to Tayrona National Park offering the visitor a unique experience amongst the ocean, the river and the majestic Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. Being "green" leaders in the area we work hard to maintain an eco friendly space by minimizing in every possible aspect the impact that tourism may have on the eco system.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

White-bearded Manakin and Double-striped Thick-knee

A morning visit to the park, and if all things align for us, the Blue-billed Curassow could show up for us. Otherwise, this is a great place to see some species which we are not as likely to see elsewhere on the trip. One abundant bird that is easier to see here than anywhere is the stunning Lance-tailed Manakin. Sometimes it can be found with its relative, the White-bearded Manakin. The birds here are varied, from Crane Hawk and Boat-billed Heron to Greater Ani, White-necked Puffbird and Rufous-tailed Jacamars. The Blue-headed Parrot is common, and Lineated Woodpeckers are impressive to see as they forage on the large trees. White-bellied Antbirds belt out their song from the underbrush, if one is lucky they will even show themselves.
The complex songs of Buff-breasted and Bicolored wrens are heard in the forest, along with the repetitive songs of Scrub Greenlets, nasal sounds of Barred Antshrikes or loud calls of Boat-billed and Streaked flycatchers. It is an active area, full of birds! Crimson-backed Tanagers and the gorgeous Redlegged Honeycreepers give a lot of color to the local flocks. While birding here it is common to see the Cottontop Tamarin, a gorgeous little monkey dwarfed by the less common White-fronted Capuchin. The afternoon will be spent driving to Riohacha, with a stop at a known spot where Double-striped Thick-knee are often seen. We will stay at the Hotel Taroa, located right on the beach. Overnight Riohacha.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Vermilion Cardinal and Orinoco Saltator

Very close to the city of Riohacha is Los Flamencos and the village of Camarones. This is the west edge of the Guajira desert, where dry forest becomes shorter and sparser and bare dry earth separates the trees from each other. But before you have a mistaken idea of a parched world, Los Flamencos is on the coast and it has shallow waterbodies that fill as the rains come, and evaporate during the dry season. These evaporating ponds concentrate salt, and then brine shrimp bloom which brings in the namesake bird of the park– American Flamingos! Their numbers vary depending on water levels, but they can be here in the hundreds on a good day. If you have not had enough pink, how about the even brighter Scarlet Ibis? They concentrate here as well, with their very close relatives White Ibis. They are so close in fact that every once in a while a hybrid "Pink Ibis" is seen here. Gulls, terns, and many migratory shorebirds are to be found at Los Flamencos. Retreating to the forest though, one is quite surprised that a series of very attractive regional specialties are found here. The sole South American offshoot of what is really a North American group, the Vermilion Cardinal can be seen here. Nothing prepares you, even if you have backyard Northern Cardinals, for the striking red of this species, the overdone crest and the very different look to its close relatives from the north. On the ground, a member of a group that is usually very drab and brown, may elicit "wows!" from the crowd – the White-whiskered Spinetail is one heck of a good looking Spinetail. Pecking in the branches and trilling away is a tiny and colorful woodpecker, the Chestnut Piculet. Sure there are specialties that are more somber in tone, such as the Slender-billed Inezia (Tyrannulet), and White-tipped Inezia. A crowd favorite is the Russet-throated Puffbird (the Bobo or fool bird as the locals call it) who will just sit there, staring back at you as hard as you stare at it. In a crowd of what tend to be relatively greenish or grayish and nondescript birds, the saltators, the uncommon Orinoco Saltator is quite a good looking bird. Don't ask why there are so many good looking birds in this drab desert habitat, just enjoy these wonderful dry forest birds. After lunch we will drive to Santa Marta and overnight at the Santorini Boutique hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Cartegena Street and Fort

Departing Santa Marta we drive to Cartagena. Arriving in time to enjoy the city and the Santa Clara hotel. Overnight Cartagena

Staff transfers you to the airport for your international departure.

TOUR INCLUDES: Transfers by air-conditioned vehicle related to the tour starting with arrival in Cartagena. Baggage handing of no more than 1 piece of luggage per person, however, baggage and personal effects are at the owner's risk at all times during the tour. Hotels (based on double occupancy). Meals as noted. Included meals are in the main dining room, no speciality restaurants or room service. Fees for visiting sites that are part of the tour program. Tours with the services of an English speaking guide. Hotel Service charges and taxes.

NOT included: Air, items of a personal nature such as entry visa, entry or exit taxes, tips, telephone, laundry, beverages of any nature at any time, anything not specifically mentioned as included.

  • Tours must be booked at least 45 days prior to arrival.
    Prices and itinerary subject to change without notice.

    Inquire about this tour