For years, political and social unrest made Colombia a notoriously dangerous place to visit. As the country continues to become safer by the year, the beautiful untouched landscape is ripe for discovery. With over 2,000 species of birds, Colombia is the world’s top destination for bird lovers to explore with its beautiful landscapes and wildlife diversity.
What makes Colombia so distinguished in its bird species? One reason is its distinct geographical landscape; the dry deserts, high mountains, and lush jungles, with varying climates and altitudes. These make this beautiful South American country a playground for nature lovers. Let’s look at some of the best birdwatching areas of Colombia.
The Caribbean Region
We start our tour on the beautiful Caribbean Coast of Colombia high in the Sierra Nevada region of Santa Marta.
The unique landscape of the Sierra Nevada Range is the highest point in Colombia and the tallest coastal mountain range in the world.
This area is home to over 600 species of birds, 19 of which are considered endemic species. The El Dorado Reserve is a fantastic place to stay.
It is situated high in the mountains and is surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for the Sierra Nevada Bush Finch, Black Fronted Wood-Quail, and the Santa Marta Screech Owl.
The far North of Colombia is the driest region, called La Guajira. Believe it or not, next to the lush Caribbean there is a desert that receives just 21 inches of rainfall a year.
Be sure to stop by the marshlands in this region that are home to up to 200 protected species at the Los Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.
Here you can adore the Greater Flamingo among others.
Pacific Coast Region
Heading west and over to the Pacific Coast of Colombia, you can find yourself in the department of Valle de Cauca. In Narino, we love the La Planada Nature Reserve where you can see not only a wide variety of orchid species that Colombia is so famous for but also the Spectacled Bear. Also keep a lookout for the Plate Billed Mountain-Toucan, White Faced Nun Bird, and the Hoary Puffleg.
Last but not least, we don’t want to forget to mention the beautiful Amazon region of Colombia. Believe it or not, one-third of Colombia’s total bird population of Colombia lives here. Two of the best spots are the Amacayacu National Nature Park, and Gamboa Island. Some of the incredible birds you will find in the Amazon are the Quetzal, Macaw, Hoatzin, Laughing Falcon, and the Jabiru Stork (no, we can’t make these names up). Besides the incredible bird watching, there are also many other incredible and rare wildlife creatures to discover.
When is the best time to visit?
While Colombia’s migratory species come and go throughout the year, the beauty of Colombia is that you can see birds year-round. However, Colombia experiences two periods of heavy rainfall between April to May and between October and November, so keep that in mind when planning your trip!
Not quite ready to hop on a plane and head to Colombia? Try getting your toes wet and bird from the comfort of your own home! Where Next offers incredible birding options and allows you to explore some of the most remote corners of Colombia, all without leaving your house. For more advice on where your next adventure should be, connect with the TCI ambassadors!
by: Erin Colton-Enberg