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Colombia 2 (IOC): The Western Andes and the Chocó Biodiversity Hotspot

  1. 2018
    Tuesday, August 28, 2018 to Tuesday, September 11, 2018
    Tour Duration: 
    15 days
    Tour Price:
     $7,265 CAD, $5,450 USD
    Single Supplement:
     $265 CAD, $200 USD
    Tour Starts/Ends: 
    Bogotá
    Note that single rooms are available on only 4 of 14 nights during the tour
    Number of Persons Limit: 
    10
Overview

This IOC birding tour focuses on the megadiverse Western Andes and Pacific lowlands of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. We will start the tour by flying to Cali, then visiting the renowned KM18 Reserve and the Anchicaya Canyon, as well as local Hummingbird and Tanager gardens, where a myriad of brightly colored birds will dazzle you. Then we will climb into the Western Andes and visit the Montezuma Nature Reserve in Tatamá National Park. This untouched park is one of the best birding destination in Colombia, with endemics such as the Golden-ringed Tanager, Black-and-Gold Tanager, Beautiful Jay, and the recently described and critically endangered Munchique Wood Wren, to name a few.

After the incredible diversity of the Western Andes you can relax in the Pacific lowlands of Chocó. After arriving in Bahia Solano and settling into the exquisite El Almejal Ecolodge you will bird the trail around El Valle seeing species such as the Baudo Oropendula, Saffron-headed Parrot, Chocó Toucan, and Great Green Macaws, and follow a hot morning's birding exploring the beaches to search for nesting sea turtles. Then you will move down the coast to gorgeous Utria National Park, where Humpback Whales visit to give birth in September, and where you may encounter birds such as Great Curassows, Brown Wood Rails and the enigmatic Broad-billed Sapayoa. You will finish the tour traveling through Bahia Solano and returning to Bogotá. 

Itinerary View Short Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in Bogotá

Night in Bogotá at Dann Norte Hotel

SS: Available / Wifi: Available / AC: Available

 

Day 2. Flight to Cali, KM 18 Reserve and Finca Alejandria Hummingbird Garden, transfer Queremal Village

After arriving in Cali in the early morning, we will travel by 4x4 a short distance up into the Western Andes to the Km 18 Reserve where cloud forest birds will be the main target. Some of the key birds we’ll look for this morning include the endemic Chestnut Wood-Quail, the shy and skulking Nariño Tapaculo, Uniform Antshrike, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Streak-headed Antbird, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, White-throated Quail-Dove, Barred Fruiteater, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Green-fronted Lancebill, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Powerful Woodpecker, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Crested Quetzal, Dusky Chlorospingus, Chestnut-breasted and Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Black-throated Tody-Tyrant, Pale-eyed Thrush, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Rufous-throated Tanager, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, and Golden-rumped Euphonia. After lunch, we will pay a very special visit to “Finca Alejandria – The Hummingbird Paradise” where we will see hummingbirds and tanagers at the feeders and where we will enjoy close-up views of some spectacularly coloured birds such as the endemic Multicolored Tanager, Golden-naped Tanager, Golden Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Blue-headed Sapphire, Greenish Puffleg, Long-tailed Sylph, and many more. We will move at the end of the day to El Queremal where we will stay for the next few days.

Night in El Queremal at El Campanario Hotel

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available 

 

Days 3 and 4. Anchicaya Canyon and the Queremal Hummingbird and Tanager Garden

We will be birding for most of the day in the magical Anchicaya Canyon, one of the most amazing roads to see birds in all of Colombia. There we will be focusing on Chocó specialties such as Barred Hawk, Blue-headed, Mealy and Rose-faced Parrot, White-whiskered and Rufous-breasted Hermit, Blue- and Purple-chested Hummingbirds, Green Thorntail, Purple-crowned Fairy, Lanceolated Monklet (which is fairly common there), Chocó Trogon, Chocó Toucan, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Spot-crowned Barbet, Broad-billed Motmot, Chestnut-backed and Immaculate Antbird, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Pacific Flatbill, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Lemon-browed Flycatcher, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Cinnamon Becard, Southern Rough-winged and White-thighed Swallows, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Bay Wren, Chocó Warbler, Orange-billed Sparrow, Tawny-crested, Dusky-faced, Golden-chested, Scarlet-browed and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers, and Black-winged Saltator. This also is an excellent area for many of the smaller Tangara tanagers, including Blue-necked, Golden-hooded, Rufous-winged, Bay-headed, Blue-whiskered, Silver-throated, Rufous-throated, and even Gray-and-gold Tanager. Other species include Pied Puffbird, Long-tailed Tyrant, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Yellow-spectacled Tanager, Russet-backed Oropendola, and Scarlet-rumped Cacique, among many others.

Night in El Queremal at El Campanario Hotel

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Day 5. Laguna de Sonso Reserve, transfer to Montezuma Reserve in Tatama National Park

Early in the morning, we will visit the dry forest and wetlands of Laguna de Sonso Reserve, which is a great birding destination with many good lowland birds. There we will look for specialties such as Dwarf Cuckoo, Spectacled Parrotlet, Yellow Oriole, Apical Flycatcher, Buff-necked Ibis, Crested Bobwhite, Greyish Piculet, Jet Antbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Scrub Greenlet, Black-chested Jay, Little Cuckoo, Black-bellied Wren, and Red-capped Cardinal. In the afternoon, we will travel to the Montezuma Natural Reserve in Tatama National Park, where we will rest for the remainder of the day.

Night in Pueblo Rico at the Montezuma Lodge

SS: Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Days 6 and 7. Montezuma Reserve, Tatama National Park

Without a doubt, the Montezuma Reserve is one of the best places to bird in Colombia, with an elevation gradient between 1,100 to 2,800 meters. This makes this place one of the most biologically diverse areas in all Colombia with more than 600 bird species recorded. There we hope to see many endemics and near-endemics of the Chocó Region over two complete days, when we will explore four different elevations along the gradient: Los Chorros (highest elevation), Cajones (middle elevation), and Clarita and Rio Claro (lower elevation). Some of the birds we will look for include: Black-and-gold Tanager, Gold-ringed Tanager, Munchique Wood-Wren, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Parker´s Antbird, Alto-Pisones Tapaculo, Crested Ant-Tanager, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, Purple-throated Woodstar, Toucan Barbet, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Uniform Treehunter, Bar-crested Antshrike, Bicolored Antvireo, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Chocó Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Chocó Vireo, Beautiful Jay, Sooty headed Wren, Black Solitaire, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Glistering Green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Tanager Finch, Yellow-green Brush-Finch, Ochre-breasted Tanager, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Sickle-winged Guan, Western Emerald, White-tailed Hillstar, Greenish Puffleg, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzal, White-faced Nunbird, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak-capped Treehunter, Barred and Scaled Fruiteater, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Olivaceous Piha, Flame-faced Tanager, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Black-winged Saltator, Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Striped Manakin, Zeledon´s Antbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Barred Hawk, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Lanceolated Monklet, Brown-billed Scythebill, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, Golden Tanager, and White-headed Wren, to name just a few.

Nights in Pueblo Rico at the Montezuma Lodge

SS: Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

Day 8. Montezuma, flight to Medellín

On our last morning in the Montezuma Reserve, we will focus on searching for some of the lower elevation birds we may have missed, then after lunch we will take a short flight to Medellín.

Night in Medellín at Porton Medellín Hotel

SS: Available / Wifi: Available / AC: Available

Day 9. Flight to Bahia Solano, birding on the road between Bahia and El Valle

We will take an early morning flight from Medellin to Bahia Solano on the Pacific Coast, where a 4x4 vehicle will be waiting to take us to the famous El Almejal Ecolodge. On the way there, we will be looking for a completely different set of birds than we have seen thus far, including Baudo Guan, Baudo Oropendola, Pied Puffbird, Dusky Pigeon, Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Grey-headed Chachalaca, King Vulture, Rose-faced Parrot, and many other coastal specialties.

Night in Bahia Solano at the Almejal Ecolodge

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Day 10. Birding in El Valle Road all day and Rio Tundo Path (exploring for nesting Olive Ridley Sea Turtles)

We will be birding all day along the quite road between Bahia Solano to El Valle, which is very easy to walk and fantastic for birds, including White-necked Jacobin, Bronzy Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Long-billed Hermit , White-tailed Trogon, Amazon Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Spot-crowned Barbet, Great Potoo, Collared Araçari, Chocó Toucan, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Cinnamon Woodcreeper, Slaty Spinetail, Northern Barred-Woodcreeper, Chocó Tyrannulet, Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, Cinnamon Becard, and many others. In the evening, we can walk along the beach to look for nesting turtles, after which we will return to El Almejal Ecolodge.

Night in Bahia Solano at the Almejal Ecolodge

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

Day 11. The path from El Valle to Utria - all day

This day we will be focusing on the specialty birds of the Pacific Coast found between El Valle and Utria National Park. Possibilities include Black-tipped Cotinga, Chocó Tinamou, Stub-tailed Antbird, Long-billed Gnatwren, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Chocó Syristes, Dusky-faced Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Black-breasted Puffbird, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Variable Seedeater, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Orange-billed Sparrow, Blue-black Grosbeak, Subtropical Cacique, White-vented Euphonia, Purple-throated Cotinga, Streak-chested Antpitta, Black-headed Antthrush, Spotted Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren, Pacific Antwren, Ocellated Antbird, amongst others. After exploring this trail, we will return to the El Almejal Ecolodge in the early evening.

Night in Bahia Solano at the Almejal Ecolodge

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Day 12. Transfer by boat to Utria National Park (looking for Humpback Whales and dolphins along the way), birding in the mangroves of Utria National Park

We will transfer early in the morning by boat to Utria National Park while searching for whales and dolphins to a site known as the Mano Cambiada Ecotourism Project in the Ensenada de Utria (Utria Cove). This surely is one of the most wonderful and relaxing locations to birdwatch on the Colombian Pacific coast! When we arrive in Utria, we will walk along the beautiful mangrove forest boardwalk, which stretches for over 1km from the beach into the mangroves, and from where you can view a myriad of birds. We will also enjoy the amazing beach of the Ensenada de Utria, where you may borrow a kayak to paddle in the mangroves and calm waters of the cove.

Night at the Utria National Park Cabins

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Day 13. Utria National Park and Cocalito Trail

In the morning, we will cross Utria cove visit the Cocalito Trail, looking for birds including the enigmatic Broad-billed Sapayoa (a suboscine passerine!), Crested Guan, Great Curassow, Brown and Masked Booby, Brown Wood-Rail, Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, Uniform Crake, Grey-breasted Crake, Sungrebe, Scaled Pigeon, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Rose-faced Parrot, Grey-capped Cuckoo, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Chocó Poorwill, Striped-throated Hermit, Blue Cotinga, Rufous Piha, Green, Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakin, Lesser Greenlet, Pale-vented Thrush, and many different shorebirds. We will return to the cabins of Utria National Park that night.

Night at the Utria National Park Cabins

SS: Not-Available / Wifi: Not-Available / AC: Not-Available

 

Day 14. Utria National Park, transfer to Bahia Solano and flight to Medellín and on to Bogotá

We will search more birds around Utria National Park before we return to Bahia Solano and take two flights, the first back to Medellín and the second on to Bogotá. Along the way to the airport from Utria, we will look for some pelagic species and shorebirds, while taking in some amazing Pacific coastal landscapes. When we get back to Bogotá, we will enjoy a delicious dinner to celebrate the last night of this fantastic birding tour.

Night in Bogotá - Dann Norte Hotel

SS: Available / Wifi: Available / AC: Available

 

Day 15. Departure - International flight from Bogotá

You can depart anytime today.