From the rainforest to the paramo, this is a trip designed for living the best of the Central and Western Andes of the country, including the Chocó region and the interandean valley of the Cauca’s river..


Colombia is the birdiest country. Undoubtedly, Colombia is plenty of a wide variety of ecosystems which are home of the highest diversity of birds of the globe. In this birding trip, you’ll have a perfect first encounter with the famous Colombia’s biodiversity, its landscapes and the warm people which distinguish every region.

From the rainforest to the paramo, this is a trip designed for getting the best of the Central and Western Andes of the country, including the Choco region and the interandean valley of the Cauca’s river.


Type of tour: Birding with time for photography

Duration: 12 days

Ecosystems covered: 

Andean and subandean forests.

Cloud forest.

Tropical dry forest.


Rain forest.

Shade grown coffee plantations.


Tour leader:

Johnnier Arango


Lenght: 20 days

Starting city: Cali

Ending city: Pereira

Physical difficulty: low

Focus: Birding

Tatamá National Natural Park
Photo by tour leader Johnnier Arango


(E) Endemic

(NE) Near endemic (Colombia-ecuador/Venezuela/Panama/Brazil)

Day 1. Morning arrive to Cali’s international airport. Finca Alejandría and Km 18’s cloudforest. High Anchicaya canyon.

Located 1 hour away of Cali on the ridge of the Western Andes, the KM 18 is one of the classic birding hotspots and one of the best places for bird photography in the region. The Finca Alejandría, also known as the "Hummingbirds paradise" has a incredible set of over 40 hummingbird feeders and it's the best location for photographing the endemic and superb Multicolored Tanager. Feeders here attract: (E) Colombian Chachalaca, Beryl-spangled, (NE) Flame-rumped, (NE) Scrub, Golden, Metallic-green, Saffron-crowned, Bay-headed, and Golden-naped tanagers, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager also attends the feeder. Other beauties include Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Black-winged Saltator, Summer Tanager (migrant), Hepatic (Tooth-billed) Tanager, Red-headed Barbet among others.

The hummingbird feeders are visited by hundreds of Hummers. Species include Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy Inca, Booted Racket-tail, Blue-headed Sapphire, Lesser Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Crowned Woodnymph, (NE) Purple-throated Woodstar and Greenish Puffleg. Two species of hermits visit the heliconias in the surroundig garden, these are the Tawny-bellied and Green Hermit.

Birding the forest of Km 18 can also produce many specialties as (NE) Nariño Tapaculo, the endemic and skulking Chestnut Wood-Quail, Scaled and Green-and-black Fruiteaters, Chestnut-capped, White-naped and Yellow-breasted Brush-finches, Gray-throated Toucanet and some interesting understory birds like Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails, Streak-capped and Striped Treehunters, and the always nice woodpeckers: Yellow-vented, Acorn and Golden-olive.

Both, Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals are often seen in the forest near Finca Alejandría.

In the afternoon we will drive to the area just below the small town of El Queremal .


The Anchicayá Canyon is the place where the well known American ornitholgist Steve Hilty built the basis of his research which led to the publishing of the first Colombian field guide in 1986. Thirty years later, the area remains as one of the best colombian birding hotspots. With an easy

access paved road, great views at canopy-level and also hummingbird feeders, is a great location for exploring and for getting introduced to the avifauna of the Chocó region, one of the most biodiverse ecoregions of the world. The high elevations of Anchicayá host several specialties as: (E)

Tatamá Tapaculo, (E) Grayish Piculet, (E) Crested Ant-tanager, (E) Parker's Antbird, (NE) Toucan Barbet, (NE) Rufous-throated tanager, NE) Chocó tapaculo, (NE) Uniform Treehunter, (NE) Orange-breasted fruiteater, (NE) Club-winged Manakin, (NE) Sooty-headed Wren, (NE) Black-chinned Mountain Tanager, (NE) Ochre-breasted tanager, (NE) Black Solitaire, (NE) Glistening-green tanager, (NE) White-whiskered Hermit, and (NE) Yellow-collared Chlorophonia.


At 1100 masl is located "El Descanso", a familiy restaurant which has a place dedicated to tanagers and hummingbirds. Some of the specialties mentioned above come to feed on the bananas plus others like Black-headed and Tricolored Brush-finches, Tick-billed and Orange-bellied Euphonias. Green Thorntail, White-whiskered Hermit, (NE) Empress Brilliant, (NE) Brown Inca and (NE) White-tailed hillstar come to the hummingbird feeders. Twice at year, a fig tree, attracts dozens of the specialties mentioned above.The star of the place is the chocó endemic Toucan barbet which comes often to the feeders. Night in El Queremal.

Day 2. Low Anchicaya canyon 

Over 400 species have been recorded along the old Cali to Buenaventura Road. Despite the low number of endemics, the low part of the Anchicayá canyon is home of many Chocó specialties as: (NE) Golden-chested Tanager, (NE) Moss-backed Tanager, (NE) Baudo Guan, (NE) Choco Toucan, (NE) Rose-Faced Parrot, (NE) Rufous-throated tanager, (NE) Scarlet-and-white Tanager, (NE) Choco (blue-tailed) Trogon, (NE)Club-winged Manakin, (NE) Blue-whiskered Tanager, (NE) Tooth-billed Hummingbird, (NE) Yellow-green Chlorospingus, (NE) Choco Woodpecker, (NE) Lemon-spectacled Tanager, (NE) Ochre-breasted Tanager, (NE) Purple-chested Hummingbird, (NE) Gray-and-gold Tanager, (NE) Scarlet-browed Tanager.


Other specialties of the canyon include: Esmeraldas  Antbird, Stub-tailed Antbird, Lita Woodpecker, Lanceolated Monklet, White-headed Wren, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Blue-crowned Manakin, , Scarlet-thighed  Dacnis, Zeledon´s antbird, Rufous-winged Tanager, Pacific flatbill, Slaty-capped Shrike-vireo, Great Curassow, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Emerald Tanager, Green Manakin, Broad-billed Sapayoa (Sapayoa), Solitary Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-eagle, Purple Quail-dove, Rufous Mourner, White-crowned Manakin,  Ocellated,  Antbird, Black-breasted Puffbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker. Night in El Queremal.

ENDEMIC Multicolored Tanager
By Sebastián Moreno. CC License
ENDEMIC Multicolored Tanager
By Sebastián Moreno. CC License
Ornate hawk-eagle
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Chocó endemic Toucan barbet
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

Day 3. Mid Anchicaya canyon


The Mid Anchicayá will also provide us with several chances for some of the local targets as Slaty-capped Shrike Vireo, White-vented Euphonia, Russet Antshrike, Chestnut-mandible and Chocó Toucans, Spot-crowned Antvireo, (NE) Scarlet-browed Tanager, Pacific Antwren, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Gray-and-gold tanager, Spot-crowned barbet, Esmeraldas Antbird, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis and (NE) Orange-crowned Euphonia among others. After lunch in El Descanso feeders we will head to the city of Buga in the heart of the Cauca’ valley. Night in Buga.

Day 4. Sonso Lagoon. 

The Sonso lagoon is the last big lagoon of the Cauca river's valley, is the remaining of a complex of wetlands and marshes. As a protected area it preserves habitat for many migrants and resident birds. In its tropical dry forest is possible to see 2 endemics: The Grayish Piculet and the Apical Flycatcher. Other specialties here include (NE) Bar-crested Antshrike, Dwarf Cuckoo, Jet Antbird, Common Potoo, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Striped Cuckoo and Spectacled Parrotlet. The wetland section hosts Fulvous, White-faced & Black-bellied whistling ducks, blue-winged teal, Buff-necked Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Comb Duck, Black-crowned Night-heron amomg others. Birding here is easy with open areas,clear trees and good views of the aquatic vegetation. After lunch we will head to one of the most famous birding places in the country: the mythical Tatamá National Natural Park.

After 3 hours of driving through the Cauca's and across the Western Cordillera we will reach the town of Pueblo Rico (Risaralda department) once there we'll switch to 4WD vehicles which will take us to the Montezuma rainforest ecolodge. Night in Montezuma ecolodge.

Endemic Grayish Piculet
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Saffron-crowned tanager
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

Day 5. Montezuma, Tatamá National Park

Certainly Montezuma is one of the best locations for birding in the colombian Andes. Its privileged location laying on the north side of the Tatamá NP just in transition between two of the main bioregions of Colombia: Chocó and Tropical Andes, make of this place a real hotspot for birding and other nature watching activities. Here we will spend 2 full days and one half morning trying to achieve mostly of the targets. In this case our targets are the jewels of Tatamá NP, a set of rare, colorful and range-restricted birds found here.


The Montezuma hill wich lies within the Tatamá NP, is often divided in 3 altitudinal sections. This day we will explore the best spots of the high part in the quest for many of the specialties with stops at 2 feeders set at 2200 and 2400 masl where is possible to see some extra hummingbirds as

Collared Inca, Tourmaline Sunangel, Speckled Hummingbird, Greenish Puffleg, Mountain Velvetbreast among others seen in the lower section. The endemic list here contains Chestnut-Flowerpiercer, Munchique Wood-wren and Gold-ringed Tanager, the endemic tanager with the most restricted range in Colombia and an iconic bird of the country.

Other specialties here are (NE) Tanager Finch, (NE) Black Solitaire, (NE) Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, (NE) Orange-breasted Fruiteater, (NE) Beautiful Jay, (NE) Purplish-mantled Tanager, (NE) Glistening-green Tanager, (NE) Dusky Chlorospingus, (NE) Black-chinned Mountain-tanager, (NE)Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, (NE) Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, (NE) Brown Inca, and (NE) Nariño Tapaculo. Other specialties include: White-faced Nunbird, Greater Scythebill (rare), Crested Quetzal, Scaly-throatedFoliage-Gleaner, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Semicollared Hawk (rare). Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Barred Fruiteater, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Barred Hawk. Night in Montezuma lodge.


Day 6. Montezuma mid and low section


This day will start in the mid level, considered the most biodiverse of the three sections. Here we'll have chances to see the endemic Black-and-gold Tanager, Olivaceous Piha, (NE) Indigo Flowerpiercer, (NE) Purplish-mantled Tanager, (NE) Glistening-green Tanager, (NE) Dusky Chlorospingus, (NE) Black-chinned Mountain-tanager, Crested Quetzal, Olive Finch, Scaly-throated Foliage Gleaner, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Yellow-collared and Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonias and Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant. Other interesting birds are Barred Hawk, Cloud-forest Pygmy-Owl, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, and some interesting antbirds as (NE) Bicolored Antvireo, Zeledon's Antbird, (E) Parker's Antbird, Slaty, Rufous-rumped and Yellow-breasted Antwrens. Night in Montezuma lodge.

ENDEMIC Gold-ringed tanager
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
ENDEMIC Gold-ringed tanager
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
ENDEMIC Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

Day 7.  Montezuma low section

This morning we will explore the lower section of the Montezuma hill in search of missing targets and spending time in the feeders around the lodge. After lunch we will drive back to the Cauca valley and finish the day in one of the most well known spots in the Central Andes: Otun-Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. Night in Otun lodge.


Day 8. Otun-Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary

Otún-Quimbaya is another famous location with a long tradition promoting birding through a community-based tourism strategy led by the Yarumo Blanco Community Association.

It's also the best place for some restricted birds like the endemic Cauca Guan, Crested Ant-tanager, Stile'sTapaculo and Multicolored Tanager.

Other specialties hereinclude: (E) Grayish Piculet, (NE) Moustached and (NE) Hooded Antpittas, (NE) Rufous-breasted Flycatcher, Torrent Duck, White-capped Tanager, Chestnut-breasted Wren, Wattled Guan, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Plumbeous-crownedTyrannulet, Tyrannine Woodcreeper, Wedge-billed Hummingbird (White-throated), Black-banded Woodcreeper, Streak-capped Treehunter, Bronze-olive Pygmy-tyrant, Black-billed Peppershrike, Golden-winged and Cerulean Warblers, among others. Owling can produce (NE) Colombian screech-owl, Mottled Owl, Tropical Screech-owl, Common pauraque. Mountain tapir (rare), crab-eating fox, paca and agoutis are often seen in the park. Night in Otun lodge.

Endemic Cauca guan
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Torrent duck
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

Day 9. Otun-Quimbaya FFS and Los Termales road 

After a pleasant breakfast in the Otun lodge, we will drive to the mountain city of Manizales where the main area of Los Nevados National Park is easily reachable . Once there we’ll head towards the low part of the famous Los Termales road which preserve an important section of high Andean and Andean forest. Here, we will search for: (NE) Bicolored Antpitta, (E) Chestnut Woodquail, Chestnut-naped Antpitta. Other possibilities include: Black-chested Mountain-tanager, Gray-breasted Mountain- toucan, Black-headed Hemispingus, Agile tit-tyrant, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Purple-backed Thornbill, Glossy Flowerpiercer, Crowned , Slaty-backed, Brown-backed and Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrants, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, White- browed Spinetail, Streaked Tuftedcheek, Slate-crowned Antpitta, Blackish, Ash-colored and Spillman's Tapaculos, Barred Fruiteater, Powerful, Crimson-mantled and Bar-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue-backed and Capped Conebill, Mountain Avocetbill, , Dusky Piha and Ocellated Tapaculo. Night in Manizales.


Day 10. Paramo del Ruiz. Los Nevados National Natural Park 

Los Nevados NP is one of the top birding destinatios in the country. We will wind through patches of forest that open up to Paramo, a montane ecosystem above the treeline dominated by espeletia (frailejon), and grasses. We will reach elevations up to 4.100 meters, so it will be cold and we will take all precautions to avoid elevation sickness.


As we enter the paramo habitat, possibilities include: (E) Buffy Helmetcrest, (E) Rufous-fronted Parakeet, (NE)Black-backed Bush-tanager, (NE) Black-thighed Puffleg, (NE) Golden-breasted Puffleg. Other specialties include Tawny Antpitta, White-chinned Thistletail, Stoutbilled Cinclodes, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Andean Condor, Many-striped Canastero, Paramo Seedeater, Noble Snipe, Black flowerpiercer, Golden-crowned Tanager, Ash-coloured & Paramo Tapaculo, Andean Pygmy-owl, Mountain Avocetbill, Plain-capped Ground-tyrant.

The hummingbird feeding station at Termales del Ruiz hotel attracts Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Tourmaline Sunangel, Viridian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill and the Near endemics Black-thighed and Golden-breasted Pufflegs.

Endemic Buffy helmetcrest
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Rainbow-bearded thornbill
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Endemic Rufous-fronted parakeet
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

Day 11. Rio Blanco reserve

Río Blanco is one of the oldest and better known birding hotspots of Colombia. Was the first in stablishing antpitta feeders where is possible to spot at least 4 species, (E) Brown-banded, Chestnut-crowned, Slate-crowned and (NE) Bicolored antpittas. Feeders are strategically placed close to the lodge and next to the main road, photographic chances are the best here. In addition to this, there are hummingbird feeders wich attracts species previously seen but with a different environment and light conditions: Collared Inca, Tourmaline Sunangel, Bronzy Inca, Lesser and Sparkling Violetears, Speckled hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Buff-tailed Coronet and White-bellied Woodstar amon others. Andean emerald, Fawn-breasted Brilliant and (NE) Western Wedge-billed Hummingbird are found in a second feeder station in the main entrance to the reserve.

Tanagers feeders attract Buff-breasted and Blue-winged Mountain-tanagers, Slaty Br ush-finch, Masked Flowerpiercer and others. Walking in the road is possible to see the much wanted and rare Masked Saltator, Golden-    headed Quetzal, White-capped Tanager, Golden-plummed Parakeet, Montane, Tyrannine and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Rusty-faced Parrot, Dusky Piha, Crimson mantled Woodpecker, Red-hooded Tanager and Black Black-billed

Mountain Toucan among others. Afternoon drive to Otun-Quimbaya Flora & Fauna Sanctuary. Night in Rio Blanco reserve.


Day 12. Rio Blanco reserve

This morning we will for missing targets of the previous day. After lunch we will head to Pereira’s airport for the flight to Bogotá or connections to extensions. End of the trip

White-capped Tanager
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta
By tour leader Johnnier Arango
Endemic Brown-banded Antpitta
By tour leader Johnnier Arango

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