Caribbean Colombia: Feb 16—24, 2018
Rio Magdalena Wetlands, Santa Marta Mountains & the Guajira Desert
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Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
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A perfect complement to our Andean trips and one that can be linked to our Bogotá, Eastern Andes, and Magdalena Valley tour. With the addition of a visit to coastal Salamanca National Park, and expanded exploration of the Guajira Peninsula deserts, our route is considerably revised from previous offerings. Expect even more endemics, a tremendous diversity of birds large and small including guans, quetzals, colorful tanagers, and an amazing array of hummingbirds, as well as extraordinarily varied landscapes and stunning mountains.
Colombia just gets better each year. With cruise ships calling at the ports of Cartagena and Santa Marta, and travel agencies extolling the country’s virtues with the slogan, “The only risk is wanting to stay,” Colombia’s Caribbean beckons. Indeed, most of the country is back to normal and as safe as anywhere in Latin America, and birders have taken notice. Since our return to Colombia in 2009, when we operated four trips, a flood of birders and birding companies have followed us, discovering the joys of birding in this vibrant and beautiful country. You can be assured that Colombians are very excited to receive foreign visitors, and every bit as excited to show their country and its avian riches to us, as we are to offer this trip.
For years birders and naturalists have looked longingly at Colombia’s enormous list of birds—the longest in the world—and its enticing endemics—some 70 species found only within its borders, and many more with distributions that barely extend beyond its borders. One of the most endemic-rich sites of all is, ironically, one of the closest for travelers—the Santa Marta Mountains. This lofty, pyramid-shaped mountain range springs up from the shores of the Caribbean to nearly twenty thousand feet, and it is a birder’s dream. Almost 20 species of endemics, gorgeous scenery, and a new and comfortable mountain lodge are situated in a perfect climate zone. There also is a completely different set of birds just a few hours away on the nearby Guajira Peninsula.
Most of Santa Marta’s endemics are, logically enough, preceded by the name Santa Marta, so there’s a Santa Marta Parakeet, a screech-owl, a foliage-gleaner, an antpitta, a bush-tyrant, a wren, a brush-finch, a warbler, and a tapaculo. Even better, some are actually easy to see, although a few require patience, and maybe a bit of luck. So, if you’re curious about Colombia, and especially the Caribbean region–and who isn’t—this is the perfect trip. We think you will be pleasantly surprised by the birds, the beauty of the country, and the friendliness of the people. The only risk, really, is wanting to stay.
Lowland elevation hotels (first 3 nights and last night); foothills (1 night) and cool highlands (3 nights); singles may not be available in the foothill and highland sites; moderate pace with no strenuous walking; some midday breaks; most walking on roads or short trails close to a lodge; warm to hot in lowlands, pleasant in mountains; sea level to a little over 8,000 feet; rain unlikely in lowlands, a possibility in highlands but weather should be good.