Colombia | Central Andes Flyway Expedition

Colombia | Central Andes Flyway Expedition

About this trip

With over 1,900 avian species—more than any other country in the world—Colombia is a birder’s paradise waiting to be discovered. This 9-day program with Jacqui Sulek focuses on the highlights of the Central Andes region, famed for its high level of species diversity, including the Otún Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Rio Blanco Reserve, and Los Nevados National Park. Explore Andean cloud forest, farmland, and páramo habitats in search of an array of tropical avifauna, including flycatchers, hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans, and more. Throughout your journey, meet members of local communities and learn about conservation efforts to use birding as a sustainable development resource.

About Flyway Expeditions

Holbrook Travel is a supporting partner in Audubon and its partners’ conservation work in Latin America and in the Caribbean. Participants on these tours have a direct economic impact on local people and communities, help preserve IBAs, and nurture an emerging ecotourism industry.
Learn more about Flyway Expeditions.

Highlights

  • Support hemispheric conservation while seeking out a wide variety of Colombia’s rare and endemic species, such as the Cauca Guan, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Crested Ant-Tanager, and Buffy Helmetcrest.
  • Explore the cloud forest at a relatively new birding location, La Finca El Cortaderal, where a population of critically endangered Fuertes’s Parrot was discovered.
  • Watch the antpitta feeders in Rio Blanco Natural Reserve, a designated Important Bird Area, and look for large mixed flocks in this area.
  • Meet with members of the Yarumo Blanco Foundation and learn about their involvement with Audubon’s guide training and the development of the Central Andes Birding Trail.
PLEASE NOTE: As safety and security are our highest priority, we have adopted extensive protocols to address COVID-19. Our field leaders are vaccinated and we require our travelers to be vaccinated. We follow strict field hygiene practices which are outlined on our website. If required, we arrange for Covid testing at the end of your program.

Reserve Risk-free - Registrations made for travel departing between now and December 31, 2022 are fully refundable with no cancellation penalties until the final payment deadline (95 days before departure). We strongly recommend purchasing travel protection.

Meet your leader

Jacqui Sulek

Jacqui Sulek has been with Audubon for more than 15 years. As Chapter Conservation Manager for Florida, she supports and coordinates with the 45 Florida Audubon chapters from the Panhandle to Key West. She also coordinates a robust Plants for Birds program and Jay Watch, the statewide Scrub Jay citizen science project.

Jacqui’s first passport photo was taken while just a few months old in anticipation of a family move to Venezuela, where she grew up. She has had a variety of careers including Park Ranger, Executive Chef, and Yacht Captain. Her interest in birds has taken her on numerous trips to Central and South America, keeping her fluent in Spanish. The common thread throughout her life has been a passion for Latin America, natural history and connecting people with the outdoors. Jacqui admits to being a serious BIRDER!

 

Pereira

Nov 11, 2022

Upon arrival in Pereira, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Check-in starts at 3 pm. (For those connecting via Bogotá, please plan arrivals into Bogotá before 6:30 pm to be able to connect with the last flight to Pereira.)

Overnight at Sonesta Hotel

Santa Rosa de Cabal

Nov 12, 2022

This morning, meet your fellow travelers during an early breakfast and orientation at the hotel. Check out and travel approximately one hour to Otún Quimbaya, with birding en route. Located on the western slope of the central mountain range, Otún Quimbaya Fauna and Flora Sanctuary protects the middle basin of the Otún River and the Andean and high Andean forests surrounding it. The site has been reforested for more than 40 years, creating connectivity with the well-preserved forests of the upper part of Los Nevados National Natural Park and resulting in a biological corridor of great importance in the Central Andes. Spend the morning and early afternoon birding in Otún. Look for Cauca Guan, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Torrent Duck, Colombian Screech-Owl, Southern Emerald-Toucanet, Hooded Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Flame-rumped Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Multicolored Tanager, Crested Ant-Tanager, and White-capped Tanager-just a few of the 400 species recorded here. It is also possible to see large Andean mammals, such as mountain tapir and sometimes spectacled bear. After lunch at the on-site lodge, meet members of the Yarumo Blanco Foundation. This community association manages the park and was heavily involved with the Audubon International Alliances Program training and the development of the Andean Birding Trail. All members of the foundation are local farmers who have made an unparalleled effort to make Otún one of the best sanctuaries in the country. Learn about their award-winning work in community conservation and social development. Also meet with park rangers to learn about Colombia's rich national park system. Later this afternoon, continue to Santa Rosa de Cabal. Check in and have dinner at the hotel, with time together to complete your daily birding checklist.

Elevation: 7,382 feet | Walking conditions: Easy, unpaved rural road, little inclination | Temperature: 60-79 °F.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Santa Clara

Santa Rosa de Cabal

Nov 13, 2022

Set out at 5 am for a full day of birding via 4x4 vehicles in the cloud forest at La Finca El Cortaderal; breakfast and lunch will be in the field. Over the course of centuries, Colombia's Cordillera Central has been drastically transformed due to agriculture and livestock farming, leading many species to the edge of extinction. The remains of high Andean forests have become the last refuge for species such as the Indigo-winged (Fuertes's) Parrot, which was rediscovered in 2002 after 90 years of absence and whose population today is critically endangered. Other key species include the Gray-breasted and Black-billed Mountain-Toucans, Chestnut Wood-Quail, Mountain Avocetbill, Black-thighed Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Andean Condor, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Powerful Woodpecker, Purple-backed Thornbill, Speckle-faced Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Ocellated Tapaculo, Flammulated Treehunter, Agile Tit-Tyrant, and Barred Fruiteater. Later this afternoon, return to Santa Rosa de Cabal.

Elevation: 9,180-9,845 feet | Walking conditions: Easy, rural unpaved road | Temperature: 48-65 °F.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Santa Clara

Manizales

Nov 14, 2022

After 6 am breakfast, check out and travel about an hour to experience a bird-based tourism project designed and implemented by community members in Filandia Quindío, with leadership from local guides who have completed the National Audubon-hosted International Alliances training program. Learn about the work being done to create a 10-acre conservation corridor with native trees and plants. The project also aims to increase community participation in activities that enrich bird habitat, strengthen biological corridors, support conservation, and promote the region as a destination for citizen science and birding. Continue to El Color de Mis Rêves tented camp for lunch. In this private natural reserve in the middle of the Central Andean cloud forest, it is possible to see a variety of hummingbirds and tanagers. Enjoy time for birding on the grounds and then continue to Tinamú Lodge & Nature Reserve, about an hour outside the city of Manizales near the village of San Peregrino. This area is focused on the production of shade-grown coffee and other agricultural products. The Tinamú Nature Reserve is a mosaic of coffee with shade, secondary growth, and patches of native forest, and there are feeders installed to attract different species. Inside the reserve, a network of moderately difficult trails offers great opportunities to see species not observed at the feeders.

Elevation at Manizales: 8,600 feet | Elevation: 4,265 feet | Walking conditions: Easy, unpaved rural road, moderately difficult trails within the reserve | Temperature: 75-84 °F.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tinamu Lodge

Manizales

Nov 15, 2022

Spend a full day searching for birds in Tinamú Reserve and exploring the action at the amazing hummingbird feeders around the rooms and inside the forest. Some important species in Tinamú include Guira Tanager, Moustached Puffbird, Common Potoo, Golden-collared Manakin, Andean Motmot, Jet Antbird, Great Antshrike, Bay-headed Tanager, Scrub Tanager, Blue-necked Tanager, Gray-fronted Dove, Scaled Antpitta, Spectacled Parrotlet, Red-headed Barbet, and Colombian Chachalaca.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Tinamu Lodge

Nevado del Ruiz

Nov 16, 2022

Start today with a very early breakfast, then at 5:30 depart for Río Blanco Natural Reserve, arriving by 7 am to observe the mixed flocks utilizing the antpitta feeders in this humid tropical forest of the Magdalena Valley. Río Blanco is an Important Bird Area (IBA) in a cloud forest that belongs to the city of Manizales, protected for years to conserve the water resources that supply the city. No fewer than 450 bird species have been recorded here, many of them endemic and with ranges of restricted distribution. You may see Brown-banded, Bicolored, Chestnut-crowned, and Slate-crowned Antpittas, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Powerful Woodpecker, Long-tailed Sylph, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, White-capped Tanager, White-capped Dipper, and Dusky Piha. Also visit the hummingbird and tanager feeders. This afternoon, continue approximately an hour to the higher elevations (up to 13,000 feet) of Los Nevados National Park, which protects an incredible páramo habitat with many special birds and amazing landscapes. Later, arrive at Termales del Ruíz, with time to bird around the lodge trails and hummingbird feeders or relax in the magnificent thermal hot springs baths.

Elevation: 11,150-12,200 feet | Walking conditions: Easy, unpaved and paved rural road, trails within the reserve | Temperature: 42-58 °F.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Termales del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz

Nov 17, 2022

Spend the day birding in Los Nevados National Natural Park. Some of today's specialties include Buffy Helmetcrest, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Tawny Antpitta, Plumbeous Sierra-Finch, Stout-billed Cinclodes, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Andean Lapwing, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Greater Sapphirewing, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, and Black-thighed Puffleg. The park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the country; the landscape is framed by snow-capped peaks that include three active volcanoes: El Ruíz, Santa Isabel, and Tolima. In addition to great birding, the park's flora is another draw, featuring an immensity of rare and unique species.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Termales del Ruiz

Pereira

Nov 18, 2022

This morning, depart early for Hacienda El Bosque, about 30 minutes away. The reserve is characterized by large patches of high Andean cloud forest mixed with livestock paddocks and potato fields. Over 120 species have been seen on the property, including Purple-backed Thornbill, Crescent-faced Antpitta, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Ocellated Tapaculo, Black-collared Jay, Rufous Wren, Hooded Mountain-Tanager, Plushcap, and Capped Conebill. After lunch, return to Pereira. Attend a late afternoon talk by an Audubon Colombia representative before sharing a final farewell dinner together.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sonesta Hotel

Departure

Nov 19, 2022

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Latest check-out time is 1 pm.

Breakfast- included