Colombia is the most biodiverse country on earth per square mile. It’s home to more species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects than any other country on the planet, with some amazing places to visit to experience the true wonder of its jaw-dropping diversity. Here are the best wildlife tours for nature-lovers in Colombia.
A llanos safari in Casanare
The vast eastern plains of Colombia, while not well-known among tourists, shelter some of Colombia’s best wildlife watching and natural diversity in their vast expanses. A wildlife-watching trip to the llanos is essentially the Colombian equivalent of going on safari, as guests travel in open jeeps or on horseback through the plains in search of vast groups of Capybaras, deer, anacondas and myriad bird species. The best place to enjoy a Colombian safari is Juan Solito Ecolodge at La Aurora reserve, where truly lucky naturalists might even spot an elusive jaguar.
Whale watching in El Chocó
Pink River Dolphins in Guaviare
It’s possible to spot Pink River Dolphins throughout the Colombian Amazon, but perhaps the most magical and hidden place to enjoy a close-up encounter with these surreal Amazonian cetaceans is on a trip to Damas del Nare lake in the jungles of Guaviare department, where a local family have started a simple ecolodge. This isolated oxbow lake in the jungle is surrounded by richly biodiverse jungles, crammed with rare birds and up to four different species of monkey. The highlight though is the dolphins, which are remarkably relaxed around people, even engaging in playful tug-of-war battles with the rope of the canoe.
Birding in Minca with ‘Jungle Joe’
Colombia’s best birdwatching tour for absolute beginners, Jungle Joe is the man to see if you don’t know your toucans from your tanagers and want to enjoy a crash-course in Colombia’s enviable avian diversity. He offers two-hour introductory tours every morning around Minca, in the foothills of the incredibly biodiverse Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. He provides the binoculars and gently guides novice birders through identifying species around the village. It’s common to see woodpeckers, owls, toucans and parrots, and Joe is a patient and knowledgeable guide.
Chicaque Park with Andes EcoTours
This lovely cloud forest natural reserve lies just a couple of hours south of Bogotá, offering a natural diversity entirely at odds with the sprawling Colombian capital. Set against a dramatic backdrop of giant cliffs and dense jungle, Chicaque is a paradise for nature lovers, especially birders. Lucky visitors might even manage to spot a sloth feeding in the trees overhead. Andes EcoTours is a Bogotá-based nature tours agency, and they specialize in birding tours around the city. A visit to Chicaque with them will yield sightings of endemic hummingbirds, gorgeous toucans and colorful tanagers in abundance.
Sea turtles in the Chocó
The same Chocó region where the whales arrive every year is also a preferred spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs. The Pacific Coast of the Chocó is favored by Green and Hawksbill turtles, while the Caribbean Chocó hosts the annual arrival of the largest species of sea turtle on earth: the majestic Leatherback. Tours from the small Caribbean village of Capurgana can be arranged to visit nearby Acandi in the dead of night to observe these two-meter beasts drag themselves onto the beach to lay their eggs. It’s a truly once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
Exploring the Amazon rainforest
The Amazon is just about the most biodiverse place on the planet, and any wildlife-lover worth their salt wants to get the chance to explore its vast and mysterious forests. Around one-third of Colombia’s national territory is made of Amazonian regions, but the bulk of the eco-tourism is clustered around the port city of Leticia, on the triple-border of Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Here it is easy to arrange a multi-day Amazonian expedition, where guests are likely to encounter monkeys, snakes, dolphins, birds and much more in a short space of time.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.