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Santa Marta Birding Atlantic Coast & Perijá Tour, Colombia - 12 Days

Santa Marta Birding Atlantic Coast & Perijá Tour, Colombia

Colombia Birding Tour to Santa Marta, Atlantic Coast & Perijá

This 14-day Santa Marta Birding Atlantic Coast & Perijá Tour is a moderately-paced tour available as a request where you can expect to see around 300 species in a few days and experience one of the most surprising places to see birds in Colombia while obviously your checklist skyrockets! Approximately 169 species of frogs, as many as 32 endemic species, and many mammals!

This Santa Marta Birding adventure involves a very special journey to watch endemic and near-endemic birds in the north of Colombia where you can enjoy two of the most important isolated mountain ranges in the country; Perijá and Santa Marta, with the addition of the dry forest of the state of Guajira where many special birds are ready to be spotted and photographed.

The high area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was possibly one of the most inaccessible places for bird watchers in the world and it was always in the TOP of destinations they wanted to visit, This place is undoubtedly a paradise for bird watching and nature in general, being one of the most important and least explored places in Colombia due to its high endemic diversity and very rare species that live there; only a handful of people have managed to observe the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest or the Santa Marta Wren, in addition to the incredible landscapes of the Sierra Nevada and the glacial lagoons of this isolated and enigmatic place, now with this trip that we offer here you will be
able to do it.

Although the Santa Marta Birding trip offers few comfort conditions and requires a great physical effort, we have tried to make all the best logistical arrangements to have a great experience in the mountains, from an excellent camping equipment to local guides and mules that will help with all the necessary charge to have a good experience. A truly incredible trip that you can put as one of the great challenges reached by few bird watchers in the world and a species highly desired by the world's birders, on your personal list of birds.

Santa Marta Birding Atlantic Coast & Perijá Tour Highlights include:

  • We will observe birds in the most arid zone of Colombia and in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the most important hotspots of endemism in the Neotropics.
  • Contemplate charming sunrises and sunsets in the most imposing mountains of Colombia.
  • Be pleased with the indigenous cultural expressions of northern Colombia (Wayuus, Arhuacos, Kogis, and Kankuamos).
  •  It´s the place where one of the most popular sites for birding tours in Colombia rises within a majestic landscape: La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Like the look of this tour but keen to explore other locations? Have a look at the Birding Bogotá Savannah and llanos Foothills Tour. 

Alternative Tour Name: Atlantic Coast Santa Marta and Perijá
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival to Barranquilla

You will be transfer to a hotel in Barranquilla

Day 2
Day 2 - km 4 and Salamanca Natural Park

KM 4 outside Barranquilla is a good spot of secondary dry forest and flooded areas beside Magdalena river and Salamanca National Park is a mangrove ecosystems; Some birds of those spots included: Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Bicoloured Conebill, Pied Puffbird, Golden-green Woodpecker, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Stripe-backed Wren, Russet-throated Puffbird, Caribbean Hornero, Green, Bare-faced- Glossy and White Ibis, Limpkin, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Cattle Tyrant, Savanna Hawk, Snail Kite, Lage-billed Tern and many more.

Day 3
Day 3 - Flamencos Natural Park and Pericos area

All morning looking for birds at the shruby sub-xerophytic area of Los Flamencos National Park and around. many birds area restricted to this dry area and included some targets like;

Chestnut Piculet, White-whiskered Spinetail, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Tocuyo sparrow, Vermilion Cardinal, Harris’s Hawk, Common Black-Hawk, Pearl Kite, Aplomado Falcon, American Kestrel, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Common and Ruddy ground-dove, Brown-throated and Blue-crowned parakeet, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Burrowing Owl, Red-billed Emerald, Buffy Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Blue-crowned Motmot, Russet-throated Puffbird, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Caribbean Hornero, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Black-crested and Black-backed antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Vermilion Flycatcher, Brown-crested and Venezuelan flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Bicolored Wren, Black-chested Jay, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Tropical Mockingbird, Scrub Greenlet, Blue-gray and Glaucous tanager, Black-faced Grassquit, Pileated Finch, Grayish, Buff-throated and Orinocan Saltator, Saffron Finch, Yellow Oriole and many more.

Day 4
Day 4 - Gaviotas Spot, transfer to Santa Marta

On the way to Santa Marta there are some good birding spots with dry forest and humid tropical forest, making stops there we will watch and add some goodies like: Lance-tailed Manakin, Cocoa Woodcreeper, White-necked Puffbird, White-bellied Antbird, Striped Cuckoo, Russet-throated Puffbird, Trinidad Euphonia, Brown-throated Parakeet and many more

Day 5
Day 5 - La Cabaña forest and Around Minca

Birding in Minca location and its beautiful humid tropical forest in the morning, here we start to explore the bottom area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta hotspot, som possible birds here are;

Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Sabrewing, Coppery Emerald, Crested Bobwhite, Military Macaw, Scarlet-fronted and Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, White-tipped Dove, White-collared and Chestnut-collared swift, Green Violetear, White-vented Plumeleteer, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Golden-olive, Lineated and Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Black-backed Antshrike, Greenish and Forest Elaenia, Yellow-olive and Ochre-faced (Yellow-breasted) flycatcher, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Social and Piratic flycatcher, Cinereous, Cinnamon and White-winged becard, Masked Tityra, Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-white wren.

Day 6
Day 6 - Minca forest transfer to El Dorado

This day we will cover the area from Minca town to el Dorado lodge, focused on the mid elevation area and its targets. some important and beautiful birds area;

Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Sabrewing, Santa Marta Wood-Wren, Santa Marta Brush-Finch, Coppery Emerald, Streak-capped Spinetail, Military Macaw, Scarlet-fronted and Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Golden-olive, Lineated and Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Black-backed Antshrike, Greenish and Forest Elaenia, Yellow-olive and Ochre-faced (Yellow-breasted) flycatcher, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Social and Piratic flycatcher, Cinereous, Cinnamon and White-winged becard, Masked Tityra, Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-white wren, Yellow-legged, Black-hooded, Pale-breasted, and Black-billed thrush, Black-chested Jay, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Brown-capped Vireo, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Rusty Flowerpiercer, Bay-headed, Black-headed, Black-capped, White-lined and Crimson-backed Tanager, Streaked and Grayish saltator, Golden-winged Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-backed Oriole, Crested Oropendola, Rusty-breasted Antpitta and more.

Day 7
Day 7 - El Dorado Lodge, San Lorenzo ridge

We will search birds all day in San Lorenzo Ridge and the medium areas of El Dorado Natural Reserve, in where we can see many endemics of this special birds hotspot place. Some important birds this day in Santa Marta Mountains are;

Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Screech-Owl, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Yellow-crowned Whitestar, White-lored Warbler, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta (Black-cheeked) Mountain-Tanager, Black-backed Thornbill, Colombian Nevada Brush-Finch, Bang´s Wood-Wren, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, White-tipped Quetzal, White-rumped Hawk, Band-tailed Guan, Sickle-winged Guan, Band-tailed Pigeon, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, Masked Trogon, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Yellow-billed (Groove-billed) Toucanet, Emerald Toucanet, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Spotted Barbtail, Streaked Xenops, Gray-throated Leaftosser, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Rufous Antpitta, Mountain Elaenia, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Venezuelan and White-throated Tyrannulet, Olive-striped Flycatcher, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, Orange-billed and Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush, Great Thrush, Black-hooded Thrush, Slate-throated Redstart, Three-striped Warbler, White-sided Flowerpiercer, Blue-naped Chlorophonia and others

Day 8
Day 8 - El Dorado lodge and around

Second day exploring the high and mid elevations lands of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Day 9
Day 9 - El Dorado lodge, transfer to Valledupar

We will search more birds in the lowlands of Santa Marta Mountains cleaning up all of our targets, after lunch we will be transfer to Valledupar city

Day 10
Day 10 - Perijá Mountain, chamicero del Perijá reserve

We will leave early in the morning towards Serrania del Perija, one of the most mythic and unexplored mountain range in Colombia, this unpaved road is very productive and is laoded with a lot of endemic sub-species, we will search birds on the grassland of Perija at 3600 meters elevations, some important birds in Perija include: Hooded-Mountain Tanager, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Klage´s Antbird, Crested Quetzal, Maroon-chested Ground-Dove, Fulvous-headed Tanager, Crested Oropendola, Viole-chested Hummingbird, Perija Antpitta, Phelp´s Brush-Finch, Perija Tapaculo. Perija Metaltail, Perija Thistletail, Perija Brush-Finch

Day 11
Day 11 - Perija mountains, transfer to Barranquila

Second day exploring the Perijá mountains, searching for more birds. we will be transfer to Barranquilla city at the afternoon.

Day 12
Day 12 - International flight home

You will be transfer to Barranquilla airport for international departures.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Screech Owl, Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Black-backed Thronbill, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Santa Marta Sabrewing, Sapphire-bellied hummingbird, Streak-capped Spinetail, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Rufous Antpitta, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Santa Marta Wood-Wren, Bang´s Wood-Wren, Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager, Colombian Brush-Finch, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Santa Marta Warbler, Northern Screamer, Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Perija Metaltail, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Red-billed Emerald, Coopery Emerald, White-tipped Quetzal, Chestnut Piculet, Perija Thistletail, White-whiskered Spinetail, Perija Tapaculo, Perija Rufous Antpitta, Slender-billed Tyrannulet, Streak-backed Canastero, Tocuyo Sparrow, Perija Brush-Finch, Black and chestnut Eagle, Orinocan Saltator, Vermillion Cardinal

What is included?

  • Transport: Private vans (comfortable transport) with Air conditioning 4x4 transport inside Santa Marta Mountains
  • Meals: All food: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in all locations with open menu in restaurants, 2 snacks daily that include bottle water, fruit, etc, (Water available all the time on the bus – big bottle to recharge the potable bottles), Just one national beer, soda, bottle water or juice included with meals, (The second drinks beers, juice, bottle water or juices need to be paid per client)
  • Accommodation: All Hotels described in the itinerary, Eco-lodges inside the Natural Reserves, Towel and linen provided in all places, Entrance fees at National Parks and Reserves
  • Guides, drivers and cooks: The group will be accompanied by a professional guide all time of MANAKIN NATURE TOURS, Experienced car and boat drivers, Experienced cooks in all reserves, lodges and hotels
  • Insurance: Event Insurance (Transportation and accidents)

What is not included?

  • International Flights and taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry Service
  • Room service
  • Tips or gratuity
  • Medical Expenses
  • Beer except one beer at lunch or dinner
  • International or local Phone Calls
  • Activities not included in the itinerary
  • Extensions of a trip due to circumstances beyond our control
  • Anything that is not included in "What is included"

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Why book with Manakin Nature Tours?

We are one of the companies with the most experience and trajectory in birdwatching tourism in Colombia, we were pioneers as a Colombian agency operating professional bird tours and our learning was done with large operating companies worldwide, with which we are very committed to the quality of service and the satisfaction of our clients. We have currently expanded our portfolio to other Latin American countries, which strengthens our operational and service capacity. We are not only a company that does bird and wildlife observation tourism, we are also committed to the conservation of nature, environmental education, scientific research and the social and economic development of the communities with which we work, we think that tourism It must be a nature-friendly development alternative for everyone and we support this idea with many programs that we have other than tourism.

What are your group sizes?

The maximum size of a group is 10 people and the ideal is 8 people, however, for groups of friends or special groups we can make exceptions of up to 14 people using 2 professional guides in our operation.

How do you support local communities during this tour?

We always try to hire services from the communities in all the places we visit when they are available; We want the entire value chain to benefit and for everyone to benefit from tourism and see in it, an economic alternative that leads to the conservation of nature. In this way, we also hire our professional guides, local guides, community restaurants, rural accommodation, rural transport, logistics services from community organizations or local NGOs, etc. We also have some programs such as Manakin Birding Club, where we support with equipment such as binoculars, laptops, books, etc., ecological groups of children and young people to continue with their education and conservation activities in their regions, an initiative that has been very successful in recent years and with which dozens of binoculars have been delivered to children in many parts of the country.

Do you provide travel and/or medical insurance (incl. repatriation)?

Yes, we have an event insurance that we include in all our packages with the company Colombia Colasistencia, this insurance covers considerable amounts in terms of accidents, illnesses, injuries, death, repatriation, among others; We also have an agreement with the Global Rescue company with which you can purchase much more complete travel insurance at a lower price than normally offered if you decide to travel with us.

What happens if I need to change my trip?

We try to be very flexible with our cancellation policies and even more so with the current situation of COVID, changes in trips and conditions will be associated with the time with which the cancellation or change is made, if you decide to cancel your travel a few days before the tour, we will refund your money with the exception of expenses that cannot be reimbursed such as air tickets or hotels with strict cancellation policies, or we can simply postpone the trip to a new date during the following year, this may be subject to changes in accommodation prices or penalties in change of dates on national air tickets.

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

Yes, John Kricher's Neotropical Companion book that you can download in Spanish here http://www.aba.org/aneotropicalcompanion.pdf and Birds of Tropical America: A Watcher's Introduction to Behavior, Breeding, and Diversity by Steven Hilty. Also acquire some of the new Colombian bird guides from Steve Hilty, Miles McMullan or Fernando Ayerbe.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

12 Days

Price & Availability

USD4,280 / per person
Single Suppliment USD 500
This tour is operated by: Manakin Nature Tours
4.96 based on 8 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.96 Based on 8 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Colombia
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 1 to 8
  • 11 Days
  • Throughout the year
  • + 15 years
  • Moderate
  • English, Español
  • Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport
  • Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport