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Three birding destinations in the Colombian Caribbean

Traduction: Ana Carolina Tapias

Bird watching is one of the most popular touristic activities among natives and visitors of the Colombian Caribbean.

Colibrí on Minca, Magdalena. Photography: Rocío Cañón.

Being the home to 20% of the birds of Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the main destinations for bird watching in the Caribbean Region. Nevertheless, other departments such as Atlántico and Cesar have reinforced their tourism strategies by promoting birding.

Here are our top three recommendations for birding in the Caribbean:

Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta

Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. Phtography: Rocío Cañón.

Colombia is one of the countries with the largest bird diversity in the world with 1.921 species. 20% of these birds live in the Sierra Nevada, along with 100 endemic bird species and two hummingbird species: Santa Marta Sabrewing and Blue-Bearded Helmetcrest.

One hour away from Santa Marta, up in the mountain, is a town named Minca, one of the must-visit places when it comes to birding where local businesses offer bird watching guided tours and transportation. Visitors can find 365 bird species that live between La Tigrera (at 300m) and Cuchillo de San Lorenzo (at 2.800 m).

Natural parks like Tayrona are also great places to enjoy bird watching and find species like the gavilán pollero, condor, lora serrana and el paujil. This vast diversity is the reason there are bird conservation areas located in Río Frío, San Lorenzo and San Salvador.


Badillo River on Valledupar, Cesar. Phtography: Dairo Simanca

According to Cesar’s Government Office, the department has registered almost 800 bird species, which has led them to invest in the promotion of birding as a touristic activity. In an effort to reinforce environmental tourism, the Government Office has created 18 tours in Cesar to visit places like the Serranía del Perijá.


Natural Reservation "El Palomar" on Piojó, Atlántico. Phtography: Jaan Leal

Atlántico is also reinforcing ecotourism. The Government’s Office has identified areas for bird watching, with the support of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and Procolombia –an institution that promotes tourism and foreign investment for the country-.

There are four areas for watching exotic species, both native and foreign: Luritza in Usiacurí, El Palamar in Piojó, Hacienda Los Rosales in Los Límites (Luruaco) and Megua Park in Baranoa.

Isla Salamanca, located next to Magdalena River, is another ideal place for birding. It has become more popular among locals and visitors thanks to river tours and cultural activities that take place in Malecón Puerta de Oro in Barranquilla.


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