Colombia has quickly risen to stardom as the number one birding destination in South America. With its 1900+ species of birds, it holds more than any other country in the world. Of added interest are the almost 90 endemic species to be found here. All the areas we visit are perfectly safe, with improving lodges, reserves and ever friendly and helpful locals. The key to a successful tour to this fantastic destination is using local guides who know where the best birds can be found and Jose Castano is one of the most knowledgeable Colombian guides with an enviable reputation for producing some of his country's rarest birds to admiring birding groups.
Our specially designed tour will concentrate on finding as many of the special birds as possible by visiting the most easily accessible birding areas. Starting with a number of sites around the scenic mountains bordering Bogota where Bogota Rail, Rufous-browed Conebill and a superb variety of hummingbirds can be found, we will move on to Montezuma & Manizales and eventually the fabulous Rio Blanco Reserve. A feeding station here gives us unparallelled opportunities to observe some incredibly shy species such as Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Bicolored, Chestnut-naped and Slate-crowned Antpittas. Los Nevados and its Rainbow-bearded Thornbills will delight us, El Jardin has the stunning White-capped Tanager and huge mixed feeding flocks, before ending up in the wonderful Santa Marta Mountains and its numerous endemics. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain range in the world and the lush, forested slopes are home to an incredible amount of avian endemism with over 20 endemic birds to look for. What a place this is! Our tour also visits Hacienda El Bosque where a feeding stations currently attracts the incredible Crescent-faced Antpitta, as well as Rufous Antpitta.
Leaders: Trevor Ellery
Ground Price: £tba
Airfare: £750 - £850 - UK/UK
Single Supplement: £tba
Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and Maximum of 8.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms, mostly en-suite, some with shared facilities (Montezuma), all meals from dinner on 4th September to breakfast on 22nd September, ground transport, bus on main tour and 4x4 landcruisers where neccessary, domestic flights (Bogotá-Pereira, Medellín-Barranquilla and Santa Marta-Bogotá), snacks, additional local guide where necessary, all entrance fees, bottled water, coffee and daily snacks and services of all leaders and local guides.
Not included: International airfare, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: Our hotels and lodges vary in quality from excellent to rather basic, but all are within easy reach of the areas we wish to bird. Note that there may not be single rooms available at Montezuma and depending on group size and make up you may be required to share. Other places there is limited single room availability depending on group size. Note that areas in the lowlands such as Rio Claro and along the coast at Santa Marta are places where the temperature is generally warm to hot and as such no hotels or lodges offer hot water. They say they do not need it!
Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with all day birding. No particular strenuous walks are planned and birding is generally easy from open roads and wide tracks. To see a good amount of endemics and specialities you need to be prepared for long days. We will generally begin with a 4.30am to 5.00am start and either have an early breakfast or take a picnic breakfast with us. Lunches will be either picnic or a restaurant depending on our schedule, and the majority of our birding takes place in the morning with travelling performed in the afternoons, again depending on how far and where we need to get to. All in all this works very well and maximises our birding at the right times of day, which will allow for an impressive list. The weather can be unsettled at this time of year, so expect some cooler weather and possible cold weather with good chances of a shower or two. Note that birds are far more active in rain than in sunshine! If the weather has been raining for a while then we often get disruptions on the roads, please bear with this as it comes with the territory.