Day 1: Arrival Into Barranqilla
After our afternoon arrival, we will go to our lodgings. We will have the evening to get to know each other and prepare for our early morning departure eastward.
Day 2: Salamanca
In the morning we'll head out to Cienaga Grande in Salamanca. The Ciénaga Grande (Great Marsh) and Isla Salamanca National Parks lie along the Caribbean coast between Baranquilla and Santa Marta. This marshland is formed by the delta created as the Magdalena River enters the Atlantic. Once there we will take a small boat to bird among the mangrove stands. We can also bird along the main coast road, stopping at intervals to scan the pools, etc. We will look for Chestnut-winged Chachalacas as they stand in full view on cacti. We will also look for Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Bronze-brown Cowbird (endemic), Red-rumped Woodpecker, Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Wood Stork and Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (endemic). Along the Ciénaga in the various pools we'll look for White-cheeked Pintail and Large-billed Tern as well as countless shorebirds. We will lodge Minca.
Day 3: Minca Cuchilla de San Lorenzo
We'll rise early and begin birding along the Minca road towards the Cuchilla de san Lorenzo. At the lower elevations we'll look for Rufous-capped Warbler and Swallow Tanager as well as Coppery Emerald, Black-and-white Owl, Royal Flycatcher, Golden-winged Sparrow and of course the Rosy Thrush-Tanager. We'll stop frequently as we climb towards our lodgings at "El Dorado" where we will spend the night. Species to look for include Northern Oriole, Tennessee Warbler and other winter visitors as well as Yellow-legged and Black-hooded Thrush. The first endemics can be seen above 1200m.a.s.l. At this altitude we'll look for Santa Marta Brush-finch and White-lored Warbler and Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, Santa Marta Antpitta, Golden-crowned Whitestart, Red-billed Parrot, Band-tailed Guan, and Barred Forest-falcon. After a full day, we will lodge at "El Dorado".
Day 4: San Lorenzo
We will rise early and bird all the way up to the top of the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo to search for Santa Marta Seedeater, Three-striped Warbler, Andean Condor, Rufous Antpitta, Santa Marta Wren, and White-tipped Swift . We will continue birding as we descend toward Minca and on our way to Rio de Piedra where our comfortable lodgings await.
Day 5: Parque Tayrona
We will rise early and make our way to the Parque Tayrona. Within the Park, we will walk along trails and look for Blue-backed and White-bearded Manakins, Jet and White-bellied Antbirds, White-fringed Antwren, King Vulture, Crested Guan, Military Macaw, Brown-throated Parakeet, Rufous-capped Warbler, Scrub Greenlet, Long-billed Gnatwren, Little Tinamou, Zone-tailed, Grey and Short-tailed Hawk, Blue-crowned Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, One-coloured Becard, Blue Dacnis, and during the season, a selection of North American migrants. We will also look for Red-billed Emerald, Pale-bellied Hermit and Orange-crowned Oriole. With much luck we may even see Blue-billed Currasow. After a full day of birding and taking in the exceptional views and beaches we head back to playa Mandala for the night.
Day 6: Parque Los Flamencos
We will rise early and head out towards Los Flamencos National Park located on the Caribbean coast, in dry tropical forest area to the west of the peninsula of La Guajira. Among the scrub, we'll look for Orinocan Saltator, Caribbean Hornero, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Scaled Dove and Brown-throated Parakeet. Within cactus-rich scrub we'll look for Chestnut Piculet, White-fringed Antwren, Black-crested Antshrike, Vermilion Cardinal, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Buffy Hummingbird, Red-billed Emerald, Pileated Finch, Crested Bobwhite and Red-crowned Woodpecker. In the lagoon bays we will board dugouts with sails (don`t worry, these are safe) and search for Roseate Spoonbill, American Flamingo and Scarlet & White Ibis, as well as for terns, cormorants, herons and egrets. We will return to Santa Marta for the night.
Day 7: Santa Marta-Bahía Solano
After a good breakfast, we can tour the city before heading out to the airport for our flight to Bahía Solano, with a short stopover in Medellin. Bahía Solano is considered one of the most unspoiled destinations of the Pacific Lowlands of Colombia.
Upon arrival, we will be picked up by jeeps or a local "Chiva" towards our lodgings at el Almejal. The trip to our lodgings (15 km) usually takes about 40 minutes along a partially paved road, but we will bird along the way to get a glimpse at several Chocó specialties including the near endemic Black-tipped and the Blue Cotinga and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis. Once we arrive at El Almejal we will get settled into our lodgings where we can enjoy the beaches and check out common bird species around the lodge.
Day 8: El Valle-Bahía Solano Road
We will walk or drive along the road towards Bahía Solano. There are patches of second-growth forest along the road interspersed with pastures and farms. Possibilities here include Scarlet-rumped Caciques, Thick-billed Seed-finch, Blue-headed and Mealy Parrots, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Linneated Woodpecker, Pied Puffbird, Chestnut -headed Oropendola, Chestnut-backed Antbird and Purple-throated Fruitcrow.
Day 9: El Almejal Reserve
We will hit trails above our Lodge where we are likely to hear or see in excess of 140 species. The Lodge has 50 hectares with an extensive trail network. Here we will look for active mixed foraging groups that may include Russet Antshrike, Checker-throated, and Dot-winged Antwrens, Tawny-crested Tanager and Black-breasted Puffbird. We will be able to access canopy platforms where we will be able to get spectacular views of Tanagers including blue-whiskered, Golden-hooded, Crimson-backed and Lemon-spectacled Tanagers. In the afternoon, we can relax at the lodge and enjoy a swim.
Day 10 and 11: Utria National Park and Utria-El Valle road
Parque Nacional Natural Ensenada de Utria is a 54,000-ha Park created in 1987 to preserve several unique aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Steep, heavily forested mountains come down to the ocean to create dramatic scenery. We will rise early and depart from the town of El Valle by boat towards the park's headquarters. From there we will walk along various short trails. Specialties include Chocó Toucan, Chocó Tinamou, Black-tipped Cotinga, White-whiskered Puffbird, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Plumbeous Hawk. On our second Day we will bird along the Utria-El Valle road to get a look at the Baudo Oropendola colony and hope for great displays. In more open areas possibilities include Laughing Falcon, Chocó Toucan, Stripe Billed Aracari. We will also look for antswarms which may be accompanied by Spotted, Bicolored and Chestnut Backed Antbirds.
Day 13: Road to Airport
We will rise early and bird along the way to the airport. There are several good birding spots including a small marsh with White-throated Crake, Purple Galilulle, King Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite and with a little luck Great-green Macaws flying overhead. We will fly out to Medellin and go to our lodgings. In the evening, we will dine at a typical restaurant and look back at our trip.
Day 14: Medellin-International flights or other destinations
Depending on departure times we may have time to explore the city before making our international connections or towards other birding destinations.