Birding Tour Colombia: Medellín and Bogotá Endemics


Dates and Costs

 

11 – 23 March 2022

Spaces Available: 7

Price: US$4,875 / £3,715 / €4,281 per person sharing including the domestic flight Medellín – Bogotá which we arrange for you

Single Supplement: US$750 / £571 / €658.

 

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

 

11 – 23 March 2023

Spaces Available: 6

Price: US$4,990 / £3,802 / €4,382 per person sharing based on 3-8 participants

Single Supplement: US$770 / £587 / €676.


Tour Details

Duration: 12 days
Group Size: 3 – 8
Tour Start: Medellín
Tour End: Bogotá


Price includes:

All accommodation as described above or similar
All meals (plates a la carte, fixed menus, and field meals)
Private transportation including 4×4 jeep at Chicaque
Admission fees to parks, reserves, and feeding stations
Private birding guide
Local guides
Bottled water in the vehicle

 

Price excludes:

International flights
Domestic flight Medellín-Bogotá
Private expenses such as laundry, telephone, internet, room service and minibar expenses, drinks, alcoholic drinks, water for sale in hotels
Any activity not described in the itinerary
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Colombia: Medellín and Bogotá Endemics
March 2022/2023

 

On the first part of this exciting Colombia tour, we will arrive in the city of Medellín and immediately explore its surroundings to look for the endemic Red-bellied Grackle and Stiles’s Tapaculo as well as the elusive Yellow-headed Manakin. From Medellín we will drive to the picturesque town of Jardín in the southwest region of Antioquia, which will be our base from which to explore the ProAves Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve to look for our main target, the Endangered (BirdLife International) Yellow-eared Parrot. Other target species in the area include Tanager Finch, Rufous Antpitta, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, and with luck Ocellated Tapaculo and Chestnut-crested Cotinga.

Medellin and Bogota birding toursBeautiful Woodpecker, one of the many endemics we will be searching for on this Colombian tour (photo Daniel Orozco).

 

The dry area of Bolombolo in the Cauca Valley is where we hope to find the recently described endemic Antioquia Wren along with two other Colombian endemics Apical Flycatcher and Greyish Piculet.

We will also explore the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, where we will look for endemic species such as White-mantled Barbet, Sooty Ant Tanager, Antioquia Bristle Tyrant, and with luck Beautiful Woodpecker. Other birds in the area include the most-wanted Northern Screamer, Magdalena Antbird, Bare-crowned Antbird, Moustached Puffbird, Saffron-headed Parrot, Russet-winged Schiffornis, and Citron-throated Toucan.

Medellin and Bogota birding toursTanager Finch will be searched for in the ProAves Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve.

 

The second part of the tour will allow participants to explore the eastern Andes near Bogotá in search of an incredible array of country endemics and regional specials such as Bogota Rail, Green-bearded Helmetcrest, Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Silvery-throated Spinetail, Apolinar’s Wren, Black Inca, Noble Snipe, Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Indigo-capped Hummingbird, Grey-throated Warbler, Moustached Brushfinch, Rufous-browed Conebill, and Spot-flanked Gallinule.

This tour can be combined with our comprehensive The Very Best of Colombia, Part II: Southern Andes, Amazonian Foothills and Llanos and The Very Best of Colombia: Santa Marta, Andes and Choco tours which immediately precede this tour.

Medellin and Bogota birding toursThe stunning Blue-throated Starfrontlet is one of our targets at Observatorio de Colibries (photo Alejandro Grajales).

 

 

Itinerary (13 days/12 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Medellín and transfer to our hotel

You will arrive at the José María Córdova International Airport serving Medellín from where we will be transferred to Sabaneta.

Overnight: Hacienda La Extremadura, Sabaneta

 

Day 2. La Romera Ecological Park and transfer to Jardín

We will have an early start to visit La Romera Ecological Park to look for the elusive Yellow-headed Manakin and the endemic Red-bellied Grackle. We also have a chance for the endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo, which is often seen on our The Very Best of Colombia: Santa Marta, Andes and Choco tour. After our visit to La Romera we will head to the picturesque town of Jardín located at 1,750 meters (5,741 feet), and if time permits, we will visit what is perhaps the greatest Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek in the whole of South America.

Overnight: Hotel Hacienda Balandú, Jardín

Medellin and Bogota birding toursThe town of Jardín has an impressive Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek site.

 

Day 3. ProAves Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve

We will have a predawn start to explore the ProAves Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve in search of the extremely localized and rare Yellow-eared Parrot. We will arrive at dawn, and with a spotting scope, we will scan all nearby wax palms and known nest cavities to hopefully obtain views of this special parrot. Other birds in these cloud forest mountains include Rufous Antpitta, Tanager Finch, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Plushcap, Ocellated Tapaculo, Barred Fruiteater, Black-capped Tyrannulet, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Tourmaline Sunangel, Tyrian Metaltail, Black-collared Jay, Golden-headed Quetzal, Chestnut-breasted Wren, and Flammulated Treehunter. If we are very lucky, we could find the elusive and seldom-seen Tawny-breasted Tinamou or even Highland Tinamou; both occur in the area, but the chances for sightings are slim. In the lower-lying areas we will check for Chestnut-crested Cotinga.

Overnight: Hotel Hacienda Balandú, Jardín

 

Day 4. Bolombolo and transfer to Rio Claro

Today we’ll have another early start to leave Jardín and head to Rio Claro. En route we will look for the recently described endemic Antioquia Wren in the dry area of Bolombolo in the Cauca Valley. Other birds here include the two Colombian endemics, Apical Flycatcher and Greyish Piculet. We will drive east of Medellín to spend the afternoon looking for Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Pacific Antwren, Plain-colored Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Black-headed Brushfinch, Bar-crested Antshrike, Spectacled Parrotlet, Band-backed Wren, and with luck the endemic Beautiful Woodpecker.

Overnight: Los Colores Ecoparque Hotel, Rio Claro

 

Day 5. Rio Claro Nature Reserve

We will have a full day to explore the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, where we hope to get the seldom-seen Saffron-headed Parrot. Other birds possible here include the endemic White-mantled Barbet, Moustached Puffbird, the endemic Magdalena Antbird, Bay Wren, Buff-rumped Warbler, the endemic Antioquia Bristle Tyrant, Black-bellied Wren, Dusky-faced Tanager, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant, Plain Xenops, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Striolated Manakin, and White-bearded Manakin. In the afternoon, we will search some nearby wetlands, looking for Northern Screamer and other aquatic species.

Overnight: Los Colores Ecoparque Hotel, Rio Claro

Medellin and Bogota birding toursChestnut-naped Antpitta can be seen in Colombian cloud forests.

 

Day 6. Birding the Magdalena Valley and Laguna de Guarinocito

Today we will focus our efforts on any targets we might have missed on the previous day. We will also look for the endemic Sooty Ant Tanager. Later we will transfer to Laguna de Guarinocito, a roughly two-hour drive from Honda. There we will take a relaxing boat ride to explore the lagoon and look for aquatic species such as White-faced and Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Limpkin, Striated Heron, Large-billed Tern, Bare-faced Ibis, Boat-billed Heron, Ringed Kingfisher and Green Kingfisher however our main target will be the most-wanted Northern Screamer. Other species that can be seen in the area include Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Pied Water Tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Greater Ani, Dwarf Cuckoo, and Black-collared Hawk.

Overnight: Hotel Boutique Posada las Trampas

Medellin and Bogota birding toursThe most-wanted Northern Screamer should be seen in the Magdalena Valley

 

Day 7. Birding Bellavista Reserve and transfer to Bogotá

Today we will visit the Bellavista Reserve located one and a half hours from Honda. Here we will have great chances to see a number of endemic and range-restricted species such as Velvet-fronted Euphonia, White-mantled Barbet, Colombian Chachalaca, Golden-hooded Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis, Collared Aracari, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Orange-billed Sparrow, Scrub Greenlet, Black-chested Jay, Black-bellied Wren, Rufous-capped Warbler and Spectacled Parrotlet. We will have more chances to maximize on species such as Beautiful Woodpecker, Black-crowned Antshrike, Black-faced Antthrush, and Antioquia Bristle Tyrant. After a great day of birding, we will head to Bogotá and be transferred to our comfortable hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

 

Day 8. Birding La Florida Park and the Hummingbird Observatory

Today will explore La Florida Park near Bogotá airport where we should have our first chances for the endemic Bogota Rail and Silvery-throated Spinetail and the near-endemic Rufous-browed Conebill. Later we will drive to La Calera, where we will spend the afternoon enjoying hummingbirds in the amazing Observatorio de Colibríes. This private house offers one of the finest hummingbird feeder gardens in Colombia and you should be able to witness jewels such as the exquisite Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Green-tailed Trainbearer, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Glowing Puffleg, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Mountain Velvetbreast, Longuemare’s Sunangel, and White-bellied Woodstar. The surrounding area might produce the skulking Pale-bellied Tapaculo.

In the late afternoon, we will return to Bogotá to check into our hotel where we will enjoy dinner and our nightly checklist session.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

Medellin and Bogota birding toursMountain Velvetbreast — one of the many hummingbird species we should encounter on this tour.

 

Day 9. Chingaza Natural National Park, Guasca gravel pits, and Bioandina Reserve

We will have a full day to explore the paramo ecosystem of Chingaza Natural National Park, the famous Guasca gravel pits, and the Bioandina Reserve. Our targets will include Bronze-tailed Thornbill, Pale-bellied Tapaculo, Golden-crowned Tanager, Rufous-browed Conebill, Tawny Antpitta, Agile Tit-Tyrant, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager, Black-chested Mountain Tanager, Black-headed Hemispingus, Ochre-breasted Brushfinch, and Yellow-bellied Chat-Tyrant. There is also a low possibility of Tawny-breasted Tinamou.

We will also check the area adjacent to the Bioandina Reserve for the endemic Flame-winged Parakeet.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

Medellin and Bogota birding toursGolden-crowned Tanager another spectacular tanager species we’ll be targeting!

 

Day 10. Laguna Chisacá at Páramo Sumapaz and Chicaque Natural Park

We shall visit the Laguna Chisacá in the Páramo Sumapaz to look for the endemic Green-bearded Helmetcrest and the endemic Apolinar’s Wren. This place also offers good chances for Noble Snipe, and on the way out, we will look for the endemic Silvery-throated Spinetail. We might have to deal with some city traffic to get into the Chicaque Natural Park, where we will look for the endemic Golden-bellied Starfrontlet. We’ll switch our vehicle for a 4×4 jeep to drive into the heart of Chicaque Natural Park, where we expect to see the endemic Black Inca and Moustached Brushfinch. We will return late in the afternoon to Bogotá.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

 

Day 11. Laguna el Tabacal and El Jardín Encantado

Today will be another early start as we leave Bogotá to visit the Laguna el Tabacal. Here we will look for the endemic Grey-throated Warbler as well as other species such as Rosy Thrush-tanager, Rusty-breasted Antpitta, the endemic Velvet-fronted Euphonia, White-bellied Antbird, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Slaty Spinetail, Sooty-headed Wren, Striolated Manakin, and the elusive Ruddy Quail-Dove among many others. Later we will move to El Jardín Encantado, a private house, where we will be overwhelmed with the number of hummingbird species including the endemic Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. After another exciting birding day, we will return to Bogotá.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

 

Day 12. Monterredondo

Today we will focus on the Monterredondo sector of the huge Chingaza National Natural Park, where we will do our best to obtan views of the endemic and elusive Cundinamarca Antpitta. Even though we will focus all our efforts on this elusive and most-wanted species, the area also offers many other good birds including Flavescent Flycatcher, Black-crested Warbler, Slaty Brushfinch, Sulphur-bellied Tyrannulet, Grey-hooded Bush Tanager, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Andean Siskin, Moustached Brushfinch, and Andean Pygmy Owl, to name just a few. We will then return to Bogotá for our last dinner and checklist session and celebrate a great adventure together.

Overnight: Hotel Habitel, Bogotá

 

Day 13. Departure

Today your international flights will depart from Bogotá International Airport where our fantastic thirteen days of Colombian birding will conclude.

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.

Download Itinerary

COLOMBIA: MEDELLÍN AND BOGOTÁ ENDEMICS

               TOUR-SPECIFIC INFORMATION

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PERTAINING TO OUR COLOMBIA TOURS IN GENERAL

 

This itinerary has been designed to provide you with a thirteen-day tour across the central and eastern Andes of Colombia on an exciting route looking for a whole bunch of endemic species, mostly restricted to the Magdalena Valley and the Bogotá area. You will have the chance to explore some of the highlights surrounding Medellín including the picturesque town of Jardín where we can visit what is perhaps the most impressive Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek in the whole of the Andes. Other regionally restricted endemics that we hope to encounter include the Endangered Yellow-eared Parrot, Red-bellied Grackle and other endemics of the Magdalena Valley such as Beautiful Woodpecker, White-mantled Barbet, Antioquia Bristle Tyrant and Sooty Ant Tanager. Later we will focus on the eastern Andes exploring the paramos of Bogotá looking for the endemic Green-bearded Helmetcrest, Apolinar’s Wren, Silvery-throated Spinetail, Noble Snipe and Bogota Rail. We will visit an incredible set of hummingbird feeders which should provide stunning views of species such as Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Indigo-capped Hummingbird and Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird.

 

ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Our tour will start in Medellín’s Jose María Cordova International Airport (MDE) which can be reached by flights from all over Colombia and directly from some US international airports as well as from Panama City (Panama). If traveling from Europe, you will need to fly via the Colombian city of Bogotá. Please consult your travel agent to book your most convenient flight.

Your Birding Ecotours leader will be waiting for you at Medellín airport and will then transfer you to your hotel. Please remember to keep your luggage tags, as they are required to exit the terminal at the airport. Please be aware that most international flights arrive in Medellín in the afternoon, so we don’t have any birding activities planned for Day 1. In case you arrive on an early flight, you will be transferred to the hotel but will have to wait until check-in is available. If you would like an early check-in, this may incur an extra cost from the hotel; this cost is not included in the Birding Ecotours tour price.

When filling out the customs declaration form, please use the below address for the hotel:

Hotel Extremadura, Cra. 32 N. 71sur 220, Sabaneta, Antioquia, Colombia
Phone: +57 4378 0218

 

DEPARTURE INFORMATION

Our tour will end in Bogotá after a wonderful thirteen days in Colombia. After a final morning of birding, our tour representatives will transfer you to the Bogotá El Dorado International Airport (BOG), from where you can take international connections and flights back home.

 

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND PACE

We grade this trip as easy to moderate. Most of the birding involves walking along roads, although some of them may lead slightly up and down hills. We will do very few trails (only if necessary). Keep in mind that as is usual on birding tours, we need to be awake very early in the morning, and predawn starts are in order each day. We normally spend the entire morning birding in the field, return to the lodge for lunch, and then rest a little, before continuing our birding in the afternoon. Your guide will sometimes invite you to search for owls at night, but this is an optional activity that you can skip if you feel tired. Some people may prefer to rest and rather skip birding in the afternoon; this can be done at those lodges when we are staying more than one night. When we do birding stops while traveling from location to location, people who feel tired do not have to follow the group and can certainly remain in the vehicle.

This tour has been customized to ensure we spend two or three nights at a few places, which allows us more time to enjoy these destinations and reduces the stress of having to pack and re-pack every day. However, Colombia is a big country and the tour includes some unavoidable, lengthy drives which will allow you to enjoy the interesting countryside and maximize chances for unexpected birds along the way.

We will stay at the best accommodations available, but not all lodges provide facilities such as air conditioning or heating systems (although the latter is almost non-existent in Colombia). Other accommodations provide fans instead.

We think this trip might be difficult for people with back, walking, and balance problems or for those who are not used to a birding trip with regular early starts involved.

 

ATM MACHINES

ATM machines will only be available in the cities of Medellín and Bogotá.

 

ALTITUDE

We will reach some high elevations on this trip with a maximum of 13,100 feet (4,000 meters) at the Sumapaz Lake. Bogotá city is located at 8,500 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level.

 

WEATHER

We ask you to be ready for all kinds of weather during this trip.

The Magdalena Valley including Rio Claro, Laguna Guarinoncito and Bolombolo are hot, with temperatures reaching between 86 – 90°F (30 – 32°C). Please wear clothes in which you feel most comfortable for this kind of weather. We highly recommend using sunscreen and bringing a light-colored hat or cap.

Even when it is sunny in the mornings, the temperatures can be cool at night in Medellín and Jardín de Antioquia.

In the eastern Andes while birding in the paramos near Bogotá the coldest temperatures can drop to 44°F (7°C) at both Chinganza and Sumapaz.

 

LAUNDRY

Laundry services are only available at Hacienda Balandú, Los Colores Eco-Parque and Hotel Habitel in Bogotá. Laundry fees are not included in the tour price.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Note on showers: Hotel Eco-Parque Los Colores (Magdalena Valley; x 2 nights) does not provide hot showers, however the weather is generally humid and hot here.

 

TRANSPORT

We will have a private van for the whole tour with plenty of room for everybody. However, we might have to divide the group in two for the transfer from Jardín de Antioquia to the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve and for the short drive downhill to the bottom of the Chicaque. We will use 4×4 jeeps for both of these trips.

 

Colombia General Information

Download Medellín and Bogotá Endemics Tour Information

I feel that our trip to Colombia was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding bird tours I have ever been on. You did an excellent job of planning, guiding and looking after the logistics on the tour.
Colombia is a pleasure to travel in with very friendly people, excellent roads and pleasant, clean accommodation. Even the more basic places were comfortable, clean and quiet.
Santa Marta is a wonderful place with plentiful birds and fantastic scenery. Rio Blanco was my favorite part of the tour with the antpittas and Ocellated Tapaculo at my feet. Otun Quimbaya with Red-ruffed Fruitcrows as yard birds was also very enjoyable.
In all parts of the country I never felt at risk. Colombia is now a safe, rewarding country to travel in. I can hardly wait to return.
Thank you,
Jim Martin

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