Santa Marta & the Guajira Peninsula


A route through every habitat on the Colombian Caribbean Coast

Route Details
Departure dates 2020: february 12th to 20th (available)
march 10th to 18th (available)
may 12th to 20th (available)
august 19th to 27th (available)
Duration 9 days – 8 nights
Route prices (per person) USD $2,879
Number of species to observe 250+
Difficulty level: Moderate
Domestic Flights: USD $90. Ask us about them


Enjoy being in the mountains and observing all the biodiversity surrounding you, including all the birds on your list. This is complemented by a descent where the landscape nuances start changing. We leave behind the cloudy High Mountain Forest, to enter the Tropical Dry Forest and end in the Desert. The pink in the lagoons gives you the introduction to the Flamingo´s dance. In the bushes nearby there´s the contrast of an impressive red silhouette. It´s the slippery Vermilion Cardinal welcoming us. It´s distribution is restricted to this region of the world. The Desert heat was worth it. This is the Magical Realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez live and direct!

In this route we will visit the Sierra Nevada National Park, a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. You may be able to add 240 bird species to your list, including possibly up to 20 endemic species. When we add this exhuberant landscape to the Guajira Peninsula, we can expect to observe a wide range of biodiversity which includes the Tropical Dry Forest species, Aquatic ones, and High Mountain dwellers. This destination offers bird watching from sea level to snowcapped mountains.

Birds you will possibly observe

Black-crested Antshrike (Sakesphorus canadensis), Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus), Black-backed Antshrike (Thamnophilus melanonotus), Slender-billed Tyrannulet (Ineziate nuirostris), White-bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus), Russet-throated Puffbird (Hypnelus ruficollis), Black cheeked-Mountain-Tanager (Anisognathus melanogenys), Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata), Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant (Myiotheretes pernix), White-tailed Starfrontlet (Coeligena phalerata), Santa Marta Screech-Owl (Megascops gylesi), Santa Marta Antpitta (Grallaria bangsi), White-tipped Swift (Aeronautes montivagus), Santa Marta Brush-Finch (Atlapetes melanocephalus), Black-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron dorsale), Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae), Bronzed- Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus armenti), Bicolored Conebill (Conirostrum bicolor), Santa Marta Warbler (Myiothlypis basilica), Santa Marta Seedeater (Catamenia oreophila), Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager (Dubusia taeniata).

Habitats visited

Mangroves, Xerophytic Scrub, Dry Forest, Rainforest, Montane Forest, High Montane Forest


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 forests (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, 3 and 4 San Lorenzo

The 2nd day we will drive up to 2.200 m.a.s.l. to the San Lorenzo Ridge in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a special place to observe endemic species. The following 2 days we will travel through the area including the Kennedy mountain Ridge to find the sacred water spring, the habitat for a great number of endemic bird species. Enjoy panoramic views of the Sierra and its highest peaks, taste delicious traditional food and high quality organic hot cocoa.

The fourth day of high mountain bird watching, we will start our descent after breakfast. Slowly enjoying birding while we descend, we will visit Minca and later we will reach Santa Marta to stay overnight.

Among the species that we could observe during these days are: (Grallaria rufula), White-tipped Swift (Aeronautes montivagus), Santa Marta Brushfinch (Atlapetes melanocephalus), Black-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron dorsale), Santa Marta Screech Owl (Megascops gilesi), Rusty-headed Spinetail (Synallaxis fuscorufa) and the Santa Marta Brushfinch (Atlapetes melanocephalus). We will also probably observe hummingbirds, Toucans, and Tanagers among others.

Day 5 The Guajira Penninsula

We will visit Los Flamencos Fauna y Flora Sanctuary, a beautiful place to observe acuatic and desert birds. Here we can see the Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus), among others like White-whiskered Spinetail (Synallaxis candei), Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus), Buffy Hummingbird (Leucippus fallax), Tocuyo Sparrow (Arremonops tocuyensis) and of course, the American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), the park´s emblematic bird. An evening drive back to Riohacha for the overnight stay, goes through oceanside cliffs and overlooks, the Sierra Nevada and its National Park on the mountain side and the Tayrona National Park towards the Caribbean Sea.

Day 6 Don Diego

This morning we will walk up along the Don Diego River´s edge till we reach a place called Taironaka a reconstruction of a Tayrona ancestral village. After a snack we will take a boat ride down river to the sea to observe aquatic birds, besides howler monkeys and caimans (a small alligator).

Some species we can observe include Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha), Lance-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia lanceolata), Olivaceous Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus), Southern Bentbill (Oncostoma olivaceum), Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus), Orange-crowned Oriole (Icterus auricapillus), Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) and White-bellied Antbird (Myrmeciza longipes). After sunset we will drive to Santa Marta.

Day 7 Vía Parque Isla De Salamanca

Waking up early in Santa Marta affords us the opportunity to take a scenic drive to the Vía Parque Isla de Salamanca to observe the endemic Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae), among others species like the Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus), White-cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis), Bicolored Conebill (Conirostrum bicolor), Bronzed- Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus armenti). Cienaga, the historic home of the folkloric Cumbia rhythm is the setting for our traditional lunch and rest after which we will continue birdwatching. On our return to Santa Marta we will visit the home of the Chestnut-winged Chachalaca (Ortalis garrula) another endemic species around sunset.

Day 8 Taganga – Bahía Concha

This area is located at 75 m.a.s.l. at 10km from Santa Marta and you can observe aquatic birds as well as Tropical Dry Forest dwellers. After a few hours of birding we will descend back to town and enjoy lunch. In the afternoon we will visit Puerto Vale to continue birdwatching. The following species can be observed in these areas: Black-crested Antshrike (Sakesphorus canadensis), Black-backed Antshrike (Thamnophilus melanonotus), Slender-billed Tyrannulet (Inezia tenuirostris), White-bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus), Barred Puffbird (Hypnelus ruficollis).

Day 9 End of trip

Breakfast at the hotel and 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

  •   Tips
  • Airline tickets
  • Alcoholic beverages



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