Andean Region

“The most outstanding aspects of the Andean region are its phenomenal ecosystem
and species diversity, as well as its amazing landscapes”

The Andean Region in Colombia covers around 278,600 km2, which correspond to 24.5% of Colombia’s territory. Its great ecosystem, species and landscapes diversity are the result of the complex topography and of the periodic isolation determined by the Ice Ages during the Pleistocene (about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago), which propitiated high variation in climate and soil conditions.

In the inter-Andean valleys, you can find the basin of the most important rivers in Colombia. Between the Central and the western mountain ranges there are the Patía River to the south and the Cauca River to the north, whereas between the Central and the Eastern mountain range flows the Magdalena river, the most important river of Colombia.

In the south of Colombia towards the Ecuadorian border, the Andes constitute a single mountain range with volcanic peaks of up to 5,000 meters above sea level. Northwards at the Nudo de los Pastos, the single mountain range splits into two. They are called Western and Central Andes or Cordillera Occidental and Central respectively. In the south of the department of Huila, a third mountain range, called Eastern Andes or Cordillera Oriental respectively, splits off from the Central Andes. Thus, the Andean region is composed by 3 main North-South oriented mountain ranges, and two massifs one to the south, the Macizo Colombiano and Nudo de los Pastos, and one isolated to the north, the famous Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest mountain structure in Colombia with the highest peak reaching up to 5,775 meters. It is also the highest coastal mountain structure in the world. UNESCO declared it Biosphere Reserve of Man and Humanity in 1979. UNESCO also declared the Macizo Colombiano as a Biosphere Heritage in 1998.

The outstanding topographic variation that Colombia offers, and its stunning landscapes are perfect for outdoor activities like biking, trekking and mountaineering among others.

Buffy Helmetcrest (Oxypogon stubelii) at Los Nevados National Park, Brisas sector, Caldas, Colombia

Transport inside the region is made principally with intermunicipal buses and private transportation. The principal airports are placed in the main capitals of this region:

  • Bogotá International Airport El Dorado
  • Medellín International Airport José Ma. Córdova
  • Medellín Olaya Herrera Airport
  • Cali International Airport Alfonso Bonilla
  • Manizales La Nubia Airport
  • Armenia El Edén Airport
  • Pereira Matecaña Airport
  • Bucaramanga Palonegro Airport

Bird fairs and festivals

You can visit Colombia participating of bird festivals and birdwatching activities during the festivals, which are offered during the whole year and at different regions of the country. These activities promote environmental education, the development of the local communities and birds’ associations, the Colombian natural destinations and conservation projects for the region.

Apolinar's Wren - Cistothorus apolinari E

To Offer

  • Urabá

This region is situated in the northwest of Colombia and boarders with Panama. It is part of the Biogeographic Chocó and the Darién Ecoregion. Biodiversity is one of the greatest attractions of Urabá. You can find endemic birds like the Sooty-capped Puffbird (Bucco noanamae) or the Northern Screamer (Chauna chavaria), as well as marine turtles, poisonous frogs, jaguars, among other species. It connects Antioquia with the Caribbean Sea. Hit by violence for decades in the past, its virgin and unexplored territory serves as a fantastic destination for nature tourism in Colombia.

  • El Jardín

This small town placed at 134 km from Medellín, is one of 17 Colombian towns that have been declared as national cultural heritage. Its main Park was declared a National Monument of Colombia in 1985.

  • Arví Ecotourism Park

This public park lays between the valleys of Aburrá and San Nicolás and has an area of 1,761 hectares.

  • National Natural Park El Cocuy

It is the largest glacier mass in Colombia. It consists of more than 25 peaks covered with ice and snow, along two mountain ranges of approximately 25 kilometers in length and 4 kilometers in width. The protected area also has páramos, a large band of Andean forest and jungles that are habitat to a great diversity of fauna and flora.

  • Iguaque Flora and Fauna Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is a privileged place for contemplation due to the exuberant páramo landscape. Among the activities allowed in the area are observation of flora and fauna, research and environmental education, and photography and video. The only trail open to the public is the one to the Sacred Lagoon of Iguaque, the Sanctuary’s main attraction.

This geographical, cultural, economic and ecological region of Colombia is located in the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, the northeastern part of Valle del Cauca, the entire southwest of Antioquia and the northwestern of Tolima (see below).

  • Natural National Park Los Nevados

Located in the heart of Colombia’s coffee-growing region, it is composed by a volcanic complex formed by Nevado del Ruiz, Nevado de Santa Isabel, Nevado del Tolima, and the paramillos of Cisne, Santa Rosa and Quindío. Activities such as fauna and flora observation, hiking and trekking on 20 different trails are offered.

  • Tinamu Birdlodge
  • Romelia Farm
  • Paraíso Verde Farm
  • Termales del Ruiz Hotel
  • Rio Blanco Natural Reserve
  • Botanical Garden and Butterfly observatory.
  • Barbas Bremen Reserve.
  • Otún Quimbaya Fauna and Flora Sanctuary

The sub-Andean forest is part of the conservation corridor of the upper basin of the Otún river. Observation of fauna and flora and especially bird watching, including endemic birds, are some of the main attractions of the region.

  • Mistrató
  • Apía
  • Montezuma Rainforest
  • National Natural Park Tatamá
  • San Cipriano Reserve.
  • Laguna de Sonso.
  • Anchicayá
  • Doña Dora
  • San Antonio Forest
  • La Conchita Farm
  • La Minga Ecolodge
  • Natural National Park Los Las Hermosas.
  • Natural National Park Los Farallones de Cali.
  • Natural Archeological Park Tierradentro
  • Natural National Park Puracé
  • Natural National Park Munchique
  • Cocha Lagoon
  • National Natural Park Sanquianga
  • Natural Reserve Azufral
  • Tumaco
  • Rio Ñambi Natural Reserve
  • La Planada Reserve
  • National Natural Park Catatumbo Barí.

This is one of the 56 protected areas of the National Natural Parks system of Colombia, recognized through Resolutions No. 102 of November 26, 1988 and December 10, 1988, is located in the Cordillera Oriental in the Andean Region of Colombia.

  • Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area.
  • National Natural Park Chicamocha

This is one of the few natural parks in Colombia dedicated to ecotourism, being therefore one of the most important tourist sites in the country. The Chicamocha river canyon is the result of erosion on the fluvial bed, with the formation of large gorges on both banks. With more than 108,000 hectares, the Chicamocha is one of the largest in the world, and was formed 46 million years ago in a place that was once a huge lake with marine animals. The Chicamocha Canyon, is the Top 77 of the Natural Wonders of the World.

  • National Natural Park Chingaza
  • National Natural Park Sumapaz
  • Nevado del Huila

It is the highest point of the central mountain range of the Andes in Colombia with 5365 masl; being the second highest mountain in the country, after the twin peaks Cristóbal Colón and Simón Bolívar, with 5775 masl, located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
National Natural Park Cueva de los Guácharos: is one of the 56 protected areas of the National Natural Parks System of Colombia and the oldest, created in 1960.

  • National Archeological Park San Agustín

This is one of the most important archaeological sites in Colombia, located south of the Department of Huila and was declared in 1995 by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.

  • El Encanto Natural Reserve
  • National Natural Park Los Nevados
  • National Natural Park Nevado del Huila
  • Ukuku Lodge

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