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Exclusive Araucana Colombia Birding Lodge Tour - 8 Days

Exclusive Araucana Colombia Birding Lodge Tour

Birdwatching Lodge Tour in Colombia

On this 8-day Araucana Colombia Birding Lodge Tour, which is moderately paced and available on request, visitors have the chance to see more than 200 species of birds and enjoy all the comforts of world-class accommodation, owned and operated by Colombia Birdwatch and designed specifically for birders and nature lovers. Meals are served farm-to-table at this Colombia birding lodge from its expansive organic garden.

"Helen and I were one of the first couples to stay at their new lodge, which... has been designed with such care and attention to the environment. The rooms are huge and spacious, very comfortable with fabulous views over the property. All the staff are great and our guide Giancarlo Ventolini was the best - having not only sharp eyes and hearing - but the knowledge to answer any question we had on, not just the local area, but all of Colombia. It is such a relaxed atmosphere at Araucana, and everyone has a really professional attitude but with good humour and friendliness." - Paul Wakefield & Helen Cowcher

For those who enjoy bird photography, Araucana Lodge and the many reserves along the route have excellent feeder set-ups that provide some of the best photographic opportunities in Colombia. The tour starts in the KM 18 and San Antonio Cloud Forest, introducing guests to birding in the Colombian Andes. More than 100 years ago, Frank Chapman of the American Museum of Natural History spent some time researching the bird diversity of this forest, which resulted in the first detailed bird survey for Colombia. The birding in the area is amazing, with mixed-species flocks of Multicoloured, Purplish-mantled, Scrub and Golden-naped Tanagers foraging alongside Scaled Fruiteaters, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias and Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals.

As well as a visit to an active Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek and a feeding station for a brand new species of Antpitta, the tour dips into the humid forests of the Pacific lowlands in the San Cipriano Reserve, where the habitat and the species differ dramatically from those in the Andean Cloud Forests.

The next stop is the Anchicaya Valley in Farallones National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Located along the Old Buenaventura Road, which descends from the western Andes to the Pacific Ocean, the area is one of Colombia’s newest destinations to open up to birding. The road provides such a astonishing diversity that it inspired Steve Hilty to start work on his Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia. This was the first ornithological field guide for South America and inspired a myriad of ornithologists to visit the continent.

Araucana Colombia Birding Lodge Tour highlights include:

  • Comfortable accommodation at the Araucana Lodge, specifically designed for birders and with excellent feeder set-ups
  • Visit KM 18 and the San Antonio Cloud Forest in the Andes, where foremost naturalist Frank Chapman began exploring Colombia's biodoversity
  • Trip to an active Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek and a feeding station for a brand new species of Antpitta
  • Tour the Pacific lowlands in the San Cipriano Reserve
  • Explore Anchicaya Valley in Farallones National Park, where Steve Hilty was inspired to write the groundbreaking Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia

Would you be interested in creating your own Colombia birdwatching experience? Check out Colombia Birdwatch: Custom Bird Watching Tours to find out more.

Please enquiry directly for solo traveller pricing, also available.

Alternative Tour Name: Colombian Birdwatching at Araucana Lodge
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrive in Cali

Guests will be picked up at the airport and driven to the Araucana Colombia birding lodge in a private vehicle.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 2
Day 2 - KM 18

Today we spend the morning around the famous El 18, located on an 1,800m (5,900ft) pass 11 miles (18km) northwest of Cali along the road that connects Cali with the port city of Buenaventura. Birding can be very productive here and we will look for four endemics – Chestnut Wood-Quail, Colombian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet and the spectacular Multicolored Tanager.

This area is a tanager paradise and we have a good chance of seeing Purplish-mantled, Summer, Beryl-spangled, Flame-rumped, Golden, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, and Golden-naped Tanagers, as well as Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager.

We also hope to be dazzled by an impressive show of hummingbirds at a private house along the same road, including the beautifully ornate Long-tailed Sylph, Booted Rackettail, Blue-headed Sapphire, Green Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant and Speckled Hummingbirds and White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear and Tawny-bellied Hermit.

In addition, while birding in the forest we might also see near-endemics such as Scrub Tanager, Purple-throated Woodstar, Nariño Tapaculo, Purplish-mantled Tanager and Yellow-headed Manakin.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 3
Day 3 - San Antonio Forest and Andean Cock-of-the-rock Lek

We will spend the morning birding in the pristine cloud forest of San Antonio Forest. Here we hope to see striking birds such as Green-and-black Fruiteater, Chestnut-breasted and Blue-naped Chlorophonia, the inconspicuous Golden-headed Quetzal, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails, Streaked Xenops, and the noisy, inquisitive Crimson-rumped Toucanet.

We will also listen out for species with interesting calls and songs, such as the hawk-like whistle of the Scaled Fruiteater, warbling song of Black-billed Peppershrike, and beautiful flute-like song of Andean Solitaire.

Other species we may find include Chestnut-breasted Wren, Greenish Puffleg, Montane Woodcreeper, Scale-crested Pygmytyrant, and the hyperactive Cinnamon Flycatcher.

At 2pm we will visit an active Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek for some close-up views of this magnificent bird’s display. A 25-minute hike will take us down a steep trail to their lek near the river. After the lek we will make our way back to the birding lodge.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 4
Day 4 - San Cipriano

Today starts with a 90 minute drive to Zaragosa, our entry point into the humid forests of the San Cipriano Reserve. There are no roads into the reserve, so access is via a pleasant ride on “brujitas” - motorcycle-powered wooden carts on rails, engineered by the locals.

The heart of the Choco Bioregion is known for being one of the most biodiverse on the planet, but also one of the wettest. Some of the birds we might see here include: Choco Toucan, Stripe-billed Aracari, Black-tipped Cotinga (NE), Rose-faced (NE) and Blue-headed Parrots, Spot-crowned and Fivecolored Barbet (NE), Broad-billed Motmot and Purple-throated Fruitcrow and Tawny-crested Tanager.

The area is teeming with antbirds, with chances to see Ocellated, Jet, Stub-tailed and Bicolored Antbirds. With the high humidity and heat, it is best to have bagged species such as Pacific and Checker-throated Antwrens, Pacific Flatbill, Cinnamon Becard, Thicket Antpitta, Black-chested Puffbird, White-ringed Flycatcher, Blue-black Grosebeak, and Blue-crowned and Golden-collared Manakin before lunch.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 5
Day 5 - Upper Anchicaya

Perhaps Colombia’s most famous birding location, the Anchicaya watershed is located in the Farallones National Park, one of the most diverse parks on the planet.

Our birding begins just 30 minutes from the hotel via a paved road where we may see many of the Choco endemics that this mega diverse locality has to offer.

The day will be spent birding along the upper portion of the road. We will devote some time to the El Descanso area, where Rufous-throated, Glistening-green and Silver-throated Tanagers are known to occur.

A day of birding on the road will surely yield many highly prized species, including the endemic Crested Ant-tanager, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, White-whiskered Puffbird, Uniform Treehunter, Sooty-headed Wren, Green Thorntail and Empress Brilliant.

One of the main targets will be Toucan Barbet, which sports five different colours but still manages to have a tough demeanour.

We will search the skies for Barred Hawk, Ornate Hawk-eagle and Swallow-tailed Kites, whilst keeping an eye out for the attractive Ornate Flycatcher feeding on low branches.

Another target will be the recently described Pisones Tapaculo.

Our full day of birding ends when we return for another comfortable night at Araucana Colombia birding Lodge.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 6
Day 6 - Lower Anchicaya

We will spend a whole day exploring the pristine forests of the lower Anchicaya road for species such as Choco Trogon, Great Curassow, Lita Woodpecker and Baudo Guan.

The tanagers can be quite a treat, with chances of Scarlet-and white, Golden-chested, Flame-faced, Scru, Blue-whiskered, Gray-and-gold, and Scarlet-browed Tanagers among many others.

The road is lengthy so this will be our longest day of driving, but there are plenty of opportunities to seek out goodies such as Choco Woodpecker (NE), Long-tailed Tyrant, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Lanceolated Monklet, Bay Wren, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Collared Aracari and colonies of Russet-backed Oropendolas.

This location also provides habitat for species such as Choco Tapaculo, Dusky Pigeon, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Indigo Flowerpiercer and White-tailed Hillstar.

Some of our targets will include: White-whiskered Puffbird, Barred Puffbird, Spot-crowned Barbet, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, White-tailed Trogon and Black-cheeked Woodpecker.

After a long day of birding we will make our way back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 7
Day 7 - San Antonio Forest and Araucana Lodge

Today we will spend the morning birding in the San Antonio Forest again. It will be a chance to pick up any of the birds on our list that were missed on our trip to the Forest on day three.

After lunch, we will return to the Araucana Colombia birding lodge for an afternoon in search of species such as Parker’s Antbird, Grayish Piculet, Apical Flycatcher, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Bar-crested Antshrike, Spectacled Parrotlet, Scaled Antpitta, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Colombian Chachalaca and Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant.

Lodging: Araucana Lodge

Day 8
Day 8 - Departure

Guests will be taken by private transport to the airport. For those who wish to, we can arrange more birding for you in other regions of Colombia.

Wildlife species we expect to see:

Colombian Chachalaca, Baudo Guan, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Violet-tailed Sylph, White-tailed Hillstar, Blue-headed Sapphire, Crested Quetzal, Choco Trogon, Five-colored Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Choco Toucan, Grayish Piculet, Lita Woodpecker, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rose-faced Parrot, Sapayoa, Bar-crested Antshrike, Pacific Antwren, Choco Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Tatama Tapaculo, Brown-billed Scythebill, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Uniform Treehunter, Slaty Spinetail, Choco Tyrannulet, Ornate Flycatcher, Handsome Flycatcher, Apical Flycatcher, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Scaled Fruiteater, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Black-tipped Cotinga, Club-winged Manakin, White-headed Wren, Sooty-headed Wren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Andean Solitaire, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Golden-chested Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Multicolored Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis and Crested Ant-Tanager.

What is included?

  • All lodging (Double Occupancy)
  • Bottled water throughout the trip
  • All meals from dinner on day one to breakfast on day eight
  • Snacks throughout the trip
  • Entrances to parks and reserves
  • Local guides
  • Internal terrestrial transport from airport pickup to
  • airport drop-off

What is not included?

  • Insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Airfare to Colombia
  • Laundry
  • Items of personal nature
  • Tips
  • Anything that is not included in in the itinerary and "What is included"
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 3  reviews
  1. Short stay but brilliant!
    Paul Wakefield / Helen Cowcher10 Feb 2019







    Helen and I were only at Araucana Lodge for 3 days but it was a brilliant experience, not just for the birding which was excellent, but to see what Chris, Vivian and their whole team are doing to enhance the amazing potential that Colombia has to offer. We were one of the first couples to stay at their new lodge, which when it's finished very soon, will be spectacular. It's already looking terrific and has been designed with such care and attention to the their environment. The rooms are huge and spacious, very comfortable with fabulous views over the property. All the staff are great and our guide Giancarlo Ventolini was the best - having not only sharp eyes and hearing - but the knowledge to answer any question we had on, not just the local area, but all of Colombia. Helen did a lot of research beforehand regarding the best place to bird, and it certainly paid off. It is such a relaxed atmosphere at Araucana, and everyone has a really professional attitude but with good humour and friendliness.
  2. Fantastic Trip!
    Gordon Beebe12 Jan 2014







    My wife and I joined a small group led by Chris Calonje, along with Jose Luna, to the southwest of Colombia in 2014. We explored areas around Cali, Anchicaya, Sonso Lagoon, Otun Quimbaya, Rio Blanco, and Nevado de Ruiz. The trip was excellent, and all of our needs were amply taken care of. Both Chris and Jose are great birders, helping us find many species at each location. They knew several local property owners, who were very welcoming in having the group explore areas that we would otherwise not have been able to see, including a Cock-of-the-Rock lek. In addition to birding, we got to visit some intriguing gardens and nature reserves, and to appreciate the great strides being made in Colombia towards promoting eco-tourism and protection of the country's fabulous biodiversity. We also attended a street dance in Cali, the likes of which I had not seen before, as well as walking tours in Manizales and Cali. If you have never been to Colombia before, like us, or want to see more of the wildlife there, I highly recommend Chris as your guide.
  3. Birding with Colombia Birdwatch
    Dan van den Broek01 Mar 2013







    We had a great time birding with the guides at Colombia Birdwatch. We visited Km18, Rio Blanco and Santa Marta. We are returning with two more Audubon Society Groups in March 2018.

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Why book with Colombia Birdwatch?

We stand out from the rest because, as locals, we can provide better value - our familiarity with Colombia, its avian diversity, customs, culture and gastronomy is unsurpassed. We support the local communities we visit and it is our privileged local access that will make your experience exclusive and unforgettable. We are an efficient and reliable company, offering the highest level of detail and service from start to finish.

What sort of accommodation and vehicles do you supply?

This tour is based at the stylish, world-class Araucana Colombia Birding Lodge (www.araucanalodge.com), which we own and operate. The lodge offers farm-to-table meals and was designed specifically to meet the needs of nature travellers, with all the comforts you can imagine. It's a place where you are treated like family. Most of the tour will be done in either a seven pax Hyundai van or a 17 pax Volkswagen or Mercedes van, depending on the number of tour participants. Some sites require use of 4x4 vehicles, in which case we use a Renault Duster or Toyota Land Cruiser, or sometimes Jeep Willys are used.

What forms of travel are involved on this tour?

This tour only involves ground transportation, be it in a van or a smaller 4X4 vehicle. In the San Cipriano Nature Reserve, riding on train rails on a motorcycle-powered cart called a “bruijta” makes for an exhilarating experience!

What are your group sizes?

This tour is run as a private tour and pricing is based on the number of people on the tour.

Do you arrange airport pick up/drop off?

Yes, all airport transfers are included.

Do you ever change the tour leader or itinerary? If so, what sort of notice do you give?

We rarely have to change the tour leader, but sometimes unforeseeable things happen. If we do, we will give you as much notice as we can.

Do you charge a single supplement? Can you accommodate a third person/family?

Yes, the single supplement for this tour is $300. We can most definitely cover a third person/family member and can offer a discount for triple occupancy.

Do you include meals?

Yes, all meals from dinner on day one to breakfast on day eight are included. We also include snacks and bottled water throughout the trip.

When is the best time to travel and why?

This tour is great all year round. It can rain at any time in the Colombian Andes (somewhat heavier in April/May and Sept to early Nov), so participants should expect some rain, regardless of the time of the trip. However, this generally does not impact the quality of the birding.

Do you need a minimum fitness level to join this tour?

We expect our travellers to be able to walk one to three miles daily. For this tour we do most of our birding on lightly travelled roads with support vehicles nearby. The exception is in the San Cipriano locality, and there is one hike to the Andean-cock-of-the-rock lek that takes about 20 minutes each way, with steep terrain.

Would this tour be appropriate for someone with limited mobility?

Yes, in many cases we can offer a different option to the San Cipriano and Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek locations for a person with limited mobility.

What will be the level of connectivity or WiFi access during this tour?

There is WiFi in all our hotels and lodges except for Otun Quimbaya. Please keep in mind that WiFi is only available in common areas in some places and that in more rural areas the connection is not always 100% reliable.

How do you support local communities during this tour?

Colombia Birdwatch supports the local communities we visit in many ways. Firstly, it is our policy to always hire local guides when available and to make use of the services provided by the locals (meals, transportation, feeder sites, etc). Secondly, we support various programmes and work closely with partners (Audubon Society, Procolombia, Chamber of Commerce, Cali Valle Bureau) in the areas we visit to promote bird tourism and to provide outreach and training for local communities. We also work closely with Fundacion Ecotonos to promote the conservation of the Bosque de San Antonio in the vicinity of the Araucana Lodge.

What are the terms for this tour and how do I pay?

A deposit of $1,000 USD (non-refundable) per person is due to confirm the trip on booking, and full payment is due 60 days prior to the start date of the tour. You can pay by wire transfer to our bank in the United States or by Credit Card (3% fee).

What happens if something happens and I cannot make the tour dates?

The tour can be rescheduled within one year (no additional fees).

What happens if I have to cancel my tour?

If you cancel before final payment is due a cancellation fee of your deposit will be charged. If you cancel after final payment is due there is no refund but you can reschedule the tour within a year.

What should I pack for this tour?

Packing List: Please note that this is a general packing list and is not all-inclusive. REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE Documents and Money: • Passport • Cash and credit cards • Airline tickets or E-ticket confirmation Clothing: • Waterproof rain jacket • Sweater or medium weight jacket • Three pairs of pants/trousers, at least one lightweight, plus cool long pants and shorts • Four long-sleeved shirts • Four T-shirts • Ten pairs of underwear • Ten pair of socks • Pajamas • 1 pair of waterproof boots and 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes. • Shade hat and 1 bandanna • Bathing suit Toiletries: • Toiletries and washcloth • Personal first aid kit • Prescription drugs • Lip balm with sunscreen • Sunscreen • Soap for hand washing and universal sink stopper • Insect repellent (Chiggers, no-seeums and mosquitoes) and anti-itch ointment Gear: • Pack/rucksack - for rain gear and water on walks • Plastic bags to put wet gear in, in case of rain • Sunglasses and extra prescription glasses • Water bottle - to refill throughout the trip • Camera • Binoculars • Alarm clock • Flashlight and extra batteries Optional: • Sandals • Field guides • Map • Spanish dictionary • Writing materials, paper, and pens • Laundry bag and a few clothes pegs

Can you recommend any articles and/or books to read before this tour?

Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia by Miles Mcmullan. R + N Editors, 2018. Birds of Colombia by Fernando Ayerbe Quinones. WCS, 2019.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

8 Days

Price & Availability

USD1,795 / per person
Single Suppliment USD 300
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Colombia Birdwatch
4.92 based on 28 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.92 Based on 28 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Western Andes and Pacific Slope
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 2-8
  • 8 days
  • Year Round
  • Moderate
  • English, Spanish
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragon in Cali (CLO)
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragon in Cali (CLO)