COLOMBIA BIRDS Photo Tour 2025

OFFERED TWICE: February 2025
Cauca Valley / Central Andes ~ Colombia
During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 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 2025 journey through cloud forests 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) in each tour ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE ~ OFFERED TWICE~ WAIT LIST! ~ Please email me to be on the waitlist

  • TOUR 1 ~ Begins in CaliFebruary 12–February 22, 2025 ~ Tour 1 SOLD OUT!
  • TOUR 2 ~ Begins in MedellinFebruary 22–March 4, 2025 ~ Tour 2 SOLD OUT!

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.
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.

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 2025!

  • Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
  • Andean Emerald
  • Andean Guan
  • Andean Motmot
  • Andean Pygmy Owl
  • Bicolored Antpitta
  • Black-backed Bush-Tanager
  • Black-billed Mountain Toucan
  • Blue-winged Mountain Tanager During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.
  • 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 ToucanDuring this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.
  • 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
  • Summer Tanager
  • Sword-billed Hummingbird
  • Toucan Barbet  During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.
  • 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
  • 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.

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics

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.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ITINERARY:  What’s below reflects TOUR 1, which begins in Cali & ends in Medellin.

For TOUR 2 read the itinerary from the bottom up as it begins in Medellin & ends in Cali.

Wednesday, February 12, 2025
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

Thursday, February 13, 2025
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 2025 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, if our luck holds plan on 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

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Friday, February 14, 2025
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

Saturday, February 15, 2025
Wake your last morning at our special birding lodge and enjoy one more photo shoot before hitting the road.

Then it’s time to head further up into the Cauca Valley to experience some new species & photo ops.

We’ll take a break for lunch about halfway and then arrive at our next lodge, which is near Manizales.

Our new lodge hosts nature trails and an orchid “garden” with about 250 species of Orchidaceae, including the Dracula Orchid.  Your tour includes entrance & a guided tour to all.

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Sunday, February 16, 2025
The photography set-ups where we spend today are outstanding and have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of bird photographers.

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 & the weight doesn’t toss your luggage over the limit; in addition to butterflies you never know what other small critters we’ll find in this incredibly biodiverse locale!)

OVERNIGHT:  Near Manizales in an eco-lodge

Monday, February 17, 2025
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 aim to 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

Tuesday, February 18, 2025
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.

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

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 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Wednesday, February 19, 2025
After breakfast, 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.

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 enjoy dinner together.  Then it’s time for a great night’s sleep at our nice boutique B&B.

OVERNIGHT:  Jardín in a boutique hotel

Thursday, February 20, 2025
After breakfast it’s off to another place known for great photography set-ups.

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.

Or, just chill out, napping and reviewing your images.

In the afternoon, those who want more Cock-of-the-Rock images can return to the lek to watch these unusual dudes perform some more of their elaborate displays.

OVERNIGHT:  Jardín in a boutique hotel

During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

Friday, February 21, 2025
Pack up and load up after sleeping in a bit.

We’ll stop for lunch on the outskirts of Medellín.   Stopping in the city would be fine, too, as it 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.  But traffic is an ever-present problem so we choose a mellower location for lunch.

Tonight is our last group meal together — a great chance to exchange contact info!

OVERNIGHT:  Hotel Movich

Saturday, February 22, 2025
Before heading home, enjoy a good breakfast at our hotel.  The restaurant is open-air and very pleasant, and they offer a fabulous array of breakfast choices.

Then, it’s time to catch the shuttle for the airport, which will take you only 5 minutes from our hotel.

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 2025!During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 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 the first night of your tour  through breakfast on the morning you depart for home
  • 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 2025 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.

In addition, there is a nature hike up to a hummingbird spot at our second lodge.  This is uphill, but you can go as slowly as you like and there’s plenty of birds to watch as you walk.  Once we arrive at the hummingbirds there are chairs.

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).

AIRPORT:
TOUR 1:
* Fly into Cali ~~ Airport code is CLO
* Fly out of Medellin ~~ Airport code MDE

TOUR 2:
* Fly into Medellin ~~ Airport code is MDE
* Fly out of Cali ~~ Airport code CLO

ARRIVAL:
TOUR 1:  Please plan to arrive in Cali by 3:00 pm on February 12, 2025 if possible so that we can transport everyone to our lodge “up the mountain” together.  It’s about a 90-minute drive from Cali.

TOUR 2: Please plan to arrive in Medellin in time for our 7:00pm Welcome Dinner, which is at one of the restaurants at our hotel.  The hotel is very(!) close to the airport and provides a nice shuttle.  It’ll take you about 5 minutes to get to the hotel once you’re on the shuttle.

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

LODGING:
Double-occupancy lodging is included.  Singles are available on a limited basis for an additional $975.  Please email us if you would like to confirm that we still have them available.

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: Two options:
        • TOUR 1 ~ Begins in Cali / Ends in Medellin: February 12 — February 22, 2025 ~ Tour 1 SOLD OUT
        • TOUR 2 ~ Begins in Medellin / Ends in Cali:  February 22 — March 4, 2025 ~ Tour 2 SOLD OUT
        • WAIT LIST! ~ Please email me to be on the waitlist
      • PRICE:  $6570
      • SPACE FOR: Six (6) in each tour

     

    • 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 2025


    CANCELLATION POLICY

    Please read our Cancellation Policy before purchasing.(Follow the provided link or go to link under “MORE” on sidebar to the right.) Thanks!

    LIABILITY WAIVER:

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

    During this all-inclusive Colombia Birds Photo Tour 2025 journey through cloud forests, wetlands, and high-elevation páramos to photograph a variety of birds, including several endemics.

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

MENU