Colombia Birdwatching Tours Based from Cali
Colombia Birdwatch offers not just birding in Colombia tours but an immersion into Colombian lifestyle.
We showcase the wealth of avian life in Colombia, which has the highest diversity of bird species on Earth, while also presenting the culinary, cultural and historical highlights of each region we visit. Based in Cali, one of Colombia’s most strategically situated cities for access to the most fascinating and diverse birding locales on the planet, Colombia Birdwatch seeks to provide an unsurpassed experience for birders and naturalists from around the world.
Colombia Birdwatch stands out as a specialist Colombian birding tour operator because, as locals, we provide exceptional value. We know the country, its birds, birding areas, customs, culture and gastronomy, while our privileged local access will make your experience exclusive and unforgettable. We can also arrange to visit some of the formerly inaccessible regions of Colombia, where new species remain to be discovered.
To ensure a successful birding trip in Colombia, our guests are accompanied by one or more professional tour leaders and we only employ local guides at every destination we visit. As a specialist local birding operator, we offer set departure dates throughout the year, concentrating on the most productive and unique birding destinations in this mega-diverse country.
Birdwatch Colombia also offers custom tours to any destination in Colombia and we will design and quote your dream birding holiday free of charge, with no commitment necessary.
The group size is the lowest in the industry, with a maximum of eight birders per group. This gives you a more personal experience and allows Colombia Birdwatch to fulfil its goal of getting every person on every bird!
Christopher Calonje: Christopher was born and raised in Colombia. After studying and working in environmental science in Oregon and California for 15 years, he returned to his native country to launch his eco-tourism company, Colombia Birdwatch. He has been leading tour groups in all regions of Colombia since 2009. Christopher also devotes his time to various non-profit groups and local communities that promote nature tourism as a conservation tool in Colombia’s post-conflict era. Sustainability is one of the core principles at Colombia Birdwatch, proven by Christopher’s work to promote conservation in Colombia. Chris sits on the board of local NGO Ecotonos, which is embarking on several efforts to purchase land for biological corridors near his family’s Araucana Lodge. He recently purchased 50 acres of the Cloud Forest.
Alvaro Calonje: Alvaro received a degree in ornamental horticulture at California Polytechnic University and a Masters in horticulture at the University of Puerto Rico, before returning to his native Colombia to begin a prosperous career in tropical garden design. He is passionate about teaching and operated the Landscaping in Architecture course at the Cauca Valley University after finishing his specialisation there. As he prepares to retire, he oversees the organic vegetable garden at Araucana Lodge and is a wonderful host, whose main joy in life is mingling and showing off the property to guests from around the world.
Vivian Carrascal: Vivian has been welcoming visitors to Colombia since 2014, specialising in gastronomic and historical tours in the Cauca Valley and the coffee region of the country. She is a recent graduate from Audubon Society’s one-year birding guide course, focusing on the Western Andes of Colombia, and is in charge of our cultural, history and culinary outings. She also runs our welcoming committee and oversees our ground operations to ensure all trips run smoothly. Vivian has been part of our team since 2015.
Jose Eduardo Luna: Jose was born and raised in the Western Andes of Colombia at the edge of the Farallones National Park, an area that saw much conflict during Colombia’s civil war. While many of his classmates were drawn into the conflict, Jose became interested in the natural history and wildlife surrounding his home and now proudly states that this most likely saved his life. Jose shines amongst his colleagues for his proficiency in English and his ability to find wildlife and birds and connect with nature. He is considered one of Colombia’s best naturalist guides. He recently graduated from a two-year guiding course taught by Colombia’s National Learning Centre. Jose has been guiding for us since the beginning of his career in 2010.
Gian Carlo Ventolini: Gian Carlo began working as a birding and nature tour guide in 2012 after working for many years on tree-planting projects in the Cauca Valley, where his time in the field got him interested in birding. Since he became hooked on birds, he has been preparing as a bilingual tour guide. Gian Carlo recently completed a two-year guiding course with the Colombia National Learning Centre, achieving his goal of becoming a professional tour guide. His skills and personality make him one of the most brilliant guides to hit the Colombian travel scene. Gian Carlo has been guiding for us since 2016.
Juan Manuel Cardona: Juan is a Colombian birding guide who currently lives in the rural area of Pereira city. He started to study birds at the age of 12 through a local birding group called ‘Aguilas’ and trained as a birding and nature guide at Otún Quimbaya National Park. As his university education progressed, he became more serious about bird biology, focusing on bird communication and migration. He is also co-founder of an NGO called the Yarumo Blanco Community Association, whose objectives support and promote responsible tourism development, conservation and nature education. Nowadays, Juan is part of the Audubon Society project ‘Developing participatory actions for Canada, Golden-winged and Cerulean Warbler conservation in central Andes of Colombia’.
Oswaldo Cortes: Oswaldo has been birding in Colombia for most of his adult life and has a vast knowledge of the avifauna of Colombia. He is Colombia’s number one ebirder and enjoys meeting and traveling with people from around the world.
Gilberto Collazos: Gilberto has been birding the Anchicaya Valley for longer than anybody else. Working in the area for more than a decade as an orthodontist, his love of birds and the people in the region led him to make a career change to bird guiding.
Angel Ortiz: Angel has been guiding since 2007 and is a recent graduate of Audubon’s bird guide training programme. Since taking the course, Angel has become one of the region’s go-to birding guides and now oversees our operations in the Caribbean.
At Colombia Birdwatch we realise that the conservation and stewardship of Colombia’s biodiversity depend largely on the participation of local communities, so community involvement is emphasised throughout our tours.
We work closely with non-profit organisations throughout Colombia, whose mission is to promote conservation, environmental education, and responsible ecotourism to benefit the local communities visited.
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