The Cauca Valley, one of the important eco-regions in Colombia, the Cauca Valley is home to a handful of endemic species not occurring anywhere else in the country. The Western and Central Cordilleras on both flanks of the valley harbor many species with ranges restricted to the cloud forests, grassland and Paramos of the mountains. Some of these species are shared with bordering Ecuador but most of them are more easily seen in Colombia where the populations of such species are either better represented or found in areas of easier access. The Caribbean cost offers a variety of special birds and a wide range of habitats, from dry forest in the Guajira peninsula to high elevations of the Sierra Nevada where there are a rich concentration of bird endemics with almost 22. Colombia is also a good place for mammals, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, insects and flowers.
Visit to Pance (1,200 m.a.s.l. fresh weather) ”Balcón de Colibríes” (Hummingbird feeders) the main targets are Long-billed Starthroat, Purple-throated Woodstar, Crowned Woodnymph, Steeley-vented Hummingbird, Colombian Chachalaca and others. Overnight in Cali, El Peñón Hotel.
After breakfast, we drive down on the old way to Buenaventura looking for the Chocó endemics, birds are Golden-chested Tanager, Gray and Gold Tanager, Black Solitaire, Toucan Barbet, Chocó tapaculo, Blue-whiskered Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Glistening-green Tanager, Club-winged Manakin and others, overnight at Anchicayá Nature Camp (600 m.a.s.l. warm)
We will explore the area driving to Agua Clara (300 m.a.s.l. high humidity and warm weather) and looking for special birds, this area made part of the low Chocó region near to the pacific coast, this is maybe the most important place in biodiversity on the world, the main targets are: Chocó Toucan, Scarlet and White Tanager, Ocellated Antbird, Esmeraldas Antbird, Thoot-billed Hummingbird, Golden-collared Manakin, Purple-throated Fruitcrow and others. Overnight in Buenaventura (20 m.a.s.l. warm).
To access there, we need to use a typical and funny local transportation called Brujita, it is a platform item driven by a motorcycle on the train tracks. We have the rest of the day to explore the area, there we can see Black-tipped Cotinga, Rose-faced Parrot, Red-capped Manakin, Choco Poorwill, Scarlet-rumped Cacique and many others.
In the afternoon- We spend the morning looking for others birds and after lunch, we need to move to Aracuara Lodge on the main road to Cali.
We spend the morning watching Hummingbirds and Tanagers coming to the feeders, the main target here is the endemic Multicoloured Tanager; likewise, you can see more than 10 hummingbird’s species and several Tanager’s species. In the afternoon we drive two hours to Sonso Lagoon looking for the endemics Grayish Piculet and Apical Flycatcher, that place is very special for aquatic birds as well. Overnight in Guadalajara Hotel in Buga municipality (900 m.a.s.l. warm).
After breakfast, we drive 4 hours to our next destination, the high Chocó region in the western andes, we have lunch at the lodge and then we drive up to La Clarita (1,500 m.a.s.l.) looking for special birds of Chocó, Toucan Barbet, Black Solitaire, Golden-winged Manakin, Empress Brilliant, Violet.tailed Sylph, Velvet-purple Coronet, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Rufous-gaped Hillstar, Western Emerald, Lanceolated Monklet and many others.
We leave the lodge too early (5:00) to drive up one hour, there we will have amazing views of the Tatamá National Park and the opportunity to see the beautiful Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer coming to the hummingbird’s feeders, another endemic is Munchique Wood-wren very active in the morning, then we go down making stops and walking looking for the other specialties of this place, overnight in Montezuma.
We spend the morning looking for missing birds, after lunch we leave the hotel and drive three our to our next destination, we will make some stops on the way looking for interesting birds like Turquoise Dacnis and Torrent Duck, overnight in La Suiza Lodge.
We spend the morning looking for Torrent Duck, White-capped Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow and Cauca Guan. Then we drive one hour to Cameguadua marsh (1,500 m.a.s.l. warm) looking for Shorebirds and other specialties like Grayish Saltator, Grayish Piculet, Slaty Spinetail, Olive-crowned yellowthroat and others, in the afternoon we move to San Vicente Hot Springs Hotel at 2,400 m.a.s.l.
This area is restricted for Indigo-winged Parrot, endemic of Colombia and in critical danger, other interesting birds is possible to see there. In the afternoon we explore the hotel reserve and then we need to move to Tinamú Hotel in Manizales at 1,200 m.a.s.l. warm weather.
This is a perfect place for some birds of the Magdalena valley and Cauca canyon, this farm was a coffee plantation but the owner decided to plant trees for birds and now is an important reserve with almost 250 bird´s species; in the afternoon we leave the hotel and move 40 minutes to Paraíso Verde Hotel at 1,800 m.a.s.l.
Rio Blanco is located 40 minutes to the hotel, it is 2,600 m.a.s.l. and is the perfect place to enjoy Antpittas, 4 of them are feeding in easy places to access, Other birds like Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Masked Saltator, Buff-breasted mountain Tanager and others are possible to see, in the afternoon, back to the hotel.
We need to drive 50 minutes to Paramo region in the Nevados National Park, this day will be the highest elevation during the entire tour, the target there is the endemic and charismatic Buffy Helmetcrest who inhabits over 3.500 m.a.s.l., in the afternoon we will visit Termales del Ruiz to see other birds of Paramo, there are Hummingbird and Tanager´s feeders, then drive down one hour to Manizales.
Hacienda El Bosque is a new place in Colombia for Birding, it is because there are Antpitta´s feeders and is the only place on the planet where is possible to see the beautiful Crescent-faced Antpitta feeding; likewise, there are Rufous Antpitta, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan and Barred Fruiteater. In the afternoon we drive to Pereira Airport and flight to Bogotá (2.600 m.a.s.l. cold) Overnight in AZ Hotel.
In the afternoon we drive one hour to La Florida looking for the endemics Bogota Rail and Apolinar´s Wren, other special birds are: Spot-flanked Gallinule and Subtropical Doradito, then, we move to the airport to take our flight to Riohacha in the afternoon, overnight in Taroa Hotel
Camarones is a good place to see Shorebirds and Guajira birds, the ecosystem there is a special dry forest shared with Venezuela and isolated by the Darien Jungle in the Panamá border, this is the reason why we have many endemic birds in this area: Tocuyo Sparrow, White-whiskered Spinetail, Vermilion Cardinal, Slender-billed Inezia, Orinoco Saltator, Red-billed Emerald and others, in the afternoon we drive three hours to Santa Marta, overnight in Minca Hotel (600 m.a.s.l.)
From Minca to el Dorado there are 20 kilometers, there we make some stops looking for the first Santa Marta Endemics: Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Foliage-Gleaner, Santa Marta Brush-Finch, Golden-winged Sparrow, Bang´s Wood-Wren and others. Overnight at Dorado Lodge.
Looking for other endemics and interesting birds: Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Santa Marta Mountain-Tanager, Yellow-crowned Whitestart, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Hermit Wood-Wren, Brown-rumped Tapaculo and others, in the afternoon, back to the lodge.
We leave the hotel in the morning and drive down to Minca, after lunch, we move to the airport to take our flight to Bogotá and then, back home.