Colombian Caribbean Coast: Cultural & Nature Trip

Colombia is the country with the second-highest biodiversity in the world, behind Brazil (Around 7 times Colombia´s size). This tour takes you to the northern Colombia, one of the most interesting regions of Colombia for nature lovers, famed for its high level of endemic species. We will explore a huge variety of different habitats including high elevation mountains, dry forest, wetlands, mangroves, deserts and coastal habitats. Besides, this tour takes you to know a good part of the culture of this side of the country. The inhabitants of the Colombian Caribbean are the result of the racial and cultural mixture of aboriginal peoples that inhabit the region since ancient times, with white individuals of Spanish nationality who arrived in the Colombian Caribbean in 1499, who at the same time introduced people of diverse African tribes as slaves. As consequence we can enjoy a unique array of music, traditions and lifestyles that maintain until today.

Day 1:  Arrive in Bogota.

Your international flights are likely to arrive in the early morning or late afternoon and you will be taken to your hotel.

Day 2: Visit to Monserrate and La Candelaria

Monserrate has an altitude of 3152 m and is located on the eastern Andes mountain range. Well known for being a spot with a great view of all the city and sometimes the Central Andes. At its top is the chapel of the Virgin of Monserrate, erected in 1640 by order of Spanish settlers. After spend a couple hours in Monserrate, we will head to La Candelaria, the 17th locality of Bogotá, Colombia. A historic neighborhood in the city’s downtown. The architecture of the old houses, churches and buildings has Spanish Colonial, Baroque and art deco styles.

Day 3: Birding at Chicaque Park and flight to Cartagena

Chicaque Natural Park is a protected area located southwest of the savannah of Bogotá at 2700 m.a.s.l. (8858 feet).The reserve has hummingbird’s feeders where it is possible to see the near-endemic Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, plus some other high-elevation jewels as White-bellied Woodstar and Glowing Puffleg. We also going to walk this gorgeous Cloud-forest where we expect to find Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, Black-capped, Supercilliared and Black-eared Hemispingus, Buff-breasted Mountain-tanager, Emerald Toucanet among many others.

Day 4: Cartagena Historic city

Cartagena is a city located on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region. It was strategically located and became the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas empire, establishing its importance by the early 1540s. In order to defend it against pirate attacks in the Caribbean, great castles and walls were built throughout the city. Cartagena’s colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 5:  Birding Isla Salamanca National Park and Barranquilla Area – Transfer to Minca

The morning will be spent in the extensive wetlands and Mangroves of the Salamanca National Park east of Baranquilla. 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.

Day 6: Birding the road towards El Dorado Reserve

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.

Day 7: El Dorado Bird Reserve

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.

Day 8: Morning birding at El Dorado and Transfer to Tayrona Area

We will spend much of the morning birding downhill from El Dorado Lodge. As we descend we will look for Groove-billed Toucanet, Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, Santa Marta Tapaculo and Grey-throated Leaftosser. In the late afternoon we will descend to a Hotel on the coast where we may squeeze in a little birding before dusk.

Day 9: Full day at Los Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary

The birdlife here is completely differen’t and ina full day birding we may well find Vermilion Cardinal, White-fringed Antwren, Black-crested Antshrike, White-whiskered Spinetail and many more. 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.

Day 10: Traditional dancing show and flight to Bogotá

We will spend our last day interacting with the The Wayuus or guajiros, who are aborigines from the peninsula of La Guajira. We will watch their dances and their traditions.