South Western Colombia Birding

Tour Overview
With more than 1,950 species (almost 20% of the world’s total) counted so far, Colombia has more species of birds than any other country on the planet. It has more species than the number of existent bird species in North America and Europe combined! The country additionally boasts 91 endemic and 125 globally threatened species.

It comes as no surprise that this South American country is such an avian hotspot; Colombia has an incredible amount of diversity in a relatively small space. It might be situated on the equator, but it has incredibly varied habitat and dramatic elevation changes. In a day or two you could travel from the Caribbean’s white beaches to dense Amazonian rainforests, then to verdant, coffee-strewn hilltops and then further onto the snow-capped, high altitudes of the Andes mountains. These many different habitats ensure an abundance of bird species, with new ones still being discovered and new records being announced often.

This 15 day Nature Travel Birding tour takes place in the southwest of the country, where the city of Cali (“The Salsa capital of the world”) will serve as our base. This area of Colombia is one of many contrasts, with an eclectic mix of Andean and American, and new and old in terms of food, culture and architecture. It is also a highly biodiverse area, with desert, jungle and the high mountain plains (páramo) all on our doorstep. We will visit some fantastic and famous birding hotspots during our tour, including the famous Km 18 Road, a prolific wetland area in the Cauca Valley, the Montezuma lodge in the Choco bioregion, the Otún-Quimbaya Sanctuary in the Andes, the world-renowned Rio Blanco Reserve near Manizales, the legendary Anchicaya Watershed and the high elevations of Los Nevados National Park.

Colombia is not only about different habitats though… It is a heaven for adventure seekers and hikers, has extraordinary cultural heritage, breathtaking scenery, superb historical architecture, fantastic cuisine, superb coffee and very friendly people.
Let’s go birding!

Get more detail about what to expect on this tour: Go to full itinerary

Tour starts and ends in Cali
Tour duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Type of accommodation: Comfortable, mid-range
Next departure dates: 22 July 2022 / July 2023
Private and small group, customised safaris can be booked on request for your preferred travel dates
Top Attractions:
Sonso Lagoon-
Prolific, large wetland teeming with birds; so important for avian conservation that it is a nature reserve, Ramsar site and an IBA
Montezuma Road & Tatama National Park-
otherworldly páramo and rainforest habitat that is home to over 550 species of birds, 450 species of orchids and 700 species of butterflies
Rio Blanco Reserve-
antpitta heaven, along with many cloud forest and montane specials on the reserve’s 360+ bird list
Los Nevados National Natural Park-
excellent for species adapted to high elevations; also amazing scenery and rare mammals
Otún-Quimbaya Sanctuary-
small but diverse reserve next to the Otún river that protects biodiversity fauna and flora species of the Andes that are disappearing elsewhere
KM 18 & San Antonio-
simply one of the best birding spots in all of Colombia, and a place rich in ornithological history; over 400 species recorded
Anchicaya Watershed & Old Buenaventura Road-
another amazing birding location with dramatic gradient differences leading to incredible diversity and numbers of species

Top Birds:
• Rufous-fronted Parakeet
• Colombian Chachalaca
• Brown-banded Antpitta
• Cauca Guan
• Munchique Wood Wren
• Tatama Tapaculo
• Buffy Helmetcrest
• Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer
• Crested Ant Tanager
• Chestnut Wood Quail

Top Mammals:
• Spectacled Bear (small chance)
• Puma (small chance)
• Northern Tiger Cat
• Mountain Tapir
• Northern Pudu
• Colombian Red Howler Monkey

Day 1 Arrival in Cali, transfer to Buga
Day 2 Sonso Lagoon and drive to Montezuma Lodge
Day 3 Tatama National Park (higher elevations)
Day 4 Tatama National Park (lower elevations)
Day 5 Montezuma Lodge and drive to Manizales
Day 6 Reserva Ecológica Río Blanco
Day 7 Reserva Ecológica Río Blanco
Drive to Los Nevados National Natural Park
Day 8 Los Nevados National Natural Park
Day 9 Los Nevados National Natural Park
Drive to Otun-Quimbaya Sanctuary
Day 10 Otun-Quimbaya Sanctuary
Drive to Araucana Lodge
Day 11 The Famous Km 18
Day 12 El Descanso Feeders and Anchicaya Watershed
Day 13 San Antonio Forest and Andean Cock-of-the-rock Lek
Day 14 San Cipriano
Day 15 Departure from Cali

All our tours can be customised according to your specific requirements.

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