Blue-bearded Helmetcrest by Andres Trujillo, Colombia

Tour Dates: Monday 17th – Monday 31st March 2025 (Medellin to Bogotá)
Tour Price: £4,599pp including 2 internal flights
Estimated International Flight Price: London to Bogotá approx. £700 return
Deposit: £600 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £150 – £200
Minimum Number: 8 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people

Target Birds:
Red-bellied Grackle, Antioquia Wren, Grayish Piculet, Cauca Wren, Chami Antpitta, Brown-banded Antpitta, Crescent-faced Antpitta, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Plushcap, Golden-plumed Parakeets, Yellow-eared Parrot, Rufous-fronted Parakeet, Buffy Helmetcrest, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Blue-bearded Helmetcrest, Mountain Velvetbreast, Sword billed hummingbird, Black-thighed Puffleg, Vermillion Cardinal, Orinocan Saltator, White-whiskered Spinetail, Chestnut Piculet, Slender-billed Inezia, Dark-faced Grassquit, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Antpitta, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Brush Finch, Sierra Nevada Brushfinch, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Toucanet, Santa Marta Screech Owl and many, many more!

Target Mammals:
Oncilla and with luck Mountain Tapir and possibly Spectacled Bear too.

Tour Summary
This tour covers the central region of Antioquia in the varying altitudes of the mighty Andes and the northern Caribbean coastline and the isolated Santa Marta Mountains. Both these areas have a high number of endemic birds, many of which are protected on the reserves and protected areas that we will visit during our stay and as a result of the ever growing birding tourism in this country. We will see a fantastic selection of species, including a high percentage of endemics, and we  stay in some superb locations where the birds allow for some great photo opportunities too. So come and join us!

Among the many targets on this tour are numerous iconic birds including Buffy and Blue-bearded Helmetcrests, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Chestnut Piculet, Yellow-eared Parrot, Chami Antpitta, Crescent-faced Antpitta, as well as an endless list of  Santa Marta endemics and numerous dry Caribbean specialties too!

We hope to see in excess of 400 species during our stay and a high percentage of endemics!

ACCOMMODATION: 14 nights in Colombia
1 night Medellin, 3 nights El Roble Jardin, 2 nights Manizales, 1 night Termales, 1 night Termales del Ruiz, 1 nights Santa Marta, 1 night Riohacha, 3 nights El Dorado Lodge, 1 night Bogotá.
Meals: Full board starting with dinner on day 1 through until dinner on day 14

Day 1: Arrival to Medellin
We arrive into José María Córdova International Airport, just 20Km from Medellin, and just a short flight from Bogotá. Today is really an arrival day and transfer to our hotel to rest before our first full day of birding. However, depending on flight arrival times, we can organise some optional easy birding close to Medellin. Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province.  Overnight Medellin

Day 2: Medellin to Jardin
Today we will start our first full day birding in a parkland area where we should find our first endemic, the Red-bellied Grackle. Of course, as this will be our first day in Colombia, everything will be new and exciting as our bird list grows and we will see many of the common species for the country whilst targeting the scarcer species too, like Yellow-headed Manakin and Greenish Puffleg. We will then travel south towards the Cauca river where we will try for three new endemics, the Antioquia Wren, Grayish Piculet and Cauca Wren. By the end of our first day we should have an impressive list of species before arriving at the picturesque small country town of  Jardin Overnight Jardín

Days 3 & 4: Mirador El Roble 
We will spend two days exploring the area around the Mirador El Roble at an altitude of around 2,700 metres. Each morning we will start very early and transfer to jeeps on a two hour journey into the cloud forest. We then arrive at Dona Lucia’s reserve which has many bird feeders and where we can see Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Slate-crowned Antpitta and the endemic Chami Antpitta. We will spend two days exploring the amazing forest here where we can bird along the quiet road amongst numerous impressive bird flocks and many new species! Yellow-eared Parrot will be another endemic that we will be looking for here and we may just get lucky with a fabulous mammal distraction too; the beautiful Oncilla. This difficult to see cat species has regularly been visiting the lodge and will sometimes visit an area where Lucia puts out food. It is completely wild, but appears every few days and though erratic in its appearance, we have a good chance with two full days to explore this fabulous birding location. Overnight Jardín

Oncilla by Andres Trujillo, Colombia

Day 5: Cock-of-the-Rock Lek and travel to Manizales
This morning we will travel early to an impressive Andean Cock-of-the Rock lek. The viewing at this particular site is very close and can be great for photography and it is very easily accessible too. We will then do some general birding in the area targeting new species before we take the long drive south to Manizales. Although today is mostly a travel day, we will make a number of short birding stops en route. Overnight Manizales

Day 6: Rio Blanco
Today we will enjoy another Antpitta show, where we hope to see four more species! We will visit a municipal reserve situated between 1,300 and 2,300 metres above sea level. The reserve is interwoven with trails and crystal clear streams where rangers maintain several antpitta feeding stations. We will look for the fearless Brown-banded Antpitta, the super fast Bi-coloured Antpitta, the Chestnut-crowned Antpitta and finally the small and often tricky Slate-crowned Antpitta. Once we are finished with the Antpittas, we will then try for the striking Green-and-Black Fruiteater which sometimes also visits the worming site. Away from the worm feeding area, general birding in the forest here can produce many new birds and we will be trying for White capped Tanager, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Plushcap, Powerful Woodpecker, Golden-plumed Parakeets, Rufous-crowned Tody Flycatcher and Masked Saltator. Feeders at this site can also be very productive with species such as Blue-capped Tanager, Slaty Brush Finch, Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager and Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, whilst the  hummingbird feeders can produce White-bellied Woodstar, Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird and more! Overnight Manizales

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock by Andres Trujillo, Colombia

Day 7: Hacienda El Bosque
Hacienda El Bosque is a must-visit destination for any birdwatcher exploring the Central Andes of Colombia. This cattle ranch protects extensive high Andean forest areas through a conservation model known as a civil society natural reserve and is part of the Colombia’s national system of protected areas. It is also very proud to have the first ever Crescent-faced Antpitta visiting a feeding site. The farm also has Equatorial Antpitta,  Barred Fruiteater and it is an excellent place to see Grey-breasted Mountain Toucans at very close range. General birding in the forest here should produce numerous other new birds such as Golden-crowned Redstart, Rufous-breasted Chat Tyrant and Purple-backed Thornbill to name just a few of the highlights that can be found here. Overnight Termales 

Day 8: Nevados del Ruiz National Park and Termales del Ruiz
After an early breakfast we will then head straight to Nevados del Ruiz National Park in the coffee-growing region of the central Colombian Andes.where numerous new species await us in this new Mountain Paramo habitat. Target species today will include Andean Tit-Spinetail, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, White-chinned Thistletail, Many-striped Canastero and with luck two new endemics, the Rufous-fronted Parakeet and the Buffy Helmetcrest. The National Park has some amazing scenery too and we will be seeing many great birds in a fabulous landscape.

We will then travel to Termales del Ruiz and check into our hotel for a late lunch. Here, we are at an altitude of around  3,500 metres and as a result, the feeders at the hotel are fantastic for a number of Mountain Tanager species including Lacrimose Mountain Tanager and Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager. The hummingbird feeders are equally as impressive with good chances for Great Sapphirewing, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Mountain Velvetbreast,  Tyrian Metaltail, Viridian Metaltail, Black-thighed Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam and of course the hugely impressive Sword billed hummingbird and many more! Overnight Termales del Ruiz

Day 9: Travel to Pereira and flight to Santa Marta
Today we leave the Central Andes behind us as we head to Santa Marta on the Caribbean Sea in the northern Colombian area of Magdalena. We will still have a few hours in the morning to enjoy more birding around the hotel gardens before we have to travel to Pereira to catch our domestic flight towards Santa Marta and the northern coast. Overnight Santa Marta

Day 10: La Guajira
Today sees us birding in a very new habitat as we visit the scrub desert land of la Guajira. We will be focusing on trying to find the specialties like Vermillion Cardinal, Orinocan Saltator, White-whiskered Spinetail, Chestnut Piculet, Slender-billed Inezia, Dark-faced Grassquit, and many more. Overnight Riohacha

Day 11: Flamenco National Park to Santa Marta Mountains
Today we will be birding in the Flamencos National Park to add good selection of  to our ever growing list. We will be looking for species such as American Flamingo, Dwarf Cuckoo, Blue fronted Parakeet, Buff-necked Ibis, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Scarlet Ibis as well as a good selection of shorebirds, Gulls and Terns. We will then start our ascent into the mountains and we will take lunch at El Dorado lodge in the mountains of Santa Marta which will be our base for the next three nights. We will be based at around 1,800 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level with sensational panoramic views. The accommodation here is simple but clean and comfortable and is quite simply a birder’s paradise! Overnight El Dorado Lodge

Bicoloured Antpitta by Andres Trujillo, Colombia

Days 12 & 13: El Dorado Lodge and the Santa Marta Mountains
We will spend two full days trying for as many endemics as we can! The list is many but we will try for species such as Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Antpitta, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Brush Finch, Sierra Nevada Brushfinch, Santa Marta Bush Tyrant, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Toucanet, Santa Marta Screech Owl and many more! It should be a great end to our trip, simply full of great birds, wonderful scenery and so many endemics! Overnight El Dorado Lodge

Day 14: El Dorado to Santa Marta
We will spend a final morning enjoying our last birding around the lodge and then descend the mountain making a few birding stops en route and enjoying the last of the wonderful scenery and hopefully just a few more new birds that we might have missed. We then head to the airport in Santa Marta to take our domestic flight to Bogota for our last dinner. Overnight Bogota

Day 15: Departure
Transfer to airport and catch our International flight.

Yellow-eared Parrot by Andres Trujillo

Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides

Leaders: Wise Birding leader and local guide throughout
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all meals starting with dinner on night 1 to dinner on day 14, ground transport, park and reserve fees and services of leader.
Not included in cost: International flight, travel insurance, drinks other than water and any airport/visa fees.
Single Supplement: £595
Transport: Minibus and Jeeps in some areas.
Difficulty:  A good level of fitness is required, particularly when walking on some trails cover a range of altitudes. Optional steeper trails in places, but birding from open trails otherwise.
Climate: Highly variable. A wide range of temperatures can be expected dependent on altitude, getting  cold (down to about 5°C) at the highest altitudes and up into the mid 30s in the Magdalena Valley.
Tour Start Point: Bogotá International airport, Colombia
Tour End Point: Bogotá International airport, Colombia
Suggested Airlines: Lufthansa via Frankfurt