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COLOMBIA: The Birders Frontier

We just came from our most recent birding-adventure: Selected locations at Cauca and Magdalena Valleys and Santa Marta Mountains. Gustavo Cañas-Valle, Xavier Muñoz, Vinicio Ortiz and Bob Hargis had a whirlwind 11 day trip -with almost 9 effective birding days- and 290 species, a glance of the birdlife of some of the best birding locations in Colombia.
Our Itinerary and our Colombia - June 2007 Trip Report will give you an idea of the possibilities. Please request them to Gustavo. From September/07 you will have them on-line.

We have a 15 year relationship with our Colombian birding partners. We know the odds and ends of making a trip to Colombia a safe and memorable experience.

When comming to Colombia with us you support several local scientific organizations and Colombian birders all around the country.
See Travel Advice about Colombia from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK
We will tailor made your next trip to Colombia.
Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Xavier for further information.


Historical remarks


"Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s.

The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. Paramilitary groups challenge the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade, and also the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas.

Although several thousand paramilitary members have demobilized since 2002 in an ongoing peace process, their commitment to ceasing illicit activity is unclear. While Bogotá steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders."

Location and People


Colombia is located in Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama. It shares borders with Brazil (1,643 km), Ecuador (590 km), Panama (225 km), Peru (1,496 km [est.]), and Venezuela (2,050 km). It extends over a total area of 1,138,910 sq km (land surface: 1,038,700 sq km and territorial sea: 100,210 sq km), which includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank. It is slightly smaller than three times the size of Montana

It shelters 42,954,279 (July 2005 est.) inhabitants. The native language most of them speak is Spanish. Colombian ethnic groups are as follows: mestizo (58%), white (20%), mulatto (14%), black (4%), mixed black-Amerindian (3%), Amerindian (1%). Colombians are 90% Roman Catholic and 10% from other denominations. About literacy, 92.5% of the total Colombian population age 15 and over can read and write (2003 est.)..



Its territory presents both Atlantic and Pacific flat coastal lowlands, central highlands (two interandean valleys: Cauca and Magdalena Valleys, extending from south to north, which drain to the Atlantic), high Andes Mountains (three mountain ranges, also extending from south to north), and eastern lowland plains (southern Amazon plains and Northern Llanos). It is the only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean (1,448 km) and the Caribbean Sea (1,760 km). The altitudinal range goes from its lowest point: the Pacific Ocean 0 masl (meters above sea level), to its highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m, though, nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation.

Along the coast, in the Cauca and Magdalena Valleys and on the eastern lands, its territory presents typical tropical climate; it is cooler in the highlands (temperature depends on altitude not on season).


Natural hazards:

Highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Colombian Birds at a glance...

  • 1822 Species Confirmed
  • 59 Endemic Species
  • XXX Restricted Range Species
  • XX Endangered Species
  • 155 Species of Hummingbirds
  • XXX Species of Tanagers
  • 168 Species of Ovenbirds
  • 107 Species of Typical Antbirds
  • XXX Species of Tyrant-Flycatchers
  • 54 Species of Parrots and Macaws

Note: This information is still being processed.

Main Airports


  • Bogotá (El Dorado International Airport - BOG) Elevation: 8361 feet, 2548 meters.
  • Medellín-Río Negro (José María Córdova – MDE) Elevation: 7028 feet, 2142 meters
  • Cali (Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport- CLO) Elevation: 3162 feet, 964 meters
  • Cartagena (Rafael Núñez Airport – CTG) Elevation: 4 feet, 1 meters
  • Pereira (Matecaña Airport – PEI) Elevation: 4416 feet, 1346 meters



Rich cultural traditions are still part of daily life. Colombia has all year around Festivales and Ferias from January through December.
One way to know Colombia's history and folklore is through our music and dance.

Here is a list of some Festivals:
Festival Internacional de la Canción Llanera, Festival de la Cumbia, Festival de Cultura Wayúu, Festival de Gaitas, Festival de la Arepa de Huevo, Festival de Música de Acordeón, XXXVI Torneo Internacional del Joropo y XI Reinado Internacional del Joropo, Festival Nacional de la Cumbia y la Cumbiamba, Festival de la Trova, Festival Nacional del Pasillo Colombiano, Festival Regional de Danza Folclórica, Festival de la Canción Colombiana, Torneo Internacional del Joropo y Contrapunteo, Concurso de Interpretes de la Canción Andina, Festival de la Confraternidad Amazónica, Festival de Música Llanera, Festival mi pedazo de acordeón en homenaje a Alejo Durán, Festival de la Butifarra, Festival Internacional de Cometas.

News and Economics

Economics & Currency Exchange


The country's currency is the Colombian Peso. At the Money Exchange companies the change for one US Dollar is $2,165.00 Colombian Pesos, and one US Dollar can be bought with $2,225.20 Colombian Pesos. The price of one Euro is $2,719.91 Colombian Pesos. (Information updated March 15, 2006.

Updated Local News

Major newspapers:

Updated Economy News:

Major economic magazine:

Power & Electrical Systems

Updated Economy News

Major economic magazine:

Power & Electrical Systems


The table below summarizes information on the electrical systems in use in Colombia.








60 Hz

A & B


This electrical system is similar to the one used in the United States though voltage in the states is 120V. Plugs used are type A (Flat blade attachment plug) and type B (Flat blades with round grounding pin). This electrical system is different than the one in the United Kingdom: voltage ranges from 230V to 240V with a 50 Hz frequency, and plugs are type G (Rectangular blade plug).

Some Facts about Bogotá


Bogotá, located in the mountainous center of Colombia, is its capital city. Its population is estimated in about 7,000.000 people. It is located at 2.600 mts (8,580 feet) above sea level. It presents a 15-20 Celsius (55º-65ºF) average temperature all year long. It presents beautiful countryside surroundings.

Useful Websites

Official gateway to Colombia:
Searcher engine:
US Embassy in Colombia: http://www
Canadian Embassy in Colombia:

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