The Colombia Tour

Bird Photography Tour

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Colombia Photography Tour

The diverse topography of Colombia is nature’s way to splash colors on the most breathtaking of canvases. Despite its modest size in terms of area, Colombia is among the world’s 17 most diverse countries and nearly 20% of the Earth’s species of birds live here. It is truly the El Dorado for avian enthusiasts and photographers.

Words fall short while describing the natural beauty of Colombia. Talking about the biodiversity is not complete without describing the mind-boggling topography. The Andes is the most prominent geographical feature of the Colombian landscape and it branches out into three ranges or Cordilleras dividing the country into different ecological zones. The large plains of the Amazon and Orinoco basins lie to the East, lowlands along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts are in the west, followed by the snow-capped Alpine forest region of the Central and Eastern Cordilleras. The plains north of Amazon rain-forests is known as Llanos and this zone hosts the Tropical Savannahs and is a home to several aquatic birds. The thin strip of lowlands along the Pacific coast falls under the Chocó Bioregion and then it abruptly rises to form the Western Cordilleras. The highest ridges of Andes are characterized by moorlands known as Páramos. To the east, there are the Amazonian forests that cover the vast plains and to the North lies the dry forest and desert. Each forest or habitat is teeming with birds with vibrant plumage that you must see to believe!

Colombia truly is a box full of surprises! This beautiful Latin American country is just not a home to endemic bird species, here you will find a large variety of marine fish, butterflies, 7,000 species of beetles, 1,900 species of mollusks and at least 300,000 invertebrates. The list goes on and this invariably makes Colombia a go-to destination for eco-tourists and photographers!
So, you can already guess our photo tour is going to be intense where we will get a chance to shoot at the feeders, set up multi-flash camera setups to catch up with the Buffy Helmetcrest and the multi-hued Tanagers and go for hikes and nature trails to spot the very rare Cock of the Rock in Leks. You will also get a chance to do opportunistic shooting to create some larger than life yet natural images.

We will shoot in the early morning light so that the chances of sightings will be maximum. We will do our utmost to ensure that you can immerse yourself totally in bird, nature and landscape photography under the guidance of our tour leaders. After all, at Tropical Photo Tours our aim is to let you shoot the images of a lifetime!

What to See

Since Colombia is a bird lovers’ paradise where you can spot many birds found exclusively here and not anywhere else in the world. Here is a list of birds that will make you say yes for this photo tour of a lifetime-

  • Multi-colored tanager
  • Saffron-crowned Tanager
  • Golden Tanager
  • Red-headed Barbet
  • Lacrimose mountain tanager
  • Crimson-rumped toucanet
  • Saffron-bellied mountain tanager
  • Sword-billed Hummingbird
  • Shinning Sunbeam
  • Acorn woodpecker
  • Blue-winged mountain tanager
  • Rusty Flowerpiercer
  • Highland motmot
  • Brown violetear
  • Andean cock of the rock
  • Great Sapphirewing and many more species
  • This is an eight nights and nine days action packed photo tour
  • Indulge in nature, bird, and landscape photography in Colombia while driving through the scenic locales. The road trips you will take during this tour will surely be a visual treat and something you will always cherish.
  • Hike along the mountain roads to spot the Cock of the Rock is an out worldly experience for those who are ready to take up this highly recommended optional trip.
  • Experience the different habitats for which the country is well known.
  • Enjoy shooting the Hummingbirds, the star of the Colombian forests, by creating your own multi-flash camera setups. Learn how to ace the Hummingbird photography under the guidance of experts.
  • Spot endemic birds like a variety of Tanagers, Antpittas, Cock of the Rock to just name a few. Experience that first hand what you have hitherto only seen in the magazines!
  • Explore the flora and fauna at the famous national parks at Colombia like the Los Nevados and Rio Bitaco Forest Reserve.
  • Since the Amazonian rain-forests are popular worldwide, here is your opportunity to experience its beauty from the close quarters and taste the life in the wild.
  • Apart from birds, you will able to spot many mammals, amphibians, beetles, butterflies, and beautiful orchids. So, you can enjoy both nature and wildlife photography during the tour.
  • Feeders will be set up at many places for you to get the maximum sighting of the rare birds and enable you to get a clean shot.
  • Perfect the art of photo editing from the tour leaders and learn how to give your award-winning images the professional twist.
  • This photo tour is for all experience levels –  whether you are just an amateur or a professional expert.
  • The photo expedition will not be a rushed one. You will get enough time to explore each place. So, make the most out of your stay at the beautifully secluded jungle lodges and get a taste of living in the wild!

Departure Dates for 2020:

Feb 9th – 18th, 2020
ex Medellin International Airport
May 15th-24th, 2020
ex Medellin International Airport

Please read all the terms and conditions before signing up for the photo tour.
You can reach out to us by signing the contact form below.
If you want a private tour or want to get your tour customized please write to us.

Bring your Digital SLR as a full frame camera is good to have.
Your longest telephoto lens preferably 300mm or more.
A wide-angle lens if you are interested in capturing landscapes.
Bring your flash with a flash bracket as we will use fill flash during this trip.
Pack a ton of memory cards.
A macro lens is highly recommended.
A sturdy tripod or monopod is required.
Since it is likely that there might be rain, so you must pack your rain jacket as well.
Apart from these, it is advisable to bring Laptop, memory card readers, bug spray, sunscreen, silica gel sachets to keep your camera dry.

  • There are two long drives lasting for 4-5 hours each
  • The daily breakfast time will be between 6am-6:30am so that we can get the most out of the early morning light.
  • The Cock of Rock location is a 20-25 minute hike down a mountain forest, but this is an optional trip. Other options can be discussed based on the situation with small additional payments made locally.
  • Cell phone coverage will be available at most locations but might be poor at some places only

Climate

The weather will be most pleasant, but it can be cold at higher elevations, so do carry so warm garments
Rain can be expected at some locations

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  • The basics of using Fill Flash in tropical bird photography
  • How to select and set up of perfect perches to get natural images
  • Post-processing of images using Lightroom and Photoshop

We usually keep our group very small so that we can pay individual attention to all our guests. The number of participants doesn’t exceed more than eight so that our tour leaders can focus on everyone’s photographic needs and the minutest details.

Cost

The cost of the trip is the US $4000 per person in shared accommodation.
For single accommodation, the cost will be the additional US $400.
You must deposit an amount of US $1000 to book your spot for this trip.
Please contact us through the contact form given below for payment options. Note that bank transfer, check, PayPal options are all available.

Travel Insurance

It is advisable that you purchase travel insurance to protect your trip investment and yourself while traveling. According to our company policies we can’t take responsibility for contingencies like flight cancellations, medical expenses, gear damage, loss of gear, accidents, natural disasters, and extended stays to name a few.

Tour Leaders

Birding Tour

Supreet Sahoo

Detailed Itinerary

The pristine forests of Colombia are more alluring than it appears on the picture. One visit here is just not enough! The lush green forests and its cheerful inhabitants will beckon you again and again.

Check the itinerary below to find out what is in store for you-

Day 1: Arrive at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Arrive at the Matecaña International Airport located at Pereira where our tour representative will meet you and then drive down to the hotel. Stay overnight at the hotel.

Dinner is not included on this day.

Day 2-3: Transfer to Manizales for a two-day action-packed photo expedition

From Pereira, it is a two-hour drive to Manizales, a picturesque locality in Central Andes. This road journey will be something you will always cherish. You will drive through the mountain roads and on the way, you will find beautiful spots where you can indulge in landscape photography. The remote and beautiful lodge at Manizales has thermal baths where you can soak and relax after a long day of travelling. Manizales is replete with vibrant birds unique to the location the photo tour will be very intensive yet super exciting and enjoyable.
During these two days of the photo shoot, you will be able to capture birds like Golden-breasted and Black-thighed Pufflegs, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Shining Sunbeam, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Great Sapphirewing, Tourmaline Sunangel, Mountain Velvetbreast, Viridian Metaltail to name a few with your lenses. This diversity makes Manizales so special and a favorite haunt of birders worldwide!
We will also drive down to the Los Nevados National Park to spot the Buffy Helmetcrest, a high-altitude Hummingbird that can only be found here and nowhere else in the world.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included for both the days

Day 4-5: Transfer to Rio Blanco and spend two days at the lodge

After the exciting photo tour at Manizales is over, on the 4th day we will drive to Rio Blanco for some more thrilling photography experience. The two-and-a-half-hour road journey to Rio Blanco will also be a scenic one for you to enjoy some nature photography on the way. What makes Rio Blanco popular among bird photographers is the Antpitta Feeders.
Here you will spot the Chestnut-crowned Antpittas and Brown-Banded Antpitta. However, more luck is needed to spot the Slate-crowned Antpitta, Bi-coloured and Chestnut-naped Antpittas because of their size, nervous habits, and sporadic population respectively.
Hummer feeders at the lodge is a great spot to capture clear and natural shots of birds like the Long-tailed Sylph, Bronzy and Collared Incas, Tourmaline Sunangel, Lesser (Green) Violetear, Sparkling Violetear, Speckled Hummingbird, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, White-bellied Woodstar and Booted Racket-tail. At the fruit feeders, you can spot more birds like Blue-winged Mountain Tanager and other species of multicolored highland Tanagers. You can sharpen your multi-flash photography techniques under the guidance of our expert tour leaders while shooting at the feeders.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included

Day 6-8: Travel to Rio Bitaco Forest Reserve and spend three days at the beautiful forest lodge

On day 6 we will drive towards the beautiful and secluded lodge at the Rio Bitaco Cloud Forest Reserve. The experience here will be nothing short of spectacular!
During your stay at Rio Bitaco, you will be able to spot and capture the beautiful Tanagers and Hummingbirds, for which this place is well known for. Here you can click the Multi-coloured Tanager, Saffron Crowned Tanager, Long Tailed Sylph, Brown Violetear, Flame Rumped Tanager and other varieties of birds as well.
If the weather is favorable, then we will take afternoon walks at a private farm to spot the unique Cock of the Rock Lek. This is entirely optional for those who want to take the walk, alternatively, you can stay back at the lodge and enjoy taking snaps.
In the morning based on the weather, we will visit a feeder which is an hour away from the lodge to photograph some rare birds like Crimson Rumped Toucanet, Toucan Barbet, Green Thorntail to name a few.

Day 9: Transfer to Pereira or Cali for a flight back home

We will end this most adventurous and activity-packed photo expedition by taking some more pictures at the feeders located in the lodge, before bidding adieu. Our guests will get an option to travel to either Pereira or Cali to take their individual flights back home. Please note that Cali is a one-hour drive from the lodge while it will take 3-4 hours to travel to Pereira (the original airport for this trip).
Here is hoping that you have a wonderful time clicking the endemic birds of Colombia!

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