COLOMBIA BIRDS Photo Tour 2024

January 15 - 25, 2024
Cauca Valley / Central Andes ~ Colombia
During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2024 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

With nearly 2,000 species, Colombia is home to more birds than anywhere else on Earth.  In fact, Colombia hosts 18% of the world’s bird species even though its land only covers about 1% of the globe!

The majority of our shooting takes place at easily-accessed, professionally-created bird-photography set-ups. 

With a level of biodiversity that is off the charts, plan to photograph dozens of species that include tanagers, honeycreepers, owls, toucans, antpittas, brush-finches, hummingbirds, flycatchers, toucanets, quail, chachalacas, orioles, barbets, woodpeckers…and more!

LIMITED TO SIX (6) ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE    ~ SOLD OUT ~  Please email me to be on waitlist ~
Join Jeff Parker for his January 2024 Colombia Photo Tour

In the past few years, Colombia’s popularity as an eco-tourism destination has grown dramatically.  Now that peace has arrived, the country is undergoing  a major renaissance. (YES!  It is now safe to travel there.  Questions about it?  Reach out to Mary O; her son lives in Colombia so she visits the country often.  She has explored many parts of this tropical nationShe also speaks Spanish fluently so will help with translation as needed.)

Some of our likely photo subjects include the following (list includes many endemics):
~ NOTE:  There are so many birds to see here that there’s no way this list is close to complete…but it gives you a taste of the treats that await you and your camera during this Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2024!

  • Andean Cock-of-the-RockJoin Jeff Parker for his Colombia Birds Photo Tour
  • Andean Emerald
  • Andean Guan
  • Andean Motmot
  • Andean Pygmy Owl
  • Bicolored Antpitta
  • Black-backed Bush-Tanager
  • Black-billed Mountain Toucan
  • Blue-winged Mountain Tanager
  • Booted Racket-tail
  • Chestnut Wood-Quail
  • Chestnut-naped Antpitta
  • Collared Inca
  • Colombia Chachalaca
  • Crescent-faced Antpitta
  • Crimson-rumped Toucanet
  • Empress Brilliant
  • Equatorial Antpitta
  • Golden Tanager
  • Golden-naped Tanager
  • Grayish Piculet
  • Green (Inca) Jay
  • Green Thorntail
  • Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan
  • Grey-browed Brush-Finch
  • Grey-headed Tanager
  • Hooded Mountain-Tanager
  • Lachrimose Mountain-Tanager
  • Little Tinamou
  • Masked Flowerpiercer
  • Multicolored Tanager
  • Ocellated Tapaculo
  • Purple-backed Thornbill
  • Rufous-gaped Hillstar
  • Rufous-throated Tanager
  • Saffron-crowned Tanager
  • Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager
  • Scrub Tanager
  • Shining Sunbeam
  • Slate-crowned Antpitta 
  • Slaty Brushfinch
  • Join Jeff Parker for his January 2024 Colombia Birds Photo TourSummer Tanager
  • Sword-billed Hummingbird
  • Toucan Barbet 
  • Tourmaline Sunangel
  • White-throated Quail-Dove
  • Yellow-backed Oriole

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ON THIS TOUR:

  • How to use fill flash effectively
  • Exposure tips for photographing in tropical environment
  • How to create bird-photography set-ups
  • Strategies for attracting winged subjects
  • Tips for butterfly photography
  • How to get smooth, solid backgrounds
  • Hummingbird photography – natural light & high-speed flash

A note about instruction on my photo tours:
Since skills levels vary so much on photo tours, I don’t typically focus on structured lessons during these events (my workshops, however, are a far different story — they are all about structured instruction).   Instead, on photo tours, I tailor my teaching to individual needs.  Please do not be shy about telling me what you need.

ITINERARY:

PLEASE NOTE: This is an estimated schedule and we’ll do our best to stick to this itinerary, but certain conditions may necessitate changes. Good photographic experiences will be our goals at all times.

Monday, January 15, 2024
Please plan to arrive at the Cali airport by 3:00 pm so we can gather everyone and head to our lodge before it grows too late.  For three nights we’ll stay at a renowned birding hot spot in the mountains above the city.   

After settling into your window-filled room, join your fellow adventurers for your Welcome Dinner. All meals at our lodge feature organic items grown on the grounds. 

During dinner, we’ll go over the plan for our upcoming days and also get to know one another.  Much of our time will be spent in the Cauca Valley, a key eco-region flanked by the Central and Western Cordilleras of the Andes Mountains. 

OVERNIGHT:  Araucana Lodge

Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Wake as the birds, too, begin to rise.  Eat a quick breakfast and enjoy a cup of organically-grown coffee, roasted special for the lodge.    

After breakfast we’re off to the famous Kilometer 18 and the San Antonio Cloud Forest, a designated Important Bird Area (IBA). During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Four (4) endemic species will likely star in our images: Chestnut Wood-Quail, Colom­bian Chachalaca, Grayish Piculet, and the Multicolored Tanager (a near-threatened species).

We stand a good chance of photographing many tanagers – either at KM 18 or our lodge – including:  Flame-rumped Tanager, Golden, Saffron-crowned, Summer, Beryl-spangled, Golden-naped and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers.

In addition, we have a good chance of capturing images of the following hummingbird species: Long-tailed Sylph, Blue-headed Sapphire, Green Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Speckled Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear and Tawny-bellied Hermit.

After lunch it’s off to another awesome photography set-up in the KM 18 area.  Here, we hope to photograph the Little Tinamou.

OVERNIGHT:  Araucana Lodge

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

This morning’s breakfast will be more leisurely than yesterday’s.  Enjoy organic fruit, farm-fresh eggs and fresh-roasted coffee then grab your gear.  

Today’s focus is on the many birds on the lodge’s grounds.  When you step outside look for the endemic Colombian Chachalacas performing their morning ritual of raiding the banana trees. You might want to detour to the feeders via the banana trees to see if you can capture photos of these large, vociferous birds and their fun-to-watch interactions.  

Bird species that regularly visit the feeders include White-lined Tanager, Red-headed Barbet, Andean Motmot, Golden Tanager, Yellow-backed Oriole, Acorn Woodpeckers, Flame-rumped Tanager…and more.

After a break for our a mid-day meal it’s time for hummingbird photography.  Nineteen (19) hummer species have been counted at the lodge.  We’ll photograph as many of them as possible using both natural light and high-speed flash (We provide the equipment for that). 

Images of Long-billed Starthroat, White-Necked Jacobin, Rufous-tailed, Steely-vented, Purple-throated Woodstar,  Booted Racket-tail, Bronzy Inca, Andean Emerald, Speckled Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Long-billed Star-throat, Buff-tailed Coronet and Blue-headed Sapphires are possible.

Cap off your fruitful day with a delicious dinner.  Once more, dine on veggies and herbs, etc. organically grown and raised on the grounds of the lodge.

Snuggle into your super comfy bed and dream of the numerous birds you’ve already seen on this tour.

OVERNIGHT:  Araucana Lodge

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Wake your last morning at our special birding lodge and enjoy one more photo shoot at the lively feeders.

Then it’s time to head further up into the Cauca Valley. On the way to our next lodge, we’ll stop at the vibrant wetlands of Sonso Lagoon and Grape Park.

Even though there are no photography set-ups at the wetlands, there’s still plenty to see! Cocoi Heron (and other herons), Black-necked Stilts, and Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Cinnamon Teal and Masked Ducks, and kingfishers are just some possibilities.  

Another is the Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. We’ll look for them on the aloe vera flowers that they tend to hang out on.  However, since there are no feeding stations, seeing the hummers will be up to chance.  (If you have a lucky charm bring it along!)

After lunch we continue  our journey toward our next lodge, which is near Manizales.

Upon arriving, grab your gear and check out the grounds.  This eco-lodge hosts nature trails and a butterfly house (featuring 33 species!) and an orchid “garden” with about 250 species of Orchidaceae, including the Dracula Orchid.

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

Friday, January 19, 2024
The photography set-ups where we spend today are outstanding and have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of bird photographer. 

Here, we aim for images of  two antpitta  species, the Equatorial (a.k.a. Rufous) and Crescent-faced

Also at this location, there’s a very high probability of getting awesome shots of the Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan.  Other possibilities include: Andean Guan, Collared Inca, Tourmaline Sunangel, Grey-browed Brushfinch, White-throated Quail-Dove, and Slaty Brushfinch.  

In addition, enjoy lots more ops for hummingbird shots.  In particular, Shining Sunbeams, White-bellied Woodstars, Sparkling Violetear, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Mountain Velvetbreast, and Sword-billed hummingbirds.  (Interesting factoid:  The Sword-billed is the only bird in the world with a bill longer than its body!)

When we return to our lodge –  time, energy & daylight allowing – plan to enjoy some photography on the lodge’s grounds.  (Pack a macro lens if you have one; in addition to tons of butterflies here you never know what other small critters we’ll find in this incredibly biodiverse locale!)

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

Saturday, January 20, 2024
You may want to pack a landscape lens because today we visit Los Nevados National Park.  Take note especially of the cactus-like frailejón populating the mountainsides. The endangered plants play a key role in creating the surreal scene you’ll see.

If you’ve never visited a páramo you’re in for a cool experience.  These special high-elevation environments help sustain glacier-related eco-systems as well as species specially adapted for this location. 

This area is extra special thanks to its hot springs. Our hummingbird shots, in fact, will be taken at set-ups near these steaming pools. 

Our primary photo-goal here the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest.   This hummingbird is found only in the páramos of Colombia’s Central Andes region and is designated a “Vulnerable” species on IUCN’s Red List.

Of course, that’s not all we’ll photograph; this sweet spot regularly attracts 10-12 hummingbird species, including Sword-billed Hummingbirds and Rainbow-bearded Thornbills . (Interesting factoid:  one of their high-altitude adaptations is that, instead of hovering above nectar sources, they hold onto the flowers while eating.)

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

Sunday, January 21, 2024
First thing in the morning we follow the old dirt road once used to access Los Nevados.  Hold on for an adventurous 4-wheel drive up the mountain. 

Once we arrive it’s time for breakfast and then it’s playtime – and show time!  The Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan arrives at certain times and our guides here make sure our tripods are all set up beforehand.  Later in the day, plan to aim your lens at a second toucan species, the Black-billed Mountain Toucan.

Join Jeff Parker in January 2024 for his Colombia Birds Photo Tour

We also stand a good chance of capturing three (3) different species of antpittas: Bi-colored (a Vulnerable species), Chestnut-naped & Slate-crowned).  In addition, we hope to photograph an Andean Pygmy Owl.

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Monday, January 22, 2024
After breakfast, but before we head to our next location, have fun letting your lenses loose on the birds and butterflies on the lodge grounds.

Then, it’s all aboard our private bus for our next destination — the cute Colombian town of Jardín (which means “garden” in Spanish).  This wonderful tourist destination is one of Mary O’s very favorite places in Colombia.  

There, we get plenty of opportunities to photograph  Cock-of-the-Rock at close range. The goal is to arrive in time for the birds’ afternoon activity. 

Jardín is probably the best place in South America to get good photos of  these unique birds.  At dusk and dawn the super-flashy males arrive at a lek on private property to do their “thang” in hopes of attracting a female. 

After the shoot, we dine outdoors in the plaza. Then it’s time for a great night’s sleep at our nice B&B.

OVERNIGHT:  Jardín in a boutique hotel

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
After breakfast it’s back to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek for some more images of these unusual looking birds and their elaborate displays. 

Between our morning and afternoon shoots serious birders may want to invest in the steep hike to view endemic Yellow-eared Parrots, on IUCN’s Red List as “Vulnerable.”  Colombia is the only place the Vulnerable species has been spotted in years. Conditions for good photos of the parrots aren’t very good, but if it’s important to you to include this species on your list it’s probably worth the effort.

If you’d rather not hike to the parrots, you have plenty of other options.  You can tour a coffee finca (“farm”), visit Jardín’s shops for gifts and mementos, or just chill out with a craft beer or a cup of Colombian joe near the cathedral.

OVERNIGHT:  Jardín in a boutique hotel

Join Jeff Parker in January 2024 for his Colombia Birds Photo Tour

Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Enjoy one final photo shoot before we hit the road and head to our final hotel. 

We’ll stop for lunch in Medellín.  The city has come a long way since the days of Pablo Escobar.  These days Medellín is considered one of Latin America’s most modern cities and a “hip” hub for tech workers and artists.

OVERNIGHT:  Hotel Movich

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Our hotel is extremely convenient for heading to the airport to catch your flight home.  

Once you arrive home, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jeff if you need help ID’ing the birds in the images your took during your Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2024!During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

What’s Included

  • Ten (10) nights of lodging (double-occupancy; limited singles available at additional cost
  • Services of a certified bird guide dedicated to our group
  • Translator (Spanish/English) when needed
  • Local guides as needed
  • Ground transport from airport pickup to airport drop off
  • Entrance to all parks, nature reserves and private bird blinds
  • Meals from dinner on January 15th through breakfast on January 25th.  Snacks and drinking water
  • Jeff’s instruction and guidance throughout & after returning home
  • High-speed, multi-flash hummingbird photography sessions
  • An extensive, full-color, bound dossier

What’s Not Included:

  • Tips
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Bottled & canned beverages
  • Trip and medical insurance
  • Airfare
  • Laundry
  • Any other personal items

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2023 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

LOGISTICS, EQUIPMENT & SUCH:

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:
Most of our photography will be done near feeders with easy access.  Short walks on dirt paths (sometimes muddy since we’ll be in cloud forests) will be the norm. 

That said, to photograph two of the five antpitta species we’re hoping to spot, a hike on a steep hillside will be required.  Obviously, you can join in as much – or as little – as you care to. 

Ground transportation is via a private bus with plenty of room.  There will be one day where we’ll be brought to our shoot location via 4-wheel drive on a rough road. 

We opted not to stay at one of the two high-elevation spots where we’ll utilize photography set-ups.  We tested them ourselves and found that spending a day there wasn’t a problem, but lodging there we definitely felt the effects of the altitude.  So we do not stay at a high-altitude lodge like some other photo tours opt to do. 

The maximum elevation that we’ll be at measures around 11, 500 ft.  We’ll be at that elevation only for our shoots on Day 6 (Feb. 5th).

AIPPORT:
You’ll want to fly into the Cali, Colombia airport, officially named  Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport. It’s airport code is CLO.

ARRIVAL:
Please plan to arrive in Cali by 3:00 pm on January 15th if possible so that we can transport everyone to our lodge “up the mountain” together.  It’s about a 90-minute drive.

Colombia has no visa requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens. 

LODGING:
Double-occupancy lodging is included.  Singles are available on a very limited basis.  Please email us if you would like to know the cost of a single.

We stay at lodges perfectly set up to meet the needs of bird and wildlife photographers.

GENERAL INFO / SIGN UP:

  • DURATION:  Ten (10) nights, nine (9) full days & one (1) partial day
  • DATES: January 15 – January 25, 2024
  • PRICE: $5980
  • SPACE FOR: Six (6)  ~ SOLD OUT ~  Please email me to be on waitlist ~
  • DEPOSIT AMOUNT: $1500
  • PAYMENT DUE DATES: A total of half the cost of the tour due 6-months before departure. Remaining balance due 60-days prior to start date of tour.Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2024

Colombia 2024



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At the start of each event, we’ll ask you to sign this liability waiver.  We encourage you to review it before signing up.

EIF with Jeff Parker, LLC ~ DBA: Explore in Focus™  / Wildlife photography tours & workshops for the Naturally Curious™

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