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Our Blog: Uncover Magical Colombia

The first in the Colombia Blog Series by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

We invite you to explore our site including:

Why Colombia?

Why Us?

Upcoming Expeditions 

Colombia on the Media

Are you a journalist, organization or tour operator in need of images of Colombia? VWPics.com archives one of the best photo libraries about Colombia, including the widest range of bird photographs in the market.
Photo: Rusty Flowerpiercer © Juan Jose Arango / VWPics

Photography Tips for Beginners

Maggie Steber, National Geographic Magazine contributor photographer and Guggenheim Foundation, will join Kike Calvo in a Colombia Photo Expedition in 2021.

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What is a Peace of Mind Tour?

You are probably wondering what is a Peace-of-Mind Tour? We know that many of you are itching to get out and explore the world, and at Colombia Photo Expeditions we believe leisure travel will return and can be done safely. For this reason, we have designed a set of “Peace of Mind” natural history, birdwatching and photography tours and day tours that we think are the safest way to get you back out there when international air travel resumes:We are strictly following the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Colombian government’s biosafety protocols. The lodge has very spacious rooms with open hallways and common areas, excellent ventilation, and is only operating at 40% capacity.

PEACE OF MIND DESTINATIONS

ARAUCANA LODGE . COFFEE AREA & PARAMOS  
WILD CAMP ORINOQUIA . MASSIF & CULTURE . THE PACIFIC 

Our revised cancellation policy allows you to book with much flexibility and peace of mind.

Exclusive and private. A private guide means you will not share activities with others and you will always be transported in a private vehicle.

Flexibility in Daily Activities – This itinerary is merely a suggestion of activities; please contact us for more options.

Minimum Contact: Surely, we have designed the tours to visit sites where contact with other travelers will be minimal.  We understand that contact with the locals it what makes traveling an enriching experience, so this will happen only in open areas and outdoors where we can practice social distancing.

Our Peace-of Mind Trips Include*

  • All Lodging (Double Occupancy)
  • All Meals From Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 8
  • Bottled Water Throughout the Trip
  • All Activities Listed in Itinerary
  • Bilingual Guide During Trip
  • Internal Terrestrial Transport From Airport Pickup to Airport Drop-off
  • Limited Health and Accident Insurance

    Trip Does Not Include
  • Tips
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Insurance
  • Airfare to Colombia
  • Laundry
  • Items of Personal Nature

    * Please check each particular departure, as some variations may occur depending on the destination.

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How to Photograph Strangers on the Street with National Geographic Photographer Maggie Steber

In this new episode, National Geographic photographer and Guggenheim Fellow Maggie Steber talks about her experiences photographing strangers in more than 70 countries.

► Travel with Maggie Steber to Colombia: https://colombiaphotoexpeditions.wordpress.com/wild-colombia/

Maggie Steber, National Geographic Magazine contributor photographer and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow Maggie Steber, and Safina Center Fellow, author and photographer Kike Calvo will lead a photographic tour to Colombia in August 2021.

About the tour: This tour is designed to highlight Colombia’s astounding natural and cultural diversity, and we believe we have struck the perfect balance with this exhilarating itinerary: From exploring the Feria de Las Flores in Medellin in the Andes mountains, to swimming in a river that has been dubbed “the liquid rainbow”, to the Latin rhythms of the salsa capital of the world, to riding motorcycle-powered carts through the luscious rainforest, to visiting the beaches and mangroves of one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet in search of Humpback Whales. This trip is of epic proportions, complete with beaches, city life, owers, and incredible hospitality. Join us in a land where everyday life is very real but visitors can easily escape into a magical world as they explore the culture and natural richness the country has to offer.

 

The Ultimate Video Guide to Colonial Cartagena

This episode is the ultimate video guide to colonial Cartagena in Colombia. What do to, what to eat and where to go. Find the most instagrammable places in the city. A great vlog to prepare for a trip to this unique and magical city, located on the Caribbean side of the country.  

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Online Photography Classes for Kids

Already Paid & Registered?
Click Here

This is an Online Photography Tutorial for kids & their parents.
Tricks, Games, Secrets, and Projects for Creative Little Explorers.

ENROLL NOW!

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Photo by ParentRap–2161438

IMG_5612“The first time my dad Kikeo grabbed a camera he became a superhero. You can too! You can play being a journalist searching for stories around your home, a secret agent capturing photographs without anyone noticing, or a National Geographic photographer documenting “wild” animals in a local park. Together with my dad, I will share my secrets to capture great photographs. Together I will guide you through projects and lessons, and we will even explore projects of what can do with your pictures.”  — Pili.

Are you looking for an art class for your kids, but lack the skills to teach it? Does photography sound like a useful home activity? Do you want to support your kid´s artistic side and expand their critical thinking? Is your kid homeschool and needs support in the artistic challenges?

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Photo by Skitterphoto–324082

ENROLL NOW!

Look no more! Click! Click! Click! Photography for Little Explorers is a Photography Tutorial for Kids by Kike Calvo and is the perfect solution for your needs. This online course is project-based. It was designed for 4-13 years old kids and homeschoolers in mind but don’t that let stop you if you want to take it.   This course contains sections such as Kikeo´s photo tips, fun simple tricks; DIY projects; basic photography concepts; and much more. The core of the classes are projects (or assignments as we call them) so the children can go out and practice.

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Photo by Victoria Borodinova

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Photo by Tuấn Kiệt Jr.

Click! Click! Click! Online Tutorial
ENROLL NOW!

  • This Photography Course is an Online Tutorial and You Choose Your Schedule.
  • Recommended for Ages 5-13. (Read FAQ for more info on this.)
  • Each Lesson takes between 30-60 minutes to complete.
  • You can take photographs using a camera, a tablet, or a smartphone.
  • You get a certificate of completion.
  • There are not mandatory projects. No homework. We suggest fun activities after you watch every lesson.
  • We include fun DIY projects.
  • We many simple tips on how to improve your photographs.
  • Your parents or teachers can always reach Kike with questions.

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Photo by Winnie Bruce

Multi-Module Photo Adventures: The course organized into module assignments, your kid’s projects. Each lesson contains an introduction to the project with photography tips tailored to the assignment. Kike will explain each of the weekly assignments in a way that will get the Little Explorers excited. Assisted by Pili, we will follow her as she completes her assignment. Each outing culminates with a photo review and a lesson, where National Geographic & Lindblad Expeditions Photo Expert Kike Calvo will discuss some of Pili’s best shots, always giving her tips on how to improve. Each weekly assignment, combining the video lesson and the actual practice assignment should take between 30 and 60 minutes.

We can’t wait to have you join our class.
See you inside the class!

Pili & Kike

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Photo by Actina–2477360

ENROLL NOW!

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Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need?
Just a few minutes a day to watch the lesson using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. After each lesson, you will find suggested photo adventures (or assignments) you can do with any camera, including your phone. We include DIY projects, for which you will require basic materials listed on each one. But remember, this is a fun course, so nothing is mandatory. We suggest ideas for you to practice. Your access to this tutorial will be open for a month.

Ages?
We suggest this course for kids between 6-13, but we have had 5 years old, and even adults taking it. Kids between 5, 6 & 7 will certainly benefit from doing the course with the parents/teacher’s supervision. Great opportunity for spending family quality time together.

Will my assignments be looked at?
After much thought, we concluded it was best to share our lessons and allow the kids to experiment and explore their creativity. You can ask us questions at any time using our store chat, but we will note give grades or review any projects. If you have special needs, please let us know.

Do we get a certificate?
The answer is yes. Once all lessons are completed (and checked as completed) we will email you a printable certificate with your kid’s name.

What if I am homeschool and I need credit?  If this is your case, please check with us before purchasing the tutorial. In general, our team can accommodate that truly need a grade so they can get homeschool credit or credit for an extracurricular class.

What is the instructor’s availability? Kike is always available through the chat room at The Adventures of Pili store for any questions or concerns. He normally gets back to you within 1-2 business days! Sometimes sooner.

ENROLL NOW!

 

Meet Your Instructors:

KK_KKC6709 - Version 2Kike Calvo: Author, and photographer has trained hundreds of photography enthusiasts during his multiple assignments on National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions around the world.

“Children will learn basic notions about photography and will discover some fun tricks.  The course can be done with a smartphone or any camera. It is a fun way to spend quality time with your kids, while you both gain skills to capture the world around you! If your children are older, they can do the course by themselves. It is nothing but a creative and interactive photography and creativity online course in your own schedule.” — Kike

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Pili: 
A world-wide traveler with just 5 years old, she helps her dad in teaching this course. She goes around with dad’s phone actively pursuing Kike’s lessons. A fun and unique way of teaching kids how to take better photographs. Pili was the inspiration of The Adventures of Pili books. And no, she does not like this anymore!

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Photo by jyliagorbacheva–5290522

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Planting the Seed for the Up and Coming 200-feet Natural Towers

For many, thinking about Colombia brings the self-inflicted notions by watching  Netflix series. But the country´s reality is far from such. Think of a country where one-third of its land is filled with jungles. Rivers such as the Caqueta, the Putumayo, the Apaporis, or the world-renown Amazonas bring life to its inhabitants. But what if I told you deforestation has become up a raising concern to the well being of conservation areas?

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

Back in 2016, Colombia ended an armed conflict that had affected the country for more than 50 years. During that half-century, many of the protected areas were under the control of the revolutionary forces of the FARC. As a bubbly mind, I started to wonder about what happens to those protected areas when conflict stops? What happens to the dozens of butterflies, to the hundreds of birds, and the thousands of tree species when the is no more presence of forces that discourage deforestation and resource extraction?

With no rebel forces to interfere, mining and illegal logging operations found their way to these protected areas. As I was thinking about writing the first in the bilingual series The Adventures of Pili, I was already aware of this situation. I clearly identify back then the need for not only inspiring and educational books focused on young generations, but in the necessity of interconnecting the bed-time stories with real-life actions that could impact their planet, our planet.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

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This is how The Adventures of Pili Tree Campaign was born. It derivated from observing the deforestation of many protected and ecologically-rich areas, not only in Colombia but around the world. It has not been a simple process. From vision to implementation there was a long path. As time passed by, a saw the potential of technology as a tool to transition between vision and inspiration to action in the field.

This past weekend, we inaugurated our fieldwork. A team of four took off to the highlands of Colombia with the mission of planting 80 wax palm saplings in the Combeima Canyon. I am sure the first question that crosses your mind as a reader is regarding the location. Why did we select this area in the Department of Tolima in Colombia? As cattle ranchers and loggers fill the vacuum left by the insurgents, big extensions of forest are being destroyed. Conservation areas are quickly wiped out by an inattentive economic development. The background of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) can be pointed to this department in Colombia when in 1949 Manuel Marulanda began his guerrilla career by joining a Liberal guerrilla band. Later in 1966, he became Chief of Staff of the newly reorganized FARC.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

Forest is home to a great percentage of Colombia´s biodiversity, and the world´s as a matter of fact. Animals, plants, and organisms depend on trees. By reforesting selected areas we strive for the healing of our planet. The same way parents and teachers of around the world have embraced our bilingual children’s publications to teach and inspire younger generations, we hope our tree planting campaign will be joined by families and schools in communities around the world.

It was early morning late June 2020. The team had not slept the night before from all the excitement and the long conversations that popped up constantly during the short night. But that was no impediment. Life in Colombia starts before sunrise. As soon as the alarm woke everyone up, the operation started. Our mission was clear: To plant 80 saplings in three different locations. After surpassing the logistic challenges due to the COVID pandemic, our team of four reached a Reserve located between 1950 and 2100 meters above sea level.

The area represents a low montane humid forest ecosystem, The reserve is part of the Combeima River, on the southern slope of the “Nevado del Tolima.” This river is very important because it is the water supply of the musical capital of Colombia, Ibagué. In addition, I should mention that the reserve is located in the lowlands of Los Nevados National Natural Park, helping defend the strategic ecosystems of Los páramos and foggy forests. Los Nevados National Natural Park is a 58,000-hectare volcanic complex that spans three departments. It is made up of three snow-covered volcanos, Nevado del Tolima, Nevado de Santa Isabel, Nevado del Ruiz, and some small high treeless plateaus are known locally as Paramillos (Cisne, Santa Rosa, and Quindío.)

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

When you carry the small wax pam saplings in your arms you cannot envision the towering height they will one day reach if they become fully developed. These palms grow as tall as 200 feet.

The Palma de Cera, as it is locally known, Ceroxylon quindiuense is Colombia’s national tree. It is the largest flowering plant with an embryo that bears a single seed leaf.  It’s a slow-growing species and needs more than 150 years to reach its maximum height. The palm is endangered due to deforestation and the expansion of the agricultural frontier. In the past, the wax palm leaves intensively used in Catholic Palm Sunday celebrations.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

The country´s populations of these species are concentrated in two small relics: one in Toche, Department of Tolima, and the other in Salento, Department of Quindío. As the team planted the 78 wax palm saplings in three different areas, distributed in 50, 20, and 3 + 3 + 1 + 1, they could not spot talking about how this plant constitutes the habitat for many forms of life including insects, mammals, and birds. And I would add, the endangered Yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), a near-endemic bird from Colombia uses this plant to feed and nest.

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Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis). Photo © Christopher Calonje

With the support of my Safina Center Fellowship and the help of private supporters, now parents and teachers can take action. The project will keep a georeferenced logbook of all planting efforts, including information on the areas being intervened and the plant species selected. Not only can they inspire children by reading our dual-language adventures beautifully illustrated in the pages of The Adventures of Pili, but hand-in-hand with Pili,  the young readers can join forces with their loved ones and help reforest the world. We are proud to see that our tackled concepts of cultural diversity and empowerment; global readiness and peace; entrepreneurship, and climate change have materialized in real-life action. And now you can be part of it. What are you waiting for? 

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Visual Tour of the New Wildlife Camp in Colombia

Colombia Photo Expeditions has just introduced a new unique once-in-a-lifetime expedition, a brand new Wild Camp Experience in Colombia.

We can make it the core of your Colombia exploration, or add it, as a superb extension to your main trip. With a maximum capacity at the camp for 10 persons, the Camp is located in El Encanto de Guanapalo, a 9,000-hectare private reserve in the region of Los Llanos, also known as Orinoquia. The reserve is a 2-hour drive from Yopal Airport and 30 minutes from the town of San Luis de Palenque. The region of Los Llanos consists of savannahs covered with flooded grasslands, lush forests, and wild rivers that derive from the vast Orinoco basin.

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Featured Song: Mind The Drop

Banner Photo by 12019–12019

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Smartphone Photography Tutorial 🔥 50% OFF

This online tutorial has been created for those who have busy schedules and want to learn at their own pace. Kike Calvoauthor, and photographer has trained hundreds of photography enthusiasts during his multiple assignments on National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions around the world. You’ll gain the skills, tools, and knowledge you need to capture the world around you with your smartphone. This is not your average smartphone course, but an exploration of your creativity from the comfort of your home.  Once you register and proceed with payment, we will provide you with all details. You will be given access to a password protected online course that includes 7 hours (7 classes.)

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Please Note: 50% Discount will be applied during checkout

 

iPhone Online Course Testimonials:
¨I found the course to be very informative especially on the technical aspects of my cell phone camera.  I also appreciated the assignments that allowed us to explore the technical capabilities of our phones. It reinforced in me the importance of looking at the entire photograph and not just the primary subject.  I also appreciated the introduction to the photographers and the opportunity to see various styles of photography.” — John Harris

A great opportunity to use these precious days at home focussing on new and inspiring learning experiences.

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Photo by Paul Theodor Oja

 

Banner Photo by Tomáš Malík

Malpelo: Shark Diving Capital of the World 🎥 Magical Places | Episode 3

In this episode, we explore Malpelo Island in Colombia. Malpelo is a small island in the eastern Pacific Ocean, located about 500 km west of the Colombian mainland. It consists of sheer and barren rock with three high peaks, the highest being Cerro de la Mona with a height of 300 m. Divers can find one of the largest shark populations in the world. … Read More Malpelo: Shark Diving Capital of the World 🎥 Magical Places | Episode 3

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Los Llanos Wild Camp Expedition in Colombia

We are delighted at Colombia Photo Expeditions to introduce a new unique once-in-a-lifetime expedition, a brand new exclusive Camp experience in Colombia. We can make it the core of your Colombia exploration, or add it, as a superb extension to your main trip. With a maximum capacity at the camp for 10 persons, the Camp is located in El Encanto de Guanapalo, a 9,000-hectare private reserve in the region of Los Llanos, also known as Orinoquia. The reserve is a 2-hour drive from Yopal Airport and 30 minutes from the town of San Luis de Palenque. The region of Los Llanos consists of savannahs covered with flooded grasslands, lush forests, and wild rivers that derive from the vast Orinoco basin.

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WILDLIFE • This private reserve is home to a diversity of wildlife including deer, capybaras, jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, giant and lesser anteaters, and more than 200 bird species. It’s also a natural habitat of the anaconda, one of 65 species of reptiles in the area. The entire region of Los Llanos is home to more than 600 bird species and 200 mammal species, including giant otters and exceptional pink river dolphins.

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CONSERVATION • The Camp works in partnership with Cunaguaro, a local conservation organization that leads the installation of camera traps and tracking devices to monitor species, collaborates with guest scientists, and implements essential community and educational projects.

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CULTURE • El Encanto de Guanapalo continues to operate as a cattle ranch, and the locals are called llaneros, or Colombian cowboys. Llaneros have a very distinct culture and continue to preserve traditions such as horseback riding barefoot, singing to call and ease their cattle, and playing the harp and the cuatro guitar. Declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, llaneros’ work songs are a means of vocal communication sung a cappella style on the themes of herding, horses, adventures, and love.

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THE CAMP
The Camp was designed to offer the utmost comfort and service while minimizing environmental impact. The reserve covers 9,000 hectares, of which a specific area is restricted for the camp’s guests use only, making it an ideal and exclusive location to see wildlife.
The camp consists of 4 sleeping tents located beside a river and at least 50 meters from each other to allow for privacy. Tents include:
• 1 king bed or 2 twin beds with premium mattresses and sheets
• En-suite bathroom with vanity table and Loto del Sur amenities
• Flush toilet and shower (no hot water)
• Solar powered lights and fan, desk, radio communication system,
portable USB battery packs, and binoculars
• Private terrace with lounge chairs and hammock

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SOCIAL TENT

The camp has a social tent with seating area, dining area, and outdoor terrace, ideal for sunbathing, bonfires, bush dinners, and relaxing on quiet afternoons. The social tent includes:
• Playing cards and board games including Backgammon, Rummikub, Cards Against Humanity, and Scrabble
• Marshall speakers and endless playlists with relaxing music and our favorite classics
• Indoor and outdoor dining tables
• Hammocks
• Collection of books on Colombian wildlife, birds, and culture
• Telescope for stargazing

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WEATHER
A humid, tropical climate is typical in Los Llanos, with temperatures ranging from a low of 21 ̊C (70 ̊F) in the evenings, to a high of 34 ̊C (93 ̊F) during the dry months of February and March.
DECEMBER – JANUARY • Expect dry weather with green landscapes, a concentration of animals around watering holes, migratory birds, anaconda sightings, and births of giant anteaters. Average precipitation: December 40mm, January 11mm.
FEBRUARY – MARCH • Expect dry weather with arid landscapes, the highest concentration of animals around watering holes, migratory birds, anaconda sightings, births of giant anteaters, and easy access to remote areas. Average precipitation: February 30mm, March 57mm.
APRIL – NOVEMBER • Expect rainy weather with lush green landscapes, decreased accessibility to remote areas, births of pumas and howler monkeys, giant otter sightings, and the presence of Garceros, a concentration of hundreds of herons nesting together. Average precipitation: April 189mm, May 237mm, June 321mm, July 258mm, August 245mm, September 205mm, October 208mm, November 104mm.

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GASTRONOMY
The camp’s chef uses local ingredients and traditional cooking methods to prepare delicious and beautifully presented dishes. The majority of products are sourced from neighboring farms and villages.

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For every meal, the chef proposes a set-menu consisting of 3 courses based on seasonal products and guests’ dietary restrictions and preferences.

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SAFETY
Highlighted in The Guardian “Top 40 Destinations” for 2019, Los Llanos is starting to garner attention from tourists around the globe after more than a half-century of conflict. Our guests’ comfort and security is of the utmost importance to us at all times. The exclusive properties we represent are in regions viewed as friendly for tourism, and equally as safe as Cartagena, the Coffee Region, Bogota, Medellin, and other main tourist destinations according to the United Kingdom Foreign Travel Advice, and France Diplomatie. However, as with any destination, we recommend travelers consult with their local government agencies for updated advisories before traveling internationally.

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SUSTAINABILITY
• The camp offers lights and limited electric supply powered by solar panels, in an effort to minimize environmental impact within the reserve
• The water is sourced from a deep well and distributed throughout the camp using gravity.
• To reduce the use of plastic bottles, we provide our guests with refillable glass bottles with water treated with Natura filters (also used in hotels like Four Seasons Bogota and Sofitel Santa Clara). Guests also have the option to purchase sealed water bottles (glass).
• Refillable Loto del Sur amenities are used in every tent to minimize the disposal of individual plastic bottles.
• Corocora Camp has an onsite recycling program and organic waste is composted to use in the herb and vegetable gardens.
• Guests are encouraged to reuse towels and linens; however, it is possible to request a change of towel and sheets at no extra cost.

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GETTING THERE
From Bogota: Guests can take daily flights to Yopal (45 minutes)
via leading airlines of Colombia (Avianca, LATAM, and EasyFly).
From Yopal:
• Drive 2 hours on paved roads to the reserve and continue 45 minutes off-road to the camp.
• Take a 25-minute flight on a helicopter (12 pax).
Our team is happy to help coordinate ground transfers and private charter planes to/from major cities including Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, Santa Marta, and Armenia.

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OPTION 1: LLANERO PHOTO EXPEDITION
ALL-INCLUDED • 3 NIGHTS / 4 DAYS

DAY 1
Airport Transfer (English) • Arrive at Yopal airport where an English-speaking host and a driver will be waiting to drive you to Corocora Camp. Please note that travel time is 2 hours on paved roads and approximately 45 minutes inside the reserve on unpaved roads.
Nature Walk • Explore the reserve in search of local fauna including deer, capybaras, howler monkeys, and giant anteaters, or partake in one of the camp’s included experiences: Bird watching, canoeing, or artisanal fishing.

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DAY 2
Llanero Traditions • Spend the early morning hours with llanero cowboys experiencing their traditions: Barefoot horseback riding, herding and corralling cattle, using a lasso, and singing to call and ease cattle. Witness why llanero chants were declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am when llaneros do their daily activities.
4×4 Expedition • On-board a 4×4 or tractor, explore more remote areas of the reserve. The expedition combines driving and walking to view more wildlife and explore inaccessible areas such as gallery forests. Please note that the type of vehicle will be adapted depending on the weather and road conditions.

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DAY 3
Riding with Llaneros (Half Day) • Spend the morning or afternoon riding with a local llanero cowboy and an English-speaking naturalist guide. Experience the essence of the llanero riding culture and explore the most inaccessible and natural parts of the reserve. Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am and 3:00pm – 6:00pm, when the sun and heat are low, and the animals are more active.
Parrando Llanero – Music (1 hour) • Conclude the day with a traditional parrando, which consists of a bonfire dinner and live music: Harp, guitars, and maracas. Llanero songs recount stories of adventure, love, nature, and traditions.

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DAY 4
Conservation Program • Learn about the conservation initiatives such as visiting the camera traps to do maintenance and acquire recent footage and learn about the tracking systems.
Airport Transfer • Transfer to Yopal airport with an English-speaking Host and a driver.

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INCLUSIONS
• All experiences listed in the program (might vary depending on the season)
• All chef-prepared meals, natural fruit juices, tea, and coffee
• Filtered water (refillable glass water bottles with Natura filters)
• Personal English-speaking naturalist guide with the scientific knowledge of wildlife,
bird watching, and conservation (8 hours per day)
• Personal llanero guide specialized in local culture and horses, with an empirical
understanding of nature and wildlife (8 hours per day)
• Rubber boots and rubber poncho for excursions
• Full access to a 9,000-hectare private reserve

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EXCLUSIONS
• $50 USD conservation fee per person per reservation
• Air transfers
• Bottled water, soft drinks, beers, house wines, cocktails, and selected house spirits
• Tips, laundry service, telephone calls, and internet access

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OPTION 2: NATURE EXPERIENCES AT THE CAMP
INCLUDED WITH A BASIC STAY

NATURE WALKS • Explore the reserve in search of local fauna including deer, capybaras, howler monkeys, and giant anteaters. If you’re very lucky, you might spot an anaconda, a jaguar, or a puma! Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am and 3:00pm – 6:00pm, when the sun and heat are low, and the animals are more active.

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BIRDWATCHING • Explore the reserve in search of the primary species of the region, such as scarlet ibis, great-horned owl, Orinoco goose, Rufous-tailed jacamar, wire-tailed manikin, hoatzin, roseate spoonbill and the jabiru.

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CANOEING • On-board a curiara, a traditional canoe, silently explore the creeks to catch better sightings of animals and birds without disturbing them. Available for day- time and night-time in the green season from May to December.

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ARTISANAL FISHING • Alongside a local Llanero learn how to fish caribes, also know as piranhas, a fascinating fish species, and a local delicacy in Los Llanos.

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CONSERVATION PROGRAM • Learn about the conservation initiatives such as visiting the camera traps to do maintenance and acquire recent footage and learn about the tracking systems used to study wildlife.

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RIDING WITH LLANEROS (HALF DAY) • Spend the morning or afternoon riding with a local llanero cowboy and an English-speaking naturalist guide. Experience the essence of the llanero riding culture and explore the most inaccessible and natural parts of the reserve. Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am and 3:00pm – 6:00pm, when the sun and heat are low, and the animals are more active.
Includes: Horses, Llanero guide, English-speaking naturalist guide, Hydration, Snacks, Helmet, Rain poncho.
Duration: Up to 6 hours availability.

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LLANERO TRADITIONS • Spend the early morning hours with llanero cowboys experiencing their traditions: barefoot horseback riding, herding and corralling cattle, using a lasso, and singing to call and ease cattle. Witness why llanero chants were declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am when llaneros do their daily activities
Includes: Horses, Llaneros, Hydration.
Duration: Up to 4 hours

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EPIC LLANERO TRADITIONS • Alongside a group of 15 llaneros, gather and herd a large group of over 200 cattle, and learn the llaneros traditions: barefoot horseback riding, corralling cattle, using a lasso, and singing to call and ease cattle. Witness why llanero chants were declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Recommended 5:30am – 10:00am when llaneros do their daily activities.
Includes: Horses, Llaneros, Hydration, Back-up vehicle.
Duration: Up to 6 hours.

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EXTRA: CULTURE & TRADITION EXPERIENCE INCLUDED PAX

PARRANDO LLANERO – MUSIC (1 HOUR) • Conclude the day with a traditional parrando, which consists of a bonfire dinner and live music: harp, guitars, and maracas. Llanero songs recount stories of adventure, love, nature, and traditions.
Includes: Live music performed by local llaneros, Transportation (please note the musicians have to travel 1.5 hours to the camp).
Duration: 1 hour.

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PARRANDO LLANERO – MUSIC & DANCING (1-2 HOURS) • Conclude the day with a traditional parrando, which consists of a bonfire dinner and live music: harp, guitars, and maracas. Llanero songs recount stories of adventure, love, nature, and traditions. Along with the music, locals dance the joropo, a fascinating dance the consists of rapid foot-stomping and many twirls.
Includes: Live music performed by local llaneros, Transportation (Please note the musicians have to travel 1.5 hours to the camp).
Duration: 1 hour.

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RIVER EXPEDITION & TRADITIONS AT A LOCAL RANCH • Drive to the small town of San Luis de Palenque, a traditional town of Los Llanos, and onboard a boat navigate 1 hour down El Pauto river surrounded by lush gallery forests. Along the way spot plenty of birds, monkeys, and other wildlife, and experience the life of fishermen and locals who live along these waterways. Arrive at the ranch of a local llanero, and learn about their ancient traditions and handcrafts, visit their cacao trees, learn to make artisanal chocolate, and enjoy the day in a different ecosystem of Los Llanos. Boats are available in May – November when the river is high and driving (2h) is available in December – April.
Includes: Ground transportation, Traditional lunch, Local
llanero Host, Hydration, Snacks.

Duration: 9 hours (including each way 1-hour driving and 1 hour
by boat in May – November, and 2 hours driving in December –
April).

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EXTRA: MOTORIZED EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCE INCLUDED PAX 4×4 EXPEDITION (HALF DAY)
• On-board a 4×4 or tractor, explore more remote areas of the reserve. The expedition combines driving and walking to view more wildlife and explore inaccessible areas such as gallery forests. Please note that the type of vehicle will be adapted depending on the weather and road conditions.
Includes: Vehicle, Rain poncho, Hydration, Llanero guide, English-speaking naturalist guide.
Duration: Up to 6 hours availability. Recommended start time: 5:00am – 6:00am or 3:00pm – 4:00pm.

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HELICOPTER EXPEDITION
• Onboard a Bell 412 helicopter, fly 35 minutes to a private reserve deep in Los Llanos. The reserve is conformed by humble llanero families who are committed to conservation and preserving the delicate ecosystem they live in. The reserve consists of a large lake and wetlands with forests of moriche palm trees, which the explorer Alexander von Humboldt once called “the tree of life” due to its importance in the balance and survival of this ecosystem. Spend the day exploring the reserve horseback riding, walking or canoeing, and enjoy a traditional lunch with a local llanero family. Return flight 35 minutes to arrive at Corocora Camp in time for sundowners.
Important: In case of a delay or cancellation due to weather, the flight can be postponed subject to availability of the helicopter.

Includes: Helicopter, Horseback riding, Canoeing, English- speaking Guide, Local llanero Host, Traditional lunch, Hydration, Snacks.
Duration: 9 hours (including 35 minutes flying each way).

Recommended departure time: 7:00am. Please note the helicopter has capacity for up to 12 passengers and is the only helicopter that is readily available in the area. The helicopter has to be landed at Yopal Airport by 5:30pm, therefore guests
will arriving back at the camp by latest 5:00pm

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EXTRA: AIRPORT TRANSFERS EXPERIENCE INCLUDED PAX AIRPORT TRANSFER 4X4 (Spanish) • Transfer with a Spanish-speaking driver. Please note that Includes: 4×4 SUV (3 pax + driver), Hydration, Snacks travel time is 2 hours on paved roads and approximately 45 minutes inside the reserve on
unpaved roads.

EXTRA:  AIRPORT TRANSFER 4X4 (English) • Transfer with a Spanish-speaking driver and an English- Includes: 4×4 SUV (2 pax + driver + English-speaking host), 3 speaking Host. Please note that travel time is 2 hours on paved roads, and approximately 45 Hydration, Snacks. minutes inside the reserve on unpaved roads.

AIRPORT TRANSFER SUV (English) • Transfer with a Spanish-speaking driver and an English- Includes 4×4 High-End SUV (3 pax + driver + English-speaking 3 speaking Host. Please note that travel time is 2 hours on paved roads and approximately 45 host), Hydration, Snacks minutes inside the reserve on unpaved roads.

HELICOPTER TRANSFER • Transfer onboard a Bell 412 helicopter with capacity for 12 Includes: Flight, Transfer from the landing zone to Camp. 10 passengers. The flight is 20-30 minutes, plus a 20-minute drive at the camp. Please note this is the only readily available helicopter in the region.

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IMPORTANT!
• Visitors to remote areas such should be prepared for unexpected changes and events, and should arrive with a flexible attitude and an adventurous spirit!
• IMPORTANT! We recommend guests take Vitamin B at least 10-14 days prior to arrival and use DEET-based repellent to minimize mosquito, tick, and chigger bites.
• We are located in a natural reserve where one can find mosquitoes, spiders, snakes, and other critters. The camp’s grounds and services have been designed to maximize guest safety and comfort with natural solutions. A perimeter of tobacco leaves is used to steer away snakes, citronella is used to minimize mosquitoes, and fumigation and daily sweeps are conducted to mitigate other risks.
• We highly recommend to pack hats, light quick-drying field pants and shirts to stay cool and comfortable during activities. We provide guests with rubber boots and rain ponchos. A packing check-list is sent to guests prior to arrival.

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Tailored Bird & Natural History Tours in Colombia

TAILOR YOUR OWN NATURE & BIRDING TOUR!

CHOOSE YOUR PREFERRED DATES OF TRAVEL!

Why Should You Book this Private Tour for you or your family?
  • Discover the amazing bird species of Colombia´s Western & Central Andes.
  • Bird the Anchicaya Watershed, an area that inspired the first Bird ID guide for South America.
  • Enjoy the feeders at KM 18, where more than 22 species of hummingbirds have been recorded.
  • Stay at the brand new Araucana Lodge, specially designed for birders, nature lovers and photo enthusiasts. 
  • Visit an active Andean Cock-of-the-rock Lek that is only a 20-minute hike.
  • Take an exhilarating rail ride in the Pacific Lowlands where you will bird close to sea level in search of lowland species.
  • Visit the surreal Paramo Ecosystem where you will bird above 3,500 meters in search of the endemic Buffy Helmetcrest.
Tour Leader: You will be accompanied the entire tour by one of our Talented, Bilingual, Professional Birding Guides.

Tour Dates: Choose your preferred dates of travel (14 Days)

Tour Price
2 – 3 pax: $5,400 USD
4 – 5 pax: $4,600 USD
6 – 7 pax: $3,900 USD
8 pax: $3,700 USD

Double occupancy. Single Supplement $600 USD.

Tour Size
Limited to 8 Participants

About this Tour: It celebrates the grand opening of Colombia’s newest birding lodge, allowing you to photograph, explore nature and bird in very comfortable accommodations in some of the best birding sites in Colombia, without having to spend much time in a vehicle. The Araucana Lodge is a brand new lodge (opening date is January 2019) designed specifically for birders and nature lovers, with spacious rooms and all the comforts to ensure a good night’s rest.

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Photo © Kike Calvo

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cali

Day 2: Sonso Lagoon and drive to Rio Blanco

Day 3: Rio Blanco Reserve

Day 4: Rio Blanco Reserve to Los Nevados NP

Day 5: Los Nevados NP

Day 6: Los Nevados to Otun Quimbaya NP

Day 7: Otun Quimbaya NP

Day 8: Otun Quimbaya to Araucana Lodge

Day 9: KM 18

Day 10: San Antonio Forest and Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek

Day 11: San Cipriano Reserve

Day 12: Upper Anchicaya Watershed

Day 13: Lower Anchicya Watershed

Day 14: Depart Cali

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Birdwatching on the western slope of the West Andes and part of the Chocó Biogeographic Region. Photo © Kike Calvo

Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus).