Tanager & Hummingbird Extravaganza

(14 Nights /15 Days) Chocó Bioregion / Cauca Valley /Central and Western Andes.
2019 June 22 – July 6 Tour Leader: Juan Manuel Cardona.
2020 August, 1 – 15 Tour Leader: Juan Manuel Cardona.

USD$ 4.300 Length: 15 days Starting city: Cali Ending city: Pereira Pace: Moderate-Fast Physical difficulty: Moderate Focus: Birding Max Group Size: 8 people in double accommodation (2 persons per room) Single supplement: USD$400 Addressed to: Keen Birders – Enthusiastic birders

Ready to fill your live with colors? This is a comprehensive Tour that encompasses Colombian Chocó Bioregion, Cauca Valley and Western / Central Andes. It will be conducted by a professional Tour Leader  in the following EBAs (Endemic Bird Areas by Birdlife International):Chocó, Colombian Inter-Andean Slopes, Colombian Inter-Andean Valleys and central Andean Paramo. The perfect introductory tour to Colombia and definitely a Tour where Tanagers and hummingbirds will be the heroes of our Story. Saffron crowned, Scrub, Metallic green, Fawn breasted, Bay headed, Golden, White lined, Flame rumped, Crimson backed, Purplish mantled, Blue capped, Grass green, Rufous Throated, Golden naped, Black capped, Beryl spangled, Golden crowned, Golden hooded, Glistening green, Gray and gold,Scarlet and white, Silver throated, Blue necked, Blue and Black, Emerald, Blue whiskered, and Guira Tanagers will paint our trip with all their bright colors. Scarlet bellied, Lachrymose, Hooded, and Blue winged Mountain Tanagers anlong with hummers like, Tawny bellied  Hermit, Green Hermit, Wedge billed Hummingbird, Brown Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Purple crowned Fairy, Black throated Mango, Speckled Hummingbird, Long Tailed Sylph, Violet tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Collared Inca, Buff-tailed Coronet, Velvet purple Coronet, Booted Raquettail, Fawn Breasted Brilliant, Purple throated woodstar, Western Emerald, Crowned Woodnymph, Andean emerald, Steely vented Hummingbird, Rufous tailed Hummingbird, Blue headed Sapphire, White tailed hillstar, Purple bibbed Whitetip, Empress brilliant, Rainbow bearded Thornbill, Black thighed puffleg, Golden breasted Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, Buff winged Starfrontlet, Mountain velvet breast, Sword billed Hummingbird among others will dazzle us with their brilliant, colorful feathers. There will be very good chances to spot endemics like Grayish Piculet, Apical Flycatcher,  Multicolored Tanager, Crested Ant Tanager, Cauca Guan, Buffy Heltmetcrest, Gold ringed Tanager, Black and Gold Tanager,Colombian Chachalaca, Brown banded Antpitta, Munchique Wood Wren,Chestnut bellied Flowerpiercer, Parker’s Antbird, Tatamá Tapaculo, Chestnut woodquail, Stile’s Tapaculo and many other interesting birds.

Bear in Mind

Early starts are necessary on most days since the best birding is in the early morning. Start times will usually be from (5:00-5:30 am) We will have a couple field breakfasts, other meals will be in the lodges/hotels or nearby restaurants. Meals consists on Main dish with drink (water/Soda/Juice/Beer). No entrances, deserts, bottles of wine are included.

The drives are not too long (2:00 to 2.30 hours), with the lengthiest being about 4 & 1/2 hours on day 3. We will use a comfortable, Air conditioned, Van and  4×4 Vehicles for land transportation.

We will have mild walks, even in the mountains, nearly all the birding will be from a dirt road where we will be mostly walking downhill. There will be some short hikes on moderately difficult trails where a walking stick could come in handy. You can expect to walk around 5 Km per day on average.  

Access to Montezuma Road is by a rough 4×4 road, which could be an issue for people with serious back problems (check with us if unsure). Weather will be warm to hot in the lowlands(Anchicaya, San Cipriano,and Sonso), and cool to pleasant in the highlands. The coldest temperature is normally 7°C on one  morning (Nevados National Park), where a couple of layers and a pair of gloves could be nice for an hour or two before it warms up. The tour is run in the dry season, but it is not unusual to get a bit of rain in the mountains, though it is usually not much.

Hotels and Lodges all have private bathrooms and electricity. In higher elevations all have hot water;. Wi-fi is usually available in all the hotels, and though it may only be available in public areas, and is sometimes very slow.

Day 1

Airport pick up and transfer to La Minga-We will pick you up at the Cali´s Airport, Alfonso Bonilla Aragon. From there, we’ll go to La Minga, an ecolodge  located within the Rio Bitaco forest reserve, which results in the house being surrounded by a well preserved cloud forest. There is a private road 3 km from the house to the main road on which is home to more than 300 species of birds. We will check in, go birding (till dusk), and relax in our first night. La Minga is a cozy, quiet Lodge with comfortable and clean rooms, and hot water. They have maintained bird feeders in the house and garden for several years.

Day 2

La Minga – San Antonio Forest- We will spend the morning  birding at the trails and feeders of La Minga Ecolodge. Currently up to 17 species of hummingbirds and up to 30 species of colorful tanagers & allies (including of course, the multicolored tanager, flower piercers, and honeycreepers) can be observed and easily photographed at the feeders. From the house you can also enjoy the view to the surrounding forest where you can find Quetzals and Toucanets. There we will have the opportunity to watch birds like endemic Multicolored Tanager, endemic Colombian Chachalaca ,Saffron crowned Tanager, Golden naped Tanager, Acorn Woodpecker, Golden Olive Woodpecker, Long Tailed Sylph, Brown violetear,  Booted Raquettail, Western and Andean Emerald, Bronzy Inca, Green Honeycreeper, White naped Brush Finch, Bananaquit, Barred Becard, Uniform Antshrike, Slaty Antwren, Crested and Golden headed Quetzal, Scarlet fronted Parakeet, Flame rumped Tanager, Slate throated Redstart, Azara’s spinetail, lineated Foliage gleaner, Golden Crowned Flycatcher, Green and black Fruiteater, Black billed thrush among many other. In The afternoon we will go to the San Antonio Cloud Forest where we may see Endemic Chestnut Woodquail, Rufous tailed Tyrant, Blue naped and chestnut breasted Chlorophonia, Streaked capped Treehunter, Rufous Crested Tanager and many more. Before dusk we’ll drive to Buenaventura, a small city on the coast that is home to the country’s largest port to the Pacific Ocean, and its delicious seafood. There we will stay at hotel Torre Mar in front of the quayside.

Day 3  

San Cipriano- We will leave the hotel at 5:00 am. It’ll take us 30 mins to arrive to Cordoba, a town where we will ride on Brujita (little witch in Spanish) that will take us to San Cipriano. A Brujita is a wooden cart that goes on the railroad propelled by a motorcycle. It’s a whole lot of fun and the only way to get to the Reserve of San Cipriano. This is one of the more humid areas in the planet, the Tropical Humid Forest  and the emerald green pristine water of San Cipriano makes this an spectacular scenery with lots of Antbird specialties. Once in San Cipriano, we’ll hike through different paths next to the San Cipriano River. In this Antbird paradise we may find Black crowned Antshrike, Checker throated Antwren, Pacific Antwren, Dot winged antwren, Chestnut backed Antbird, Stub tailed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Zeledon’s Antbird, and the rare and hard to find Ocellated Antbird. We may also see birds like Collared Aracari , Purple crowned Fairy, Chestnut Headed Oropendola,  Black breasted and Pied Puffbird, White tailed and Blue tailed Trogon, Scarlet browed Tanager, Golden headed Tanager, Blue Whiskered Tanager, Plumbeous pigeon, Dusky Pigeon,Pallid Dove, Tiny Hawk, Rufous Motmot, Black cheeked woodpecker, Cinnamon Woodpecker, Ringed Kingfisher, Black capped pygmy Tyrant, White ringed Flycatcher, Thicket Antpitta, Purple throated Fruitcrow, Golden collared Manakin, Bay wren, Buff rumped Warbler, Scaly breasted Wren, Masked Tityra, Black tipped Cotinga, Cinnamon Becard, Black chested Jay, Southern Rough winged swallow, Rufous winged Tanager, Tawny crested and Dusky Faced Tanager, Orange bellied euphonia among others. We’ll head back to Buenaventura in the evening and spend the night at Torre Mar Hotel.

Day 4

Lower Anchicayá (Old Buenaventura Road)-The Anchicayá river basin is part of one of the most diverse National Parks in the world, Los Farallones National Park, and perhaps one of the hottest birding areas in Colombia. Along this route, close to 400 species have been recorded . The Old Buenaventura Road is an extense altitudinal gradient in the pacific slope of the western range of the Andes. It begins in Humid tropical Forest at 200 masl.  and ends in Cloud forest at 1,600 masl. This day we’ll travel through the lower part where we might be able to spot Swallow Tailed kite, Rufous fronted Wood Quail, Double Toothed Kite, Scaled Pigeon, Purple Quail Dove, some chances for rare endemic Baudo Guan , the uncommon white tipped sicklebill, Tooth billed Hummingbird, Purple chested Hummingbird, Blue tailed Trogon, Broad billed Motmot, Barred Puffbird, Collared Aracari, Yellow Throated Toucan, Chocó Toucan, Lita Woodpecker,  Black cheeked Woodpecker, Laughing Falcon,Plain brown Woodpecker, Northern barred Woodpecker, Long tailed Tyrant, Cinnamon Becard, White thighed Swallow, Bay wren, Golden hooded Tanager, Rufous winged Tanager,Buff throated Saltator, Orange billed Sparrow and many more. We will spent the afternoon at the brand New Lodge Nature Camp within EPSA (Hydroelectric Facilities) near the town of el Danubio. The undisturbed forests within will surely reward us with great bird sightings. We will spend the night at Nature Camp.

Day 5

Nature Camp / Lower Anchicayá- Within the EPSA Facilities, we will be on the lookout for Chocó and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Green Thorntail, Empress Brilliant, Crowned woodnymph, Moustached Puffbird, Fasciated Tiger-heron, Amazon Kingfisher, Collared Aracari, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Chocó Toucan, Sooty-headed Wren, Laughing Falcon, Mealy Parrot, Moustached Antwren, Spot crowned Barbet, Rufous Tailed Jacamar,  Broad-Billed Motmot, Golden Chested Tanager, Rufous throated Tanager, Gray and gold Tanager, Blue whiskered Tanager, Emerald Tanager, Crimson backed Tanager, Scarlet thighed dacnis, Blue Dacnis, Purple and Red legged Honeycreeper, White headed Wren, Slaty capped shrike Vireo, Lemon browed Flycatcher, Tufted Flycatcher, Sulphur rumped Flycatcher, Black headed Tody Flycatcher, Slaty capped Flycatcher, Golden Faced Tyrannulet, Brown billed Scythebill. Specialties for this area include the uncommon Long-wattled Umbrellabird,  the hard to find Black-tipped Cotinga and Chocó Tapaculo. We will also take in the spectacular sights of the Anchicayá Lake created by the dam. Within the lowlands possibilities include Scaled Club-winged , Blue crowned and White-crowned Manakins. Accommodation at Nature Camp.

Day 6

Upper Anchicayá / El Descanso-  We’ll go birding to the upper part of the Old Buenaventura road closer to the Cloud Forest , el Descanso is the humble but charming House of the Famous among birders Miss Dora. “Doña Dora” is a hard working woman that placed hummingbird and fruit feeders to attract many birds, is the best place to see birds like the gorgeous Toucan Barbet, Green Thorntail, Rufous Throated Tanager, Silver throated Tanager and many more. During this day we may see birds including, Crowned Woodnymph, Club winged Manakin, Masked Tityra, Sooty headed Wren, Black Solitaire, Three striped Warbler, White shouldered Tanager, Lemon rumped Tanager, Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Buff Throated Saltator, endemic Crested Ant Tanager, Scarlet Rumped Cacique, White whiskered Hermit, Violet Tailed Sylph, White tailed Hillstar, Moustached Puffbird, Smoky brown Woodpecker, Pacific Antwren, endemic Parker’s Antbird, Chocó Tapaculo, endemic Tatamá Tapaculo,  Brown billed Scythebill, Slaty backed Chat Tyrant, Bright rumped Attila, Lemon Browed Flycatcher, Golden winged Manakin, Black Chinned Mountain Tanager, Bay headed Tanager, Golden collared Honeycreeper, Black headed Brush Finch, and Yellow collared Chlorophonia, among others. In the afternoon we will drive a couple of hours to La Huerta Hotel a nice Hotel close to Calima lake.

Day 7

Sonso Lagoon-This day we’ll visit Sonso Lagoon. We’ll leave the hotel at 5:30 am and arrive to the lagoon around 6am. We will have our breakfast on the trail and watch birds all morning. Here we may spot different species, such as Rubi Topaz, Amazon Kingfisher, Anhinga, Bar Crested Antshrike, Jet Antbird, Cocoi Heron, Bare Faced Ibis, Striated Heron, Yellow Headed Caracara, Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Spectacled parrotlet, Wattled Jacana , Striped Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Dark billed Cuckoo, Dwarf Cuckoo, Red breasted Blackbird, Fork Tailed Flycatcher, Common Potoo, Yellow Oriole, Red Capped Cardinal among others. Around noon we’ll leave the lagoon and have lunch in Buga. From there, we’ll go to The Montezuma Lodge at Tatamá National Park. Montezuma lodge is the only option in the area. It has basic accommodations but it’s clean, friendly, and has spectacular hummingbird feeders and a very good service for birders.

Days 8-9

Montezuma Road- This dirt Road winds sinuously up into Tatamá National Park, located in the foothills and subtropics of the Chocó and is the only practical way to access the park. Montezuma Road is also famous among birding circles as THE place to see the endemic Gold-ringed  and Black and Gold Tanager as well as other endemic species. In other words, a must go for anybody birding in Colombia. This road is an espectacular gradient From 2100 masl. to 1300 masl. where Chocó Bioregion meets Western Andes species.

This 2 days we may see endemic Black and gold and Gold-ringed Tanagers, endemic Munchique Wood Wren, Chestnut bellied Flowerpiercer, endemic Parker’s Antbird, endemic Crested Ant Tanager, near endemic Violet tailed Sylph, near endemic Brown Inca, near endemic Velvet purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, near endemic Purple-throated Woodstar, near endemic Toucan Barbet, near endemic Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Uniform Treehunter, Greenish Puffleg, Crested and Golden headed Quetzal, White-faced Nunbird, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak capped Treehunter, Barred and Scaled Fruiteater, Bronze olive Pygmy Tyrant, Olivaceous Piha, Flame-faced Tanager, Tricolored Brush Finch, Chestnut breasted Chlorophonia, Bicolored Antvireo, Yellow-breasted Antpitta, Choco Tapaculo, Nariño Tapaculo, Orange breasted Fruiteater, Club winged Manakin, Choco Vireo, Beautiful Jay, Sooty headed Wren, Black Solitaire, Black chinned Mountain Tanager, Purplish mantled Tanager, Glistening Green Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Scarlet and White Tanager, Indigo Flowerpiercer, Dusky Bush Tanager, Tanager Finch, Yellow green Brush Finch, Ochre breasted Tanager, near endemic Yellow collared Chlorophonia, Black winged Saltator, Red headed Barbet, Bar crested Antshrike, Sickle winged Guan, Western Emerald, White tailed Hillstar, , Rufous breasted Antthrush, Striped Manakin, Zeledón´s Antbird, Ochre breasted Antpitta, Barred Hawk, Chestnut headed Oropendola, Lanceolated Monklet, Scale crested Pygmy Tyrant, Ruddy Foliage Gleaner, and many more. We will spend these two nights at The Montezuma Lodge at Tatamá National Park.

Day 10

Morning at Montezuma and arrival to Otún Quimbaya –We will wake up early and go Birding during the morning not very far from the lodge. Then we will head to Otún Quimbaya Sanctuary, which lies in the western slope of the central Andes (1550 – 2300 MASL). We shall arrive to the La Suiza Lodge by the end of the day, where we will rest. Otún-Quimbaya is a Flora and Fauna Sanctuary holding a wealth avifauna. It’s a protected area of 489 hectares characterized by rainforest vegetation and sub-Andean forest. This place, where there are 259 species of flora (including oak, cherry and romerón), is ideal for bird watching and butterflies. There crab eating Fox, Howling Monkeys, tapir and other animals inhabit the zone. We will go birding around the ecolodge till dusk. Accommodation at the lodge in Otún Quimbaya.

Day 11

Otun Quimbaya- This Fauna and Flora sanctuary is the best place to see endangered, endemic Cauca Guan and Red ruffed Fruitcrow. We can see endemic Stiles’s Tapaculo, Chestnut Wood Quail and near endemic species, like the Golden fronted Whitestart, Moustached Antpitta, and Rufous breasted Flycatcher. We might also spot Hooded Antpitta, Masked Trogon, Green Jay, Andean Motmot, Blue naped Chlorophonia, Metallic green Tanager, Fawn breasted Tanager, Black winged Saltator, Chestnut capped Brush Finch, Three striped warbler, Variegated bristle tyrant , Collared Trogon, and Torrent Duck. We’ll also be on the lookout for Glossy and Masked Flowerpiercer, Chestnut breasted Wren, Plumbeous crowned Tyrannulet, among others.  We will leave in the afternoon heading to Tinamou Hotel , where we’ll be spending the night. Tinamou Hotel lies close to Manizales, the main city of Caldas Province in the central Andes. Nowadays the city is the main center for the production of Colombian coffee.

Day 12

Tinamou Hotel- This is a special place 30 minutes from Manizales Caldas for photography and bird watching. Located in San Peregrino village, in a dry forest of 15 ha. at 1.225. m.a.s.l., home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, butterflies and a variety of plants and trees. At the Tinamou Hotel reserve we can see the elusive Little Tinamou, Crested Bobwhite, Gray headed Dove, Stripe throated hermit, Black throated Mango, Long billed Starthroat, Green Kingfisher, Blue lored antbird, the hard to get Scaled Antpitta, White crowned Tapaculo, Cocoa and Streak headed woodcreeper, Slaty Spinetail,Ochre bellied Flycatcher, Slate headed Tody

Flycatcher, White winged Becard, Red eyed Vireo, Scaly breasted wren, Speckle breasted Wren, Clay colored Thrush, Golden crowned Warbler, Gray headed Tanager, Guira Tanager, among others. We’ll drive to Rio Blanco Natural Reserve in the afternoon, where we’ll stay at the Rio Blanco Lodge.

Day 13

Rio Blanco-Río Blanco Nature Reserve is located in the Central Colombian Andes 15 minutes from the city of Manizales. Its 4932 hectares in extension consist mainly of  montane cloud forest, Subandean Forest, mixed with a few small clearings. The reserve protects the principal water source for the city and is runned by the local water company.  This is one of the most important birding sites in Colombia and has an extensive list of birds.The small guest house, built in an architecture style typical of the Colombian coffee area, provides an excellent base for birders. The feeders at this guest house, as well as flowering plants around the building, attract an interesting variety of hummingbirds  and Tanagers. The best attraction for birders visiting the reserve are the “antpitta” feeding stations that are visited regularly by 4 species: Chestnut crowned, near endemic Bicolored, endemic Brown banded and Slate crowned antpittas.

In addition, we may encounter other species, such as Buff breasted Mountain Tanager, the rare Masked Saltator, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Dusky Piha, Grass green Tanager, Blue and Black Tanager, Powerful Woodpecker, the secretive Ocellated, Blackish, and Spillman’s tapaculos, Tourmaline Sunangel, Buff tailed Coronet, Speckled Hummingbird, Bronzy and Collared incas, and White bellied Woodstar. Other uncommon species that we may see here are the Black billed Peppershrike, Plushcap, Flamulated treehunter, and Mountain Cacique, among others. Accommodation at Rio Blanco Lodge.

Day 14

Nevados National Park-We will get up early and go to National Park Los Nevados on the highest part of the Colombian Central Andes. We will reach elevations of up to 4000 masl. and temperatures between 8 and 25 °C .Los Nevados National Park, encompasses 38,000 ha (93,900 ac) and is home to four snow peaks. Birding is done along a lightly traveled road that winds up the mountain through patches of elfin forest that give way to paramo. The scenery is  remarkable, with the emblematic frailejon/ Espeletia plants endemic to Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. A paradise for high elevation species, where we might find adapted birds , such as endemic Buffy Helmetcrest and Rainbow bearded Thornbill. This day we can see the very rare and endangered endemic Rufous fronted Parakeet, Viridian Metaltail, Stout billed Cinclodes, Brown backed Chat Tyrant , Golden crowned Tanager, Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Paramo and Plain colored seedeaters, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Tawny Antpitta, Scarlet bellied Mountain tanager, Black chested Buzzard Eagle, uncommon Purple backed Thornbill, Black-thighed Puffleg, the spectacular Sword billed Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing , Sparkling Violetear, Shining Sunbeam, Andean Tit Spinetail, Sedge Wren, Paramo Tapaculo, Pale naped Brush Finch, and, if we’re lucky, we might even see the Andean Condor soaring the skies, among many other birds. Accommodation at Hotel Termales del Ruiz.

Day 15

Termales del Ruiz Road and departure –We will have our breakfast at the hotel and go birding in the morning at the road from the hotel to Manizales, where we can see amazing birds, such as the Crimson mantled Woodpecker, Golden Plumed Parakeet, endemic Rufous fronted Parakeet, Paramo Tapaculo, Pearled treerunner, white throated Tyrannulet, Red crested Cotinga, Sedge Wren, Golden fronted redstart, Scarlet bellied Mountain Tanager, Buff Breasted Mountain Tanager, lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Russet crowned warbler, Streaked Tuftedcheek, White banded Tyrannulet, and many more. We will drive just before noon to Pereira Airport, where the Tour finishes. We will say goodbye with the warm wish and hope of having you back in other fantastic birding adventure in the unforgettable Colombia.