The route of the Great Snake
Our most off-the-beaten-path birding experience includes exploring 2 remote locations in the foothills of the Amazon and one more beyond the Andes Cordillera in Colombia’s vast Savannah. The tour is highly customizable to meet the expectations and physical condition of your group of birders. On this birding tour to the Amazon, we will explore diverse habitats that coexist in close proximity including white sand Amazon soils, erosional remnants of a once vast and more elevated area that geologists call the Guiana Shield, Terra Firme (upland) tropical forests, gallery forests, and seasonally flooded Varzea Forests. The full tour demands us to take internal flights to Mitu and Inirida, walk on trails surrounded by jungle, enter a number of indigenous communities that still preserve their language and traditions, and immerse ourselves in the beauty and mystery of some of the best-kept secrets birding destinations on earth.
Birds of particular interest include
Yellow-crowned Manakin, Fiery Topaz, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, White-plumed Antbird, Spotted Puffbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Pavonine Quetzal, Red-fan Parrot, Amazonian Motmot, Long-billed Starthroat, Gilded Barbet, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Red-stained Woodpecker, Striolated Manakin, Black-faced Dacnis, Paradise Tanager, Capuchinbird, Yapacana Antbird, Gilded Barbet, Scale-Breasted Woodpecker, Black-headed Parrot, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Pearly Antshrike, Spot-backed Antwren, Cherrie´s Antwren, Imeri-warbling Antbird, Rose-Breasted Chat, Little Cuckoo, Blue-crowned Trogon, Green-tailed Jacamar, Orinoco Softtail, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Dot-winged Antshrike, Varzea Schiffornis
Highlights for the tour
• Our first destination, the Mitu municipality is fast developing a reputation as a world-class birding destination where the influence of the majestic Orinoco river and the convergence of habitats conspire to create an out of this world birding experience
• Our second destination located near Bogota is a wild open mix of grasslands, savanna forest, gallery forest, and seasonally flooded wetlands ideal for you to see a wide range of birds specialties in transit to Inirida
• Our final destination, the Inirida municipality sits in the midst of a fascinating mix of Amazonas foothills and Guayana shield ecosystems. The very weird looking and not well known Capuchinbird; and the important and rare Yapacana Antbird are the two main targets here
• Although we are in remote locations, the tour has been carefully planned for you to go back every night to the same comfortable, clean and quiet hotel, walk on well-maintained trails visiting well-organized indigenous communities and take a few boat rides that are both relaxing and awe-inspiring.
• For a more leisured experience you and your group may opt-out Mitu and spend more days in the second location for more open area savannah, humid tropical forest birds
Tour Duration: 12 days
Best birding times: December – March
Tour Price: $5,000 per birder in a shared room
Single Occupancy Supplement: $500
Tour Goal: 300-350 bird species including many specialties
Tour Size: Limited to 6 participants
Tour Guide: Camilo Orjuela
Amazon Birding Tour
The route of the Great Snake
Day 1 – Arrival to Bogota and night at a hotel near the airport
Upon arrival at Bogota airport, a representative of Icaro Birding will pick you up at the airport and will take you to your hotel where you will meet with the Tour guide, Camilo Orjuela. During dinner, you will go over expectations, Q&A, birding etiquette, and a game plan for the first part of the tour.
Night at hotel near the airport in Bogota
Day 2 – Morning birding La Florida Park, noon flight to Mitu and afternoon birding
In the early morning, we will visit La Florida Park, a wetland located very near the airport and a perfect spot to find the Endemic Bogota Rail. Other interesting species to be found include endemic Apolinar’s Wren, a fairly common bird of tall cattails. The endemic subspecies of the Yellow-hooded Blackbirds are normally present and conspicuous, but Noble Snipe and Subtropical Doradito are rather rare and more difficult to see.
Small numbers of Spot-flanked Gallinule (endemic subspecies) are usually present in open water. (E) Silvery-throated Spinetail and (NE) Rufous-browed Conebill can occasionally be found in the surrounding Eucalyptus trees and parkland. Other birds of interest include Band-tailed Seedeater, Lesser Scaup, Andean Siskin, Andean Teal, Black Flowerpiercer.
Just after 10 am we will go to the airport for the 12:27 pm flight to Mitu. Mitú is the capital of the department of Vaupés, located in the south-eastern part of Colombia and on the border with Brazil. The municipality is located on the right bank of the Vaupes River and its population is predominantly indigenous. Mitú is characterized as a transitional municipality between the dry plains of the Orinoquía and the Amazon rainforest. Its temperatures range between 77 and 86 °F.
Upon arrival, we will check-in at Hotel Brasilia Vaupés, our base home for the next 4 nights, and will go for lunch and afternoon birding at Mituseño – Urania road
Night at Hotel Brasilia Vaupes in Mitu
Day 3-6 – Birding sites around Mitu
Starting early every morning we will be visiting different ecosystems present within driving distance from Mitu. Each day will present itself with a particular set of key bird species that are unique to those territories. An interesting part of birding in Mitu is that we will go to birding sites part of different indigenous communities.
Day 3 – Santa Cruz – Long walk and uneven surface
Day 4 – Pueblo Nuevo community – Long walk and uneven surface
Day 5 – Cruce Bocatoma
Day 6 – Mitú Cachivera
Birds of Interest: Spangled Cotinga, Paradise Jacamar, Yellow-crowned Manakin, Fiery Topaz, Tawny-tufted Toucanet, Chestnut-crested Antbird, Crested Eagle, Brown-banded Puffbird, Bare-billed Woodcreeper, Paradise Tanager, Collared Puffbird, White-plumed Antbird, Great Jacamar, Reddish Hermit, Spotted Puffbird, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Black-throated Antbird, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, White-fronted Nunbird, Pavonine Quetzal, Red-fan Parrot, White-crested Spadebill, and many more.
On Day 6 afternoon we will take a flight to the city of Villavicencio for a day of birding in the Savanna forest in transition to the Inirida municipality. This afternoon we can bird the sensational feeders and trails that surround our lodge, the cozy and birders-centered Rancho Camana Nature Reserve
Day 7 – Birding Bavaria forest and flight to Inirida in the afternoon
We will go early in the morning to the Bavaria forest, a really nice natural reserve of the humid tropical forest in llanos foothills where we hope to find a range of Amazonian foothill (east slope) species including White-chinned Jacamar, White-vented Plumeleteer, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Golden-tailed Sapphire, Amazonian Motmot, Gray-fronted Dove, Great Potoo, Yellow-billed Nunbird, Pectoral Sparrow, Violaceous Jay, Speckled Chachalaca, Long-billed Starthroat, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Grey-chinned Hermit, Green-backed Trogon, Gilded Barbet, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Scaled Piculet, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Red-stained Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, White-bearded Manakin, Striolated Manakin, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-faced Antbird, Long-billed Gnatwren, White-necked Thrush, Bare-eyed Thrush, Swallow Tanager, Black-faced Dacnis and Paradise Tanager.
Interesting mammals to find in the Bavaria Forest include Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Brown Capuchin Monkey, Squirrel Monkey, Tayra, South American Coati, and Red-tailed Squirrel
At 2:40 pm we will be boarding the 1 hour and 20 mins flight to Inirida, the capital city of the Vaupes department. Afternoon birding will be done at Cano Culebra
Night at hotel Fuente del Guainía
Day 8-12 – Birding sites around Inirida – The route of the Great Snake
Inirida is the capital city of the Vaupes Department in limits with southwestern Venezuela. The ‘Birds of the Great Snake’ itinerary takes its name from the shape our route takes along the convergence of the Inírida and the Guaviare rivers. Amazonas foothills and Guayana shield ecosystems coexist here and include floating forest, Varzea forest, Terra Firme forest, Savanna of white sand. Birding Inirida is a prime and rewarding exposure to Amazonian specialties. Conditions may be hot and humid but we have the leisure to go back to the same nice hotel every day, walk on well-maintained trails visiting well-organized indigenous communities and take a few boat rides that are both relaxing and awe-inspiring.
Day 8 – Birding in Caño Carbón & Sabanitas
Day 9 – Birding in Matraca trail & Cunubén
Day 10 – Birding in El Paujíl & La Rompida
Day 11 – Birding in Mavecure
Day 12 – Birding in Rincón Vitina / flight to Bogotá
Birds of Interest: The very weird-looking and not well-known Capuchinbird, and the rare Yapacana Antbird are the two main targets. Other birds of interest include Swallow-winged Puffbird, Paradise Jacamar, Amazonian Motmot, Gilded Barbet, Golden-spangled Piculet, Scale-Breasted Woodpecker, Black Caracara, Black-headed Parrot, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Amazonian Antshrike, Pearly Antshrike, Spot-backed Antwren, Cherrie´s Antwren, Imeri-warbling Antbird, Rose-Breasted Chat, Little Cuckoo, Blue-crowned Trogon, Collared Puffbird, Black-fronted Nunbird, Green-tailed Jacamar, Orinoco Softtail, Fasciated Antshrike, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Dot-winged Antshrike, Varzea Schiffornis and more
On day 12 we will fly back to Bogota at 11 am, arriving at noon. Depending on your flight arrangements an extra night hotel in Bogota is included.
End of Tour!