March Eco-Tour to Colombia’s Santa Marta Region announced by Naturalist Journeys

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This new Colombia birding and nature tour focuses on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia and takes in a hot new birding destination.

Santa Marta Brush Finch

Colombia holds the record for having the highest number of bird species within its borders -- over 1900!

Naturalist Journeys is proud to announce a new March 14-20, 2016 eco-tour to the scenic and bird-rich Santa Marta region of Colombia, currently one of the hottest new birding destinations around. Peg Abbott, CEO and owner of Naturalist Journeys and Caligo Ventures, joins Gustavo Cañas-Valle to personally host this exciting new tour.

Colombia holds the record for having the highest number of bird species within its borders (over 1900!) and this adventure to the landscape of the great Magdalena River at Santa Marta is the second of two tours to Colombia launched in the last year. Santa Marta is the company’s new tour for 2016, with a focus on the endemic-rich Caribbean Coast of Colombia, a spectacularly scenic area where beaches with palms fringe the skirts of snow-capped summits of Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada National Park.

Robert Ridgely, of the Rainforest Trust, described the area to Naturalist Journeys owner Peg Abbott, as a “real gem, and its lodge (El Dorado run by the conservation group ProAves) is one of the best.” With this endorsement, and knowing that Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast has long been a safe place to visit in Colombia, Abbott was inspired to add the destination. She also notes that this area of Colombia is easily accessed by direct flights from Panama City. The tour route from Barranquilla ascends the lush-forest slopes of the Santa Marta Mountains above Minca (circa 8,800 feet) to higher reaches of the delightful El Dorado Lodge, and back to Tayrona National Park on the Coast. With little driving, participants can experience five out of the ten vegetation formations of the Northern Watershed of the great Magdelana River region, one of the most diverse on Earth.

For birders and nature enthusiasts this is a welcome addition to the company’s list of top birding and wildlife destinations. This guided adventure should produce most of the 21 endemic bird species of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta! Abbott is pleased to tally up the total driving distance as only 210 miles, leaving participants time for birding and, along the coast, swimming and relaxing.

Recognizing the area’s unique character, in 1964 the Colombian government designated much of the Sierra de Santa Marta as Colombia’s second National Park. Jutting up abruptly from the coastline, and isolated from the rest of the Andes by a "sea" of dry forest, these lush, snow-capped mountains have developed the highest number of endemic birds of any area in Colombia. About 25% (21 species) of the Colombian endemics occur here! Nearby Tayrona National Park features Tropical Dry forest that surrounds the mountain, and the tour lodgings here are literally perched on the sea.

To add in a cultural component, a two-night extension features time in historic Santa Marta, treasured by Simon Bolivar, and to see more of the landscapes featured in García Márquez’s famous novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera”.

Cost of the week-long eco-tour is $3290, from Barranquilla. It includes 1 night in Minca, 3 nights at El Dorado Lodge, and 2 nights at the innovative Ecohabs on the water at Tayrona National Park. The tour is fully-guided and includes all meals.
More about ProAves and El Dorado Lodge http://www.proaves.org/visit-the-el-dorado-reserve-a-paradise-of-birds/?lang=en

More about Naturalist Journeys:
Naturalist Journeys LLC, a top birding and nature tour company, offers specialty small group tours and travel worldwide, from the western U.S. to Alaska, Hawaii and Florida, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Panama, safaris in Africa and more. Naturalist Journey’s guided nature and birding tours feature expert guides with decades of experience in birdwatching, travel photography and other forms of eco-tourism. Naturalist Journeys also offers hiking and adventure travel tours in many national parks and wildlife reserves, including the Galapagos, Antarctica and the Amazon.

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Peg Abbott

Susanne Apitz
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