The Natural History Highlights of Wild Colombia
Incorporating many of the prime wildlife habitats of Colombia, this comprehensive yet well-paced itinerary provides plenty of time to enjoy each location whilst accompanied by exceptional naturalist guides.
Lush, verdant Amazonia is complemented perfectly by the vast, flat expense of Los Llanos Orientales, while the bird-rich Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta rises above the pristine Caribbean beaches of Tayrona National Natural Park. Observe pink and river grey dolphins hunting in the mighty Amazon river; search for the cute pygmy marmoset in the pristine rainforest, focus on flocks of iridescent scarlet ibis; marvel at jabiru storks and immense giant anacondas in Los Llanos; and experience one of the world’s highest densities of endemic birds at El Dorado Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Finally, descend to the Caribbean coast where warm turquoise waters lap palm-fringed beaches and forest denizens include the funky cotton top tamarin and inquisitive northern tamandua.
Met on arrival in Bogota and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon begin exploring La Candelaria district accompanied by a private guide. Visit Bolivar Square and several important colonial and republican style buildings including the Palace of Justice, Congress, and cathedral, the Botero Museum with a permanent exhibition of the work of Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist, and the gold museum. The tour finishes at Monserrate with panoramic views over Bogota before returning to the hotel.
Staying at Hotel Artisan DC. Includes No Meals.
Transfer to Bogota airport and fly to Leticia. Met on arrival and transfer to the lodge. in time for lunch. In the afternoon search for pink river dolphin with your private guide, and after dinner experience the nocturnal life of the rainforest on a night walk.
Staying at Calanoa . Includes All Meals.
In the morning hike to the Fundacion Maikuchiga which works with captured primates from the illegal animal trade and those that have been brought up in captivity. En route search for pygmy marmoset.
After visiting the centre walk through secondary forest looking for the common squirrel monkey, yellow-handed titi, and Spix's night monkey, then return to the lodge in time for lunch, visiting Mocagua village on the way.
In the afternoon explore the surrounding forest and streams looking for birds, primates and other fauna.
Staying at Calanoa. Includes All Meals.
Travel by boat to Tarapoto oxbow lake to search for pink and grey river dolphins, freshwater turtles, various species of primates, and a variety of birds.
Afternoon activities might include a rainforest hike or a boat trip.
Staying at Calanoa . Includes All Meals.
This morning visit Isla Mocagua, a large river island in the middle of the Amazon with a variety of wildlife. Then return to Leticia by boat and fly back to Bogota.
Staying at Movich Buro . Includes Breakfast.
Transfer to Bogota Airport, fly to El Yopal and transfer overland to Hato La Aurora, a16,000-hectare reserve and cattle ranch in the wildlife-rich Llanos of Casanare department. In the afternoon begin exploring the area on foot accompanied by a private guide.
Staying at Juan Solito Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Enjoy a full day of privately guided activities on foot, by boat, vehicle or on horseback. Llanos wildlife includes giant anteater, anaconda, giant anteater, jaguar, critically endangered Orinoco crocodile (one of the 25 rarest reptiles on Earth), spectacled caiman, scarlet ibis, Orinoco goose, roseate spoonbill and the two Llanos restricted endemics – pale-headed jacamar and white-bearded flycatcher.
Staying at Juan Solito Lodge . Includes All Meals.
Enjoy a full day of privately guided activities.
Staying at Juan Solito Lodge. Includes Breakfast.
After breakfast enjoy a privately guided activity then transfer to El Yopal airport and fly back to Bogota.
Staying at Movich Buro . Includes Breakfast and Lunch.
Transfer to Bogota Airport and fly to Santa Marta. Met on arrival and transfer to the ProAves El Dorado Reserve in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. There are 21 endemic bird species restricted to this mountain range, plus a further seventy subspecies as well as many endemic amphibians, plants, butterflies and other wildlife.
Afternoon for relaxation and birding around the lodge.
Staying at El Dorado Lodge . Includes All Meals.
Rise early and drive up to the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo ridge in time to see the sunrise over the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra de Nevada Mountains. Spend the whole morning birdwatching here in search of Santa Marta endemics such as the very rare Santa Marta parakeet, skulking Santa Marta anpitta and elusive brown-rumped tapaculo amongst others. Return to the lodge in time for lunch.
In the afternoon explore the trails and road above and below the lodge.
Staying at El Dorado Lodge . Includes All Meals.
After a final morning birding transfer to Tayrona National Natural Park on the Caribbean coast.
Staying at Ecohabs Santa Marta . Includes All Meals.
Accompanied by a private guide spend the day exploring Tayrona National Natural Park in search of the cotton-top tamarin, and other wildlife. Tayrona is a mixture of dry and humid forest with an impressive biodiversity including over 700 species of plant and 300 species of bird. The park also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the region with healthy coral reefs offshore and remnants of ancient tribal settlements.
As well as the cotton-top tamarin other wildlife to look out for includes the Santa Marta white-fronted capuchin, red howler monkey, northern tamandua, the endemic blue-billed currasow, and lance-tailed manakin.
Staying at Ecohabs Santa Marta. . Includes All Meals.
After a morning at leisure transfer to Santa Marta Airport for the flight to Bogota and onward international connections.
This simple but clean and comfortable jungle lodge is situated on the banks of the Amazon River and the edge of the Amacayacu National Park. Accommodation is in 6 wooden bungalows with thatched roofs and open sided walls with a large mosquito net that drapes over comfortable beds on raised wooden platforms. Each room includes soft lighting and a private bathroom with cold water shower and toilet. There is a boardwalk network connecting the rooms to the large open sided restaurant. The electricity is solar powered and available in the late afternoon and evening.
Screened ensuite rooms with cold water showers and mosquito nets, separate dining room, solar power.
Up to eight species of primate including the vulnerable Humbolt's woolly monkey, monk saki and yellow-handed titi monkey, pink and grey dolphins, and a variety of birdlife including wattled currasow, hoatzin, orange-cheeked, canary-winged and maroon-tailed parakeets, short-tailed parrot, and varzea forest specialties.
A range of activities are available here including wildlife and bird watching on the various trails, canoeing on the river and visits to the local indigenous communities
Juan Solito Lodge
Hato La Aurora has been in the same family for almost half a century and is divided up among siblings. The cattle operation is run by Nelson Barragan from the Hato, which is also the base for the Fundacion Jaguar Project, whilst Juan Solito Lodge is run by Nelson Barragan with assistance from Julio Barragan when required.
The lodge has 7 simple rooms of various bedding configurations with ensuite bathrooms (cold water showers, though usually lukewarm!), fan, plenty of shelving, and a plastic chair! The rooms are screened and mosquito nets available if preferred. There is also a large area (unscreened) with tables and chairs, hot water for tea and coffee, and an honesty fridge with cold beers and Coca Cola. The dining room (unscreened) is located a short walk away by the river. The birdlife is plentiful all around the grounds, and there are also capybara ambling around. Giant otters can occasionally be seen in the Ariporo River which flows alongside the lodge.
The food served is simple but plentiful and tasty, fresh fruit juice is provided at meal times, and there is also filtered water (from a well) for filling up water bottles. Small pouches of mineral water are also carried by the local guides on the excursions. Rubber boots are available for guest use, and good quality ponchos. WiFi is available near the dining area/kitchen.
Screened ensuite rooms with mosquito nets, large common area (unscreened) with tables and chairs, hot water for tea and coffee, and an honesty fridge with cold beers and soft drinks, and separate dining room (unscreened) a short walk away by the river. WiFi is available near the dining/kitchen area.
Wildlife might include giant otter, giant anteater, jaguar, the critically endangered orinoco crocodile, spectacled caiman, green anaconda, scarlet ibis, Orinoco goose, roseate spoon bill and plenty more!
Safari drives, wildlife walks, boat trips, horse rides.
El Dorado Eco Lodge and Reserve
Located at 1,800 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level with sensational panoramic views, this simple but clean and comfortable lodge is a birder’s paradise. The lodge is located outside the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park but within the El Dorado Pro Aves Bird Reserve which was set up to protect the habitat of the endangered Santa Marta parakeet.
The lodge was built from locally grown pine and uses sustainable practices where possible. The main building houses the small but cosy dining room, a living area and small library, and there is also an upstairs presentation room and viewing deck. The standard ensuite rooms are a short walk away past a variety of feeders
The new Kogihabs have the best views of the Sierra Nevada and are a 10 minute walk along a forest trail from the main building and restaurant. The Kogihabs are comfortable wooden cabins with electricity, en suite bathrooms with gas heated showers that usually (but not always) have hot water. There are also desks and power outlets in each room for charging camera batteries, etc. It can get quite cold at night, so do bring warm clothes.
Restaurant, electricity in the rooms, WiFi (patchy), a living room area, small library, upstairs presentation room and viewing deck, fruit feeders.
At the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo ridge Santa Marta endemics such as the very rare Santa Marta parakeet, skulking Santa Marta anpitta and elusive brown-rumped tapaculo amongst others can be found. A huge number of birds can also be seen in the vicinity of the garden at the lodge such as masked trogon, Santa Marta screech owl (quite difficult), groove-billed toucanet, Sierra Nevada brush finches and white-tailed sabrewing. The Central American agouti is often seen feeding at the compost heap in the garden, and at night crab-eating foxes and a kinkajou sometimes visit the bird feeders. There is a feeder in a cecropia tree viewable from the main building balcony where the locally endemic and as yet undescribed Santa Marta night monkey is sometimes spotted. Walking around at night around the lodge grounds can often reveal the endemic Savage's salamander (Bolitoglossa savage) and many tiny bromeliad frogs.
A range of activities are available here including wildlife and bird watching on the various trails close to the lodge, and to the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo ridge.
Hotel Movich Buro 26
This comfortable four star hotel is located just a stone’s throw from Bogota’s El Dorado Airport. The 248 soundproofed rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, LCD TV, minibar, coffeemaker and safe.
Meals can be enjoyed at the Ebano restaurant with a menu of international and local cuisine, whilst the Iraka Bar serves a variety of cocktails and other beverages. The hotel’s barmen have created the Movich cocktail made from Monin syrup, soda, ice, lime and either white rum, vodka or gin, served frappe and topped with a herb leaf!
Guests can relax in the hotel’s Avitta spa which offers a variety of treatments and massages. There is also a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and a gym with a variety of cardiovascular machines.
Complimentary WiFi throughout, restaurant, bar, spa, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and gym,
Ecohabs Tayrona is situated amidst lush native forest close to the lovely Cañaveral beach and offers the best accommodation within Tayrona National Park. The accommodation is in comfortable, spacious bungalows with views towards the forest and Caribbean Sea.
Each bungalow has been styled on the ancient Tayrona tribal huts and uses native wood and thatched palm in its construction. The 14 bungalows are equipped with a flat-screen TV, ipod dock, minibar, safe, hammock and private bathroom (lukewarm water!). There is an unscreened restaurant serving local seafood plus a range of international cuisine, a small handicraft shop, and a spa and Jacuzzi. It is a short walk to the lovely sandy beach which has tables and parasols. A lifeguard is on duty at busy times but it is not always safe to swim in the sea so please check locally. WiFi (patchy!) is available in the dining room and some rooms.
Restaurant serving local seafood plus a range of international cuisine, small handicraft shop, spa and Jacuzzi. It is a short walk to the lovely sandy Cañaveral beach which has tables and parasols for guests to use.
Tayrona is a mixture of dry and humid forest with an impressive biodiversity including over 700 species of plant and 300 species of bird. One of the most important species in the park is the endemic and critically endangered cotton-top tamarin.
Hotel Artisan D.C.
The Artisan D.C. hotel is part of Marriott Bonvoy’s Autograph Collection and is located in the heart of Zona G, Bogota’s financial district, close to a variety of restaurants and bars.
The hotel is spread across two buildings and has a fresh, urban design with exposed brick walls showcasing the works of local Colombian artists. The 64 bright rooms have soundproofed windows, complimentary WiFi, air-conditioning, minibar, safe and cable/satellite TV.
The 1920s style Cooper Lounge Bar serves cocktails and light lunches and dinners, whilst sushi and Asian fare can be enjoyed at the fine dining Osaki Restaurant.
Those guests who are feeling more active can enjoy the hotel’s 24 hour fitness centre with its cardiovascular equipment and free weights.
Osaki fine dining restaurant, The Cooper Lounge Bar, complimentary WiFi throughout, laundry service, business centre, top floor fitness centre, room service, and concierge desk.
Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.
Includes domestic flights only.
November to March
Are you ATOL Registered?
Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.
If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965