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Are you ready to explore the best birding hotspots Colombia’s Western and Central Andes has to offer? During our 12-day tour, we’ll search for some of Colombia’s unique and most-wanted endemic species while visiting a diverse array of ecosystems like the Choco Lowlands, Pacific Dry Forest, Cloud Forest, and Paramo.
Unparalleled in its diversity, Colombia is home to nearly 2,000 species of birds.
During our time together, we will seek out some of the 80 endemics including Gold-ringed, Black-and-Gold and Multicolored Tangers, Yellow-eared Parrot, Cauca Guan, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Grayish Piculet, Crested Ant-Tanager, Brown-banded Antpitta, Apical Flycatcher, Yellow-headed Brushfinch, Masked Saltator, Buffy Helmetcrest, Munchique Wood Wren, Red-bellied Grackle, and Antioquia Wren.
Other epic targets include, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Scaled Fruiteater, Olive Finch, White-faced Nunbird, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Chestnut-naped, Scaled, and Crescent-faced Antpitta.
From our start at La Florida’s beautiful feeders looking for Multicolored Tanagers, to Hacienda Del Bosque’s Mountain Toucan feeders to our end at a breathtaking Cock-of-the-Rock lek, this tour is packed with birds! So what are you waiting for? Sign up today for a trip of a lifetime!
Scroll down to check out the whole itinerary!
Dates: 1-13 October
*Price: $5,250 per person/double occupancy
Single supplement: $450.00
*Based on double occupancy at lodgings with a minimum group size of 4 and a max of 8.
Some lodges may only have double occupancy.
Note if you have requested a roommate we will try to find you one, but this is not a guarantee, if none is available you will be charged the single supplement fee.
Type: Bird watching and Wildlife Viewing
Length: 12 days
Starting city: Cali, Colombia
Ending city: Medellin, Colombia
Physical difficulty: easy to moderate
Focus: Bird Watching and Wildlife viewing
Max group size: 8 + 1 leader + local guide(s)
Join us for an incredible 12-day birding tour exploring the best of Colombia’s Western and Central Andes.
Unparalleled in its diversity, Colombia is home to nearly 2,000 species of birds. During our time together, we will seek out some of the 80 endemics and wade through gorgeous tanagers, stunning hummingbirds, illusive Tapaculos, agreeable antpittas, trained toucans, crazy cotingas, and so much more!
Sign up today and load up your life list on a trip of a lifetime!
Oct 1 – Flights Arrive
Flights arrive today in Cali at Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport. We’ll pick you up and transfer you to our hotel where you’ll get settled in for the day.
D & ON Cali (Hotel Royal Elim or similar)
Today our tour officially kicks off! We’ll enjoy an early breakfast followed by a 1-hour drive to the famous La Florida Bosque de Las Aves. At this cloud forest hotspot, we will hopefully see famous targets like Multicolored Tanager, Scaled Antpitta, and the Chestnut Wood-Quail, plus we’ll keep our senses tuned for the spectacular Golden-headed Quetzal.
The hummingbird lineup up here includes species like Long-tailed Sylph, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Tawny-bellied Hermit, Greenish Puffleg, White-booted Racket-tail, Blue-headed Sapphire, Purple-throated Woodstar, Green Hermit and other stunners.
Among the fruit feeders here we’ve got great chances to see a nice mix of tanagers like Scrub, Golden, Golden-naped, Flame-rumped, Saffron-crowned, and Black-capped Tanager.
Other possible birds here include, Colombian Chachalaca, Sickle-winged Guan, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Andean Motmot, Red-headed Barbet, Acorn Woodpecker, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Scaled Antpitta, Nariño Tapaculo, Montane Woodcreeper, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Red-faced Spinetail, Golden-faced Tyrannulet, Bright-rumped Attila, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Andean Solitaire, Black-billed Thrush, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, White-naped Brushfinch and Black-winged Saltator.
After lunch, we will move to the next location High Anchicaya with a visit to the world-famous Doña Dora feeders.
Here we’ll keep our bins up for Plumbeous Pigeon, White-collared Swift, White-necked Jacobin, White-whiskered Hermit, Brown Violetear, Green Thorntail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple Coronet, Rufous-gaped Hillstar, Green-crowned Brilliant, Empress Brilliant, Crowned Woodnymph, Barred Hawk, Toucan Barbet, Choco Brushfinch, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Chesnut-headed Oropendola, Rufus-throated Tanager, Green Thorntail, Black-head Brush Finch, Red-headed Barbet, Black-chinned and Blue-winged Mountain Tanagers, White-lined Tanager, Choco Tapaculo. Within the surrounding forest, we will look for Glistering-green Tanager, Black Solitaire, Golden-winged Manakin, and Club-winged Manakin.
After a full day of filling our eyes with gorgeous tropical birds, we’ll make our way to the incredible Aracuana Lodge!
B Hotel Royal Elim L Doña Dora D & ON Araucana Lodge
Today we will visit the spectacular Chocó lowlands after traveling 20 minutes on the local transport called “brujita”. This unique habitat is home to unique targets like Sapayoa, Five-colored Barbet, Berlep´s Tinamou, Black-breasted Puffbird, Blue and Black-tipped Cotingas, Uniform Crake, Solitaire Eagle, Lita Woodpecker, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Green Manakin, Blue-whiskered, Red-winged, Emerald, Grey and Gold, Rufous-naped Tanagers, Stub-tailed, Esmeraldas, Dull Mantled Antbirds, Spot-crowned and Five-coloured Barbets, Pacific Flatbill, Slaty-capped Shrike Vireo, Lanceolated Monklet, Black-breasted Puffbird, Lemon-Spectacled Tanager, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Scarlet-and-White Tanager, Yellow-green Bush Tanager, Choco Trogon, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Dusky Pigeon, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Slate-coloured Seedeater. Our visit here includes a small chance to observe Thicket and Plain-backed Antpittas and even the very rare Banded-ground Cuckoo. In the late afternoon, we will head back to Araucana Lodge.
BB L San Cipriano D & ON Araucana Lodge
Today we’ll visit the San Felipe Birding Lodge to search for Ruddy Ground Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Black-billed Peppershrike, Green Jay, Whiskered Wren, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Shiny Cowbird, Saffron Finch and others.
After our time here we’ll head to Laguna Sonso to try for regional specialties like Spectacled Parrotlet, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Apical Flycatcher, Grayish Piculet, Dwarf Cuckoo, Bar-crested Antshrike, Jet Antbird, and the rare Comb Duck.
At this fantastic hotspot, we will also keep our eyes peeled for Horned Screamer, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Pale-vented Pigeon, Greater Ani, Striped Cuckoo, Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Limpkin, Southern Lapwing, Wattled Jacana, Solitary Sandpiper, Anhinga, Striated Heron, Snail Kite, Ringed, Green, and Amazon Kingfisher, Lineated, Spot-breasted, and Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Cinereous Becard, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Vermilion Flycatcher, Cattle Tyrant, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Thick-billed Euphonia, Yellow Oriole, Oriole Blackbird, and much more!
BB L San Cipriano D & ON Araucana Lodge
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to Flora and Fuana Sanctuary Otun looking for a different assemblage of birds including Cauca Guan, White-throated Daggerbill,
Speckled Hummingbird, Bronzy Inca, Western Emerald, Bare-faced and Buff-necked Ibis, Collared Trogon, Moustached Puffbird, Southern Emerald-Toucanet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Parrot, Moustached Antpitta, Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Hooded Antpitta, Stiles’s Tapaculo, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Streaked Xenops, Montane Foliage-gleaner, Spotted Barbtail, Azara’s Spinetail, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, White-winged Becard, Streak-necked Flycatcher, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Torrent Tyrannulet, Plumbeous-crowned Tyrannulet, Pale-edged Flycatcher, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Ashy-throated Chlorospingus, Metallic-green Tanager, Beryl-spangled Tanager, and whatever else we come across!
After a full morning of birding Otun, we head towards the Montezuma Lodge in Tatama National Park. This site can produce some impressive birding and is another tanager paradise. Possibilities include two difficult Bangsia species, Gold-ringed (E) and Black-&-gold Tanagers (E), plus Crested Ant Tanager (E), Purplish-mantled, Glistening-green, Lemon-spectacled, Yellow-green Bush Tanager, Rufus-throated, Metallic-green, Silver-throated, and Flame-faced Tanagers.
Other superb birds seen at the site include Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Barred Parakeet, Black Solitaire, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Choco Vireo, Cloud forest Pygmy Owl, Chestnut Wood-Quail, , Semicollared Hawk, Colombian Screech Owl, White-chested Swift, Dusky Starfrontlet, Lanceolated Monklet, White-faced Nunbird, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Greater Scythebill, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Beautiful Jay, Turquoise Dacnis, Tanager Finch, Slate-coloured Seedeater, Toucan Barbet, Bicoloured Antvireo, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Solitary Eagle, Ornate and Black Hawk-Eagles, Black-and-chestnut Eagle, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-breasted Antwren, White-headed Wren, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet, Olivaceous Piha, Olive Finch, Uniform Treehunter, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Yellow-collared and Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias.
B La Florida Hostal Kumanday L Restaurant on the road D & ON Montezuma Lodge
Get excited because today is an epic day of exploring Tatama National Park as we bird across elevation gradients on Montezuma Road. With coffee and breakfast at the top of the mountain, we’ll soak up the breathtaking views and keep our eyes peeled for the above species of birds. There are also cool hummingbird feeders setup at the top, and along the way, sometimes providing photo ops! The views and birding here are spectacular. Throughout the day we’ll make our way down the road, getting in and out of 4×4 vehicles as we access different sections of the road, looking and listening for the incredible birds that call Tatama National Park home.
BB, BL, D & ON Montezuma Lodge
Our morning hours will include a yummy breakfast surrounded by hummingbird feeders, followed by more birding around Montezuma. We’ll look for any of the targets we’re still missing. After lunch here, we’ll load up and drive to Manizales.
B & L Montezuma Lodge D & ON Manizales Hotel Recinto
Today we’ll visit Rio Blanco Ecological Reserve. This hotspot has 507 species reported and our visit will include Antpitta feeding stations, wonderful forest birding, and tons of birding potential.
Some of our top targets include Brown-banded, Bicolored, Slate-crowned, Chestnut-crowned, and Chestnut-naped Antpittas. Plus Green-and-black Fruiteater, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Rusty-faced Parrot, and the rare and illusive Masked Saltator.
Other birds we’ll look for include Band-tailed Pigeon, White-throated Daggerbill, Tourmaline Sunangel, Collared Inca, Mountain Velvetbreast, Buff-tailed Coronet, White-bellied Woodstar, Andean Emerald, Golden-headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Scaly-naped Parrot, Streak-headed Antbird, Ocellated Tapaculo, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Blackish Tapaculo, Spillmann’s Tapaculo, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Flammulated Treehunter, Pearled Treerunner, Dusky Piha, Barred Becard, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, White-tailed Tyrannulet, Mountain Elaenia, Flavescent Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Rufous-bellied Chat Tyrant, Brown-capped Vireo, Brown-bellied Swallow, Yellow-bellied Siskin, Gray-browed Brushfinch, Slaty Brushfinch, Black-crested Warbler, White-capped Tanager, Black-capped, Oleaginous, Black-eared, and Superciliaried Hemispingus and so much more!
After our day in Rio Blanco, we’ll head back to our hotel and have dinner.
B & L Rio Blanco D & ON Manizales Hotel Recinto
Hacienda El Bosque is a mix of regenerating cattle-farming habitat interspersed with intact forest patches. In the handful of years since its inception, Hacienda has quickly risen to fame for its incredible fruit feeder setups which include opportunities to photograph Gray-breasted and Black-billed Mountains-Toucans. We’ll also try for the highly sought-after Crescent-faced Antpitta.
Additional birds we’ll look for include Paramo Seedeater, White-throated Quail-Dove, Sparkling Violetear, Lesser Violetear, Tourmaline Sunangel, Purple-backed Thornbill, Tyrian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Masked Trogon, Crested Caracara, Equatorial Antpitta, Ash-colored Tapaculo, Blackish Tapaculo, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Barred Fruiteater, Red-crested Cotinga, White-banded Tyrannulet, White-throated Tyrannulet, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant, Mountain Wren, Grass Wren, Great Thrush, Hooded Siskin, Gray-browed Brushfinch, Black-crested Warbler, Hooded, Lacrimose, Scarlet-bellied, and Buff-breasted-Mountain Tanagers and more!
After what is always a delightful time at Hacienda, we’ll head up the slope to explore the incredible Páramo habitat of Los Nevados National Park. On a clear day, the views of snow-covered volcanic peaks are some of the most stunning stretches of the Colombian Andes in this region.
We’ll make stops along the road. This area of paramo is a special site for several scarcer hummers, including the famous Buffy Helmetcrest (E), Black-thighed and Golden-breasted Pufflegs, Mountain Avocetbill, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Purple-back Thornbill, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Shining Sunbeam, and Buff-winged Starfrontlet. Other birds of note to be found here include the Rufous-fronted Parakeet (E), Scaly-naped parrot, Paramo Tapaculo, White-browed Spinetail, Viridian Metaltail, and Masked Flowerpiercer.
At night we’ll have dinner and have the option to take a swim in the geothermal pools fed by mineral-rich water from the natural hotsprings on the property.
B – Hacienda El Bosque L – On the road D & ON Termales El Ruiz
Today we’ll spend the whole day birding the Páramo of Los Nevados and the road behind our illustrious lodge, Termales del Ruiz. Along with searching for any of our primary targets that we didn’t get yesterday will be high on our list today. Other birds of interest today include Andean Teal, Andean Duck, Eared Dove, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Tawny Antpitta, Blue-backed Conebill, Black Flowerpiercer, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Great Sapphirewing, and others.
Back to our hotel in the evening for dinner an optional relaxing soak among the enchanting grounds of Termales El Ruiz.
B, L, D & ON Termales El Ruiz
In the morning we’ll bird the Páramo one last time searching for any targets that have illuded us then we’ll drive for a few hours to Riosucio. Tonight’s accommodations here will put us close to tomorrow’s birding hotspots.
B Termales el Ruiz L On the road D & ON Riosucio Cabins
Jardín is one of the most beautiful areas of Colombia. We’ll enjoy superb birding between 1900-3000m. Our first stop of the day will be a visit to the Antpitta feeders at Reserva Mirador El Roble. If we’re lucky we could get a chance to see Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, Chami Antpitta, and the spectacular Chestnut-naped Antpitta. Other specialties we’ll be on the lookout for include the critically endangered Yellow-eared Parrot (E). Other prized species here include Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Munchique Wood Wren (E), Red-bellied Grackle (E), Tanager Finch, White-capped, Red-hooded and Golden-crowned, Saffron-crowned Tanagers, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Barred Fruiteater, Citrine Warbler, Crimson-mantled Woodpecker, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager, Mountain Cacique and Golden-rumped Euphonia.
In the late afternoon, we’ll head back into Jardin to arrive by 4:30 p.m. to feast our eyes on a spectacle of a lifetime. This Cock-of-the-Rock Lek is unlike any. The proximity of the 4-12 males displaying in front of us is unbelievable. In addition to the mind-blowing sunset display the grounds are beautifully curated with flowering plants, hummingbird feeders, and fruit feeders where we could get another chance to see Red-bellied Grackle, and Green Jay amongst other tropical treats!
B Riosucio Cabins L On the road D & ON Hotel Jardin Balandu
In the morning we’ll spend a few hours looking for any missing targets in beautiful Jardin or if we’re in good shape, we could indulge in a local coffee farm tour. Afterward, we’ll begin our 3-hour drive to Medellin. Along the way, we’ll seek out the hyper-regional endemics in the tropical dry forest including Antioquia Wren and Apical Flycatcher plus some restricted species from the most endangered ecosystem in the country.
After picking up some more birds for our trip list, we will transfer to Medellin Airport for departures. Plan to book flights departing after 7 p.m. or stay the night at a hotel in Medellin and fly out the next day.
B Hotel Jardin Balandu L On the road Transfer Medellin Airport
*Night 12 is not included in the tour.
B – Breakfast
D – Dinner
BB/BL – Boxed Breakfast/Boxed Lunch
ON – Overnight lodging location
Colombia: Western & Central Andes Tour Map