Endemic Gold-Ringed Tanager
15-Day Birding Tour in Colombia – Western Andes / Chocó Bio region / Central Andes
Activities: Birdwatching, Trekking, Photography, landscaping
Duration: 15 days, 14 nights.
8 people Maximum
Comfort level: Standard. We’ll use comfortable, pleasant, and clean Eco Lodges and Hotels.
Average species seen in this Tour (350-450)
This Expedition Includes:
Day 1: Airport pick up and transfer to Bitaco- Chicoral Forest
We will pick you up at the Cali´s Airport, Alfonso Bonilla Aragon. From there, we’ll go to La Minga Lodge at Bitaco Cloud forest, where we will check in, go birding (if we have time), and relax in our first night. La Minga is a cozy, quiet Lodge located in the middle of the Bitaco-Chicoral- Dapa Forest Reserve. It has comfortable and clean rooms, a private bathroom and hot water. In the morning, its feeders are visited by fantastic tanagers.
(1 Barred Becard, 2 Black Capped Tanager 3 , 4 La Minga Ecolodge)
Day 2: Finca Alejandría and Cock of the Rock Lek
We’ll depart La Minga at 6:00 am and head to the Finca Alejandria at Km 18 . Finca Alexandria is a Country House and one of the best places for bird watching; so much so, that it’s known as “The Hummingbird Paradise”.
Here we’ll have the chance to see different hummingbird species, such as the hard to find Blue headed Sapphire, Brown Violetear, Long Tailed Sylph, Booted Racket-Tail, Buff-tailed Coronet, Speckled Hummingbird, Tawny- Bellied Hermit, and Green Crowned Woodnymph, among others.
Since Finca Alexandria lies in the middle of a wonderful cloud forest, we’ll also see other birds, such as:
Red Headed Barbet, Blue Winged Mountain Tanager, endemic Multicolored Tanager , Chestnut Woodquail, and Colombian Chachalaca, also Crimson and Emerald Toucanet, Road Side Hawk, Collared Trogon, Spotted Barbtail, Montane Woodcreeper, Variagated Bristle Tyrant, Green and Black Fruiteater, Golden winged Manakin and the magnificent Golden headed Quetzal, among many others.
In the afternoon we’ll go near the village of Felidia, where we can find the Lek of the Andean Cock of the Rock and the magnificent endemic Crested Ant Tanager.
At the end of the afternoon we’ll drive to the Torre Mar Hotel in Buenaventura.
(1 endemic Multicolored Tanager, 2 Blue headed Sapphire, 3 Cock of the Rock, 4 , 5 Hotel Torre Mar)
Day 3: San Cipriano
We will leave the hotel at 5:30 am. It’ll take us in 30 mins to arrive to Cordoba, a town where we will take a Brujita (little witch in Spanish) that will take us to San Cipriano. A Brujita is a wooden cart that goes on the railroad propelled by a motorcycle. It’s a whole lot of fun and the only way to get to the Forest Reserve of San Cipriano.
Once in San Cipriano, we’ll hike through different paths next to the San Cipriano River, where we’ll see all kinds of birds, such as:
Collared Aracari , Rose Faced Parrot, Tiny Hawk, Purple crowned Fairy, Chestnut Headed Oropendola, Blue Fronted Parrotlet, Black breasted and Pied Puffbird, White tailed and BlueTailed Trogon Scarlet and white Tanager, Grey and Gold Tanager, Emerald Tanager and Blue Whiskered Tanager, Plumbeous pigeon, Pallid Dove, Tiny Hawk, Rufous Motmot, Black cheeked woodpecker, Ringed Kingfisher, Black crowned Antshrike, dot winged Antwren, Pacific Antwren, Black capped pigmy Tyrant, Social Flycatcher, Purple throated Fruitcrow, Golden collared Manakin, Bay wren, Black tipped Cotinga, Cinnamon Becard, Black chested Jay, Southern Rough winged swallow, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Rufous winged Tanager, and Dusky Faced Tanager, among others.
We’ll head back to Buenaventura in the evening and spend the night at Torre Mar Hotel.
(1 Collared Aracari, 2 Golden hooded Tanager, 3 Dusky faced Tanager, 4 Black capped Pygmy Tyrant)
Day 4: Lower Anchicayá (Old Buenaventura Road)
The Anchicayá river basin is part of Los Farallones National Park and one of the most important Birding spots in Colombia.
We’ll travel through the lower part of the Old Buenaventura Road, where we might be able to spot endemic Baudo Guan, Rufous Motmot, Laughing Falcon, Choco Toucan, Collared Aracari, Rufous Tailed Jacamar, Blue-Tailed Trogon, Swallow Tailed Kite, Pale vented pigeon, White wiskered Puffbird, Lanceolated Monklet, Band rumped Swift, , Dusky Pigeon, White whiskered hermit, Tooth billed hummingbird,Purple and Blue chested Hummingbird, Black throated trogon, Broad billed Motmot,Spot Crowned barbet, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Great Antshrike, Stub tailed Antbird, Spot crowned ant vireo, Zeledon’s Antbird, Plain Brown woodcreeper, Black capped pygmy Tyrant, Pacific Flatbill, Long Tailed Tyrant, Thicket Antpitta, Blue crowned Manakin,Rufous Piha, Slaty capped Shrike vireo, Bay wren, white headed Wren, Buff rumped warbler, Scarlet and white Tanager, Golden chested Tanager, White lined Tanager, scarlet thighed Dacnis, Scarlet browed Tanager, Thick billed seed finch, slate colored Grosbeak, orange billed sparrow, lemon spectacled Tanager, Buff throated Saltator, and Scarlet Rumped Cacique.
At dusk we will return to the hotel El Campanario.
(1 Chocó Toucan, 2 Lanceolated Monklet, 3 , 4 Hotel El Campanario)
Day 5: Old Buenaventura Road, upper part ( El Descanso)
On our fifth day we’ll go birding to the upper part of the Old Buenaventura road, where we might see all kinds of beautiful species, including Green Thorntail, Crowned Woodnymph, Club winged Manakin, Masked Tityra, Sooty headed Wren, , Black Solitaire,Three striped Warbler, White shouldered Tanager, Lemon rumped Tanager, Rufous throated Tanager, Silver Throated Tanager,Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Buff Throated Saltator, endemic Crested Ant Tanager, Scarlet Rumped Cacique, Rufous fronted Woodquail,, Green Hermit, Violet Tailed Sylph, White tailed Hillstar, Moustached Puffbird, Toucan Barbet, Smoky brown Woodpecker, Pacific Antwren, Parker’s Antbird, Chocó Tapaculo, Brown billed Scythebill, Slaty backed Chat Tyrant, Bright rumped Attila, Lemon Browed Flycatcher, Golden winged Manakin, Black Chinned Mountain Tanager,Bay headed Tanager, Golden collared Honey creeper, Black headed Brushfinch, and Yellow collared Chlorophonia, among others.
In the afternoon we’ll head to the Hotel Ms La huerta Plus, near Calima Lake.
(1 Bay Wren, 2 Crowned Woodnymph, 3 Cub winged Manakin, 4 White tailed Hillstar, 5, 6 Hotel La Huerta Plus)
Day 6: Sonso Lagoon and transfer to Montezuma
This day we’ll go to Sonso Lagoon, a wetland ecosystem with a dry forest that is home to hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds.
We’ll leave the hotel at 5:30 am and arrive to the lagoon around 6am. We will have our breakfast on the trail and watch birds all morning. Here we may spot different species, such as:
Rubi Topaz, Amazon Kingfisher, Anhinga, Bar Crested Antshrike, Jet Antbird, Cocoi Heron, Bare Faced Ibis, Striated Heron, Yellow Headed Cara Cara, Crested Cara Cara, Purple Gallinule, Spectacled parrotlet, Wattled Jacana , Striped Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Dark billed Cuckoo, Dwarf Cuckoo, Red breasted Blackbird, Fork Tailed Flycatcher, Common Potoo, Yellow Oriole, Red Capped Cardinal among others.
We’ll leave the lagoon around noon and have lunch in Buga. From there, we’ll go to The Montezuma Lodge at Tatamá National Park. Montezuma lodge is the only option in the area. It has basic accommodations but it’s clean, friendly, and has spectacular hummingbird feeders and a very good service for birders.
(1 Cocoi Heron, 2 Common Pootoo, 3 Dark billed Cuckoo, 4 Montezuma Lodge)
Days 7-8: Montezuma Road
( 1 Bicolored Antvireo , 2 Fulvous dotted Treeruner)
We’ll start the days very early to make it to the top of the hill by sunrise so as to make the best of our time in this fantastic and unique ecosystem.
During the long descent we may see endemic Black-and-gold and Gold-ringed Tanagers, endemic Munchique Wood-Wren, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, endemic Parker’s Antbird, endemic Crested Ant-Tanager, near endemic Violet tailed Sylph, near endemic Brown Inca, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, near endemic Purple-throated Woodstar, near endemic Toucan Barbet, near endemic Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Uniform Treehunter, 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, Bicolored Antvireo, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Choco Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Club-winged Manakin, Choco Vireo, Beautiful Jay, Sooty headed Wren, Black Solitaire, Black-chinned Mountain-Tanager, Purplish mantled Tanager, Glistening Green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Scarlet and White Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Dusky Bush-Tanager, Tanager Finch, Yellow-green Brush-Finch, Ochre-breasted Tanager, near endemic Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Black-winged Saltator, Red-headed Barbet, Bar-crested Antshrike, Sickle-winged Guan, Western Emerald, White-tailed Hillstar, , Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Striped Manakin, Zeledón´s Antbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Barred Hawk, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Lanceolated Monklet, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, White-headed Wren, and many more.
We will spend these two nights at The Montezuma Lodge at Tatamá National Park.
(1 endemic Chestnut Bellied Flowerpiercer, 2 endemic Black and Gold Tanager, 3 endemic Gold Ringed Tanager, 4 Ornate Flycatcher)
Day 9: Morning at Montezuma and arrival to Otún Quimbaya
We will wake up early and go Birding during the morning not very far from the lodge. Then we will head to Otún Quimbaya Sanctuary, which lies in the western face of the central Andes (1550 – 2300 MASL). We shall arrive to the La Suiza Lodge by the end of the day, where we will rest.
Otún Quimbaya is a wonderful place famous for its Wax Palms, Colombia’s national tree and the tallest palm in the world (up to 75 meters tall). These palms, unlike most other palm species, thrive at high altitudes and cool climates as the one in Otún Quimbaya. When we arrive, we will go birding around the ecolodge till dusk. We will spend the night at the lodge in Otún Quimbaya.
(1 Thick Billed Euphonia, 2 Buff Throated Saltator, 3, 4 Otun Quimbaya Lodge)
Day 10: Otún Quimbaya
We will wake up very early and go birding in this amazing sanctuary.
Otún Quimbaya is the best place to see endangered, endemic Cauca Guan and Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. We may see endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo, Chestnut Wood-Quail and near endemic species, like the Golden-fronted Whitestart, Moustached Antpitta, and Rufous-breasted Flycatcher. We might also spot Hooded Antpitta, Masked Trogon, Green Jay, Highland Motmot, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Three-striped warbler, Variegated bristle-tyrant , Collared Trogon, and Torrent Duck. We'll also be on the lookout for Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercer, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Plumbeous crowned Tyrannulet, among others.
We will leave in the afternoon and go to the Hacienda Bombay Hostel close to Santa Rosa de Cabal.
(1 endemic Cauca Guan, 2 Red ruffed Fruitcrow, 3, 4 Hostel Hacienda Bombay)
Day 11: Morning at Santa Rosa de Cabal and Arrival to Rio Blanco
We’ll be birding at Santa Rosa de Cabal in the morning.
Santa Rosa de Cabal is a small village where we may find endemic Indigo winged Parrot, Scaly Naped Parrot, Golden plumed Parrakeet, Purple Backed Thornbill, Gray breasted Mountain Toucan, Crimson mantled Woodpecker, Red crested Cotinga, Black collared Jay, Dusky Piha, Southern Lapwing, Band Tailed Pigeon, white collared swift, greenish puffleg, Golden Olive woodpecker, Pearled Treerunner, Streak Throated Bush Tyrant, Rufous crowned tody Flycatcher, White throated tyrannulet, Sedge wren, Mountain wren, Gray hooded bush Tanager, Blue Capped Tanager, Blue backed Conebill, Lesser Goldfinch, and Spillmann’s Tapaculo, among others.
After lunch we'll go to the Tinamou Hotel, where we’ll be spending the night.
(1 endemic Indigo winged Parrot, 2 Purple backed Thornbill, 3 Gray breasted Mountain Toucan, 4, 5 Hotel Tinamou)
Day 12: Tinamou Hotel
At the Tinamou Hotel reserve we can see Little Tinamou, Crested Bobwhite, Gray headed Dove, Stripe throated hermit, black throated Mango, Long billed starthroat, Green Kingfisher, Blue lored antbird, Scaled Antpitta, White crowned Tapaculo, Cocoa and Streak headed woodcreeper, slaty Spinetail,Ochre bellied Flycatcher,Slate headed Tody Flycatcher, white winged Becard, red eyed Vireo, Scaly breasted wren, speckle breasted wren, Clay colored Thrush, Golden crowned warbler, Gray headed Tanager, Guira Tanager, among others.
We'll leave in the afternoon to Rio Blanco Natural Reserve, where we'll stay at the Rio Blanco Lodge
Day 13: Rio Blanco
Rio Blanco is a Natural Forest Reserve located 3.5 kilometers from Manizales (2240-3700 masl). There we may see five antpitta species at feeders located within a short distance from the lodge, where earthworms are being offered to these beautiful rarely-seen birds.
The main attractions here are the endemic and endangered Brown-banded Antpitta, and the near-endemic and vulnerable Bicolored Antpitta. We will also have the opportunity to see Stripe-headed Brush-Finches, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches, different antpittas, like the Chestnut-crowned, Chestnut-naped, and Slate crowned antpittas. In addition, we may encounter other species, such as the Lachrymose and Buff-breasted mountain-tanager, the rare Masked Saltator, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Dusky Piha, Grassgreen and White-capped Tanagers, Blue and Black Tanager, Powerful Woodpecker, and the difficult to watch Ocellated, Blackish, and Spillman’s tapaculo, Tourmaline Sunangel, Buff-tailed Coronet, Speckled Hummingbird, Bronzy and Collared incas, and White-bellied Woodstar. Other uncommon species that we may see here are the Black-billed Peppershrike, Stygian Owls, Plushcap, Flamulated treehunter, and Mountain Cacique, among others.
Accommodation at Rio Blanco Reserve.
(1 endemic Brown Banded Antpitta, 2 Slate crowned Antpitta, 3 Blue and black Tanager , 4Stygian Owl )
Day 14: Los Nevados National Park
We will get up early and go to National Park Los Nevados on the highest part of the Colombian Central Andes. We will reach elevations of up to 3,950 meters and temperatures between 3 and 14 °C. Here we might find species adapted to high elevations, such as the nearly endemic Bearded Helmetcrest and the Rainbow-bearded Thornbill.
The scenery of the Paramo is remarkable, with its Frailejón plants (which are endemic to Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador), its mist, and the spectacular Nevado del Ruiz. This day we may see the very rare and endangered endemic Rufous-fronted Parakeet, Viridian Metaltail, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant , Golden-crowned Tanager, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Paramo and Plain-colored seedeaters, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Tawny Antpitta, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-tanager, the rare Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Purple-backed Thornbill, uncommon Black-thighed Puffleg, the spectacular sword billed hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing , Green and Sparkling Violetears, Shining Sunbean, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Sedge Wren, Paramo Tapaculo, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, and, if we’re lucky, we might even see the Andean Condor soaring the skies, among many other birds.
In the afternoon we’ll go to the Termales del Ruiz Hotel and enjoy their famous hummingbird feeders. After dusk we can relax and have a swim at the hot springs of the Hotel. Accommodation at the Termales del Ruiz Hotel.
(1 Rainbow bearded Thornbill, 2 Buffy Helmetcrest, 3Sword billed Hummingbird, 4 Scarlet Bellied Mountain Tanager)
Day 15: Termales del Ruiz Road and return to Cali
We will have our breakfast at the hotel and go birding in the morning at the road from the hotel to Manizales, where we might see amazing birds, such as the Crimson mantled Woodpecker, Golden Plumed Parakeet, endemic Rufous- fronted Parakeet, Paramo Tapaculo, Pearled treerunner, white throated Tyrannulet, Red crested Cotinga, Sedge Wren, Golden fronted redstart, Scarlet bellied Mountain Tanager, Buff Brested Mountain Tanager, lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Russet crowned warbler, Streaked Tuftedcheek, White banded Tyranulet, and many more.
We will return to Cali in the afternoon and drive to the airport, where the Tour finishes.
( 1 Golden Fronted Redstart, 2 Blue backed Conebill)