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Central & Northern Colombia Birding Tour - 16 Days

Central & Northern Colombia Birding Tour
4900

Northern & Central Colombia Birding Tour

A 16-day Central & Northern Colombia Birding Tour is a moderately-paced trip available as a set departure (or on request) in the Magdalena River Basin, Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, and La Guajira Area.  During this Northern & Central Colombia Birdwatching Tour, you can expect to see over 350 species of bird, including 32 endemics and other wildlife species (monkeys, foxes, tayra).

The Magdalena River is the main fluvial artery in Colombia, it flows along an ample valley between the Central and Eastern Andes and flowing into the Caribbean sea. It is an important area of endemism and home to the more southern populations of some central American species. This Central Colombia Birding part of the tour combines visits to the premontane and karstic humid forest, dry forest, and wetlands on its lowlands plus coastal ecosystems, the unique Santa Marta endemic mountains; La Guajira area: the thorny forest and a salty lagoon.

On other hand, as we head to the Northern Colombia Birdwatching Trail, we will visit 3 exceptional national natural parks, beginning by Vía Parque Isla de Salamanca NP, this is an important bird area for conservation (IBA), stated by UNESCO as a Reserve of the Biosphere and a second home for migrant species; the birding is carried out on the coastal ecosystems along the way to Santa Marta city while the Brisa “breeze” of the Caribbean rubs your cheeks.

Visiting the Tayrona National Park is a nice opportunity to find its always attractive dry forest bird species; this site is very loved by Colombian and foreign people. Flora and Fauna Sanctuary Los Flamencos NP is one the richest natural parks in the country of aquatic species, once here we will focus on the regional endemics of the thorny and semiarid ecosystem of La Guajira region; a territory inhabited by the Wayúu ethnic group.

Minca, this warming village calls itself the Eco-capital of Colombia, surrounded by premontane forest, clean rivers, many farm hotels, some coffee plantations; an ample array of birds, and a deep sense of respect for nature by its inhabitants.

El Dorado reserve: Located on a mountain in the famous Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the protected forests preserve the three most endangered species of birds in these mountains: the Santa Marta Parakeet, the Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant and the Santa Marta Sabrewing; it gives the seal as an area zero extinction (AZE) also cataloged as an endemic bird area (EBA) and (IBA). The site offers excellent  accommodation, vivid sunrises, and sunsets. Its name is based on the legend of El Dorado, where Spanish conquerors thought and sought for a city of gold; not far from this idea are these mountains: Gold is expressed in its rich birdlife.

Central & Northern Colombia Birdwatching Tour Highlights:

  • Meet the bird specialities from the Magdalena river basin and Blue-billed Curassow, a bird species endemic to the country and endanger to extinction.
  • Visit a cave where the singular Oilbirds dwell.
  • The possibility to see more than 22 endemic bird species found only in the Santa Marta Mountains.
  • Opportunity to experience birding with a local guide from the Wayúu ethnic group based in the La Guajira region.
  • Staying at the famous El Dorado birding lodge with breathtaking views of the Santa Marta mountains and also the Caribbean sea.

Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request from December to April and from July to November of every year. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.

If you have a little more time to spend on your holiday and are keen to fill it with more wonderful birding experiences, why not have a look at the Birding Colombia Amazon Region Tour.

Alternative Tour Name: Magdalena River Santa Marta and La Guajira Birding Tour
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrive to Jose Maria Cordoba airport in Medellín City

Meeting and picking up in airport and then transfer to hotel near the airport (Central Andes - 2140 masl)).

Night: Hotel in Rionegro city.

Day 2
Day 2 - Cocorná Area

Early we will begin descending through the eastern slope of Central Andes to Cocorná municipality to spend the morning between some farms and secondary forest to work on pretty endemics: White-mantled Barbet and Beautiful Woodpecker, another species will join to this morning as: Spectacled Parrotlet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Scrub Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, white-bearded and striped Manakin, Masked Tityra, Great Antshrike and many more. After lunch we will continue to the area of Río Claro reserve (Karstic humid foothill forest - 300 to 600 masl.) Some birding around before sunset.

Night: Hotel in Río Claro area.

(Humid forest - 1000 masl)

Day 3
Day 3 - Rio Claro Reserve

This morning we will focus on some trails of Rio Claro to work on: Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant (EN), Fasciated Antshrike, Black-crowned Antshrike, Orange-billed Sparrow, Pacific Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Dusky Antbird, Bare-crowned Antbird, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Yellow-browed Shrike Vireo, Bay wren, Tawny-crested Tanager, Collared aracari, Gartered Trogon, Olivaceous Flatbill and more. After lunch visit to La Cueva del Cóndor (Condor Cave) for: Oilbirds, Barred and White-whiskered Puffbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker, White-whiskered Puffbird, Citron-throated Toucan, Capped Heron, Black-faced Antthrush, Crested Oropendola and more.

Night: Hotel in Rio Claro area

(Karstic Humid Forest - 300 to 500 masl)

Day 4
Day 4 - Río Claro Reserve.

Magdalena Antbird is our target this morning along with Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Broad-billed Motmot, Black-bellied Wren, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-chested Jay, Olivaceous Flatbill, Band-backed Wren, Lemon-rumped and Dusky-faced Tanager, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper plus many more. After lunch we leave to the Western foothills of Eastern Andes to El Paujil reserve .

Night: El Paujil lodge

Day 5
Day 5 - El Paujil Reserve

The star bird of this area is the Blue-billed Curassow, it is the only endemic Curassow in the country. Here the bird richness do not stop: Black-breasted Puffbird, Broad-billed and Rufous Motmot, White-fronted Nunbird Saffron-headed Parrot (NE), Black Antshrike, Bare-Crowned Antbird, White-flanked Antwren, Blue Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Southern Bentbill, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Sepia-capped and Black-billed Flycatcher, Black-headed and Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Scaly breasted Wren, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Orange-crowned Oriole are part of the birding feast.

Nights: El Paujil lodge.

(Premontane Humid Forest - 200 to 900 masl)

Day 6
Day 6 - El Paujil reserve

We will focus on species miss the day before. After lunch we will move along the Magdalena valley to have a birding stop on a lagoon before arriving to Victoria town.

Night: Hotel in La Victoria town.

(Premontane Humid Forest - 200 to 900 masl)

Day 7
Day 7 - Bellavista Reserve

This morning our visit is at Bellavista reserve to enjoy of: Sooty Ant-Tanager (EN), Velvet-fronted Euphonia(EN), Colombian Chachalaca (EN), Tody Motmot, White-bibbed, White-bearded, Blue-crowned, Golden-headed and striped Manakin, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Yellow-backed and Black-faced Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis plus others. Before midday we ahead to the Eastern foothills of Central Andes: Ibague city.

Night: Hotel in Ibague city

(Premontane Humid Forest - 1000 masl)

Day 8
Day 8 - Combeima Canyon

We will spend the morning along the impressive canyon to work on the endemics: Tolima Dove and Tolima Blossomcrown, we will take advantage of this road to get a higher altitude to enjoy of some Andean tanagers as: Saffron-crowned, Golden, Beryl-spangled, Lacrimose-mountain Tanager. After lunch our activity will focus on an area near ibague city, here we will enjoy of: Moustached Puffbird, Whiskered Wren, White-vented Plumeleteer, Crimson-backed, Bay-headed and Blue-necked Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and many more.

Night: Ibague city

(1900 to 2300 masl)

Day 9
Day 9 - Maná Dulce Reserve

This morning we will be up very early to move to Maná dulce reserve, here we will have a very nice birding while enjoying: Velvet-fronted Euphonia (EN), Pale-bellied Hermit, Lance-tailed Manakin, Jet Antbird and White-bellied Antbird, Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, Scrub Greenlet, White-eared Conebill and many more. After lunch we will move to La Vega municipality.

Night: Hotel in La Vega.

(Dry Forest - 400 masl)

Day 10
Day 10 - Tabacál Lagoon

Early this morning we will visit this small lagoon for: Black-headed Brush-Finch, Dusky and Blue-lored Antbird, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Band-backed and Speckled-breasted Wren, White-winged Becard, Gray-throated Warbler plus many more. After lunch we will visit a real Enchanted Garden: El Jardín Encantado, a house attracting a huge number of hummingbirds and Tanagers to its feeders: Indigo-capped Hummingbird (EN), Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Green Hermit, White-vented Plumeleteer, Sparkling and lesser Violetear, Crowned Woodnymph, Gorgeted and white bellied Woodstar, Crowned Woodnymph, Black-throated Mango, Andean Emerald, Rufous-tailed and steely vented Hummingbird and many more gems.

Night: Hotel in Bogotá city.

(Humid Forest - 1300 masl)

Day 11
Day 11 - La Florida Park - Bogota City Outskirts

We will spend this morning some highland wetlands in the city surroundings; here we will work on: Bogotá rail (EN), Silvery-throated Spinetail (EN) Spot-flanked Gallinule, American Coot, Andean and Masked Ducks, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and many more. In the afternoon we will transfer to El Dorado airport to fly to Barranquilla city in the Caribbean region.

Night: bh Barranquilla hotel.

(Eastern Andes - 2550 masl)

Day 12
Day 12 - Vía Parque Isla Salamanca N P

The first part of the birding begins in some swamps at km 4 on the way to Santa Marta city then we will continue to Isla Salamanca park , let’s work on: Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (EN)(CR), Northern screamer (NE)(NT) Rufescent-Tiger Heron, Snail Kite, Brown-throated Parakeet, Russet-throated Puffbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Coloured Conebill, Bronze Cowbird, Carib Grackle, Mangrove Warbler and many aquatic species. Our warm up for the endemic experience in the mountains begins in the afternoon around the village of Minca.

Night: Hotel La Casona Minca

(Coastal ecosystems - 0 masl)

Day 13
Day 13 - Birding from Minca to El Dorado

Minca is the golden gate to the winged treasures on the mountains, the humid forest introduces us to the more enriching experience while we are getting to a higher altitude: let’s celebrate encounters of Golden-

winged Sparrow, Black-and-white Owl, Red-bellied Emerald, Keel-billed Toucan, Whooping Motmot, Collared Aracari, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Gray-headed Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Blue-black Grosbeak, Red-billed Parrot and many more.

After lunch we will continue birding and ascending through the Santa Marta mountains along the road to the El Dorado Reserve working on some endemics as: Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Brush-Finch, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner plus other specialties. Night for Santa Marta Screech Owl.

Night: El Dorado Lodge

(Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta Mountains Foothills And Medium Elevations - 600 – 2000 masl)

Day 14
Day 14 - Dorado Reserve To San Lorenzo Ridge

Very early we will move to the top of the mountain – Cuchilla de San Lorenzo for an endemic sunrise while working on Santa Marta: Parakeet, Mountain Tanager, Bush-Tyrant, Brush-Finch, Warbler, Antpitta plus Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Brown-rumped Tapaculo and the near endemic Streak-capped Spinetail plus more jewels of this endemic mountains. After lunch we will work the low part of the reserve to look for: Coppery Emerald, Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Black-chested Jay, Emerald and Groove-billed Toucanet plus many more.

Night: El Dorado Lodge

(Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, High Part Of The Reserve - 2000 – 2600 masl)

Day 15
Day 15 - El Dorado Reserve

This morning we will work near the lodge for: White-lored Warbler, White-tailed Starfrontlet, White-tipped Quetzal, Sierra Nevada Brush-Finch, Band-tailed Guan, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Golden-breasted Fruiteater and many more nice birds.

After lunch we will begin descending toward Minca doing some birding stops on the road to look for species missed days before. Night: Hotel La Casona Minca

(1900 masl)

Day 16
Day 16 - Minca - Mendihuaca River

This morning we will be enjoying around a lower spot of Minca and after we will continue the area of Mendihuaca river: Military Macaw, Laughing Falcon, Crane Hawk, Lineated Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, White-bellied and Jet Antbird, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Lance-tailed and White-bearded Manakin, Scrub Greenlet, Buff-breasted and Bicolored Wrens and many more. After lunch we can continue to Riohacha city doing a birding stop before the city for: Double-striped Thick-knee, Limpkin and more. Night: Hotel Arimaca in Riohacha city.

(Dry Forest - 600 to 50 masl)

Day 17
Day 17 - Flora and Fauna Sanctuary Los Flamencos NP

In this Sanctuary we will work on regional endemics found only in the Guajira region of Colombia and Venezuela countries: Tocuyo Sparrow, Orinocan Saltator, Vermilion Cardinal, Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Buffy Hummingbird, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Glaucous Tanager, Black-backed Antshrike, Pileated Finch and more specialties; on the salty lagoon troops of elegant American Flamingos plus other aquatic species will be enjoyed. End of this richfull birding tour full of unique bird specialties and the desire to return to Colombia for more lovely birding experiences. After lunch we transfer to Santa Marta Airport a flight to Bogotá city connection to your country.

(Guajira region: Dry, Thorny Forest - 0 masl)

Wildlife species expected to see:

American Flamingo, Tocuyo Sparrow, Orinocan Saltator, Vermilion Cardinal, Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Buffy Hummingbird, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Glaucous Tanager, Black-backed Antshrike, Pileated Finch, Military Macaw, Laughing Falcon, Crane Hawk, Lineated Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Blue-headed Parrot, White-bellied and Jet Antbird, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Lance-tailed, White-bearded Manakin, Scrub Greenlet, Buff-breasted, Bicolored Wrens, Double-striped Thick-knee, Limpkin, White-lored Warbler, White-tailed Starfrontlet, White-tipped Quetzal, Sierra Nevada Brush-Finch, Band-tailed Guan, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Parakeet, Mountain Tanager, Bush-Tyrant, Brush-Finch, Warbler, Antpitta plus Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Brown-rumped Tapaculo and the near endemic Streak-capped Spinetail plus more jewels of this endemic mountains. After lunch we will work the low part of the reserve to look for: Coppery Emerald, Venezuelan Tyrannulet, Black-chested Jay, Emerald and Groove-billed Toucanet, Golden-winged Sparrow, Black-and-white Owl, Red-bellied Emerald, Keel-billed Toucan, Whooping Motmot, Collared Aracari, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Gray-headed Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Blue-black Grosbeak, Red-billed Parrot, Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (EN)(CR), Northern screamer (NE)(NT) Rufescent-Tiger Heron, Snail Kite, Brown-throated Parakeet, Russet-throated Puffbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Coloured Conebill, Bronze Cowbird, Carib Grackle, Mangrove Warbler, Bogotá rail (EN), Silvery-throated Spinetail (EN) Spot-flanked Gallinule, American Coot, Andean and Masked Ducks, Yellow-hooded Blackbir, Black-headed Brush-Finch, Dusky and Blue-lored Antbird, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Band-backed and Speckled-breasted Wren, White-winged Becard, Gray-throated Warbler plus many more. After lunch we will visit a real Enchanted Garden: El Jardín Encantado, a house attracting a huge number of hummingbirds and Tanagers to its feeders: Indigo-capped Hummingbird (EN), Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Green Hermit, White-vented Plumeleteer, Sparkling and lesser Violetear, Crowned Woodnymph, Gorgeted and white bellied Woodstar, Crowned Woodnymph, Black-throated Mango, Andean Emerald, Rufous-tailed, Small Lagoo, Velvet-fronted Euphonia (EN), Pale-bellied Hermit, Lance-tailed Manakin, Jet Antbird and White-bellied Antbird, Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, Scrub Greenlet, White-eared Conebill, Saffron-crowned, Golden, Beryl-spangled, Lacrimose-mountain Tanager, Moustached Puffbird, Whiskered Wren, White-vented Plumeleteer, Crimson-backed, Bay-headed and Blue-necked Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Sooty Ant-Tanager (EN), Velvet-fronted Euphonia(EN), Colombian Chachalaca (EN), Tody Motmot, White-bibbed, White-bearded, Blue-crowned, Golden-headed and striped Manakin, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Yellow-backed and Black-faced Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Black-breasted Puffbird, Broad-billed and Rufous Motmot, White-fronted Nunbird Saffron-headed Parrot (NE), Black Antshrike, Bare-Crowned Antbird, White-flanked Antwren, Blue Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Southern Bentbill, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Sepia-capped and Black-billed Flycatcher, Black-headed and Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Scaly breasted Wren, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Orange-crowned Oriole,  Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Broad-billed Motmot, Black-bellied Wren, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-chested Jay, Olivaceous Flatbill, Band-backed Wren, Lemon-rumped and Dusky-faced Tanager, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant (EN), Fasciated Antshrike, Black-crowned Antshrike, Orange-billed Sparrow, Pacific Antwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Dusky Antbird, Bare-crowned Antbird, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Yellow-browed Shrike Vireo, Bay wren, Tawny-crested Tanager, Collared aracari, Gartered Trogon, Olivaceous Flatbill and more. After lunch visit to La Cueva del Cóndor (Condor Cave) for: Oilbirds, Barred and White-whiskered Puffbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker, White-whiskered Puffbird, Citron-throated Toucan, Capped Heron, Black-faced Antthrush, Crested Oropendola, Spectacled Parrotlet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Scrub Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Plain-colored Tanager, white-bearded and striped Manakin, Masked Tityra, Great Antshrike, White-mantled Barbet, Beautiful Woodpecker and many more.

What is included?

  • Complete logistics.
  • Full time professional birding guidance.
  • Overnight in: Hotels, natural reserves (double occupancy in all of them).
  • Food: From the breakfast of day one until lunch in day 17 (3 meals, drinks/day and water, snacks).
  • One local guide in Los Flamencos sanctuary.
  • Ground transportation during the tour.
  • One domestic flight (Bogotá city to Santa Marta city).
  • Pickup at airport and drop off at airport.

What is not included?

  • Travel insurance.
  • Medical cost or hospitalization.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Calls.
  • Laundry.
  • Tips or anything of personal nature.
  • Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”.
Wildlife Reviews
4.5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. What a wonderfull trip
    CLIMÉRIO BRITO15 Aug 2019
    4.5
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    I had a wonderful five days trip, leaving the outskirts of Cali and going down to sea level, by an old highway from Cali to Buenaventura. Native Birding Colombia arranged everything and took care of all the details, demonstrating a strong spirit of support and service. Colombia is a birdwatching paradise and the Tour Director and Lead Guide, Edwin Acevedo has all the skills to make the most of it.

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Native birding colombia proudly presents its schedule tours, each one is carefully thought and planned in detail, in order to leave an unforgettable birding experience in your life; thinking about you comfort, your expectations and desires, every tour is designed to visiting the best birdwatching/birding places in colombia, giving you big chances to meet and delight with our native birds: the endemic, near endemic, very restricted, beauty and rare in the land of the birds.

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16 Days

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USD4,900 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Suppliment USD 700
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This tour is operated by: Native Birding Colombia
4.6 based on 5 reviews

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4.6 Based on 5 reviews
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Tour Facts

  • Magdalena valley river basin, Sierra nevada de Santa Marta and La Guajira area - Colombia.
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 16 Days
  • January to december
  • 2 to 8 pax
  • 14+years
  • No
  • Moderate
  • José María Córdova International Airport - Medellín
  • Simon Bolivar airport - Santa Marta