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Colombia: Santa Marta Endemic Getaway

Santa Marta Screech Owl © Edison Buenano

Santa Marta Screech Owl © Edison Buenano

After a 20 year absence, Colombia is back on the birding radar! Simply put, more species of birds have been recorded in Colombia than in any other country in the world—to date nearly 1900 species.

The Santa Marta region is one of the most endemic-rich sites in Colombia and also one of the most accessible. These high, pyramid-shaped mountains rise up from the shores of the Caribbean to nearly twenty thousand feet! About twenty species of endemics, reside amongst this stunning scenery here!


Black-backed Thornbill © Edison Buenano

Black-backed Thornbill © Edison Buenano

  • Tour Cost
  • 2018 Cost

    $4500 per person, double occupancy, from Barranquilla, Colombia


    Single Supplement
    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $490.00 will be assessed.


    What is Included / Not Included in the Cost
    Included in the cost: all accommodations, meals, local transportation, entrance fees and permits from from Barranquilla, Colombia.


    NOT included: International flights, passport fees, airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, laundry services, phone calls, additional taxes or anything of a purely personal nature.



    A deposit of $500 is required to join this trip.


    How to Book
    In order to hold your space, you must make your deposit and complete the Wildside Nature Tours Registration Form.


    Final Payment
    The balance due or full payment, by check (made payable to Wildside), is due at least 120 days prior to the departure date.


    Mail Final Payment To
    Make checks payable to WILDSIDE

    Mail to:
    Kevin Loughlin
    Wildside Nature Tours
    241 Emerald Drive
    Yardley, PA 19067

  • Itinerary
  • Day 1: Barranquilla
    Flights arrive in the evening… night in Barranquilla.


    Day 2: Riohacha
    We will visit Isla Salamaca looking for Chestnut Piculet and, we search the mangroves for Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Brown-throated Parakeet, Bicolored Conebill, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Panama Flycatcher and Red-rumped Woodpecker. We will have lunch on the road at one of many great Colombian restaurants. In the afternoon we will drive to Rio Hacha La Guajira.


    Day 3: La Minca / Guajira Peninsula
    This arid corner of Colombia holds a number of birds shared only with Venezuela. We will leave early to take advantage of the cool morning hours, driving about an hour to Los Flamencos reserve, named for the large flocks of glowing Caribbean Flamingos that live there among the Roseate Spoonbills and thousands of wintering shorebirds.


    The specialty birds occur in the nearby dry scrub, and we’ll look for White-whiskered Spinetail, Slender-billed Inezia, Orinoco Saltator, Glaucous Tanager, Tocuyo Sparrow scare, Red-billed Emerald, Vermilion Cardinal, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Black-crested Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren and others. Afternoon drive to Minca where a nice lodge in the Minca town now has hummingbird feeders where we may see Black-throated Mango, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Red-billed Emerald and more.


    Day 4: Drive to El Dorado Lodge
    We'll start birding uphill from La Minca to El Dorado. It is good birding looking for Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-White Wren, Scaled Piculet, Keel-billed Toucan, Golden-winged sparrow, Gray-hooded Tanager and more. On the way to the Dorado we will stop for a drink in at la tined where they have hummingbird feeders for Long-billed Hermit and Santha Martha Woodstar plus we'll search for White-lored Warbler and Santha Martha Foliage Gleaner.


    Day 5-7 Santa Marta Mountains
    The next few days in the Santa Marta Mountains we will be moving up and down hill, birding the roads. This mountain range has the tallest peaks in Colombia and 19 endemic bird species are currently recognized as well as more than seventy subspecies (some of which will likely be raised to species level in the near future). We’ll make the most of our time here, covering all the elevations accessible by road and having picnic lunches in the field.


    The higher elevations hold flocks of screeching Santa Marta Parakeets, Yellow-crowned Redstarts, Santa Marta Warblers, the stolid Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Rusty-headed Spinetail, and the “soon to be split” local race of Rufous Antpitta. At the feeders we will see the nice White-tailed Starfrontlet, Streak-capped Spinetail, Santa Martha Mountain-Tanager, and Santa Marta Antpitta.


    Around the lodge clearing is the best spot for Santa Marta Brush-Finch and lots of endemic subspecies including, Cinnamon Flycatcher, Black-hooded Thrush, Blue-capped Tanager, and Emerald Toucanet. Other feathered gems that put gleams of lust into the eyes of visiting birders include Blossomcrown, White-tipped Quetzal, Emerald Toucanet, Golden-breasted Fruiteater, and Rusty-breasted Antpitta.


    Day 8 Back to Barranquilla
    Today is a cleaning day… we'll look for the species that we may have missed before driving to Barranquilla.


    Day 9 Fly home OR continue to Bogota Endemics optional extension

  • Accommodations
  • The El Dorado Lodge, main housethe-lodge-at-el-dorado-BINNS-IMG_0567-copy

  • Additional Info

    Colombia bird bookRecommended Field Guide:


    Birds of Colombia

    by Steven L. Hilty and William L. Brown

    (Princeton University Press, 1986)


    If you can not get a hold of a copy of the Hilty/Brown book, then I suggest


    A Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia

    by Miles McMullan, Thomas M. Donegan and Alonso Quevedo

    (Fundacion ProAves, 2010)