Colombia Cauca and Magdalena
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- Trip extension: 12 days.
- Average expected number of birds seen during the trip: 400 to 450 species
- Colombian Vegetation Types Visited:9 out of 25
- Total habitats visited: 12+
- Suggested departure: December to March, July and August
I am Gustavo Cañas-Valle, and I will be your group leader during your trip to Colombia. I have been to Colombia since 1991 and, over these 15 years, I have developed close human relationships with many people there. More than half of them are birders. All of them, Colombians, have proved over the years to be simple and warm people who have supported unselfishly my trips and my sometimes extended stays. I have explored more than half of this country, its neblina covered forests, its mountains, its paramos, its lakes and its people, with their many positive and some negative faces. I have learned to love and to respect this country. It is under these considerations that Neblina Forest has accepted to support this very much desired birding destination: Colombia.
Colombia is one of the best birding destinations in South America along with Ecuador. Colombia supports more birds than any other country in the world. Ecuador, on the other hand, has the record of number of bird species per unit area. If you are planning to go Birding Colombia we will provide you with one of the safest options to visit the country and at the same time with the most personal one. My Colombian friends and I will take you with us to places where birding is safe and fun, and where your entrance fee, when required, will support conservation and social development through tourism. Our Colombian birder-friends will bring along to our trips recent news on where and when to go visit a location.
OUR TRIP DAY BY DAY:
Arrive in Colombia: "El Dorado" Intl. Airport, Bogota (2600 m / 8,530 ft). Transfer to Hotel. (Overnight in Bogotá). Note: Depending on your expected arrival time to Bogota we can coordinate a direct connection to Cali. This would mean that our overnight would be in Buga instead and we will have extra time for birding Sonso and Yotoco. Otherwise we will follow the schedule as is.
Early departure to Cali "Alfonso Bonilla Aragón - Palmaseca" Intl. Airport (964 m / 3,162 ft). Birding transfer to Buga (970 m / 3,182 ft). Check in at our hotel in Buga. Afternoon birding session will happen along the access to Laguna de Sonso Reserve. Here we will start looking for the Cauca Valley Endemics. Evening walk around Buga and visit Buga's Lord of Miracles Cathedral. Buga is a religious destination in Colombia for annual pilgrimages. Overnight in Buga.
Full day birding the Laguna de Sonso Reserve looking for its specialties. Overnight in Buga.
Start early for a full birding day in Yotoco Reserve (1450 m / 4,757 ft). Overnight in Buga.
Very early start for a full birding day in the Chicoral Area (About 1926 m / 6,322 ft. Overnight in Buga.
Early start for our transfer to the Salento / Filandia area (1829 m to 2135 m / 6,000 to 7,004 ft). Full day birding the area. Overnight in Salento.
Early start for a morning session in the Salento / Filandia Area. Transfer to Santa Rosa de Cabal Hotsprings (1824 m / 5,987 ft). Relaxed evening at the hotsprings. Overnight in Santa Rosa de Cabal.
Today we will have a very early start for the transfer to Manizales (2000 m / 6561 ft). Sunrise birding at Río Blanco, where we will have our last chance for some of the Cauca Valley elusive endemics. After having breakfast in the Río Blanco Reserve (Range: 1600 m to 2630 m / 5,249 ft to 8,629 ft), we will spend the day birding the premises. Overnight in Rio Blanco Traditional Antioquian House.
Start your day birding at your leisure from the external corridors of the Rio Blanco Antioquian House. Right after breakfast we will head to Los Nevados National Park (3881 m / 12,736 ft) with our luggage. Overnight in Honda (695 ft).
Our usual early start to have breakfast in La Vega (878 m / 2,881 ft). We will have a full birding day in La Vega Area, looking for some Magdalena Valley endemics. Overnight in La Vega.
Very early transfer to the Bogotá "El Dorado" Intl. Airport for your international flight back home or to Cartagena to continue with our Santa Marta extension.
CAUCA VALLEY Cauca guan*, Antioquia bristle-tyrant*, Black-and-gold tanager*,Gold-ringed tanager*, Flame-rumped tanager, Chestnut-bellied flowerpiercer*, Turquoise dacnis-tanager*, Red-bellied grackle*, Rufous-fronted parakeet*, Indigo-winged parrot*, Multicolored tanager*, Chestnut wood-quail*, Greyish piculet*, Bicolored antpitta*, Brown-banded antpitta*
MAGDALENA VALLEY White-mantled barbet*, Olive-headed brush-finch*, Sooty ant-tanager*, Turquoise dacnis-tanager*, Indigo-capped hummingbird* This program can be combined with two eight-days extensions: Cundinamarca – Boyacá Plateau, visiting marshes, lakes and protected forests around Bogotá and Villa de Leyva; and Santa Marta Endemics, exploring the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta and Santa Marta Mountains Reserves.
Full day birding Abra Málaga. Night in Cusco.