Hummingbird Celebration

Colombia has over 150 hummingbird species recorded or almost 50% of all the world species, more than any other country on earth. Birding along renowned hummingbird bander Nancy Newfield, ‘The Hummingbird Lady from Louisiana’ we will explore some incredible habitats where these exceptional bird species thrive. The tour will last a total of 17 days including birding sections of all 3 branches of the Andes Cordillera and a Caribbean Coast extension including birding the almighty Santa Marta Mountains.

Highlights of the tour: (NE) Bronze-tailed Thornbill, (NE) Coppery-bellied Puffleg, (E) Indigo-capped Hummingbird, (NE) Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Sword-billed Hummingbird, (NE) Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, (NE) Violet-tailed Sylph, (NE) Purple-throated Woodstar, (NE) White-whiskered Hermit, (NE) Tooth-billed Hummingbird, (NE) Empress Brilliant. In the Caribbean Coast(E) Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, (NE) Red-billed and (NE) Coppery Emerald, (E) White-tailed Starfrontlet, (E) Santa Marta Woodstar, (E) Black-backed Thornbill, (E) Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Buffy Hummingbird

Tour Duration: 17 days

Tour Dates: *December 3-19, 2018 & February 3-19, 2019*

Tour Price: $5,500

Single Occupancy Supplement: $500 (when available)

Tour Size: Limited to 8 Participants

Tour Guide: Johnnier Arango

Pay a deposit of $ 500 per item

Additional information

In a Nutshell

Andes portion Tour price: $3,500, with a Santa Marta Extension $5,500, Tour Dates: June 3-13, 2018 or June 03-19 with a Santa Marta Extension, Departure and arrival city: Bogota, Colombia, Max Number of participants: 8, Tour Guide: Johnnier Arango, Required deposit: $500

Day 1 - June 3 - Arrival to Bogota International Airport

Upon arrival in Bogota, a company representative will pick you up at the airport and will drive you to the hotel to meet with Icaro's team including Tour guide, Johnnier Arango. We will have a welcome dinner, and will go through introductions, a tour presentation, rules & expectations and Q&A, and logistics for our first day of birding

Night at hotel in Bogota

Day 2 - June 4 - Chingaza National Park and Hummingbirds observatory

Chingaza National Park is located just outside of Bogotá (1.5 hours land trip), it includes vast areas of high Andean forest, subparamo and paramo ecosystems and provides good chances for a close look to some key Hummingbird specialities such as (E) Green-bearded Helmetcrest and Near Endemics Blue-throated Starfrontlet, Coppery-bellied Puffleg, and Bronze-tailed Thornbill. Other specialties worth trying to find are Amethyst-throated Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, and Great Sapphirewing

Other birds of interest include (E) Silvery-throated Spinetail, (NE) Rufous-browed Conebill, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Pale-bellied Tapaculo, Agile Tit-Tyrant, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Black-chested Mountain-Tanager, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, and the noisy Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager

The Hummingbirds Observatory is located only 11.1 miles from Bogota, at an altitude of 9,800 feet.a.s.l. in high andean forest. The weather can vary magically from sunny to rainy many times a day and is not surprise to see the fog coming down the mountain as well. A total of 18 hummingbird species have been recorded here, including as much as 14 frequent visitors to the feeders

Some amazing specialities to look for here include (NE) Blue-throated Starfrontlet, (NE) Coppery-bellied Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, Green and Sparkling Violetear, Speckled and Sword-billed Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Black-tailed Trainbearer and Purple-backed Thornbill

Night at the Hummingbird Observatory Bed & Breakfast

Amethyst-throated Sunangel

Amethyst-throated Sunangel

Photo: Patty McGann

Day 3 - June 5, Chicaque and the Enchanted Garden

Chicaque National Park is a magnificent cloud forest located only 40 mints west from Bogota. The park spans across 244 hectares and offers about 10 kilometers of trails that hosts over 300 bird species total and a number of very interesting Hummingbirds for us to look after including (NE) Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, and (E) Black Inca and Gorgeted Woodstar

Enchanted Garden is a private residence located about an hour and a half west of Bogota at an altitude of 4,990 feet.a.s.l. Some 300 hummingbirds can be seen at any moment coming to the 40 plus feeders present in the garden. 27 hummingbird species have been recorded here including the highly regarded (E) Indigo-capped Hummingbird, (NE) Red-billed and Short-tailed Emeralds

Other highlights at the Enchanted Garden include Brown Violetear, Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, White-bellied and Gorgeted Woodstars, Black-throated Mango and Lazuline Sabrewing. Fruit feeders will also attract other bird specialities such as (NE) Scrub, Crimson-backed, Grey-headed, Palm and Blue-grey Tanagers, Thick-billed Euphonia, Bananaquit and Saffron Finch. Ruddy Ground-Doves and Shiny Cowbirds are commonly seen on the ground where they feed on bananas, bread and rice

In late afternoon we will drive for around 3 hours to spend the night in the town of Honda, the starting point of our Central Cordillera Hummingbird Adventure

Night at hotel in Honda

Indigo-capped Hummingbird

Indigo-capped Hummingbird

Photo: Ron Knight

Day 4 - June 6, La Victoria, Caldas and Termales del Ruiz

La Victoria municipality conveniently located in the Magdalena Valley that divides the Eastern and the Central Andes Cordillera is a great birding destination with over 200 species recorded. Although not particularly rich in Hummingbird specialties, we should have a chance to see the Long-billed Hermit, White-vented Plumeleteer and Blue-chested Hummingbird

This location will provide a nice transition to go after Hummingbirds of Paramo at a high altitude. Some specialties on Victoria include Black-faced Dacnis, (E) and near threaten Sooty Ant-Tanager, (E) White-mantled Barbet and the spectacular (E) White-bibbed Manakin

Termales del Ruiz is a hotel located in a national park at the highest altitude of our tour, at around 3,500 mts asl or 11,480 feet asl, which is not only breathtaking (literally) but has some stunning views of the valleys and mountains of the paramo. The thermal pool for which the hotel is named is a steaming, hot, sulfurous delight, set behind the main hotel building, ideal for a truly relaxing experience after a day of birding

With that being said, there is a set of gardens that will attract 10 species of hummingbirds that regularly come and visit the feeders set up in the main garden including the highly regarded (NE) Black-thighed Puffleg, (NE) Golden-breasted Puffleg, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Tourmaline Sunangel, Viridian Metaltail, Shining Sunbeam, Great Sapphirewing, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, and Purple-backed Thornbill

Night at hotel Termales del Ruiz
Rainbow-bearded thornbill

Rainbow-bearded Thornbill

Photo: Johnnier Arango

Day 5 - June 7, Páramo del Ruiz and Río Blanco

Páramo del Ruiz is a large expanse located within and surrounding PNN Los Nevados. Eight volcanoes can be found within PNN Los Nevados, including Nevado del Ruiz, looming 5,300 m above sea level. We will go birding at the highest elevation of the entire trip, 4,100 mts asl or about 13,000 feet asl! searching for a number of interesting hummingbird species such as the beautiful endemic Buffy Helmetcrest - a plump little hummingbird that feeds on a few species of flowering plants that bloom at different times of the year. The Buffy Helmetcrest has a population estimate of less than 1000 individuals, found almost entirely within PNN Los Nevados and the surrounding area

Other hummingbirds of interest include Black-thighed Puffleg, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Shining Sunbeam, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, and Viridian Metaltail

Río Blanco is a beautiful Natural reserve that will provide us the best chances of seeing the highly regarded Wedge-billed Hummingbird. We’ll take lunch at the Reserve's lodge and enjoy the spectacular hummingbird show at the feeders that with some luck will attract Purple-backed Thornbill, Green-fronted Lancebill and Sword-billed Hummingbird

Night at the Rio Claro Natural Reserve or hotel in Manizales City
Buffy Helmetcrest

Buffy Helmetcrest

Day 6 - June 8, Hotel Tinamu and drive to Montezuma

After a well deserve leisure breakfast in Manizales we will drive to the nearby Hotel Tinamu Birding Nature Reserve, located on 15 ha. of dry forest at 1,225 mts asl or 4,019 feet asl. This hotel and natural reserve, is well-known for being home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, butterflies and a variety of plants and trees. Hummingbirds of interest include Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, White-vented Plumeleteer, Steely-vented Hummingbird, and Green Hermit. After lunch we will drive for about 4 hours to Tatama National Park, home to the mythical Montezuma Peak

Night at Montezuma lodge

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Photo: Kathy & Sam

Day 7 - June 9, Tatama National Park - Montezuma Peak

The Montezuma Peak lies within Tatama National Park in the Colombian Western Cordillera. Recognized as one of the best birding sites in the world with over 600 bird species identified, and with the most endemics in the Americas thanks to its terrific verticality and its location in the Chocó bioregion, an Endemic Bird Area that encompasses much of western Colombia and Ecuador, Montezuma is a cloud forest that promises to be a feast for birders and visitors alike

The lodge is located at around 1,300 mts asl, or 4,265 feet asl and is surrounded by busy hummingbird and tanager feeders, some 24 species of hummingbirds can be found here including the highly regarded (NE) Violet-tailed Sylph, (NE) Empress Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, (NE) Velvet-purple Coronet, Green-crowned Brilliant, and (NE) Brown Inca

Other species of interest at Montezuma include (E) Gold-ringed Tanager (Right), (NE) Tanager Finch and (E) Munchique Wood-Wren, (NE) Black Solitaire, (NE) Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, and (NE) Beautiful Jay. (E) Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, (E) Dusky (Glittering) Starfrontlet (rare), White-faced Nunbird, and Greater Scythebill (rare)

Night at Montezuma lodge
Velvet-purple Coronet

Velvet-purple Coronet

Photo: Johnnier Arango

Day 8 - June 10, Drive to the Cauca Valley and promising stop at Parque de la Uva (Grape Park)

Morning birding at Montezuma to complete the list of specialities and drive down the Cauca Valley after lunch birding along and making a stop at Parque de la Uva for birding and to taste the local wine

Night at Finca Alejandria, Km 18

Day 9 - June 11, Finca Alejandria in Km 18 and Alto Anchicaya

Finca Alejandria is rightfully known as ‘Hummingbird Paradise’ for being home to over 140 bird species, including +30 hummingbirds. Finca Alejandria is located just 18 km (10 miles) from the city of Cali in the southwest of Colombia. The two top specialties to find here include (NE) Purple-throated Woodstar and Blue-headed Sapphire. Other hummingbirds of interest include Long-tailed Sylph, Brown Violetear, Andean Emerald, Booted Racket-tail, Crowned Woodnymph, Bronzy Inca, Greenish Puffleg

Other birds of interest that frequently visit the feeders include the spectacular endemic Multicolored Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Flame-rumped Tanager, and Masked Flowerpiercer

A very famous birding destination in the Western Andes cordillera, the Anchicaya Valley, also known as Old Road to Buenaventura, is classified as a tropical forest in the foothills of the Chocó bioregion (one of the wettest areas on earth), which creates the perfect biodiversity storm for bird species to thrive. This old road can produce up to 100 bird species in a single day. The higher parts, or Alto Anchicaya will allow us to look for some fascinating species such as Green Thorntail, Crowned Woodnymph, (NE) Empress Brilliant, White-tailed Hillstar, and Green Hermit

Night in hotel Campanario at El Queremal
Purple-throated Woodstar

Purple-throated Woodstar

Photo: Francesco Veronesi

Day 10 - June 12, Anchicaya Medium and Low Parts - Old Road to Buenaventura

As we descend from the Alto Anchicayá near the tiny village of El Danubio towards the lowlands, we'll look for the Near Endemics White-whiskered Hermit, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, and Purple-chested Hummingbird. Other hummingbirds of interest include Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and Purple-crowned Fairy

Other birds of interest to find along the Old Road to Buenaventura include (NE) Golden-chested Tanager, (NE) Baudo Guan, (NE) Choco Toucan, (NE) Rose-Faced Parrot, (NE) Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Esmeraldas Antbird, Stub-tailed Antbird, (NE) Choco (blue-tailed) Trogon, Lita Woodpecker, Lanceolated Monklet, White-headed Wren, Gray-and-gold Tanager, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Blue-crowned Manakin, Club-winged Manakin and many more

Night at hotel in Cali
White-whiskered Hermit

White-whiskered Hermit

Photo: Lip Kee

Day 11 - June 13, Birding Cali in the morning and end to the Andes section of the tour

Time permitting, we will spend a few hours birding in the morning in Cali before heading to the airport to bid farewell to some, and flying with others to Barranquilla - The starting point of our Santa Marta Mountains Tour extension

Night at hotel in Barranquilla

Day 12 - June 14, Salamanca Island Nature Reserve and birding at Minca

Early in the morning we will drive from Barranquilla to visit the Salamanca Island Nature Reserve where birding is very popular, specially as a place to look for the critically endangered, range-restricted and endemic Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird. This group of small islands includes almost 140,000 acres of mangrove forests and freshwater ecosystem vegetation. The other main specialities here are Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, and Violet-bellied Hummingbird

Other birds of interest include (E) Turquoise-winged Parrotlet and (E) Chestnut-winged Chachalaca, Golden-green Woodpecker, Bicolored Conebill, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, (NE) Chestnut Piculet, Northern Scrub-flycatcher

Just after lunch we will drive for 1.5 hours to the Minca municipality, located in the foothills of the magestic Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia. Minca is the place where we will aim to find 2 near endemic specialties Red-billed Emerald, and Coppery Emerald

Other Minca specialties include Military Macaw, King Vulture, Gray-Headed Kite, Short-tailed Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Blue ground-dove, Pale-bellied Hermit, Sooty-capped Hermit, Long-billed Starthroat, Whooping Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Black-backed Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren (northern race), Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, White-bearded Manakin, Lance-tailed Manakin

Night at hotel in Minca
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird

Sapphire-throated Hummingbird

Photo: Seabamirum

Day 13 - June 15, Birding Minca road towards the El Dorado Reserve

At around 5:30 am we will get on board a 4WD vehicle that will take us birding the dirt road connecting Minca to el Dorado Reserve, making several stops along the way searching for a number of Santa Marta specialities such as (E) Santa Marta Woodstar, (E) Santa Marta Blossomcrown, (E) Black-backed Thornbill, and Mountain Velvetbreast

Other specialties include (E) Santa Marta Antbird, (E) Santa Marta Tapaculo, (E) Santa Marta Screech-owl, (E) Santa Marta Foliage Gleaner, (E) White-lored Warbler, (E) Santa Marta Brush-finch, (NE) Black-fronted Wood-quail, (NE) Coppery Emerald, (NE) White-tipped Quetzal, (NE) Streak-capped Spinetail, (E) Sierra Nevada Brush-finch, (E) Santa Marta Tapaculo, Groove-billed Toucanet

The El Dorado Reserve is a really nice and comfortable lodge perched in cloud forest with a view of the Caribbean Sea far below. Named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado is ProAves flagship reserve and a Holy Grail for birding in the Americas. This reserve, created with the support from American Bird Conservancy is intended to preserve the habitats of the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world. The Sierra Nevada remains remarkably little known, with at least two new bird species discovered in 2007, including a new species of Screech-Owl that roosts beside the EcoLodge!

Night at El Dorado Reserve
Mountain Velvetbreast

Mountain Velvetbreast

Photo: Francesco Veronesi

Day 14 - June 16, Cuchilla de San Lorenzo - Full day-out birding!

We will start the day very early at 4 am driving all the way up to the highest part of el Dorado Reserve - The San Lorenzo Ridge, in a 4WD vehicle birding along the dirt road. This full day out birding will command packed breakfast and lunch. We shall have the opportunity to see the most Santa Marta endemics, which happened at high altitude (7,700 feet asl). Among the hummingbird endemics we can expect to find are (E) White-tailed Starfrontlet, and (E) Black-backed Thornbill

Other endemics of interest include (E) Rusty-headed Spinetail, (E) Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, (E) Brown-rumped Tapaculo, (E) Bangs Wood-wren, (E) Santa Marta Wood-Wren, (E) Yellow-crowned Whitestart, (E) Santa Marta Mountain-tanager, (E) Black-backed Thornbill, (E) Santa Marta Antpitta, (E) Santa Marta Warbler, and (E) Santa Marta Parakeet

Night at El Dorado Reserve
White-tailed Starfrontlet

White-tailed Starfrontlet

Day 15 - June 17, El Dorado - Minca in the morning and drive to Riohacha

For the last leg of our caribbean adventure, we will drive in early morning from El Dorado Reserve back to Minca, birding along the way to complete our list of Santa Marta endemics and specialities.

We will then have lunch at Minca and will drive for 3 hours to the city of Riohacha in the northest part of Colombia, birding all possible hotspots along the way

Night at hotel in Riohacha

Day 16 - June 18, Los Flamencos Flora & Fauna Sanctuary: Camarones and late flight to Bogota

Los Flamencos Sanctuary is an important coastal wetland and dry forest reserve created to protect a large population of the American Flamingo. This 17,000+ acre reserve of marshes, lagoons, and dry forest is also habitat to 185 other bird species (80% are migrants). A total of 276 bird species have been here recorded on ebird.org. Hummingbird specialties in the Camarones hotspot include Buffy Hummingbird, and (NE) Red-billed Emerald

Retreating to the forest, the xerophytic scrub vegetation of the area is very productive for all of the Guajira specialties restricted to NE Colombia and NW Venezuela, including Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Bare-eyed Pigeon, Buffy Hummingbird, Russet-throated Puffbird, (NE) Chestnut Piculet, (NE) White-whiskered Spinetail, (NE) Slender-billed Inezia, (NE) Orinocan Saltator, Pileated Finch, (NE) Red-billed Emerald, (NE) Tocuyo Sparrow (rare) and the splendid Vermilion Cardinal

Nothing prepares you, even if you have backyard Northern Cardinals, for the striking red, the overdone crest and the very different look of this sole South American offshoot of what is really a North American group. The Vermilion Cardinal is called "El Rey de la Guajira" ("King of the Guajira") by locals

We will continue birding with a break for lunch and will take a late drive to Santa Marta airport for a late flight back to Bogota. We made it

Night at hotel in Bogota
Vermilion Cardinal

Vermilion Cardinal

Photo: Johnnier Arango

Day 17 - June 19, Drive to Bogota Airport and onto your next adventure!

With a bag full of good memories including more than 50 hummingbird species and maybe up to 80 with the Santa Marta Extension, more than 30 total endemics, and +350 overall birdspecies, the Icaro Birding team will bid farewells at the airport, making sure you get on time for flights and onto your next big adventure - Feliz viaje and GO BIRDING!

Entering Colombia is a breeze for citizens of many countries. However, we thought it will be helpful to go over some items for you to consider before making a reservation for our Hummingbird Celebration Birding Tour to Colombia. You can expect to receive more detailed information in your welcome package.


ENTERING COLOMBIA: US citizens must have a passport, valid for at least six months after your date of departure from Colombia. A the present time, no visa is required for US citizens visiting Colombia for 60 days or less. Visitors from other countries may need a visa; please contact your nearest Colombian embassy or consulate for further information.


COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/colombia.html and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Colombia at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/co.html.


PACE OF TOUR: Our days will begin normally early at around 6:00 am. On some days we may take a picnic lunch in the field and on others we will stop at roadside restaurants. This Hummingbird Celebration tour is low pace and leisure in nature. We will go birding to natural areas or private houses with feeders that attract the hummies. Howeverf, for some specialties, participants should be able to walk at a slow to moderate pace for around 2-3 hours at a time; we may walk in the sun on some roads, though most of our trails will be in the shade. Rubber boots may be necessary depending how much it’s been raining, but we will let you know in advance. On rainy days, we may have to stay behind and bird the lodge grounds, and on hot days we may have some downtime after lunch to take a 'siesta' and return to birding in the afternoon. We will typically return to our lodgings at around 5:00 pm, with dinner generally starting around 6:30 pm. We will collectively call a list of the birds recorded during the day after dinner.


HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/colombia


  • Dengue Fever and Chikungunya: Dengue Fever and Chikungunya occur in parts of Colombia and seem to be becoming commoner in many parts of South America. There is as yet no inoculation available for either disease, so no protection can be made in advance of travel. They are transmitted by diurnal mosquitoes mostly in heavily populated areas. It is important therefore cover up and use repellent wherever mosquitoes might be encountered.
  • Yellow Fever: We’ll be in areas considered to be free of the disease. However, it is recommended that you are vaccinated before coming into the country. Please consult your physician.
  • Zika Virus: This virus is expanding into South America including Colombia, and health authorities are still trying to gauge its full impact. Couples who expect/hope to become pregnant should consult their physician.
  • Insects: There are few problems with insects on this tour. There are a few mosquitoes in some areas. Bring a good insect repellent for mosquitoes and other insects that we will occasionally encounter.
  • Altitude: We’ll visit sites up to around 12,000 feet above sea level!.
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a smoking prohibition, that one will prevail.

PERSONAL SAFETY:Colombia is once again a safe destination for sensible international travelers. There is no significant threat in the areas we will visit. However petty crimes such as pickpocketing are common in major cities including airports, so be careful. But really, the biggest risk you take in Colombia is wanting to stay for good.


CLIMATE: August in this region of Colombia is supposed to be just great for birding. We will have some rain but in general you can expect to have dry, beautiful days. Temperatures range between low 40s in the paramo to high 80s. More accurate info as we get closer to the starting date.


FOOD: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at destinations in rural areas (lodges). If you have a significant food allergies or special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance and prepare to bring foods for those times when your needs cannot be met. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact us if you have any questions.


TRANSPORTATION: Travel will mostly be by private vans and 4x4 vehicles wherever the road gets rough. Participants must be willing and able to take the ride in any seat.

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