El Chocó: Colombia's Alternative to Mindo

Day 1: Arrive in Cali

Day 2: West of Cali is a low pass in the western Andes where we will spend the morning along a jeep track which passes through remnant cloud forest patches, allowing us to reach one of the localities where Multicolored Tanager can usually be found. Other likely birds in this area include Sickle-winged Guan, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet, Bronzy Inca, Speckled Hummingbird, Greenish Puffleg, Red-headed Barbet, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Montane Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted and Rusty-winged Barbtails, Streak-capped Treehunter, Streaked Xenops, Uniform Antshrike, Nariño Tapaculo, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Ashy-headed Tyrannulet, Variegated Bristle-Tyrant, Black-billed Peppershrike, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Three-striped Warbler and Oleaginous Hemispingus. Other Tanagers may include Scrub, Golden-naped, Saffron-crowned, Beryl-spangled, Blue-necked and Metallic-green Tanagers, Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager and Ash-throated Bush-Tanager.

In the afternoon we shall visit a private house with an impressive set of feeders provides. Some 600 individuals are estimated to visit daily, and among the many species that arrive to sip the artificial ‘nectar’ are White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Black-throated Mango, Blue-headed Sapphire, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Long-tailed Sylph, Long-billed Starthroat and Purple-throated Woodstar. We shall then continue on towards the pacific coast to Anchicaya.

Day 3-6: We shall spend the next few days exploring the forests around Anchicaya along what is the old road to the coastal port of Buenaventura. Our main targets here will be Great Currasow, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Lita and Choco Woodpeckers and maybe the elusive Banded Groud-cuckoo.  Pther species may include Pallid Dove, Indigo-crowned Quail-Dove, Violet-bellied and Tooth-billed Hummingbirds, Lanceolated Monklet, Silver-throated Tanager, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Esmeraldas Antbird, Pacific Streaked Antwren, Club-winged and White-crowned Manakins, White-headed Wrens, Rufous-brown Solitaire, Pale-eyed Thrush, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Pacific Cacique, Yellow-green Bush-Tanager, Scarlet-browed Tanager and Gray Seedeater.

Day 7: Today we shall spend our time at one of the last remaining wetlands in the Cauca valley. Here we hope to see Spectacled Parrotlet, the rare and particularly nomadic Apical Flycatcher, Bar-crested and Jet Antbirds, Dwarf Cuckoo, Greyish Piculet and Common Potoo. Night in Cartago.

Day 8-11: This morning we shall head to Cerro Montezuma for four nights. On the higher slopes we shall look for the endemic Gold-ringed Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer and Munchique Wood-wren. As we walk back down the slope towards the lodge we should start coming across the other most wanted tanager in the endemic Black-and-gold Tanager plus Parker's Antbird, Crested Ant-tanager and the as yet un-described Alto Pisones Tapaculo. We shall also hopefully see Beautiful Jay, Black Solitaire, Fulvous-dotted Treerunner, Glistening-green Tanager, Black-chinned Mountain-tanager, Bicoloured Antvireo, Club-winged Manakin and many other Chocó endemics.

Day 12-13: After a final morning birding on Cerro Montezuma we shall head to the nearby city of Pereira and on to the Otun-Quimbaya Reserve. This is almost the only place you can see the very rare Cauca Guan and we should expect to see them feeding high in the canopy prior to going to roost on our first afternoon. We shall scan the species flocks for the enigmatic Multicoloured Tanager. We may also be lucky enough to encounter Chestnut Wood-quail or Wattled Guan. After lunch we shall return to Cali.

Day 14: Departure.

Price: GB£3,100/US$5,150 per person

Max Group Size: 3 plus guides

Tours Include: All accommodation in hotels and lodges, ground transport, meals, services of tour leader, drivers and cooks.

Not included: International flights, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature.