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Colombia Wildlife Odyssey

10 Days | From


Highlights

  • Birding in the El Dorado Bird Reserve
  • Explore the Coffee Triangle
  • Walk amongst Wax Palms in the Cocora Valley
  • Visit local Amazon communities
  • Stay in sustainable eco-lodges

Amazon, Andes and Caribbean Mountains: Tropical Trails, Wildlife, and Café

Colombia is fast emerging as one of the most popular destinations in South America. With friendly people, a tropical climate and a rich culture, it has something to offer for any traveler. Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will feel like they hit the jackpot in Colombia, which is home to more birds and amphibians than any other country on the planet. Despite being a fraction of the size of Brazil, Colombia has almost as many species including thousands of flora and fauna that can only be seen within the country.

Andean Discovery has created a 10-day itinerary to showcase the diversity of Colombia’s landscape, wildlife and birds. Journey from the deepest tropical basin on earth in the Amazon to the Earth’s highest coastal mountain range, and explore the rich tradition of coffee amidst the fertile volcanic soils of the Andes. Along the way, you’ll interact with local villagers and learn about contemporary conservation efforts. You’ll also stay in sustainable, eco-lodges so your visit will help preserve these natural treasures.

Pricing



    Included
    • Private tours with professional Andean Discovery guides
    • Accommodations based on double occupancy
    • All activities and transfers as per itinerary
    • Most meals
    Not Included
    • International round-trip airfare
    • Fees for passport and travel insurance
    • Gratuities
    • Cabin upgrades available

    Itinerary
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    Detailed Itinerary >>
    Meet Andean Discovery staff and transport to hotel

    An Andean Discovery member will be waiting in the airport to welcome you to Colombia and transfer you to the airport.

    Overnight: Movich Buró 26 Hotel

    Fly to the Amazon and travel by canoe to your lodge

    A short morning flight will bring you to the heart of the Amazon upon your landing in Leticia. Despite being the largest city for hundreds of kilometers in Southern Colombia, Leticia looks and feels like a small frontier town. It’s located on the Amazon River near the point where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet. You board a motorized canoe to approach Calanoa Lodge, your home for the next few days. This sustainable eco-lodge dedicated to the conservation of the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon and you’ll have the jungle at your fingertips. After a welcome presentation and lunch, you’ll have time to rest or explore the property, which includes a 60 km nature reserve.

    In the evening, a nature guide will lead you to observe nocturnal animals.

    Overnight: Calanoa Lodge

    Visit the local Mocagua community and go hiking with local indigenous guides

    You will start your morning with a visit the indigenous community of Mocagua where you will learn about Calanoa’s Foundation and ongoing projects with the community. This includes educational projects and artistic ones. With the help of generous donors and this organization, locals are documenting and celebrating their traditions through photography and murals.

    After lunch, you will hike in the Calanoa Natural Reserve and the Amacayacu National Park with experienced indigenous guides.

    Overnight: Calanoa Lodge

    Meet the local community in Puerto Nariño

    This morning, you will travel to Nariño Port for wildlife viewing at the Tarapoto Lakes. The jungle lake and flooded plains is home to manatees, massive Victoria Regina water lilies, and its famous pink dolphins. Visit the sustainable community of Puerto Nariño who pioneers sustainable development models. This tiny Amazonian village holistically embodies the concept of “green” in an authentic way, proving that humans and nature can live in peaceful coexistence.  The only vehicles you will find here is an ambulance and a recycling truck; even the ubiquitous motorcycle is banned here. Instead, the town is organized as a grid of landscaped, pedestrian-only paths, cleaned daily by a citizen brigade. For longer trips, you can flag down a dug out canoe “taxi”. The town has trash and recycling bins on every corner, rainwater is collected for washing and gardening and electricity comes from the town’s generator that is only run until midnight to minimize waste. This tranquil town’s progressive practices seem light years ahead of modern cities.

    This afternoon, visit the Amacayacu National Park. The word “Amacayacu” means “River of the Hamocs” in indigenous Quechua. The park encompasses over 4,000 kilometers of jungle, most of which is flooded by the Amazon River during wet season. Keep your eyes out for Pink River Dolphins.

    Overnight: Calanoa Lodge

    Tour the Coffee Triangle

    Enjoy one last early morning birding walk before returning to Leticia by canoe. Then you’ll be transferred to the airport in time for your morning flight to Pereira, with connection in Bogotá. Upon landing in Colombia’s famous Coffee Triangle, you will be met by Andean Discovery staff and taken to your charming Andean lodge.

    This afternoon, you’ll be immersed in coffee culture with a visit to a family-run plantation. A knowledgeable guide will demonstrate how the beans are grown, harvested and dried before being exported worldwide. Then, a guided tasting will allow you to see what all the fuss is about.   You will learn how to analyze the aroma and flavor of a delicious Colombian roast.

    Overnight: Hacienda Castilla

    Travel through and Los Nevados National Park and walk amongst wax palms in the Cocora Valley

    Savor the scent of coffee before bidding goodbye to Pereira. This morning, you will enter Los Nevados National Park and head straight to Cocora Valley, Colombia’s valley of the palms. You’ll find the Quindio wax palm, Colombia’s national tree, punctuating otherworldly cloud forests. This statuesque tree can grow up to staggering heights of 60 meters and live up to 120 years, which is especially remarkable at high altitudes. Local people used to use the wax of the tree to make soap and candles, until the introduction of electricity. The outer stem has been used to build houses and water supply systems for local farms. You will witness local indigenous Quimbaya people use the wax palm to bless a new crop of seedlings before planting them in the rich Andean soil during a sacred Colombian ritual.

    We return to Pereira in the afternoon via Salento, a picturesque agricultural town known for the colorful creations of its locals.

    Overnight: Hacienda Castilla

    Travel through the Sierra Nevada mountain range on your way to El Dorado Lodge

    Transfer to the airport in time for flight to Santa Marta where you’ll find an unbeatable blend of beach, jungle and wildlife.  From the airport, a 2.5 hours drive along the Sierra Nevada Mountain range will take to your lodge, with spectacular views from the highest coastal mountain range in the world along the way. Despite the relatively small size of the Sierra Nevada, the close proximity of Caribbean beach and coastal mountains means that you can find every eco-system within the park. There are thick tropical rain forests, mysterious cloud forests, expansive woodlands, alpine meadows, harsh high tundra occupied by an equally diverse wildlife. Bears, tapirs, deer, jaguar and puma live alongside monkeys, armadillos, ocelots, wild pigs and cats, turkeys and alligators. And that’s just on the ground- birders consider this area a Holy Grail since it contains 26 species of birds found nowhere else on the planet. You’ll find pelicans, condors, storks, macaws, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, hawks and the famous Santa Marta parakeet. For these reasons and more, the journal Science named Sierra Nevada reserve “the most irreplaceable site on earth”. Your stay at El Dorado Lodge will help promote continued conservation efforts and you’ll enjoy staying at the center of the action.

    Overnight: El Dorado Lodge

    Surround yourself with wildlife and nature on a walk around this Sierra Nevada Reserve

    “The early bird catches the worm” so hopefully your pre-dawn wake-up will result in seeing the Santa Marta Parakeet in the upper reserves of the Park. After this, you’ll return to the lodge for breakfast, a siesta and the opportunity to continue to explore the reserve. You can walk the Quetzal Dorado trail to the condor tower, the Quetzal trail to the kogui terraces or observe hummingbirds from the terrace. Continue exploring the trails, wildlife viewing and birding in the afternoon.

    Overnight: El Dorado Lodge

    Enjoy an early morning birding excursion before your flight back to Bogota

    Say goodbye to El Dorado during a final morning birding excursion and lunch at the lodge. After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Bogotá. You can also opt to extend your stay with a visit to Cartagena, the colonial port city with a dreamy location on the Caribbean coast.

    Overnight: Movich Buró 26 Hotel

    Transfer to the airport for your international flight

    You will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flight.



    Overview
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    • Movich Buró 26 Hotel

      This modern hotel mimics the flavor of its Colombian Bogota neighborhood.

    • Calanoa Lodge

      This sustainable eco-lodge is located in the heart of the Amazon. Whether you want to relax in in a jungle hammock or indulge in local cuisine, this lodge provides a unique base for your adventure around the reserve.

    • Hacienda Castilla

      A historical hacienda surrounded by lush parkland and natural beauty in Pereira, Colombia.



    Overview
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    Damon put together the perfect itinerary for our group of 7 - including grandparents. His knowledge of the region is superb, which is why he is able to create the ultimate trip for your family. From whitewater rafting in Peru to zip-lining in Ecuador, we truly had the trip of a lifetime! I wouldn't go with anyone else!
    Carolyn Malloy
    Carolyn Malloy
    12:40 31 Jan 19
    Our trip was fantastic and Micaela with Andean Discovery was great! Every detail was taken care of ahead of time. We just showed up and enjoyed the beauty of South America. I would use them again in a heartbeat.
    marc abrams
    marc abrams
    23:33 23 Nov 18
    We traveled with our family of 3 people. Andean did a wonderful job helping us select an itinerary that was able to accommodate our various ages. We had no glitches in a fairly complicated itinerary and everything came off as planned. Our local guide in Quito Johanna was terrific. I can't recommend Sacha Lodge more highly. Our experience in Galapagos on the Coral 1 was magical. While the crew of the Coral 1 could have been more charming and smiled on occasion they were helpful, the food was very good and the rooms were kept clean. I have no reservations in recommending Andean Discovery for your South American Holiday
    Victor Elinoff
    Victor Elinoff
    23:26 07 Jan 19
    Thanks to Andean our vacation was a wonderful experience for our entire family of 15 (8 adults and 7 grand kids aged 16 to 9).. The planning for the trip to the Galapagos was well researched; the hotels, guides and itinerary were spot on. They answered our many questions before we departed and there NO disappointments during the vacation. It was the most memorable trip our family has taken.
    Mary Ann Fuller
    Mary Ann Fuller
    18:00 22 Jan 19
    My family toured the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu in Peru with Andean Discovery guides and reservations. We had a fabulous adventure! I recommend highly that "superior lodging" be chosen as an option for the best possible room accommodations. The marvelous comfort of the fine hotels Andean booked for us made all the difference.
    Kathryn Fulhorst
    Kathryn Fulhorst
    21:36 08 Jan 19
    Traveling to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu was a dream vacation for my wife. After much research we booked our trip through Andean Discovery. We are so glad we did. Everything went smoothly and our personal guides in Ecuador and Peru were wonderful. I would highly recommend Andean Discovery to anyone thinking of taking a similar trip.
    Arnold Miniman
    Arnold Miniman
    15:29 14 Dec 18