The Best Ecolodges in Colombia

Colombia offers some of the most richly biodiverse territories on earth, including El Dorado Nature Reserve
Colombia offers some of the most richly biodiverse territories on earth, including El Dorado Nature Reserve | Courtesy of El Dorado Nature Reserve / Expedia
Photo of Chris Bell
29 December 2020

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on earth, with hundreds of species of bird, mammal, amphibian, reptile, insect and plant in habitats from the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and the Amazon rainforest to the great plains and the Andes mountains. There are some excellent places to stay that offer a sustainable, ecofriendly experience – here’s our pick of the best.

Pijibá Lodge

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Pijiba Lodge
Courtesy of Pijiba Lodge / Expedia
A fantastic ecolodge on the biodiverse Pacific coast near Nuqui, this lodge comprises six cabins constructed from locally sourced materials. It’s an intimate place, with stunning views over the ocean and the jungle. Activities focus on whale watching in season, and surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. Guides can also arrange hiking and bird-watching excursions on request.

Kasaguadua Ecolodge

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Courtesy of Kasaguadua Ecolodge / Expedia
A half-hour walk from the popular coffee town of Salento, Kasaguadua, meaning “bamboo house”, is a private nature reserve protecting 12ha ( of tropical Andean cloud forest. It’s possible to visit for the day and enjoy an informative guided hike along the 4km (2.5mi) of trails, or to stay overnight in the innovative cabins constructed primarily from bamboo. One important caveat when staying at Kasaguadua is that guests must be relatively fit, as the only access to the lodge, which lies at the bottom of a valley, is by foot.

Taironaka Ecolodge

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Courtesy of Taironaka Ecolodge / Expedia
This lovely little ecolodge, on the coastal road between Tayrona National Park and Palomino, is the perfect place to explore nature and the indigenous cultures of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It sits on the Don Diego River, where you can go tubing, and has a number of ecological trails that a local guide can show you, as well as an on-site archaeological museum dedicated to local cultures. They also offer healing and marriage rituals, as well as ceremonies with a local Kogui indigenous village that they work with in a foundation set up in 2006.

Juan Solito Ecolodge

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Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) flying into roost sight at dusk, Hato La Aurora Reserve, Los Llanos, Colombia, South America.
© Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Juan Solito Ecolodge, sits on Hato La Aurora, a vast reserve/ranch on the eastern plains of Colombia that protects a number of important indigenous species, including jaguars, ocelots, and anacondas, as well as many other species of mammal and bird. You’ll stay in a typical llanero house, and there’s a delicious menu of local food on offer. Activities include a Colombian safari across the plains in a 4×4 or on horseback. The team at the lodge also offer fascinating trips to monitor the camera traps that have been set up to record jaguar activity on the ranch.

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  • El Cantil Ecolodge

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    © Chris Bell
    Perhaps the finest ecolodge in Colombia, El Cantil – on Guachalito beach, an isolated stretch of sand on the wild Pacific coast near Nuqui – has seven well-furnished cabins for guests to stay in, and its restaurant serves some of the best seafood in Colombia. Between June and October, the ecolodge offers whale-watching tours, when you can watch humpback whales at close quarters. El Cantil also has bird-watching tours and surfing classes year-round. As an ecolodge, they are committed to working with local communities as well as the environment, and give out school supplies, tourism training, and surfing equipment to local people.

    El Almejal Reserve & Lodge

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    © Chris Bell
    This natural reserve and ecolodge, on Almejal beach near the town of El Valle in the Choco Pacific region, is a paradise for nature lovers. There’s a wonderful nature trail through the surrounding jungles, and eagle-eyed visitors can spot poison-arrow frogs, glass frogs, a variety of bird species, and the impressive basilisk lizard, also known as the Jesus Christ lizard for its ability to run on water. With individual cabins in the jungle, a turtle rescue programme, and a variety of nature tours available, El Almejal is bound to impress.

    El Dorado Bird Reserve

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    El Dorado Nature Reserve 2
    Courtesy of El Dorado Nature Reserve / Expedia
    Owned and operated by ProAves, Colombia’s most important bird conservation organization, El Dorado, in the fauna-rich Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, has panoramic views over the Caribbean Sea and the snowcapped peaks of Bolivar state, in southern Colombia. It’s a huge draw for twitchers worldwide, who come to spot up to 20 species of bird that only exist here. The lodge’s gardens alone boast a multitude of species, including the Santa Marta screech owl.
    These recommendations were updated on December 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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