Whale watching and Birding in Cauca Valley Province

( Pacific / Western Andes / Cauca Valley/ Central Andes ) (9 nights/ 10 Days) Starting and ending in Cali

USD$ 2.900 Length: 10 days Starting city: Cali Ending city: Cali Pace: Moderate-Fast Physical difficulty: Moderate Focus: Birding Max Group Size: 8 people in double accommodation (2 persons per room) Single suplement: USD$300 Addressed to: Keen Birders – Enthusiastic birders – Beginner Birders capable of birding the entire day for 10 days, keeping the pace with Keen and enthusiastic Birders.

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The main attraction in this tour will be the Humpback whale watching on day 6.  However this is a comprehensive Birding Tour that encompasses Pacific Coast,Chocó Bioregion, Cauca Valley and Western / Central Andes. It will be conducted in the following EBAs (Endemic Bird Areas  by Birdlife International): Chocó, Colombian Inter-Andean Slopes, Colombian Inter-Andean Valleys and central Andean Paramo. This is an amazing tour that focus on Chocó bioregion Humid lowland Tropical forests, Western Andes cloud forest, Cauca Valley dry forest with a taste of Central Andes high montane forest. there is very good chances to see endemics like Multicolored Tanager, Crested Ant Tanager, Cauca Guan, Colombian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet, Apical Flycatcher, Tatamá Tapaculo, Parker’s Antbird and more) The tour will be conducted by a professional birding tour leader.

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 appetizers, desserts, bottles of wine are included.

The drives are not too long (around 2.30 hours), with the lengthiest being about 4 & 1/2 hours (with one stop) 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 Paramo de las Hermosas 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, Maguipi,and Sonso), and cool to pleasant in the highlands. The coldest temperature is normally 7°C on one  morning (Paramo de las Hermosas), where a couple of layers and a pair of gloves would 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 are nice and pleasant with private bathrooms, hot water and electricity and some with swimming pool ( La Huerta, Hotel Campestre Nala ). 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.

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 and 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 Chlorophonias, Streaked capped Treehunter, Rufous  Crested Tanager and many more. Before dusk we’ll drive to el Queremal where we will stay at Hotel Campanario.

Day 3

Upper Anchicayá / El Descanso- 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 inside the Cloud forest at 1,600 masl. and ends in Humid tropical Forest at 200 masl. This day 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 keeps hummingbird and fruit feeders to attract many birds. It 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, 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. 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 4

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 uncommon 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 Club-winged , Blue crowned and White crowned Manakins. Accommodation at Nature Camp.

Day 5

Lower Anchicayá (Old Buenaventura Road)- In the morning we’ll travel through the lower part where we might be able to spot Swallow Tailed kite, Rufous fronted
woodquail, 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 have lunch in Buenaventura at the pacific coast, and take a boat to Maguipi beach and stay at Maguipi hotel.

Day 6

Maguipi: Humpback Whale sighting- We will go birding early in the morning before  taking a boat to watch the smashing Humpback Whales. Pacific coast whale-watch is one of Colombia’s great natural spectacles, and a must-do trip for anyone with interest in wildlife. This bay in the Uramba National park contains a high breeding population of Humpbacks. The bay itself has a breeding population of over 700 humpback whales, making sighting practically guaranteed during the season. On the afternoon we will go birding again. During this day we can watch birds like: Magnificent Frigatebird,  Blue footed Booby, Brown Pelican, Snowy egret,  Little blue Heron, Yellow crowned Night Heron, Common Black Hawk, White throated Crake, Collared Plover,  Whimbrel, Spotted Sandpiper,  Pale vented Pigeon,  White whiskered Hermit, Rufous tailed Hummingbird, Slaty tailed Trogon, Black crowned Antshrike, Yellow crowned Tyrannulet, Piratic Flycatcher, Purple throated Fruitcrow,  Masked Tityra, Black chested Jay, Tawny crested Tanager, Golden hooded Tanager, Red Legged Honeycreeper,  Great Tailed Grackle,  White vented euphonia, among others.  Accomodation at Maguipi Hotel.


Day 7                                                                                                                                           

Yotoco Forest- The National Forest Reserve of Yotoco, owned by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Palmira, is a high Andean environment, with some influence over the Pacific neotropical ecosystems. We will go birding around Maguipi Hotel early in the morning for 1 hour, then take the boat back to Buenaventura and transfer to Yotoco Reserve, where we will spend the afternoon. There we will be looking for endemic  Colombian Chachalaca, Cauca Guan, Green Hermit, Western Emerald, White vented Plumeleteer, Collared Trogon, Andean Motmot, endemic Grayish Piculet, Smoky brown Woodpecker, Lineated woodpecker, Bronze winged Parrot, Scarlet fronted Parakeet, Bar crested Antshrike, Plain antvireo, Chestnut crowned Gnateater, Cocoa woodcreeper, Streaked xenops,Southern beardless Tyrannulet, Yellow bellied elaenia, Slaty capped Flycatcher, Sooty headed Tyrannulet, Scale crested pygmy Tyrant, Dusky capped Flycatcher, Black billed Peppershrike, Rufous naped Greenlet, Brown capped vireo, Scaly breasted wren, Gray breasted Wood Wren, Golden crowned Warbler, Blue necked Tanager, Bay headed Tanager, Guira tanager, Thick billed Euphonia, Yellow bellied siskin among others. We will rest at Hotel La Huerta, a nice hotel close to the Reserve.

Day 8

Sonso Lagoon-This day we’ll go to Sonso Lagoon, a wetland ecosystem with a dry forest that is home to hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds.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.  We’ll leave the lagoon around noon and have lunch in Buga. From there, we’ll go to El Vinculo Park.  This park is home to birds like Bar Crested Antshrike, Streak headed Woodcreeper,  Buff necked Ibis, Pearled Kite,  Gray cowled Wood Rail, Squirrel cuckoo, Rufous breasted Hermit,  Ruby Topaz,  Long billed Starthroat,  Red crowned Woodpecker, Spot breasted Woodpecker, Yellow crowned Parrot, Great Antshrike, Mouse colored Tyrannulet, Yellow bellied Elaenia, Slate headed  Tody Flycatcher,  Apical Flycatcher, Guira Tanager, Streaked  Saltator, Black striped Sparrow, Yellow Oriole and more. We will stay at Hotel Campestre Nala  in Palmira, a small Village in the Cauca Valley.

Day 9

Central Andes (Paramo de las Hermosas)- We will go up to the Central Andes looking for birds in the road that goes to the Paramo de las Hermosas at higher elevations  where we will find nice high andean forests. Along the way we may see birds like Andean Guan, Andean Lapwing, Band tailed Pigeon, Tourmaline Sunangel,  Purple backed Thornbill, Collared Inca, Buff winged Starfrontlet, Viridian Metaltail, Black thighed Puffleg, Gray breasted Mountain Toucan,  Scaly naped Parrot, Chestnut crowned Antpitta, White throated Tyrannulet,  Brown backed Chat Tyrant, Red crested Cotinga,  Black collared and Green Jay,  Sedge Wren, Black crested Warbler, Golden fronted Redstart, Superciliared Hemispingus,  Lachrymose Mountain Tanager, Scarlet Mountain Tanager,  Blue and black Tanager, Masked Flowerpiercer, Gray browed Brush Finch, and many more. Accomodation at Hotel Campestre Nala.

Day 10

Departure- After breakfast we will drive to Cali’s Airport where we will say goodbye wishing to have you back for another fantastic birding expedition in our friendly and diverse country.