Farallones de Cali Natural National Park, the Land of the Tororoi Bailador

In west of the city of Cali you will find páramos, waterfalls, trails, mountains and rivers hidden in the  youngest rock formations of the Western Cordillera of the Andes: Farallones de Cali Natural National Park.

This protected area, distinguished by its majestic blue peaks that rise above a plain that separates the basins of the Pacific and the Cauca River, is recognized for its great natural wealth and therefore becomes a must-see destination when it comes to nature tourism in this region of the country.

Below you will get the information you need to enjoy and fall in love with the largest natural reserve in Valle del Cauca.

Discovering Farallones de Cali Natural National Park

Farallones de Cali National Park is located in southwestern Colombia, in the department of Valle del Cauca, between the municipalities of Cali, Jamundí, Dagua and Buenaventura, covering an area of 1,500 km².

The “farallones” are rock formations of about 20 million years ago, being the youngest of the Western Cordillera of the Andes, formed by the folding of the South American and Nazca tectonic plates.

The protected area is the largest in Valle del Cauca and allows the conservation of more than 540 bird species and more than 30 rivers that originate there. The rivers and streams that originate in this area are divided into two basins: the Cauca and Pacific basins, and supply the southwestern part of Colombia.

Pance Peak, Farallones de Cali National Park, CC Parques Nacionales Archives

The elevation gradient is between 200 and 4,100 meters above sea level, where the following ecosystems are present:

  • Tropical Rainforest (200 and 1,200 meters above sea level);
  • Humid Sub-Andean Forest (1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level);
  • Humid High Andean Forest (2,000 and 3,500 meters above sea level) and
  • Páramo (above 3,500 meters above sea level).

Farallones de Cali NNP has the only paramo ecosystem in Colombia that does not have frailejones. However, the park is considered one of the richest in flora and fauna Colombia.

How to get to Farallones de Cali Natural National Park

Bogotá-Palmira-Pance

Take a 145- minutes flight from El Dorado Bogotá (BOG) to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (CLO) at Palmira city. Once at the airport, take an approximately 45- minutes ride to Pance at Centro de Educación Ambiental El Topacio.

What to do in Farallones de Cali NNP

Colombia’s National Natural Parks announced that as a contribution to the country’s economic reactivation and as a continuation of the reopening of protected areas with an ecotourism vocation, the Farallones de Cali National Natural Park reopened its doors so that visitors can enjoy its natural and cultural values.

Authorized sectors for entry

The organization, in charge of administering and managing the Natural Parks System and coordinating the National System of Protected Areas of Colombia, announced the following points that will be authorized for visitors:

  • Puesto de atención a visitantes el Topacio, located in Vereda el Topacio Corregimiento de Pance, Distrito de Cali, access to the attractive Pico de Loro.
  • Quebradahonda Visitor Service Station, located in the Quebradahonda Village, Corregimiento de los Andes, District of Cali, access to the Peñas Blancas attraction.
  • Km 81 Visitor Service Station, located in La Cascada, municipality of Dagua, access to the Cañón del Anchicayá attraction.

Schedules and measures to take into account

National Parks informed that visitors will be able to enjoy the protected area “in day trip mode” and it is important to follow the instructions of the park rangers, the National Police and members of the communities that provide ecotourism support.

The entrance hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and the departure time should be no later than 5:00 p.m.

Biosecurity protocols

At the same time, the entity highlighted the recommendations and biosecurity protocols, which have been developed given the pandemic situation and among which are: maintaining social distance, permanent use of masks and glycerin alcohol, as well as avoiding crowds.

Additionally, the tourist load capacity of each of the trails has been reduced to 30% for this reopening stage, and also police accompaniment is provided.

What to enjoy in Los Farallones?

In this protected area you can spot species such as the spectacled bear and the anteater, along with guans, chachalacas, parrots and eagles.

Los Farallones de Cali National Natural Park, located in the Western Cordillera of Colombia, allows visitors to enjoy relaxing landscapes, which are also home to marsupials and monkeys, as well as camping and hiking activities.

Hiking

Hiking is an exciting activity in Farallones de Cali National Park. You can hike on 4 trails: Pico de Loro Trail; Burbujas Trail; Peñas Blancas Trail and Anchicayá Canyon.

  • Pico de Loro Trail: Starting point 1718 masl to 2860 masl arrival point. Difficulty level: Medium – High and maximum capacity of 50 people per day. (3 hours)
  • Burbujas Trail: Starting point 1676 masl to 1735 masl arrival point. Degree of difficulty: Low and maximum capacity of 267 people per day.
  • Peñas Blancas Trail: Starting point 1987 masl to 2886 masl arrival point. Degree of difficulty: Medium – High and maximum capacity of 50 people per day.
  • Anchicayá Canyon: It is a natural well with a depth of approximately 80 cm to 6 meters. Degree of difficulty: Low-Medium and maximum capacity of 200 people per day.

Birdwatching

Tororoi Bailador. CC Diego Calderón (Colombia Birding)

The most representative birds of the park are the:

  • Long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger);
  • Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima);
  • Yellow-green tanager (Chlorospingus flavovirens);
  • Cauca guan (Penelope perspicax);
  • Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana);
  • Banded ground cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus); and,
  • Baudó guan (Penelope ortoni).

Land of the Tororoi Bailador, or the Dancing Grallaria

Species number 562 was named Tororoi Bailador, which was discovered in the Dagma conservation area, immersed in the Farallones de Cali National Natural Park.

Thus, the Tororoi Bailador is an endemic bird recorded in the park, and it is known to be present in five rural territories near the park.

Wildlife Tours

In Farallones de Cali NNP you can observe small bats up to pumas, in addition to panthers, ocelots, foxes and spectacled bears.

The amphibian community includes the Lehman’s poison dart frog, Oophaga lehmanni. Check our dart frogs tour here.

Orchids tours are also a very well developed activity to do in the park. Know more about orchids of Colombia in our entry The Richest Country in Orchids in the World: Colombia.

Where to stay in Farallones de Cali NNP

Thanks to the proximity of Farallones de Cali NNP with the city of Cali it is not necessary to stay overnight in the park.

We recommend you to stay in Cali, where there are plenty of nice hotels you can stay. Our recommendations for you are:

  • Hotel Casa del Hidalgo
  • Hotel Dann Carton Cali
  • Cali Marriot Hotel

Best time to visit Farallones de Cali NNP

We recommend that you visit the park during the 2 dry seasons, between the months of January and March, and between July and August.

Keep in mind that Farallones de Cali NNP has an average temperature of 25º C (77º F) in most of the marked trails but in the summits it has a temperature of 5º C (41º F).

Farallones de Cali NNP Entrance fees

Farallones de Cali NNP does not currently charge admission to visitors.

What to consider before visiting Farallones de Cali NNP

  • The park currently has regulated access, so you must request access to the following email farallones@parquesnacionales.gov.co.
  • The hours of entry and permanence of the trails allowed in the park are:
    • Pico de Loro Trail: Entrance from 6 am to 8 am; departure 4 pm maximum;
    • Burbujas – Pance: Entrance from 6 am to 5 pm;
    • Peñas Blancas Trail: Entrance from 6 am to 8 am; departure 4 pm maximum;
    • Anchicayá Canyon: stay from 7 am to 5 pm.
    • The Pico Pance trail is currently restricted because it is in an intangible zone.
  • The entry of pets or domestic animals is prohibited.
  • The use of flash when taking photographs is prohibited.
  • Use of binoculars to watch animals’ behavior is recommended.
  • Bring along valid identification documents and health insurance.
  • It is recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever and tetanus.
  • If you take specific medications, take them with you a personal first aid kit.

Some prohibitions

Feeding, bothering or hunting animals, alcoholic drinks and drugs, throwing cigarette butts, burning garbage, felling, and capturing wildlife.

References
  • Parques Nacionales
  • Colombia.travel
  • Colparques
About the authors

Sara Colmenares

The current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism-environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services, and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.

Luisa Martin

Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.

Top 7 Unmissable Birding Spots in Risaralda in the Coffee Triangle

Find here the top 7 unmissable birding spots in Risaralda, a department with more than 800 species of birds, almost the same quantity of bird species in all North America, and even more than all the birds of the European continent.

Risaralda has been a region developed from an agricultural coffee economy, in addition to livestock, industry and commerce. Due to its homogeneity between the cultural, social, and economic elements based on this coffee culture, this department of Colombia is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list as a Coffee Cultural Landscape.

Risaralda crosses the Andean region from the western slope of the Central Andes through the inter-Andean valley of the Cauca River to the Pacific slope of the Western Cordillera. It comprises four thermal floors from warm, medium, cold and paramo, contemplating the perpetual snows on the Nevado de Santa Isabel. All this plurality of sceneries, nurtures a suitable context to host a great diversity of species of fauna and flora.

Thus, despite being Risaralda such a small department with only 4,140 square kilometers, it has more than 800 species of birds, among them, 25 endemic and 54 almost endemic. This means that it possesses 42% of the birds of Colombia, 80% of the birds of the Coffee Triangle, and close to 8% of the birds of the world.

1. “Otún Quimbaya” Fauna and Flora Sanctuary

The first of the unmissable birding spots in Risaralda is “Otún Quimbaya” Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. This place is characterized for being an easy observation point of two charismatic species: the Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax), an endangered endemic bird (EN), and the Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus), a huge spectacular black-and-red cotinga with a strong, heavy bill, and a red throat and breast. These birds inhabit the cloud forests of the subtropical zone of the Cauca River Valley.

Cauca Guan – Penelope perspicax ENDEMIC
Red-ruffed Fruitcrow – Pyroderus scutatus

Other attractions of this place are the birds with striking songs like the Hooded Antpitta (Grallaricula cucullata), the Moustached Antpitta (Grallaria alleni) and the Chestnut-naped Antpitta (Grallaria nuchalis), all almost endemic and vulnerable (VU), and the endemic Brown-banded Antpitta (Grallaria milleri). Also, wrens such as Munchique Wood-Wren (Henicorhina negreti) and the Chestnut-breasted Wren (Cyphorhinus thoracicus) can be found here.

2. Montezuma Road and National Natural Park Tatamá

Along the Montezuma road, there is a great variety of species due to the altitudinal gradient, ranging from 1300 to 2600 m above sea level. Recently the government of Risaralda has installed shelters, observation towers, and viewpoints in strategic places along the road to improve bird watching.

Olive Finch – Arremon castaneiceps

The route begins at the Cerro de Tatamá, in the Tatamá National Natural Park, at 2600 m. Here it rains a lot and you can only arrive in a 4WD car. To get to Cerro de Tatamá at 5 a.m. it is necessary to sleep at Pueblo Rico town, but the road makes you have to leave at 3 am to reach the top at dawn. As a second option, you can stay at the Montezuma Lodge, a rural family project dedicated to nature tourism, placed at the base of the hill, 1350 m above sea level. Know more about this birding spot in Risaralda in our post The Uniqueness of Tatamá Park and Montezuma Road Destination.

White-tailed Hillstar – Urochroa bougueri

Tatamá National Natural Park is located in the western mountain range, between the departments of Choco, Valle Del Cauca and Risaralda. The geographical location, the presence of a virgin paramo, and the excellent conservation status, make the Tatamá Park a protected area where many endemic species and species of the biogeographic Chocó can be found.

Gold-ringed Tanager – Bangsia aureocincta ENDEMIC

The Gold-ringed Tanager (Bangsia aureocincta) is the target of this route. It is an endemic and also endangered tanager of the Pacific slope in the department of Risaralda. It is local and rare in subtropical rainforests.

Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer – Diglossa gloriosissima ENDEMIC

Among the highlights, you can find the Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer (Diglossa glorisissima), Munchique Wood-Wren (Henicorhina negreti), Grass-green tanager (Chlorornis riefferii), Orange-breasted fruiteater (Pipreola jucunda), the Crested ant tanager (Habia cristata), Parker’s Antbird (Cercomacroides parkeri), Choco Tapaculo (Scytalopus chocoensis), and the Golden-bellied Warbler (Choco Warbler) (Myiothlypis chrysogaster).

Scaled Fruiteater – Ampelioides tschudii

3. Apia

Apia is a municipality located 1 hour and 15 minutes from the city of Pereira. It is characterized by its very special record of birds. The easiest bird to observe on this route is the endemic and vulnerable (VU) Yellow-headed Manakin (Chloropipo flavicapilla).

Barred Parakeet – Bolborhynchus lineola

This town has been the epicenter of many activities around birds, including the “Apia Tierra de Aves” Bird Festival. This festival has awakened in the people of the region the interest and respect for birds, as well as their protection and the conservation of their habitats.

Moustached Puffbird – Malacoptila mystacalis

From the town’s central square, you will have the opportunity to meet the most striking birds of this region, since all the candy stands have a bird painted on their walls.

Among the birds you can see, there are the endemic Turquoise Dacnis (Dacnis hartlaubi) (VU), the Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima) (VU), the Chestnut Wood Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) (NT) and the Yellow-headed Brush-Finch (Atlapetes flaviceps) (EN).

Purplish-mantled Tanager – Iridosornis porphyrocephalus

4. Mistrató: Costa Rica y El Sutú

Mistrató is a town located one hour and a half from Pereira, on the road that leads to the Mampay trail. This municipality is characterized by a high concentration of endemic species (17). The emblematic bird of this route is the Black-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia melanochlamys) (VU), a species endemic to Colombia, and also local, found in the Western Cordillera and north of the Central Andes.

Black-and-gold Tanager – Bangsia melanochlamys

There are two routes for birding in Mistrató, one on the Costa Rica road and the other called the Sutú.

Club-winged Manakin – Machaeropterus deliciosus

Other birds that you can find on this route are the Scaled Fruiteater (Ampelioides tschudii), Sapayoa (Sapayoa aenigma), Ornate Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), Toucan barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus), Club-winged manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus), Glistening-green tanager (Chlorochrysa phoenicotis), Barred hawk (Morphnarchus princeps) and the Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima), among others.

Ornate Hawk Eagle – Spizaetus ornatus. Ph. Arnulfo Sanchez

Reserva El Sutú

This is a growing destination where you can photograph some of the birds of the region. So far, with the help of feeders and drinkers, you can observe up to 3 species of birds, among them, the Black-and-gold Tanager.

5. Pueblo Rico – Santa Cecilia

Pueblo Rico is a municipality located on the eastern side of the western mountain range, in the northwest of Risaralda, 97 kilometers from Pereira, in Colombia. The municipality of Santa Cecilia is located 32 km northwest of the municipality of Pueblo Rico. It is a region with the presence of indigenous and Afro groups.

Santa Cecilia is a town situated on the border between the departments of Risaralda and Chocó. This town connects the road that leads from the heart of the Coffee Axis to the depths of the Choco rainforests.

Pacific Antwren – Myrmotherula pacifica

Due to its location on the Pacific slope, the area is directly influenced by the intertropical confluence zone, which translates into high precipitation, and high relative humidity, with an average temperature of 28° C, and precipitation exceeding 4000 mm. Most of the region is pristine, with areas of very humid tropical forests. Many endemic species are found here.

Baudo Oropendola – Psarocolius cassini at Santa Cecilia, Risaralda, Colombia

Among the birds you can see there are the Pacific Antwren (Myrmotherula pacifica), the endemic Baudo Oropendola (Psarocolius cassini), the Baudo Guan (Penelope ortoni), the Yellow-collared Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia flavirostris), the Plain-colored Tanager (Tangara inornata), Dusky-faced Tanager (Mitrospingus cassinii), and many others.

6. Santa Rosa de Cabal – Cortaderal

Santa Rosa de Cabal is a municipality 15 km northeast of Pereira, and the entrance to the National Natural Park Los Nevados from Risaralda. It is the capital of chorizo, a Colombian type of pork sausage. It is also part of the territory declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011: the Colombian Coffee Cultural Landscape.

Fuerte’s Parrot or Indigo-winged Parrot – Hapalopsittaca fuertesi

The observation site is in Cortaderal on the road that leads to the Otún lagoon, two and a half hours from Santa Rosa de Cabal. In this place, you will be able to observe the Fuerte’s Parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi). The Fuerte’s Parrot is a rare and local species of the temperate forests of the Central Andes. In the early 2000s, this species was thought to be extinct, but it was rediscovered! The protection of its natural habitats is mandatory to avoid its extinction.

Mountain Avocetbill – Opisthoprora euryptera

In this site you will also be able to observe the Andean Pygmy-owl (Glaicidium jardinii), the Hooded mountain tanager (Buthraupis montana), the Speckle-faced Parrot (Pionus tumultuosus), the Grey-breasted mountain toucan (Andigena hypoglauca), the Purple-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron microrhynchum), also the Sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) and a jewel such as the Mountain Avocetbill (Opisthoprora euryptera), and other species of the Central Andes.

Grey-breasted mountain toucan – Andigena hypoglauca

7. Belén de Umbría Lek Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Belén de Umbria is only an hour and a half from the city of Pereira. From there you take the route to the Santa Emilia village. This is one of the ideal places in Risaralda to observe the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruvianus), preferably in the afternoon.

Andean cock-of-the-rock – Rupicola peruvianus

Where to Stay When you go to Visit Birding Spots in Risaralda

There are many options in the city of Pereira, but I recommend the Hotel Sazagua for a luxury experience. Also, if you prefer a more authentic experience, since you are in the coffee region, I recommend Finca del Café Hotel which includes experiences with the coffee culture.

“Otún Quimbaya” Fauna and Flora Sanctuary offers its own accomodation. For more information about it visit our entry Ecotourism at Otún Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.

Finally, for more distant places, such as Apia, Montezuma, Mistrató and Pueblo Rico – Santa Cecilia you can stay at the hotels of each town. Generally, these are very basic accommodations, but comfortable enough for your stay and rest.

If you want to know more about your trip for birdwatching, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Recommendations

Indeed, Risaralda is a very rainy department, especially towards the western region. Thus, I recommend you, above all, to take waterproof clothing, waterproof boots and waterproof backpacks to protect your equipment in case of rain.

If you want to know more about Colombian nature tours, or want to visit Risaralda for bird watching, follow us, write us comments, or just contact us.


References

  • Risaralda Bird Festival
  • Mistrató Neblina Birds – Risaralda Local Guide Arnulfo Sanchez

About the author

Sara Colmenares

Current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism – environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.

#1 Birding Hotspot in Meta: Bosque Bavaria. Only 5 min. from Villavicencio!

The Bosque Bavaria in Villavicencio is one of the main hotspots for bird watching in Colombia and the first hotspot in the department of Meta. It is considered a place of ornithological interest due to the high concentration of bird species in a relatively small area. In this place more than 350 bird species have been registered.

In this place is located the Proaves Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus) Bird Nature Reserve which, together with the forests of the former Bavaria beer company headquarters, preserves the forest in the piedmont plains of Los Llanos sheltering bird species in a gradient between 200 and 1100 meters above sea level.

Guatiquía River Canyon (IBA)

Bosque Bavaria Hotspot is part of the Important Bird Area (IBA) Guatiquía River Canyon. The Guatiquía River Canyon is located on the eastern slope of the Eastern mountain range of Colombia, in the Llanos piedmont. Guatiquía IBA is part of the department of Meta and covers an area of 450 square kilometers.

The Guatiquía River Canyon goes up from the Bavaria bridge in Villavicencio, at 400 meters above sea level, to the Chingaza paramo, at 3,000 meters above sea level. It crosses towns such as Montfort, San Francisco, El Calvario, Santa Teresa, Candelaria and San Juanito.

Guatiquía River and Bosque Bavaria Birding Hotspot

The fairly wide altitudinal gradient of the IBA Guatiquía River Canyon favors the presence of fauna and flora belonging to different thermal floors. Globally threatened species, restricted-range species and biome-restricted species are found in this area.

Among them, it is worth mentioning the Band-tailed Guan (Penelope argyrotis), Blue-throated Starfrontlet (Coeligena helianthea), Crimson-rumped Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus), Brown-breasted Parakeet (Pyrrhura calliptera), Cundinamarca Antpitta (Grallaria kaestneri), Andean Siskin (Spinus spinescens), Ochre-breasted Brush-finch (Atlapetes semirufus), Pale-naped Brush-finch (Atlapetes pallidinucha) and Moustached Brush-finch (Atlapetes albofrenatus).

It is possible to do a bird watching daytrip from the paramo to the lower part of the piedmont, you just need a good guide and a 4×4 truck.

Bosque Bavaria Location

The Bavaria forest is located five minutes from the city of Villavicencio, Meta, in the vicinity of the old Bavaria brewery warehouse. You can find it on the left side of the road that leads to the municipality of Restrepo, shortly before crossing the bridge over the Guatiquía River.

Bosque Bavaria Birding Hotspot at 5 minutes from Villavicencio

The forest is part of a transitional piedmont forest fragment between the mountainous part and the adjacent plains. Bosque Bavaria is a tropical humid forest formed by slightly altered primary and secondary forests.

It is located at an altitude ranging between 467 and 651 meters above sea level and is the boundary between the bird species present in the low areas of the Orinoco and the species typical of the mountainous forests of the Eastern Mountain Range.

Bosque Bavaria Weather

Bosque Bavaria has an average annual temperature of 27°C and an average annual rainfall of 3,663 mm (IGAC, 1996). Besides, the first period of rain occurs between April and May and the second between September and November; 62% of the total rain falls during these five months. Also, September and October are the rainiest months while January and February are the driest.

Birding in Bosque Bavaria, Meta

The tour is made along an unpaved road that connects several farms with the city. During the tour, you can observe the canyon of the Guatiquía River from the observation balconies offered by the steep forest slopes that surround the road.

Double-toothed Kite – Harpagus bidentatus. Ph. Sara Colmenares

Among with the Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus), there are other interesting birds such as the Gilded Barbet (Capito auratus), Speckled Chachalaca (Ortalis guttata), Amazonian Motmot (Momotus momota), White-chested Puffbird (Malacoptila fusca), Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala), White-bearded Manakin (Manacus manacus), Sooty-capped Hermit (Phaethornis augusti), Moustached Antwren (Myrmotherula ignota), Amazonian Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus ornatus), Dwarf Cuckoo (Coccycua pumila), Green Manakin (Cryptopipo holochlora), and Striolated Manakin (Machaeropterus striolatus).

Unfortunate picture of the Striolated Manakin – Machaeropterus striolatus. Ph. Sara Colmenares

Besides birds, you can also find mammals such as the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), along with other animals such as turtles, and amphibians, butterflies, etc.

Butterfly Watching in Bosque Bavaria

The list of butterflies that live in Bosque Bavaria is composed of about 470 species. This region is the best sampled in butterflies in the entire Eastern Cordillera and has a high potential for butterfly watching tours.

Here are some of the butterfly species you can find in Bosque Bavaria:

Fig. 1. Morpho telemachus iphiclus . Fig. 2. Morpho achilles patroclus . Fig. 3. Morpho achilles phokylides . Fig. 4. Morpho marcus intermedia . Fig. 5. Morpho menelaus occidentalis . Fig. 6. Antirrhaea philoctetes philaretes (Salazar et al. 2017).
Fig. 15. Parides anchises nielseni . Fig. 16. Coenophlebia archidona . Fig. 17. Pterourus zagreus f. bacchus . Fig. 18. Eueides tales cognata . Fig. 19. Methona confusa confusa . Fig. 20. Hamadryas chloe chloe . Fig. 21. Brevianta ematheon . Fig. 22. Semomesia croesus lacrimosa . Fig. 23. Cyrenia martia ssp. . Fig. 24. Callicore lyca bella . (Plates G. Nielsen) (Salazar et al. 2017).

Where to Stay near Bosque Bavaria Hotspot

There are several option to stay near Bosque Bavaria, either you stay at Villavicencio or in a nearby town called Restrepo.

However, for birders and nature lovers, I recommend Rancho Camaná Natural Reserve as the nearest place to stay when you visit Bosque Bavaria. Besides, from Rancho Camaná you can also visit other birding spots as Camino Monfortiano, Caney Alto, and Upin Salt Mines along the piedmont plains.

Recommendations

  • Wear boots, a raincoat, and a mosquito protection.
  • Disinfect shoes with hypochlorite or Clorox to prevent the dispersion of the chytrid fungus (one of the main causes of death of amphibians in the world).

If you want to know more about Colombian nature tours, or want to visit Bosque Bavaria or Guatiquía Canyon in Meta, follow us, write us comments, or just contact us.


References


About the author

Sara Colmenares

Current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism – environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.

Know One of the Most Pristine Nature Destinations in Colombia: Rio Ñambi

The Río Ñambí Nature Reserve is a natural paradise the tropical forest inserted in the colombian biogeographic Chocó of Nariño. It has a great variety of birds, animals and species that invite you to connect with nature and enjoy the fresh air of this tropical rainforests.

Sustainable Destination

Rio Ñambi is owned by the “Los Colibríes de Altaquer” Ecological Foundation (FELCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of nature. FELCA arised in 1991 as a community initiative by a group of students and teachers of the school Santa Teresita de Altaquer, who, concerned about the growing deterioration of natural resources, undertake the task of conserving important areas of forest and teaching others the importance of assuming a responsible attitude towards nature.

FELCA protects the Río Ñambí Nature Reserve since 1992, being one of the first community conservation experiences in South America. Since then, FELCA has been working together with local, national and international institutions, through strategic alliances, to fulfill the objectives of the FELCA Foundation.

Today, the Rio Ñambi Nature Reserve is recognized as a good place for scientific research and ecotourism. It is one of the best destinations for academic practices for institutions of higher, primary and vocational education of the country and around the world.

Characteristics of Río Ñambi Nature Reserve

Rio Ñambi is located in Altaquer, department of Nariño, in the Pacific Region of colombia, Vereda el Barro municipality. It has an extension of
1,400 hectares, distributed along 1100 to 1900 meters above sea level. Temperature ranges between 18ºC and 24ºC.

It is located on the Pacific slope of the Nudo de los Pastos in the Andes mountain range, in the central area of the Biogeographic Chocó. It rains a lot in this region, with an average annual rainfall is between 7000 and 8000 mm, being September to June the wet season, and July to August the dry season. However, do not think is not going to rain, this is an annual cycle when it rains almost every day after 12 noon.

Pristine premontane rainforest at Rio Ñambi Nature Reserve

The reserve protects pristine premontane rain forest, and in succession, concentrating a large number of endemic and endangered species of Fauna and Flora. The Flora of Rio Ñambí presents a high diversity in comparison with others at a similar height on the eastern slope of the Andes. The canopy is between 25 to 30 m high with some emergent species up to 40 m such as Sapium glandulosum (Cebo); The undergrowth is very dense, consisting mainly of high density of orchids, bromeliads, and anthuriums and a great variety of palms. It is an area where several new plant records have been described for Colombia.

Regarding fauna, 25 species of reptiles have been found, and two have been recently described: the Carchi Andes toad (Rhaebo colomai) endangered, and the Campbell’s toadheaded viper (Bothrocophias campbelli) vulnerable. You can also find up to 160 species of Butterflies, and a new one of the genus Hesperocharis.

Thus, Rio Ñambi is home to an extraordinary biological diversity in plant and animal species, many of them considered endemic (species unique to a particular area), or at risk of extinction. Among them we can mention: Chocó vireo (Vireo masteri), a new species of bird for science, Clusia nambiensis a plant with showy and colorful flowers frequently visited by birds, the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the jaguar (Pantera onca) and the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana), among others.

Rio Ñambi as an Area of High Ornithological Interest

According to BirdLife International, Río Ñambí and in general the whole surrounding area is very important for the research and conservation of birds worldwide. The Rio Ñambi nature reserve is an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it houses globally threatened species, at least two restricted-range species, and hold species largelly or wholly confined to one biome-realm, i.e., biome-restricted species. Of the 351 registered species 46 are within the Endemism Area (EBA 041), 23 have some degree of threat being one of the areas that harbors the largest number of globally threatened species in Colombia. From this set of species, 31 are hummingbirds being the most complex and diverse community of hymmingbirds in the world (Flórez 2004, Gutiérrez et al 2004).

Location

This beautiful reserve is located in the southwest of Colombia, in the village of El Barro, Altaquer district, Barbacoas municipality, department of Nariño. It is placed at km 155 on the San Juan de Pasto – Tumaco road.

What to do at Rio Ñambi Nature Reserve

This is a place intended primarily for bird watching. However, you can enjoy both of its rivers and waterfalls, walking along its paths and spend a night na alojamineto very basic, being attended by people from the community. It is an ideal place to simply enjoy and appreciate nature, be calm, or to take a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the Ñambí River.

There is a cabin located 2.5 km far from the road which provides basic facilities for conducting scientific research, workshops and meetings in the middle of the primary forest. It also has a lodging capacity for 40 people, wich includes food and sanitary services. As many reserves in Colombia, services for tourism are not developed, so do not expect to find any luxury.

Rio Ñambi Nature Reserve Cabin

Hiking and Adventure

The reserve has interpretive trails of the numerous natural events and outstanding ecological processes of the tropical rain forests. You can follow the trails starting from the main cabin: the Regugio trail and the Sonoro trail, around the house and near to the river, and the main trail, which is the only access to the main house from the road.

Among them you can visit the forest, enjoy local flora and fauna and take a bath at several waterfalls and pools along the Ñambi river. The Río Ñambí Nature Reserve has waterfalls and natural pools named as “Las Calaveras”, “El Charco”, “La Paila” and “La Piedra del Río Peje ” where you can enjoy a refreshing bath or practice torrentism. You will be able to rappel down the waterfalls, with all the security measures, using ropes, harnesses, gloves and helmets, and with the help of a professional guide.

The forest also has many lianas, typical of these habitats, which are very resistant. You can hang from them like Tarzan or George de la Selva in the middle of this rain forest, or as the locals say make the Howler monkey jump. This activity is done with all the necessary security measures and is one of the main attractions for young and old.

Birding at Rio Ñambí Nature Reserve

After La Planada Nature Reserve, Rio Ñambí is one of the most appreciated places in Nariño to watch birds. It is also an important hotspot in the world to observe birds thanks to the fact that it concentrates a great diversity of bird species in only 1,400 ha, being home to 44 endemic species and 31 species of hummingbirds (Find a complete guide of the Rio Ñambi hummingbirds here).

The forests of Rio Ñambi are characterized by being largely constituted by a primary forest forming a canopy between 25 and 30 m high. Fortunately, the slope of the terrain allows you, in some moments, to be at the height of the canopy or at least half of the height of the forest. And so, you will be able to observe species that would otherwise be no less than gray spots under a white background.

The reserve also has several facilities for birders along the way, such as drinkers and feeders, photography sets, feedlots, and observation balconies.

Among the 350 bird species you can find in the Rio Ñambi reserve, BirdLife international recognizes 60 which gave the IBA criteria for the reserve, which makes them, in turn, of great ornithological interest for birders and scientists. Significantly, including the endangered Baudo Guan (Penelope ortoni), Banded Ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), Great-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila maximiliani) and the vulnerable Dark-backed Wood-quail (Odontophorus melanonotus), Little Woodstar (Chaetocercus bombus), Cloudforest Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium nubicola), Plumbeous Forest-falcon (Micrastur plumbeus), Bicolored Antvireo (Dysithamnus occidentalis), Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (Dacnis berlepschi), and the Yellow-green Tanager (Bangsia flavovirens).

Among the restricted distribution species you can find: Purple-bibbed Whitetip (Urosticte benjamini), Choco Trogon (Trogon comptus), Choco Tapaculo (Scytalopus chocoensis), Nariño Tapaculo (Scytalopus vicinior), Choco Tyrannulet (Zimmerius albigularis), Choco Vireo (Vireo masteri), Choco Poorwill (Nyctiphrynus rosenbergi), Choco Daggerbill (Schistes albogularis), Choco Toucan (Ramphastos brevis), and Choco Woodpecker (Dryobates chocoensis).

Nocturnal Treks

Night trips are made in order to find frogs, fluorescent fungi, nocturnal birds and some insects and spiders. The main attraction is the possibility of meeting a beautiful Crystal Frog (Espadarana prosoblepon).

Crystal Frog (Espadarana prosoblepon) © Creative Commons Licence

Orchids Tour

The reserve has an orquidiarium for scientific reserach. There are around 130 species of Orchids registered at Rio Ñambi nature reserve.

Travel recommendations

To give you the best in Reserva Natural Rio Ñambí experience must bring:

  • Light luggage. Access makes it difficult to carry very large or heavy luggage.
  • Health insurance.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Cellular 100% charged.
  • Batteries for charging equipment, electricity in the place is minimal.
  • Bring your own medicine cabinet since there isn’t one there.
  • Cash.
  • Camera and accessories.
  • Waterproof hiking boots.
  • Raincoat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Binoculars.

References

  • Fundación Ecológica Los Colibríes de Altaquer FELCA Website
  • BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Reserva Natural Río Ñambí. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org 
  • Tourist information system of the department of Nariño, SITUR Nariño Website.
  • Kahuari Travel
  • Voces de Nariño Blog
  • Colparques Organization Website

About the author

Sara Colmenares

Current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism – environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.