Wake up in the morning with a birds´ choir… So many you cannot identify them! You open a window and you see the silhouette of a band of Santa Marta Parakeet on the horizon, taking flight. The heliconias by your side surprise you with flowers full of nectar awaiting the restless hummingbirds. You hear the call of a White-tipped Quetzal. Meanwhile Francisco, “Pacho Aves”, our expert ornithologist waits for you to start the search.
This is how you confirm you are in Colombia, the country of birds! You are, more precisely, standing in one of the places of highest endemism in the country. Prepare your eBird and your camera for the amount of “lifers” you are going to add to your bird list so that you can share them with all your friends.
Colombia is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with more than 1921 registered species. In the country of Birds the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a privileged place to observe them. In this imposing massif, recently named one of the most mega-diverse places in the world, there are 27 endemic species to add to your “Bird List”. A definite must see for birdwatchers, this beautiful place and its surroundings offer every climate and habitat in which to enjoy birdwatching from beach to Paramo.
Birds you will possibly observe
Black cheeked Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus melanogenys), Santa Marta Blossomcrown (Anthocephala floriceps), Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata), Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant (Myiotheretes pernix), Santa Marta Woodstar (Chaetocercus astreans), White-lored Warbler (Myiothlypis conspicillata), Santa Marta Screech-Owl (Megascops gylesi), Rusty-headed Spinetail (Synallaxis fuscorufa), Santa Marta Antpitta (Grallaria bangsi), Santa Marta Warbler (Myiothlypis basilica), White-tailed Starfrontlet (Coeligena phalerata), Yellow- Crowned Redstart (Myioborus flavivertex), Black-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron dorsale), Santa Marta Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa oreophila).
Montane Forest, Tropical Forest, Dry Forest, Rainforest.
Temperate to Cold in the high zones. Warm and Dry in the low lands. Rain may be probable some days.
Places of interest near by
Teyuna (Ciudad Perdida), Precolumbian archaeological site. Aracataca, home of Gabriel García Márquez and his magical realism, Incomparable beaches of the Tayrona National Park, Cartagena de Indias and its historic district. Regional beaches with coral reefs (Tayrona National Park, Islas del Rosario National Park)
Tour Leader: Francisco Troncoso
Colombian ornithologist with more than 32 years of experience in the activity who has reported a bird species for Colombia: Lilac-tailed Parrotlet (Touit batavicus). Francisco specializes in wetland and wildlife conservation through population studies. He has certified farmland through bird rating and valuation. Speaker at various conferences and seminars in Colombia and Latin America. He has collaborated and lead research studies about birds for different national and international institutions. Recommended guide for the region by Lonely Planet.
Day 1 Arrival
The trip starts wellcoming our clients in Santa Marta when they arrive with an overview of birdwatching in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. If you arrive early you have the option of an introductory area tour.
Day 2 Minca – San Lorenzo
This morning´s birdwatching starts going up from Minca to San Lorenzo located at 2.200 m.a.s.l., in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park. We will drive up on a 4×4 traction vehicle until the (Important Avian Conservation Area) AICA Sierra Nevada, a priviledged area where you can see more than 27 endemic species. We offer overnight accommodations at a beautiful area lodge. The birds to see in this area include: Black cheeked Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus melanogenys), Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata), Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant (Myiotheretes pernix), White-tailed Starfrontlet (Coeligena phalerata), and the Santa Marta Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa oreophila).
Day 3 San Lorenzo – Cerro Kennedy
The day starts with an organic hot chocolate from the region. We head to Cerro Kennedy arriving at “La Laguna Encantada” (The enchanted waterspring). It´s the source of the Gaira River. It nestles a great number of endemic species (ej. Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, White-lored Warbler) as well as some recently described species that lack basic information. (ej. Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Antbird y Sierra Nevada Brushfinch). Some species that can be observed after dark include: Santa Marta Screech Owl (Megascops gilesi), Rusty-headed Spinetail (Synallaxis fuscorufa), Rufous Antpitta (Grallaria rufula), White-tipped Swift (Aeronautes montivagus). Santa Marta Brushfinch (Atlapetes melanocephalus), Black-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron dorsale). A picnic style lunch will be served at midday followed by a power nap to retake the trail to San Lorenzo trying to observe the endemics. Around 4:00pm, we´ll start our descent towards Minca stopping for birding many times. After dinner, we will compare and confirm the bird list and we close the night at 9pm to rest and start the short drive to Santa Marta in the morning.
Day 4 End of trip
Transport from Minca to Santa Marta /End of trip.
The Plan includes
- Local guide
- Meals (with Vegetarian Option)
- Private room accomodations
- Transport By 4X4 with A/C
- rip Insurance and taxes
- Local SIM Card for international calls
The plan does not included
- Airline tickets
- Alcoholic beverages