Ecotourism and Bird Watching Paradise:
Colombia is home to over 50,000 animal species—10 percent of all known species in the animal kingdom—including more types of birds than anywhere else on the planet. Colombia has been crowned the bird-watching world champion four years in a row, recently winning the Global Big Day contest with 1,288 different bird species recognized in a single day (October 17, 2020).
Colombia is the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world. Our tour ¨home base¨ is Manizales…Colombia´s most beautiful and safest city and is one of the best areas for bird watching and biodiversity in the world. Our 10 day, 9-night eco-tourism and bird watching tour have been carefully designed to maximize your exposure to our amazing fauna, flora, and scenery as well as experience Colombian culture.
Our prices are a ¨all-inclusive¨ meaning hotel, all meals, transportation, highly experienced, bi-lingual guides, and park entrance fees. Flights, alcoholic beverages, and incidentals are not included.
• Rio Blanco Reserve - home to 362 bird species including 13 endemics
• Tinamú Reserve - an abundance of hummingbirds and tanagers
• Los Nevados National Park - Páramo and high elevation birds
• Termales de Ruiz - hot springs resorts with two bird watching trails
• Recinto de Pensamiento - 350 butterfly species, orchids and 150 bird species
• Finca Romelia - 840 orchid species and 216 species of birds
• Salento and Cocora Valley - wax palms, spectacular scenery and bird watching
There are many areas to visit. Our tours vary with the seasons and can be completely customized for groups with a minimum size of 4 guests or can be private tours for 1 or 2 people at an additional cost.
• Day 1 - Arrival, Check In, Welcome Dinner
• Day 2 - Morning seminar with Juan Sebastian Restrepo and other experts, afternoon in Recinto de Pensamiento
• Day 3 - Rio Blanco bird watching and nature trails
• Day 4 - Salento & Cocora Valley
• Day 5 - Finca Romelia
• Day 6 - Nevado de Ruiz
• Day 7 - Tinamu Birding Nature Reserve
• Day 8 - Termales del Ruiz birding and hot springs
• Day 9 - Santa Rosa birding and hot springs
• Day 10 - Check out, airport return
Breakfast: Every day, the hotel serves a big breakfast buffet
Lunch: Lunches will be at great local restaurants or at the site we are visiting
Dinner: Each night we have selected the best restaurants in Manizales.
We offer two choices of hotels…both are very highly rated on sites like Trip Advisor and Booking and are in great locations…Prices are based on all 9 nights at the Varuna Hotel but for a small additional cost you can stay at our high-end glamping facility or part of the time at the Varuna and part of the time glamping
The birding sites we visit
What makes Río Blanco unique? Antpittas. Nine species have been recorded here. These birds are of course very difficult to see, skulkers that walk on the forest floor and which are generally heard, but not seen. What makes Río Blanco special is the fact that here you can actually see them! Four species come in regularly including the endemic Brown-banded Antpitta, Chestnut-crowned, Bicolored and Slate-crowned antpittas. The ability to see this many Antpitta species in one morning is unrivaled. Río Blanco’s cloud forests also have many other wonderful species. The White-crowned Tanager, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Rusty-faced Parrot, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Streak-headed Antbird, Ocellated Tapaculo, Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Dusky Piha, Black-collared Jay and Masked Saltator. During the slow hours in the middle of the day, pay attention to the hummingbird feeders to see Collared Inca, Long-tailed Sylph, among many others.
TINAMÚ RESERVE AND LODGE
What makes Tinamú special? The abundance of hummingbirds and tanagers that come to the nectar
and fruit feeders. We depart the Lodge at 5;30 to arrive for the first bird watching at 6:30 am, then breakfast at 8 am. From 8:30 to noon, we visit the second area, then lunch. From 1 pm to 4;30, we visit two other areas. Birding the forest can be great, and one may even run into the difficult-to-see namesake of the lodge, the Little Tinamou. The isolated Colombian population of Grey-headed Dove can be found here, as can several specialties like the Colombian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet, and some nice antbirds. These include the Parker’s Antbird, which is difficult to find, but also the much easier to find Jet Antbird and Blue-lored Antbird. The MoustachedPuffbird is a charismatic bird that may be found in the forest, and if you like a challenge the White-crowned Tapaculo has been seen here.
LOS NEVADOS NATIONAL PARK
This will be our chance to visit the páramo, a high elevation habitat of grass, cushion plants, and unique vegetation found only in the high mountains The local birds are high elevation-specialties,
including the endemic and extremely charismatic Buffy Helmetcrest. This long-tailed hummingbird with a peaked crest is not only a rare and range-restricted bird but also a habitat specialist. It is found in páramo rich “Frailejón” plants of the genus Espeletia. These are odd, large, hairy-leaved plants in the sunflower family that are only found in well preserved páramo habitats. At these high elevations, we may also find the Stout-billed Cinclodes, Manystriped Canastero, Andean Tit-Spinetail, Veridian Metaltail, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Plaincapped Ground-Tyrant, Andean Teal, Páramo Tapaculo, and the Tawny Antpitta. If you are lucky, the Andean Condor may sail by.
TERMALES DE RUIZ
This is a great day for bird watching and relaxing in the natural hot springs of this beautiful hotel. Enjoy stunning landscape with spectacular gardens visited by highland bird species. Bird watching possibilities include: Andean Siskin, Shining Sunbeam, Glowing Puffleg, Redcrested Cotinga, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Great Sapphirewing, Slaty Brushfinch, Masked Flowerpiercer, Black-backed Bush Tanager… approximately 190 species.
RECINTO DE PENSAMIENTO
Located outside Manizales a few kilometers is the 180 acre Recinto de Pensamiento to get up close with 350 butterfly species, an orchid-populated forest, medicinal herb garden, approximately 150 bird species including lots of hummingbirds.
EL NIDO DE CONDOR
Located outside Manizales about an hour drive is the upscale clamping hotel El Nido de Condor - a strategic place to catch a glimpse of the couple of Andean condors that nest on the plateau, one of the three known Andean condor nests in Colombia. You will be able to see at the height of the canopy of
the surrounding vegetation and / or on the 2 canyons that surround us, various birds, with a variety of 150 species, among which are 14 raptors, endemic NT birds (Odontophorus hyperythrus, c h e s t n u t w o o d - q u a i l ) , a l m o s t e n d e m i c (ogmoehymchus icterotis, yellow – eared parrot), EN
(Spizatus isidori, black – and – chestnut eagle) TWELVE (12) migratory, and NT (Vultur, griphus, Andean condor), You can also enjoy sighting mammals such as foxes (Cerdocyon thousand) Armadillos (Dasypus sabanicola), or Guaguas (Cuniculus taczanowskii), amongst others.
SALENTO AND COCORA VALLEY
No trip to the Coffee Zone would be complete without a day in the charming Colombian pueblo of Salento and a trip to see the Cocora Valley with its wax palms, spectacular scenery and bird watching.
On the farm (about 30 minutes from the Lodge), visitors will be able to enjoy more than 840 species
of orchids for an average of 8,000 orchid plants, an interesting variety of bonsai and around 216 species of birds. In addition, there are citrus and avocado production crops. All this, accompanied by a spectacular view that allows you to observe the imposing mountain ranges and the different landscape compositions. This is a 2 part tour: 3 hours bird watching and 4 to 5 hours orchids including learning how to grow them. Colombia is the orchid capital of the world and we are sure you will enjoy their beauty along with bird watching.
RIO CLARO LA SOLEDAD
Located about 45 minutes from the Lodge in the town of Villamaria. The farm is at 1,200 meters
above sea level so the climate is warm. Approximately 171 species. Observed species: Aves especiales: Dacnis hartlaubi (E), Euphonia cyanocephala, Hemithraupis guira, Ramphocelus dimidiatus, Cranioleuca erythrops, Cyanocorax affinis, Cercomacra parkeri (E), Chalybura buffonii, Forpus conspicillatus, Aulacorhynchus haematopygus.
- Private and personalized service
- 9-nights stay in Varuna Hotel.
- Professional certified bilingual guide, permanent company during the tours.
- Meals as described in the plan
- Hydration during excursions.
- All transports between destinations and to/from included activities, transfers in-out.
- Hotels taxes.
- Tickets to all the attractions and activities specified in the program
- Traveler Assistance and medical insurance Card.
- Benefits of the circuit: Ecotourism, Biodiversity, Fauna and Flora Sighting, aquarium, Adventure [bike-tour, trekking, hiking, sailing in speedboat, snorkeling or canoe rowing], cultural, historical, architectural, ethno-tourism, wellness – SPA experience, typical gastronomy… sensorial and sustainable experiences.
- Private Experiences and Activities: As described in this plan
- Sunscreem and towels
- Neither International flight tickets, nor domestic flight tickets not specified in the proposal, nor ticket taxes.
- Activities or expenses not specified in the plan.
- Visa Procedures
- Administrative fees (charged by the Travel Agency)
- Tips and gratuities to service providers (guides, waiters, and helpers), personal expenses such as telephone calls, laundry, extras in hotels etc. These will be under the passenger's account
The price may vary depending on the number of people.
- Pax: USD 4.661 per person
- Pax: USD 3.317 per person
- Pax: USD 2.896 per person
- Pax: USD 2.761 per person
- Pax: USD 2.603 per person
- Pax: USD 2.498 per person
- Pax: USD 2.489 per person
- Pax: USD 2.425 per person
- Pax: USD 2.375 per person
- Pax: USD 2.335 per person