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Llanos Orientales and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

An exploration of Colombia’s vast savanna plains, cloud forest and alpine ‘páramo’ grassland.

With an opportunity to visit the Llanos Orientales and the Santa Marta Mountains, along with the Caribbean coast, this holiday provides a fantastic introduction to some of Colombia’s diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity.

Colombia is home to more bird species than any other country in the world. It also encompasses a variety of habitats stretching from the lowlands of the Pacific coast in the west, the Andes encompassing the Cauca and Magdalena valleys, vast swathes of ‘llanos’ savanna grassland, mangroves and dry tropical forests in the north, and Amazon rainforest.

We will pass through several of these areas during our time in Colombia. Our visit begins in Bogotá with a chance to acclimatise to the altitude, before we explore the eastern Andes, including a trip to Sumapaz National Park to explore the breathtaking alpine ‘páramo’ grassland.

We will then fly east to the Llanos Orientales, Colombia’s vast savanna plains that form part of the Orinoco River basin, and home to the llaneros (Colombian cowboys) with their unique culture.

After our time in the llanos, we will fly to Colombia’s north coast (via Bogotá), lapped by the Caribbean Sea. Travelling in four-wheel-drive vehicles we head upwards to 1,900m and the El Dorado Ecolodge in the Santa Marta Mountains. Santa Marta is well known for its biodiversity, including a wealth of endemic species and the El Dorado Bird Reserve is a fantastic place to get a flavour of the wildlife here. We will then have time to explore the dry tropical forest, semi-desert and lagoon habitats of northern Colombia’s lowlands, before a visit to the historic city of Cartagena and our flights back to the UK.

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Burrowing Owl standing alert on sandy ground, Colombia
Green Iguana basking head up on a tree, Colombia
Chiomara mithrax sitting in mud in Colombia