Colombia Andes Birding and Wildlife Tour
Greetings Everyone!

In December we will be returning to the Colombian Andes for our annual birding and wildlife tour, including cultural activities. Our last trip was in December 2018 and it was so very successful and fun, that we will be returning and following the same route, with an added stay at the Tinamú Birding Nature Reserve. On the last trip we saw 214 birds and you can view the list by clicking here: Bird List . Colombia is a truly wonderful place to visit and travel through. Our tour starts out by spending a few days in Bogota and then travels up to the eastern and central Andes. Traveling to Colombia is a true adventure to explore, learn and experience something new.  We are only taking 6 people on this tour.

Geography: Colombia is located in the northwest part of South America with land on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Colombia is a large country about the size of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico combined. "Colombia" was named after Christopher Columbus. Bogotá is the capital city with a population of 10.7 in the metro area and Colombia has a total population of about 50 million. The highest point in Colombia is Pico Cristóbal Colón Mountain at 18,700 ft (5,700 meters). Conservation is important to Colombians and nearly 15% of the land is protected for habitat and wildlife preservation; this accounts for a total of 65,462 sq. miles or 41,895,680 acres within 60 national parks and reserves.

Unique Habitats: The largest paramo in the world is in Colombia. A paramo is a very unique life zone and alpine habitat characterized as a treeless high altitude area in the tropic zone. Paramos usually have many endemic species because evolution seems to happen quickly in these areas. On our Colombia tour in December, one of our very favorite Colombian Paramo endemic that we will see is the Buffy Helmetcrest, which is a type of Hummingbird. This is the bird that is pictured in the heading above and the landscape in the photo is of Los Nevados National Natural Park, which we will visit on the tour. This trip focuses on birds and wildlife and our guide for this tour is the best Andean bird guide you can find for knowledge of all flora and fauna. He is an absolute expert with bird calls, songs and behavior. 

History: People have been living in Colombia for about 12,000 years. Current day Panama was the route that many early hunter-gatherer tribes traveled through as they crossed from Central America down to South America and the land that is now Colombia would have been some of the first lands that people traveled across on this journey. Because Colombia borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, the tribes that travel by boat might have first landed in Colombia as well. The Spanish arrived in 1509 and the first permanent settlement was created in Santa Marta in 1525. Early indigenous people had developed gold processing for jewelry and ornaments and the desire for gold fueled the conquest of both Central and South American societies by the Spanish. In 1717 when the original borders were drawn, Colombia included much of what is now Panama, Equator and Venezuela. Independence from Spain was a long battle and with the help of leaders such as Simón Bolívar, Colombia won its independence in 1819. Over the last two centuries since Independence there have been many battles and conflicts, but Colombia is currently experiencing a time of peace and economic growth. The Colombia people are extremely kind and welcoming to visitors and tourists.

Special offer: Sign up for the Colombia tour and receive a complementary copy (one per room) of the “Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia” by Miles McMullan. Flights from the United States to Bogota are convenient and some are non-stop. There are a lot of great airfare deals available to the Bogotá El Dorado International Airport (BOG) right now, so it's time to book a flight or use those miles!

Bio Diversity: Colombia is one of the most bio diverse countries in the world. Here are a few stats: 1,849 total bird species of which 83 are endemic, 166 hummingbird species, nearly 3,500 species of butterflies, 4,000 species of orchids of which 1,500 are endemic, 456 species of mammals, 589 species of amphibians, 130,000 species of plants, just to name of few...
The Torrent Duck, Merganetta armata, loves fast moving water; it is fun to watch them swim the rapids and feed.
Evening paddle for birding: As the sunset, hundreds of nighthawks and pauraques swarmed around our heads. The evening was amazing.
The December 2018 tour group in the town of Salento, Colombia. We traveled in a comfortable 14 seat van.
The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Rupicola peruvianus , which we easily saw from our open-top birding vehicle.
We will spend two days at the Otún Quimbaya Reserve. The birding is awesome here and we all stay together in one large house, it is really great and a real treat for birding.
The food in Colombia is "real food", everything is home-made with natural ingredients. In Bogota, we eat at some of the best restaurants in the Candelaria. In the rural areas, we get local food and specialty dishes.
The morning "dawn chorus" of the male Red Howler Monkey, Alouatta seniculus, can be heard for up to 3 miles away.
Birding the road at Otún Quimbaya, in back of our cabin. We will have two houses along the river, set deep in the forest. This area is one of the best hot spots for birds and wildlife in the Colombian Andes. The birding here is easy and fun!
High in the Andes at 11,480 feet is Hotel Termales del Ruiz, where we will spend one night. There is a natural hot spring here and an abundance of hummingbirds.
The historic area of Bogota is called the Candelaria. We will have a walking tour to get to know the local history and a trip up to Montserrat for great birding and big views.
Photo of our lodging along the river at Otún Quimbaya where Torrent Ducks and White-capped Dippers are right in front of the house, among many others birds as well. 
The national flower of Colombia: Flor de Mayo (May flower) or Christmas Orchid, Cattleya trianae.
Colombia has everything a traveler needs for a great adventure and memorable experience. Kaiyote first traveled to Colombia in January 2005 and visited the Colombian Amazon. At that time there were many people that told Kaiyote that she was the first American they had every met; it was a curious and wonderful experience for her.
Travel Dates & Information

  • Travel Dates: December 1 - 10, 2019
  • Group Size: 6 Travelers plus guides, 3 spots left
  • Trip Length: 10 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $3,650 (no additional fee for solo travelers)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, entrance fees & Allianz travel health insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance. 

Photos: Colombian flag and emblem. The national bird of Colombia is the Andean Condor, which is one of the largest birds in the world with a wing span of nearly 11 feet. Condors are in the Vulture family.
You might notice that the flags of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela are all very similar. This is because originally these countries were one territory called the Gran Colombia. When this federation was split into six countries, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela decided to continue to show their mutual support by sharing the same flag, with each flag having a unique feature.
You can find out more and see all our great photos on social media
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Call us at 970-556-6103
Your World Traveling Guides
Kaiyote & Ed
Photo: Here we are atop Monserrate at 10,330 feet overlooking Bogota. We look forward to meeting and showing you all the great birds and wildlife and adventures that can be found around the world, the United States and in Washington state. Call us anytime! See you soon!
Kaiyote Tours +1 970-556-6103