This exciting tour offers the chance of some fantastic birding in the lowland marshes and forest of the Colombian Caribbean coast, visiting one of Colombia’s endemic hotspots, the Santa Marta. Add in the semi-desert of the Guajira peninsula and the unmissable ancient city of Cartagena and you have an itinerary chock full of diversity, which features some of Colombia most special birds and some of Colombia’s most stunning scenery.
It is essentially an arrival day but please be sure to arrive before 18h00 so that you can meet up with your tour leader and the rest of the group for an welcome dinner at 20h00.
Night Cartagena (Hotel 3 banderas).
We will have breakfast at 7:00 am
7:30 a.m We will start with a walking tour through the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo. You will see: Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana, the Bolívar Square, the Gold Museum, Plaza de Santa Teresa, Plaza de Santo Domingo, the famous fortifications surrounding the city and the Bóvedas. We will go back to the hotel to make the check out and then, we will have lunch.
After lunch, we will leave to Barranquilla. It will take about three hours drive to arrive there. We will stop on the city limits and visit some dry scrub forest where our main target could be found the endemic Chestnut-winged Chachalaca. We are sure to see a few commoner species which could include Mouse-coloured Tyrannulet, Northern Scrub Flycatcher and Trinidad Euphonia.
Night Barranquilla ( Hotel Holyday Inn Express)
The morning will be spent in the extensive wetlands and Mangroves of the Salamanca National Park east of Barranquilla. The marshes will produce many wetland and waterbirds and other specialties such as Dwarf Cuckoo and Stripe-backed Wren. The Mangroves meanwhile can hold Bicolored Conebill, Chestnut Piculet, Panama Flycatcher, Sapphire-throated and Sapphire-bellied Hummingbirds and Pied Puffbird.
In the late morning we will start driving east through the park but expect to make frequent stops to look at the concentrations of waders and terns that can often be found on roadside pools.
In the late afternoon we will climb into the foothills of the Santa Marta Mountains where we look for Military Macaws as they head for roost and will add a few commoner species such as Orange-chinned Parakeet and Rufous-tailed Jacamar.
Night Minca ( Hotel Minca)
We will spend the morning birding above Minca where we will target a number of specialty species including Golden-winged Sparrow, Black-backed Ansthrike, Whooping Motmot and Scaled Piculet. It should be a busy morning and we will also look for Keel-billed Toucan, Rufous-breasted Wren and Golden-fronted Greenlet.
In the late morning we will begin our ascent into the Santa Marta range and will make frequent stops to bird as we climb into the cloud forest.
The late afternoon should find us at El Dorado Lodge where we will spend time around the hummer feeders where we may find White-tailed Starfrontlet and Santa Marta Woodstar amongst the buzzing masses of commoner species. We will also keep an eye on the seed feeders which may produce the endemic double of Santa Marta and Sierra Nevada Brushfinches along with both Sickle-winged and Band-tailed Guans and possibly Black-fronted Wood Quail.
Night El Dorado Lodge.
We will leave very early and spend much of the day at the highest elevations where we hope to locate a host of Santa Marta endemics. We will try to find Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Mountain Tanager, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant and Santa Marta Warbler, amongst others. We will then bird slowly back downhill looking for further endemics such as Streak-capped and Rusty-headed Spinetails and Brown-rumped Tapaculo along with specialities such as White-tipped Quetzal and Golden-breasted Fruiteater. In the evening we may try some Owling for Santa Marta Screech Owl.
Night El Dorado Lodge.
5:30 am Early departure to Riohacha. Birding on route.
We will spend as long as we need mopping up our remaining endemics, We’ll stop on the way to look for any birds we may have missed on day 4 in the roadside scrub, such as Scaled Piculet, Rosy-thrush Tanager, Black-backed Antshrike, Whooping Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Rufous-and-white and Rufous-breasted Wren’s, Golden-winged Sparrow and Golden-fronted Greenlet.
In the late afternoon we will drive a couple or hours east to the Guajira peninsula. The birdlife here is completely different and in a few hours late afternoon birding we may well find White-fringed Antwren, Black-crested Antshrike and White-whiskered Spinetail.
We will finish the day at a bird rich lagoon where we should add many waders and species such as Reddish Egret and American Flamingo.
Night Guajira (Hotel Gimaura).
We will spend the morning birding in the dry scrub where we target many species including Vermilion Cardinal, Tocuyo Sparrow, Bare-eyed Pigeon and Pale-tipped Inezia.
Lunch in a Local Community, where we have the chance to spend some time with locals enjoying their cultural richness and handcrafts.
After that we will have a long drive to Barranquilla.
Night Barranquilla (Hotel Magestic)
Flight departure times will dictate at what time we leave Hotel today