Colombia has more species of birds than any other country - a staggering 1900 species are to be found within the confines of this incredible nation; of which, at least 89 are endemic. This huge diversity of species results from the equally diverse range of habitats: three Andean Cordilleras (Western, Central and Eastern Andes), two inter-Andean valleys (the Cauca and Magdalena Valleys), the lowland forests of the Amazon and Orinoco regions, the isolated snow-capped Santa Marta Mountains, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, deserts and lakes, and the rich wet forests of the Chocó all help to make it one of the most exciting countries to bird on earth!
Our series of northern Andes tours focus on the bulk of endemics that Colombia has to offer, working our way through the Central and Eastern Andean ranges, Magdalena and Cauca Valleys, as well as the dry Guajira desert and the impressive Santa Marta Mountains.
Our Santa Marta tour takes us to the Santa Marta Mountains and the Guajira Peninsula on the northern coast of Colombia. The Santa Marta massif is an isolated mountain range and its snow-capped peaks are the highest coastal mountains in the world. It is also one of the most endemic-rich regions of South America, hosting nearly 50 endemic and regional specialities plus numerous endemic subspecies several of which, upon further taxonomic review, are likely to be elevated to full species status in the future.
*2024 Prices are estimated and dates may change*
Santa Marta & Sierra Nevada Brushfinches; Santa Marta Bush Tyrant; Santa Marta Parakeet; Santa Marta Woodstar; Santa Marta Mountain Tanager; White-tailed Starfrontlet; Hermit Wood Wren; Santa Marta & White-lored Warblers; Yellow-crowned Whitestart; Black-backed Thornbill; Rusty-headed Spinetail; Santa Marta Blossomcrown; Santa Marta Antpitta; Santa Marta Screech Owl; Santa Marta & Brown-rumped Tapaculos; Vermilion Cardinal; Glaucous Tanager; Sapphire-bellied, Buffy & Sapphire-throated Hummingbirds; Red-billed & Coppery Emeralds; Ferruginous Pygmy Owl; Chestnut Piculet; Rufous-vented & Chestnut-winged Chachalacas; White-tipped Quetzal; Black-fronted Wood Quail; Bronze-brown Cowbird; Turquoise-winged Parrotlet. Habitats Covered
rainforest, dry forests, estuarine, xerophytic scrub Expected Climate
temperate to cold in highlands (El Dorado), hot and dry in the lowlands (Guajira Peninsula). Rain is likely on some days. Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper leader and 1 local leader Tour Pace & Walking
brisk pace, some demanding walks Accommodation
good to very comfortable Ease of Birding
moderate with some challenging species Number of Species Expected
700+ (full Northern Andes series) Other Attractions
spectacular Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range, Caribbean Sea Photographic Opportunities
First of all, Forrest Rowland's profound knowledge of the full range of bird identification traits, songs and calls, habitat preferences and behavioural detail was indispensable to our ability to view, hear, and understand what we were looking for/at. Even more so, his knowledge and ability to effectively convey such information in a timely and readily comprehensible manner was an essential component of our ability to get on birds effectively. Plus his expertise and experience did not stop with the bird life. Secondly, he was an amazing leader in keeping a diverse group of participants focused on tasks at hand and committed to an inclusive "team" dynamic, not an easy feat! His very personable and easy going style kept everyone engaged and appreciating contributions from the whole group... and no one ever appeared isolated. Lastly, and also crucial to an effective journey of this type, Forrest was always on top of tour logistics and management, which are extremely complex and sometimes change with little notice (e.g. flights being cancelled). ln part this was due to his own experience travelling within Colombia, building upon the wonderful network of supporting "staff/contributors", and he was always able to easily provide next step details, rationales, and alternatives to the group.
Tuomas is a great guide and excellent with bird IDs and helping people see all of the birds as much as possible. He also managed to maintain group morale despite a very ambitious and exhausting itinerary.
From the several members of the office staff to the actual tour itself, I have nothing but high praise for my Rockjumper experience. This was my first tour with Rockjumper, but I hope it won't be my last. Alison and Sarah were tremendously helpful. Rob Williams is as good a leader as I have ever experienced. He not only knows the birds, but he made sure that we all got to see them, showing patience way beyond what I thought necessary. When one of our participants lost his passport, Rob bent over backwards to help this hapless person, never complaining while doing so. Rob always told us what the plan was for the next day. When Plan A didn't pan out, he had Plan B ready. If something went askew, he handled it with aplomb, always keeping his sense of humour. Did I mention he showed us wonderful birds? Oh, we saw some beautiful ones!
Stephan Lorenz is an outstanding guide – extremely knowledgeable, extremely diligent in getting target birds, and is full of enthusiasm every day. A real pleasure.
Rob's combination of bird finding skills and tour management expertise made for a great birding trip which was enjoyed by all.