Nature Travel Specialists
nature tours & travel; birding, birdwatching tours, wildlife tours, adventure travel to Colombia
The Colombian tourism authorities promoted two catchcries for Colombia: "El riesgo el que te quieras quedar" - The only risk is wanting to stay, and "Colombia es Pasión" - Colombia is passion. From our experience of this diverse and friendly country, we'd have to agree with both. For your birders, I found a third sayin on my most recent visit - "The only risk is adding to your list." And it's true, I managed to add over 200 lifers in 6 days despite already having a third of Colombia's birds on my life list.
Colombia is one of the most diverse countries we've been to, and we've been to a few. Where in the world can you look for some of about 1,900 species of birds, walk to up an active, snow-capped volcano to 16,850ft above sea level in about an hour and a half (ok, you start at about 15,750ft, but even so), dive or snorkel the third largest coral reef, explore the oldest western town in the Americas, see pink dolphins and manatees in the Amazon river, watch the world's best coffee being produced, rappel down waterfalls, and stay up all night drinking mohitas, eating carnes and yucca and dancing the infectious salsa, all in ten days or so. You can do all this in Colombia, and more, and feel safe doing so.
There's several reasons for all this diversity. The coast of Colombia is split by the Darien peninsula into Caribbean/Atlantic and Pacific sections, and so the variety is great, with influences on the marine life by both oceans. This also applies to the people and culture, with a strong Caribbean influence in the north, and a more South American influence inland and in the center and south. So in much of the country carnivores can experience Argentine-like "plato typico" meals of primarliy meat, where vegetables feel like poor cousins asking for a place at the table, or a Caribbean cuisine on the north coast, with its fish, plantains and fruit. Everywhere, though, there is a profusion of tropical fruit, from the local guanabana, one of the most delicious and unusual looking, and which makes a great drink, thorough a variety of passionfruit relatives, to Asian mangosteen, often considered the world's best tasting. The Andes split the country into a narrow coastal region and the extensive Amazon region, and Andean Bogota, the capital, is at 8600ft the third highest capital city in the world. However much of this Andean section is at more moderate levels, around 1500 to 3500ft, and this results in a rich growing environment, and a rich environment for wildlife and plantlife. Having a large section of the country in the Amazon Basin, including the Amazon River itself and the Orinoco, helps with the diversity of nature. Also helping is a completely separate mountain range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, with the highest mountain in Colombia, at 18,700ft, just 26 miles inland from the tropical coast. This range has no connection above 650ft to the Andes, so has a large number of endemic plants and animals.
New! Colombian Birding and WildlifeTour
Join Andrew Haffenden in Colombia for this exclusive 15 day wildlife tour of the Caribbean coast, Santa Marta El Dorado Reserve and the central Andes starting November 19 2016. Click on the link to download a pdf of our Colombian Birding and WildlifeTour itinerary.
Our tour has been designed with birds primarily in mind- we're going to one of the world's major centers of endemism, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the hot zone of birds in the tropics, the 5000 to 7000 foot altitude band, and the high Andes for restricted and often emdemic birds. But we'll also be serching for mammals andwhatever else we can find. Who could ignore Colombia's butterflies? We're moving at a slower pace than pure tick-fest birding, with seeing the birds well, getting to know them a bit, and of course,photography in mind, rather than the more common, in fact nearly only, other tours available which are birding tours, moving at a fast pace to many parts of the country. Our more leisurely pace, allowing plenty of time to see, appreciate and, if part of your enjoyment of wildlife, photograph what we see by covering less ground but covering it well. As our guides are two of Colombia's expert birders, we'll still be racking up plenty of birds, nearly as many as a birding tour to these same areas. And for those who want the 4am owling starts, and birding during any breaks we do have at the lodges, our guides will be happy to go out with you. Most evenings we'll be out with the spotlight searching for mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and anything else we can find.
We are currently rebuilding our Colombia web pages, so if you want to know more now about this fascinating country, just a few hours away, call us on 1 251 861 2524 (we'll call you straight back).