Welcome to Birdquest


Sunday 11th March — Friday 16th March 2018
(6 days)

Leaders: János Oláh and a local bird guide

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Moderately demanding walking. Mostly camping

The aim of this expedition is to see two highly localised and critically endangered endemics of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Santa Marta Wren (Troglodytes monticola) and the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon cyanolaemus).

The latter was rediscovered in March 2015 just as the Birdquest tour was up in the El Dorado Lodge. Both of these rare birds are confined to the higher parts of the mountains so we need to trek to suitable habitat.

Several other Santa Marta endemics are possible on this expedition, which will offer a second chance to see these if we missed them on the main tour (eg Black-backed Thorntail).

The atmosphere and the scenery on this hike is simply amazing though a moderate fitness is required for this expedition as we climb from 1700 metres to 3900 metres.

Day 1 The expedition starts this afternoon at Baranquilla, from where we will drive to San Javier for an overnight stay.

Day 2 We continue a short distance to San Pedro in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta at 1700 metres elevation. From there we will start our ascent towards the higher areas of the mountains on foot. On the first day we need to cover about 13 kilometres (8 miles) in distance to climb to 2600 metrees elevation.

We will walk through a variety of habitats (coffee plantation, forest, grassland) and could see a wide range of the Santa Marta endemics like Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner and Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant. The still undescribed Santa Marta Screech-Owl is possible around our first campsite.

Day 3 We will continue our ascent towards the paramo. Depending on our speed and birding time we could arrive to the target habitat by late afternoon.

We will need to cover about 11 kilometres (7 miles) in distance to reach our second camp site at the edge of the paramo at 3700m (roughly 12000ft). We will walk through nice forest today before we reach the paramo. Some parts of this hike are steep, but we have plenty of time to cover the distance. Possible birds will include Santa Marta and Santa Marta Rufous Antpittas, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant, Brown-rumped Tapaculo and Santa Marta Wood-Wren. With luck we will even encounter Santa Marta Parakeet.

If we arrive in time at the second campsite near the lagoons we will have our first attempt to find Santa Marta Wren and the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest.

Day 4 We will spend all day in the elevation range of 3600 and 3800 metres in search of the Santa Marta Wren and the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest. Camping in the second campsite.

Day 5 After a last morning birding around the lagoons we will start our descent and make our way to our first camping site, birding all the way down.

Day 6 This morning we continue down to San Pedro and will drive to Baranquilla where the expedition ends in the late afternoon.

Can be taken together with: COLOMBIA

Expedition Price: £1190, €1410, $1560 Baranquilla/Baranquilla. Single Room/Tent Supplement: £100, €118, $131. Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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