Most Colorful Birds of Colombia and Where to Find Them

Birds’ colors are, for many, one of its main attractions. In this post you will find the Most Colorful Birds of Colombia and where to find them.

Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan

Andigena hypoglauca

This is a colorful toucan of the high Andean cloud forest. You will find that its beak with coral, black and yellow stripes separates it from all others of its kind. It also has shades of yellow, red, rufous, brown and gray all over its plumage.

We recommend you to visit Hacienda el Bosque, located over 3000 m, and only 30 minutes by car from Manizales, in the department of Caldas. There you will be able to observe this high mountain toucan in all its splendor.

White-tipped Quetzal

Pharomachrus fulgidus festatus

This colorful bird is from the Colombian Caribbean. You can observe it in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the vicinity of the El Dorado Natural Bird Reserve, or in the famous Cuchilla de San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Ridge).

The word Pharomachrus comes from the Ancient Greek pharos, which means “mantle”, and makros which means “long”. It refers to the wing and tail coverts of the quetzal. On the other hand, the word fulgidus comes from Latin and means shining, glittering, radiant.

And as if that weren’t enough, the endemic subspecies of Colombia, has the name festatus, which means festive. So, you can imagine the beauty that this bird embodies.

Fiery Topaz

Topaza pyra

This hummingbird is one of the biggest and, probably, the most colorful in Colombia. The male is the one who wears this beautiful plumage, in a big body size of ~22 cm, including bill and tail.

Moreover, this is a bird that you can find throughout the Colombian Amazon region. However, we recommend you to visit Mitú, in the department of Vaupés, in Colombia, because there you can easily observe this bird.

Turquoise Dacnis

Dacnis hartlaubi

This is a tanager endemic to Colombia. It does not have many colors; however, the electric blue of the male attracts a lot of attention. It also has a black mask on its face, especially prominent, and a sharp yellow eye.

In Colombia you will be able to see the Turquoise Dacnis in the central and western mountain ranges, from 1,300 to 2,200 meters above sea level.

We recommend the department of Risaralda, where you can watch it in the rural areas and also in its capital city: Pereira. Near Bogotá you can watch it in the Pedro Palo Lagoon.

Keel-billed Toucan

Ramphastos sulfuratus

This toucan is found in northern Colombia and occupies various habitats. Two subspecies are currently recognized: Sulfuratus and brevicarinatus; the latter is found in Colombia.

It is a big and unmistakable bird, its beak is huge and with rainbow colors: red, green, blue, orange. Additionally, it has a green ring around its eyes that contrasts very well with its lemon-yellow neck, throat, and chest, edged with a fine red line.

It is a spectacle that you can see all over the Colombian Caribbean below 1600 m above sea level.

Keel-billed Toucan. Picture by Sara Colmenares

Red-fan Parrot

Deroptyus accipitrinus

This is a green parrot that seems to have nothing in particular. However, its throat and belly feathers are red with wide blue margins, its forehead is white, and the sides of its head and neck are striated with white.

When excited, this bird spreads the feathers of its nape, forming a crest like a crown around its head. It is very impressive and it is no wonder why the local indigenous people call it the Cacique parrot, Cacique means king.

In Colombia, you will find the subspecies accipitrinus, and you will be able to see it in the eastern end of the country, from Vichada to Vaupés departments, up to 400 m above sea level. We recommend you visit the Cerrito Verde trail in Mitú to watch this bird, in the company with the amazing local guides.

Toucan Barbet

Semnorinis ramphastinus

This is a spectacular bird and almost endemic to Colombia. Here we call it Compass. The Toucan Barbet has a gray throat, red chest and belly, black cap, a thick white stripe behind the eye, and a thick yellow beak with a black tip. These colors make them unique among the Barbets. They are also striking for their singing.

You will find this bird in the cloud forests of western Colombia, in the Pacific Region. We recommend you to visit Anchicayá, km 55 El Descanso, in the department of Valle del Cauca. There you will have the opportunity to see them, record them, photograph them, and listen to them in all their splendor.

Compas – Toucan Barbet – Semnornis ramphastinus

Red-headed Barbet

Eubucco bourcierii

This is a widely distributed bird, but that does not stop it from being eye-catching. The male is unmistakable with a bright red head, green back, yellow belly, and thick yellow beak.

It is a bird that you can easily see in the region of IBA/AICA “Bosque de Niebla San Antonio – Kilometro 18” in places like La Minga Ecolodge, or Finca Alejandría, in the department of Valle del Cauca.

Also in the Coffee Axis, for example, in the Otún Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.

Red-headed Barbet – Eubucco bourcierii, La Minga Ecolodge, Valle del Cauca

Wire-tailed Manakin

Pipra filicauda

This little bird is spectacular. It has very long caudal filaments and penetrating white eyes. The male is bright yellow from the face to the ventral region and bright red from the crown to the mantle, contrasting with the rest of his body which is deep black.

This is a bird that invites you to know the Colombian Orinoco. You can see it in the Hato la Aurora – Ecolodge Juan Solito, or in the Reserva Altagracia – Ecolodge Buenaventura in the department of Casanare.

You can even convince yourself to visit more remote regions in the departments of Guainía and Caquetá, with the excuse to follow the colors of this bird.

Saffron-headed Parrot

Pyrilia pyrilia

This parrot is widely distributed in Colombia, up to 1600 m above sea level.

It is mostly green, but its head is bright yellow and has a very prominent white eye ring. It also has shades of yellow, blue, red, and copper in its flight feathers.

You can observe this parrot in several highly recommended places such as the Rio Claro Reserve in Antioquia.

Orange-billed and Golden-winged Sparrows

Arremon aurantiirostris and Arremon schlegeli

Sparrows and brush finches are not the most colorful birds, we know, but there are two species that call special attention for the composition of their colors. These are the Orange-billed Sparrow – Arremon aurantiirostris and the Golden-winged sparrow – Arremon schlegeli.

The Orange-billed Sparrow, as its name suggests, has a strong orange peak, it practically glows in the dark. It also has a black and white head, black chest, and white throat. Although it is widely distributed in several countries, you will not find species similar to this bird. In Colombia you can find it all over the Andean region up to 1200 m above sea level.

On the other hand, the Golden-winged sparrow has a more restricted distribution. It looks very elegant, with a brilliant yellow beak and an open black ring around its neck.

Baudo Oropendola 

Psarocolius cassini 

This beautiful bird looks like it is wearing makeup. I can imagine it putting it on before going anywhere in the forest, rubbing a pink powder on its cheeks and a salmon-red lipstick on the tip of its beak. For the rest, it is a chestnut-colored bird adorned with bright yellow feathers on its tail.

It is an endemic bird of Colombia, which is distributed to the north of the Pacific region in the departments of Chocó, Risaralda, and Antioquia.

To get to know the Baudó Oropendola, you will have to visit Santa Cecilia in Risaralda, where it wanders around the town; or go to El Valle and the Utría National Natural Park in Chocó.

Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia

Chlorophonia pyrrhophrys

Yes, khlōros in Ancient Greek means “green”. But, unlike many Chlorophonias, this species is characterized by the striking brown belly, yellow sides, chest and face in different shades of green, and the blue crown of the male!

In Colombia, it is found in the cloud forests of the western and central mountain ranges. We recommend you visiting Hacienda El Bosque in Caldas, or the Montezuma Lodge in Risaralda to know this bird.

Orange-breasted Fruiteater

Pipreola jucunda

All the birds of the genus Pipreola are beautiful. Their colors make them almost invisible in the middle of cloud forests full of humidity, lichens, and mosses. It is difficult to choose among them the most striking, but I think the Orange-breasted Fruiteater is one of the most beautiful you can see in the western Andes of Colombia.

The orange chest and black head of the male make him easy to recognize.

You will see it when you visit Anchicayá in the Valle del Cauca, the town of Mistrató and the Montezuma Lodge in Risaralda, or Las Tangaras bird reserve in Chocó.

Striolated Manakin

Machaeropterus striolatus

This bird looks like candy! The male has a bright red crown and contrasting white stripes on its reddish belly.

It is widely distributed in Colombia until 1700 m above sea level.

Scarlet Ibis

Eudocimus ruber

You will never know exactly what color this bird is, for some it is fuchsia, for others it is orange, for others it is deep pink and some even say it is red. The truth is a red-orange color, with a black beak in the reproductive state.

It is a very common bird in aquatic marine and sweet habitats. In Colombia you can find it all over the Caribbean and in all swampy regions, wetlands, and marshes below 600 m above sea level.

To see this bird in all its splendor and, in addition, in great numbers, we recommend visiting the Los Flamengos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary in La Guajira, or any of the reserves with lagoon habitats in the departments of Meta and Casanare.

Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Rupicola peruvianus

This bird needs no introduction. It is simply spectacular.

You can find a very large lek of this bird in the town of Jardin, in the department of Antioquia, in the Natural Reserve Jardin de Rocas.

Andean cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruvianus

Blue Cotinga

Cotinga nattererii

The male is deep sky blue with a dark purple throat and belly and mostly black wings.

It is distributed throughout the Pacific region of Colombia, and you can see it and even photograph it in the department of Valle del Cauca in Anchicayá and Alto Potedó. Also, in the department of Chocó, in the municipalities of Bahía Solano and in the National Natural Park Ensenada de Utria.

Spangled Cotinga

Cotinga cayana

The male is deep sky blue with a bright purple throat and mostly black wings. The plumage is spectacular with good light, but otherwise may appear gray.

It is distributed throughout the Colombian Orinoco and Amazon regions. To observe this bird, we recommend you visit the Natural Reserve La Isla Escondida in the department of Putumayo, the city of Mitú and surroundings in the department of Vaupés and Puerto Nariño and Tarapoto Lakes in the department of Amazonas.

Paradise Tanager

Tangara chilensis

This is possibly the most colorful tanager of all. Its head is bright green and contrasts with the red, black and blue body, the latter in different shades.

If you like tanagers, we have a post for you covering the Top 7 Most Colorful Tanagers of Colombia and Where to Find Them.

The Paradise Tanager can be seen in the departments of Meta, Putumayo, Caquetá, Amazonas and Vaupés. We recommend you visit the town of Restrepo, in Meta department, stay at Rancho Camaná and visit the forests around, you will find not only this bird but many of the mentioned above! It is just a 20-minute drive from the Villavicencio airport.

If you want to know more about Colombian nature tours follow us, write us comments, or just contact us.


  • The Internet Bird Collection IBC
  • The Macaulay Library

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.

Top 7 Most Colorful Tanagers of Colombia and Where to Find Them

Did you know that Tanagers are a very large family of birds? Yes! and you must know that many species from this family are brightly colored. Therefore, we decided to dedicate a whole post to them, however, if you want to know other colorful birds of Colombia, you can visit our entry Most Colorful Birds of Colombia and where to find them. In this post you will find the Most Colorful Tanagers of Colombia and where to find them.

First of all, I will tell you that the initial selection was not easy, many of tanagers are beautiful. Secondly, tanagers are very widely distributed along the entire American continent! Here is a preliminary list of those chosen: Scarlet-and-white Tanager, Guira Tanager, Masked Crimson Tanager, Swallow Tanager, Multicolored Tanager, Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, Purplish-mantled Tanager, Grass-green Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Paradise Tanager, Rufous-winged Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Flame-faced Tanager, Golden-eared Tanager, Saffron-crowned Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Golden Tanager, Rufous-throated Tanager, Red-hooded Tanager, and White-capped Tanager.

Colombia also has important, but less colorful tanagers to speak of, belonging to the Bangsia genus. We will talk about these in another post, stay tuned!

In this entry I will focus on Tanagers with reduced distribution, and/or exclusive to Colombia.

Multicolored Tanager: The Queen of the Most Colored Tanagers

Chlorochrysa nitidissima

This bird has an incredible color pattern: electric cerulean chest and flanks, black belly, green nape and wings, cream colored back, golden face and throat, and brown-black ear patch.

Endemic to the forests of the central and western mountain ranges of the Colombian Andes, it is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is the symbol of the IBA “Bosque de Niebla San Antonio – km 18“, in the department of Valle del Cauca. There you can easily photograph this bird at La Minga Ecolodge.

Flame-faced Tanager 

Tangara parzudakii

Among the most colorful tanagers, you cannot miss this one. Know that this bird has unmistakable colors with a bright red-orange face, which turns yellow on the crown and nape. Also, it has a black patch on its ears, and its back is black. Its underparts and wing covert patch are opalescent greenish and the rump is reddish.

Depending on its geographical location in some places it shows individuals with bright red on the face, while in other places they may look more orangish.

Yes, I know you can say “but this bird is widely distributed among Colombia, Ecuador y Perú!” But I also can tell you that it is still an eye-catching attraction when you are in a birding tour in Colombia. You can find it around the whole Andean region of Colombia, in altitudes between 1000 and 2500 m.

Golden-eared Tanager

Tangara chrysotis

This colorful bird moves on top of the trees, however it visits low troughs from where its colors can be appreciated. It is blue-green with an orange face, coppery belly and contrasting black patches on its head and back.

You can find this bird in the departments of Huila and Caquetá, in the south of Colombia. It is very easy to photograph in the El Encanto Nature Reserve and in the Mirador de las Tangaras on the old road to Florencia, capital of Caquetá.

Scarlet-and-white Tanager

Chrysothlypis salmoni

You must know this Tanager is rare, like, difficult to find. You can find it only by visiting the lowland and foothill rainforests of western Colombia, throughout the Pacific region, which also corresponds to the Biogeographic Chocó forest.

The male has a spectacular coloration, which makes him different from any other South American bird. It has a bright red plumage with white flanks and slightly darker wings.

You can watch this bird when you visit the old road to Buenaventura, better known as Anchicayá, in the department of Valle del Cauca. Also at Las Bangsias Reserve in the department of Nariño.

Rufous-throated Tanager

Ixothraupis rufigula

All the species of the genus Ixothraupis have a very particular plumage, presenting very vivid colors of greens, blues, whites and yellows, but they become weird by the black spots in the midle of their feathers, which make them look with scales, as a fish… Among them, the Rufous-throated Tanager differenciates the most.

The Rufous-throated Tanager has a set of colors, which makes those Ixothraupis scales look less trippy. This Tanager may appear as of sober plumage, however when you see it in the sun it is spectacular. It has a mostly black head, and a very striking orange throat. Its neck, back and scapulas are dark with a flaky appearance, as well as the contrasting black spots on its breast and flanks over the white of its belly.

You will find this tanager throughout the Pacific region of Colombia, which also corresponds to the Biogeographic Chocó forest. You can photograph it when you visit Anchicayá in the department of Valle del Cauca. Also in the department of Nariño at Las Bangsias Reserve.

Purplish-mantled Tanager

Iridosornis porphyrocephalus

This tanager is almost completely blue. However, the truth is that its plumage represents almost every shade of blue, from a brighter dark blue on the head, to a paler cerulean blue towards the tail. And, to complete its beauty, it has a bright lemon-yellow throat.

It is difficult to find the most beautiful among all the species of the Iridosornis genus. Firstable, what can you expect from a genus called Iridosornis which means rainbow bird? I found Iridosornis is a word derived from the Greek roots “iris = rainbow” and “ornis = bird“. Second, they all look alike and have the same range of colors: all blues, yellow, black and a little bit of rufus.

I decided that Purplish-mantled Tanager and Golden-crowned Tanager (Iridosornis rufivertex) are the most beautiful in this genus. And you can find them in Colombia. You can observe the Purplish-mantled Tanager in southern Colombia, and it is especially easy to see in the department of Putumayo.

On the other hand, the Golden-crowned Tanager can be found all over the Andean region of Colombia, the luck is to find it, but in places like the national natural park Los Nevados in the coffee axis, or the national natural park Chingaza, near Bogotá, you can get easy records.

Golden-crowned Tanager is rare to see, its color is mostly dark cobalt blue with a black head and a bright yellow cap. Its under tail coverts are reddish, which differentiates it from the rest of the birds of this genus.

Rufous-winged tanager

Tangara lavinia

This tanager is mostly green. The male is deep emerald green with a yellow back and neck. The head and wings are mostly ferruginous and the belly is bright sky blue.

You can find this tanager throughout the Pacific region of Colombia, which also corresponds to the Biogeographic Chocó forest. Also, the best places to photograph this bird are Anchicayá in the department of Valle del Cauca, and Apía in the department of Risaralda.


  • The Internet Bird Collection IBC
  • The Macaulay Library

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.

Top 5 Tools for Sustainable Nature Tourism in Colombia

Sustainable nature tourism initiatives in Colombia are key to be implemented to avoid the negative impact that tourism may bring. Even more so when Colombia has never had massive visitors to its most preserved natural areas.

Tools for Conservation and Challenges

Sustainable tourism in Colombia: A report from Colombia BirdFair 2018, Cali, Colombia.

1. Promotion

Colombia has been promoted as a nature tourism destination, with special emphasis on the birdwatching segment, at important international tourism fairs in the world such as the International Tourism Fair of Madrid, FITUR, and at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show, ITB.  This is because Colombia has more than 1950 bird species to see. The National Government of Colombia, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MINCIT), seeks to positionate Colombia as a world-class birding destination par excellence. The objective is to join forces, at regional and country level, to create birding trails which offer high quality standards and sustainability criteria.

2. Bird Fairs

Among the activities that enhance bird tourism are the local, regional, national and international bird fairs and festivals. Among the main bird fairs in the world are the British Bird Fair, the American Birding Expo, the Asian Bird Fair and the South American BirdFair. These fairs are an opportunity to promote products related to avitourism, such as birding equipment, destinations, companies and agencies. At the same time, bird fairs serve as an space for scientific divulgation, financially support actions for the conservation of species around the world, and invite people of all conditions to be closer to nature, and enjoy spending time outdoors through this activity.

The Colombia BirdFair

The most important international bird fair in Colombia is the Colombia BirdFair. This fair was created in tribute to the more than 1950 bird species that inhabit the country. All the Colombia BirdFair versions have offered a program that includes birding trips, lectures and several workshops offered to professionals and the general public from children, youth and adults. Lectures and workshops are offered by scientists and professionals working on ornithology, tourism, arts, environmental policy and many other interesting topics. Colombia BirdFair is held in the city of Santiago de Cali, in the department of Valle del Cauca, known as the city of birds due to its high number of species (around 561).

In the words of the director of the fair, Carlos Mario Wagner, the objective of the fair is to “unite wills, unite friends and unite the passion for birds”. The main purpose is to make “a tribute to birds as symbols of union and conservation and as a bridge of brotherhood and fraternity among peoples”.

Carlos Mario Wagner, Colombia Birdfair Director

The fair has generated a social and cultural impact at a local level. This has been expanding to the point of positioning Colombia as one of the most important destinations for birdwatching.

During the Colombia Birdfair 2018 the main topic was Sustainability, and the main lecturers were: Megan Epler Wood (International Sustainable Tourism Initiative), David Lindo (The Urban Birder), Carolina Murcia (Conservation Expert), Miles McMullan (Illustrator and Author of the Field Guide of the Birds of Colombia), Sussy de la Zerda (Founder of the Colombian Ornithological Association ) and Horacio Matarasso (Expert in Avitourism).

Here I brought a resume of the lectures who impressed me more during the 2018’s version of the Colombia Birdfair.

3. Citizen Impact on Restoration 

Extended 3R Rule

Carolina Murcia brought the message of Restoring the House of Birds. The call is to the citizens to contribute by expanding the rule from the three R’s to five. This rule, also known as the three R’s of ecology or simply 3R, proposes to develop three habits of responsible consumption: Reduce, reuse, recycle. The expanded rule includes reject and recover.

The 5 Rs

Reduce, reuse, recycle, reject and recover. For example, reject the excessive use of plastic packaging such as polystyrene for food packaging on the market, promoting the recovery of reusable materials, such as cloth bags or biodegradable material to replace existing bags and containers.

The following actions, made by each citizen, are important keys to contribute to sustainable tourism:

  • Try to consume local products to promote social equity, keeping the countryside alive by supporting small local producers,
  • Measure your own carbon footprint,
  • Buy food from clean production systems,
  • Get involved with political decisions and commit to the country’s destiny.

All this has an effect on the house of the birds avoiding the gradual disappearance of the ecosystems.

Companies also play an important role in committing to responsible production and consumption, some of the expected actions to develop are:

  • Restoration projects in forests,
  • Rehabilitation projects in productive areas,
  • Planting native trees,
  • Controlling the use of polluting agents, among others.

4. Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet: The Role of Education

Why do we travel? Is tourism really improving the world? Is tourism benefiting the environment or not?

In her conference “Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet“, Megan Epler Wood shared her research experiences looking for tools to mitigate the growing global negative impacts of tourism, being community development projects and sustainable ecotourism the best ones worldwide.

Why do we travel? Is tourism really improving the world? Is tourism benefiting the environment or not? Those are the questions that she put on the table. The ability of people to do tourism is growing very rapidly in the world and the effect of this can be very positive for the environment and local communities, but it can also be very destructive.

Given this panorama, Colombia faces the challenge of how to use its great natural heritage in a sustainable way in the face of a tourist demand that is growing by leaps and bounds. The solution for this is education, because by knowing and valuing the natural and cultural heritage of each region of the country, it will be possible to make a good management. In Colombia it is necessary to encourages actions for conservation that can bring benefits for local economic development, which has proven to be a great success in other parts of the world similar to Colombia.

The post-conflict in Colombia

The other scenario for Colombia is the post-conflict. The post-conflict opens up the possibility of carrying out activities that promotes the maintenance of peace in the country, such as the ecotourism. However, it depends on the decision of the post-conflict actors.

The effective progress of sustainable tourism in Colombia needs: (1) planning, (2) to establish the value of resources and, (3) to establish investment values ​​for their protection. By following these three steps, it will be possible to determine the cost of local investment needed to develop use and protection strategies that safeguard Colombia’s natural and cultural capital.

5. Urban Birding

In his talk, David Lindo told us about his mission: to involve the people of the cities with the urban nature that surrounds them, because this can help develop urban conservation initiatives through citizen participation.

His interest in birds came from an early age, he was 7 years old when he found “The guide of Great Britain Birds“, a book he treasured as the Holy Grail. David has revolutionized interest in birds in cities through activities led by himself. His call is to people, through birding in cities, to open their senses and love what is around, and even more, to come to understand that the garden of your window or the neighborhood park may be connected with the Amazon, Antarctica and with the rest of the world, since they are biological corridors for the species. Thus, people become aware that nature is at the door of the house.

David Lindo, The Urban Birder.

For years, David, as an urban birder, learned to see in each source, crack, light pole or abandoned building, the potential and realized niche of many species. He also chose his own birding patch in the city, which he regularly visits to follow the birds that live there.

You can start doing the same: choose your favorite birding spot in your city. Do not forget that the most important thing as an urban birder is to develop passion. And do not forget to look at the sky, always!


As a tourism experience for conservation, David told us about a small town in Serbia called Kikinda. There is park in Kikinda, the size of a block, that houses a huge population of Long-eared owls, which makes it look like a Harry Potter set.

In 10 years of guided visits to this place the local people have learned to value both: the owls and their small habitat. The impact was so big that the government of Serbia declared this small urban park as a nature reserve, one of its kind in the world, establishing penalties for up to 10,000 euros on anyone who disturbs the birds or their habitat.

This also shows that it is not necessary to be in the middle of the jungle to admire the wonders of nature.

The long-eared owl (Asio otus), also known as the northern long-eared owl, is a species of owl which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America.

A good Example for Sustainable Ecotourism in Colombia

After listening to the wonderful conferences for three days, the Colombia BirdFair 2018 ended with the screening of the film “A Cloudy Destination: The Tropical Andean Forests” made 30 years ago in La Planada Reserve, in Nariño, with the participation of Megan E. Wood.

The documentary tells the story of the reserve and how the local Awá indigenous community remained steadfast in preserving the territory despite the war and social conflict. Few years ago, the reserve was transferred completely to the Awá community for its management, with great success.

This is an example in favor of sustainable development with community development. The documentary shows the natural richness of the region and reinforces the message that biodiversity should be protected. It proposes sustainable development as the best way to guarantee conservation in Colombia, ensuring that people from local communities can benefit financially and also be in harmony within each ecosystem.

La Planada Nature Reserve returns to the Awa indigenous community (SP). Read morhere.

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 Rafting and Natural Pools Destination in Colombia: The Güejar River

Many foreign travelers and even Colombians have no idea about the hidden treasure that the Canyon of the Guejar River isNestled in a remote zone of the Meta department, in the Colombian Llanos, the canyon formed by the Guejar river is just starting to be explored by adventurous travelers.

Some years ago, it was not possible to access the zone due to Guerrillas settlements, but now there is nothing to worry about, the place is safe and boasts incredible beauty. Turquoise waters that form natural slides, pools, waterfalls, and Jacuzzis, shaped by huge polished rock formations and surrounded by lush vegetation -these are the reasons to travel to the Guejar River in Colombia. 

In this post, you will find all the information you need to know to travel to the Guejar River, such as what the charm of the Guejar River is, how to get there, the best time to visit, and what to do there. 

Discovering the Guejar River 

As already mentioned, the Guejar river is a natural treasure that remained hidden for many years until the 2010s. The view is stunning. A long river makes its way between big rock formations that easily beat the 20 meters high. 

Some of these rocks are among the oldest on the planet, because they belong to the millenary Guiana Shield, which is born in Venezuela, crosses the La Macarena mountain range, and reaches Ecuador and Brazil. 

The forest surrounding the stunning canyon is still pristine and undiscovered. The canyon is part of the special management area of La Macarena National Natural Park; hence it hosts amazing wildlife and flora. Birds and butterflies of all colors flying around you all the way. Sometimes, otters, sloths, and monkeys are spotted next to the river. 

During the tour along the river, you will find refreshing natural pools, fun slides, waterfalls, and even JacuzzisIf you like to watch wildlife in their habitat, go birdwatching, venture out into the wilderness to hike and explore rivers, mountains, forests, and plains so you have a deep connection with nature, the adventure activities, and interact with local cultures, the trip to the Guejar river is for you! 

How to get to the Guejar River 


There are two routes you can take to get to the Guejar river. Both pass by Villavicencio, the capital of Meta, but differ from the town you arrive in to stay the night and start your trip to the river. 

Bogotá – Villavicencio 

Depending on where you’re staying in Bogota, there are 2 highways you can take, both to the south of the city. From the southern city limits, there is 105 km (65 mi) until the city of Villavicencio, a trip of a bit more than 2 hours. 

Route Villavicencio – San Juan de Arama 

From Villavicencio, getting to San Juan de Arama means traveling 120 km (75 mi) on a paved road, a trip that takes about 2.2 hours by car. You have to take the Ruta Turística del Ariariwhich allows you to see the vast plains on both sides hosting different kinds of birds and even the Macarena mountain range. 

There are 2 tolls on the road. You can stop by any establishment to taste the local delicacies. Once in San Juan de Arama, it just takes 15 minutes to get to the starting point of the rafting tour by the Guejar river canyon, which is within the village of Mesetas. Local guides take the visitors to the Limonar bridge in their 4×4. 

Route Villavicencio – Lejanías 

The route from Villavicencio to the village of Lejanías has a similar distance to the route to San Juan Arama, 126 km (78 mi) or 2.2 hours. A popular stop, 1.5 hours from the village, is Finca El Diamante, a small lodge where you can camp, stay the night in a cabin or just eat something before the adventure.

To get there you must pay a local to take you in a 4×4 or a motorcycle since the road is very bumpy. Once there, you have the advantage of only having to walk a few minutes through the forest to be facing the Guejar river. 

Where to stay 

San Juan de Arama  

  • Hotel Palacio Real, you get a double room for COP 40,000  50,000  with an air conditioner or fan. 


  • Finca El Diamante in the “Maravillas del Guejar” viewpoint offers accommodation in cabins or camping. The price per person per night is COP 50,000 in a cabin and COP 7,000 in camping. Although the cabins can accommodate up to 6 people and the overall price is COP 100,000. 


  • Hotel Casa Blanca Cubarral, you get a double room for COP 40,000  50,000  with an air conditioner or fan. 

Best time to travel to the Guejar River 

There are no seasons in Colombia, at least the traditional 4 seasons that you have in North America or Europe. However, there is a rainy and dry season. During the rainy season, which goes from late March to November, you can see the Caño Lajon waterfall in all its glory.

The access road, though, gets more complicated to travel along and, since the water flow rises, it is riskier to bathe or practice rafting in the river.

During the dry season, from December to Marchyou observe the color of the river get more vibrant, plus the cool water will be well appreciated because of the heat you’ll be standing.

To sum up, we consider that the best time to travel to the Guejar river is during the dry season. 

What to do there 

It is said that you can witness 5 marvels in the Guejar River, in no specific order: 

Río Guejar Canyon experience courtesy Travesía Aventura.

Pozo Escondido is found by surprise on an ascending hike. It consists of natural pools of green waters that cannot be more refreshing. 

Caño Lajón waterfall is a wonderful sight, especially when the river flow is high you can enjoy a mighty stream falling of rugged stones covered in moss. You can even stand behind the falls and freshen up with the mist. 

Sliding down the slippery stone slabs is so much fun! You can find several natural slides that flow into turquoise pools 

At another point in the river, you can get a free massage in the natural Jacuzzis of the river, areas with a strong flow of water and small falls that offer pure relaxation. Water at this point is more crystalline and seems turquoise. 

Caño Jordán waterfall is also called ‘El vómito’ -the vomit, because of the shot that can be achieved from a precise angle in the viewpoint. This fall is a wonderful sight because of the intense green that frames it. 

Rafting experience courtesy Travesía Aventura. Río Guejar Canyon.

You can meet all these marvels on a hiking tour. However, rafting in the Guejar river canyon is the to-go option for the courageous travelers who want a rush of adrenaline in wild Colombia! A rafting tour takes about 5 hours, the distance to be covered is 17 km, 10.5 mi rowing with the hope of not falling off the boat. 

The river is classified as level 3 out of 5 in difficulty. A big plus: midway through the journey, you find ‘the Titanic’a sharp oval stone that seems like the front of a ship that has run aground in the middle of nature. This is the first stop, where there is time for having a snack, a talk, and a rest. Depending on the agency, the cost will be around 160,000 COP (40 USD) per person. 

The Titanic – Rafting experience courtesy Travesía Aventura. Río Guejar Canyon.

What to consider for your travel to Guejar River? 

For you to have an unforgettable experience in the Guejar river and no setbacks, consider the following aspects: 

  • Wear light and comfortable clothes, long pants if you want to avoid mosquito bites and scratches. But shorts are fine. 
  • Wear trekking shoes or shoes with grip soles that can get wet. Walking along the river is risky due to the slippery stones, so not wearing any shoes is not an option. 
  • Wear a hat or cap, plus sunscreen. Also, bring insect repellent. 
  • Don’t forget your swimsuit! 
  • If you prefer, bring a towel and a change of clothes. 
  • A GoPro is the most suitable equipment to record your experience, but if you bring any other device, make sure you have airtight plastic bags too.  
  • Respect the environment, do not leave trash nor remove fauna or flora from their habitat. 
  • Always book your tour with local guides and certified agencies to practice extreme sports. 

This is all you need to know to travel to the Guejar River Canyon. If you are planning a trip to Colombia, we are happy to help you have an unforgettable nature experience! Contact us!

About the authors

Ana María Parra

Current content writer for Sula. Modern Languages professional with an emphasis on business translation. Interested in the cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.


Booking a Safari in Colombia? Find here the Best Options!

Going on safari in Colombia? You would have never imagined it. However, it is possible to go on a safari in Colombia and it is an incredible experience that you should live once in your lifetime. You will not see lions, zebras or giraffes at least not native, but native wildlife will impress you quite as much. 

There are a few places where you can have a real safari experience in Colombia. You will find about them in this post. 

Safari in the Orinoquia 

Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), also known as common anaconda or common water boa.

Los LLanos  

East of the Andes mountain range, vast savannas cover the ground with green from Colombia’s Orinoco region to Venezuelan territory.

In Colombia, Los Llanos Orientales (the Eastern Plains) comprehend the departments of Arauca, Casanare, Vichada and Meta; however, they extend in some parts to Caquetá, Guainia and Guaviare.

Representing almost a third of the Colombian territory, they are highly uninhabited and most of the population lives in Villavicencio, the largest city of the region.

Los Llanos in Colombia are not a massive tourist destination, even though they boast an unparalleled natural beauty. The importance of the region lies in its aptitude for extensive livestock production and agriculture, besides oil extraction. 

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Casanare, Colombia.

Usually the first city to visit is Villavicencio, which is 3 hours by road -or 1-hour flight- away from Bogota. However, for going on safari, your best option will be Yopal.

Flights from Bogota take 1 hour and the trip by road takes about 7 hours. The weather in the region is warm and there are only two seasons: rain and dry season. 

Next, you will find about the two departments of Los Llanos with the greatest potential for going on safari: Casanare and Meta. 



Casanare is on the eastern part of Colombia and is over 44,000 km2, which corresponds to 4% of the national territory. Most of Casanare has flood plains and marshlands, which are an important biodiversity reservoir, due to its level of fauna and flora species.

Here you can find 3 reserves for going on safari in Colombia. 

Hato La Aurora

4 hours northeast of Yopal in a 4×4, the capital of Casanare department, Hato La Aurora offers the best safari experience in Colombia. 42,000 capybaras, 2,500 deer, 350 bird species and more wildlife. This is the presentation card of La Aurora, located in the town Hato Corozal.

The llanero Armando Barragan built his ranch of 16,000 hectares on the riverbanks of the Ariporo river, then he turned it into a Civil Society Natural Reserve. The reserve has an eco-lodge called Juan Solito that offers accommodation in rooms, cabins or hammocks.

All include 3 meals and the option of hiking. Sustainability principles are well adopted here, since they promote the conservation of the environment having a low-impact service that goes hand in hand with the local community, to offer tourists the experience of connecting with the culture and nature.  

Aerosafari in Colombia

At Juan Solito, you can do guided hikes, go fishing or horseback riding. However, the main attraction is, of course, the Safari Llanero.

Going on safari in La Aurora means witnessing capybaras, white-tailed deer, spectacled caimans, wild horses, cattle, iguanas, anacondas, birds such as the Orinoco goose, herons, the Double-striped Thick-knee, the Jabiru, owls, varieties of Ibis, including the Scarlet Ibis, and much more.


Jaguars and cougars also inhabit the reserve, but they are difficult to spot. You can also observe how the llaneros tradition of herding cattle while singing folklore songs to the rhythm of guitars, harps and maracas. The safari day ends with a breathtaking sunset of yellow, orange and pink hues. 

El Encanto de Guanapalo 

El Encanto de Guanapalo is a bit closer to Yopal, 110 km east. It has around 9,000 hectares of reserve consisting of 3 ranchs —Hato Mata de Palma, Hato Altamira and Hato Montana. 

Sunset Pic Nic

Whether you choose touring the area on horseback or by tractor or 4×4, this 5-hour experience lets you photograph mammals such as capybaras, deer, spectacled caimans, wild horses, giant anteaters, southern tamanduas, scarlet ibis, iguanas, ducks, howler monkeys, owls, armadillos, red-footed tortoise, foxes, wild pigs, pumas, hundreds of bird species and, of course, cattle.

This is a great llanero experience that you can book with us here.


Reservas de Altagracia is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), located in Trinidad – Casanare, suitable for a safari experience in Colombia.

From here, you can get to the Buenaventura and Lagunazo lagoon natural reserves, Yatea canyon and other Civil Society Natural Reserves, where you can observe deer herds, otters, howler monkeys and giant anteaters.

The Orinoco goose (Neochen jubata)

Also, it hosts about 142 bird species, including 31% of the world population of Orinoco goose and 1% of the hemispherical population of Large-billed tern and Buff-breasted sandpiper. This is also a perfect place to enjoy the sunrise and sunset landscapes. 



Meta is one of the departments in central Colombia with an extension of 85,000 km2. Because of its fertile soil, it is a major agricultural producer, providing Bogota with 48% of its food demand.

Its economy also depends on hydrocarbons exploitation and extensive livestock production. 80% of its territory is plains, but it has highlands such as Paramo de Sumapaz and Sierra de la Macarena. You can have a safari experience in Meta. 

Lagos de Menegua 

Lagos de Menegua is a hotel and Civil Society Natural Reserve located in the municipality of Puerto Lopez, Meta, about 3 hours from Bogota.

The hotel can accommodate up to 100 people in 24 rooms and has a ‘slow food’ restaurant which uses local ingredients, a pool, a game room and a garden where you can sow your own plant!  

As for the natural reserve, it is 1,000 hectares and is home to over 800 animal species, including mammals, fish, reptiles and birds. 

Lagos de Menegua Hotel & Bioreserve

On a safari around the place, you can see capybaras, cougars, caimans, lizards and yamú fish. You will get to know every corner of the property, including Lago del Silencio and other lakes, while riding a jeep through highlands and forests.

A safari along the Meta river is also offered, this is in Puerto Gaitan, where the Manacacias and Yucao rivers flow into the Meta river and create a fauna sanctuary that hosts monkeys, turtles, otters, reptiles and river dolphins.

Lagos de Menegua has worked with Cormacarena to return more than 200 animals to their natural habitat ensuring their safety. You can also go horseback riding, hiking, fishing and birdwatching. 

Mururito Natural Reserve 

In another municipality of Meta, Puerto Gaitan -actually 1.5 hours from there, lies Finca Hotel Mururito Reserva Natural, a biodiversity reservoir of 2,000 hectares for wildlife conservation and ecotourism, along the Manacacias river.

Mururito Nature Reserve

Forests, canyons, lagoons, savannas, estuaries and highlands shape the natural reserve. At Mururito, you can see many species from the Llanos including the giant anteater, giant otter, ocelot, cougar, jaguarundi, South American tapir, giant armadillo, collared peccary, white-tailed deer, red brocket, lowland paca, red squirrel among others. It is a truly safari experience

Birds and butterflies are attracted by the orchids and fruit trees garden. You can engage in many activities such as horse rides, hikes through the primary forest, fishing at the lakes, bike tours, learning about beehives, participating in the farm routine and enjoying the gorgeous llanero sunsets. 

Safari in the Amazon 


The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, shared by Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname, and Bolivia.

The Amazon region in Colombia, south of the country is over 470,000 km2 and has both plains and highlands. This region keeps a great biodiversity and cultural richness, since several indigenous communities preserve ancient traditions that cherish mother nature. 

When you travel to the Colombian Amazon, you usually get to the capital Leticia, located on the Colombian border with Brazil and Peru, which allows an enriching cultural exchange.

Monkey Island Amazon – Squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus)

From there, you can embark on the adventurous Amazon safari experience, which is different from any other safari. You won’t be riding a jeep or a horse, but in a boat or by foot, exploring the lush jungle that surrounds the mighty Amazon river.

You will feel lucky to see so many monkeys, caimans, anacondas, birds and, perhaps, the river pink dolphins, who were believed to be a young indigenous warrior, whom a god decided to turn into an animal, since he envied the man’s skills.

Attractions you should visit are the Monkey Island, the Amacayacu National Natural Park and the town of Puerto Nariño. 

Safari in Antioquia 


Hacienda Napoles  

Believe it or not, you can go on safari in Antioquia, home of the spring city Medellin and pretty villages such as Jardin and Jerico. This is possible in Hacienda Napoles Theme Park, a 1,600 hectare park which was formerly owned by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.

After the disarticulation of the Cartel de Medellin, the premises were acquired by the Colombian state, turned into a tourism attraction and are currently managed by a private entity and a non-profit organization. 

During the time this pair of tigers have spent in the park they have had five young. Photo by Juan Antonio Sánchez. El Colombiano.

With some of the animals brought to the country in the late 70s, a fauna sanctuary was created and now works as a reserve for their preservation.

On the safari, you can see ostriches, zebras, zonkeys, blackbucks, crocodiles, a monkey island, meerkats, capybaras, hippopotamus, elephants and felines such as lions, tigers and jaguars.

The safari can be paired with the water attractions, the butterfly farm, a journey to the past in the Jurassic park, the bird, African and memorial museum. 

Colombia is blessed with incredible wildlife and no tourists can visit the country without going on safari. Whether it is in Los Llanos, the Amazon or the Napoles theme park, there is a wildlife tour for every adventurous traveler. 

About the author

Ana María Parra

Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.

The Most Spectacular Rivers and Waterfalls of Colombia

The water resource abounds in the Colombia rivers and waterfalls. For starters, it has two coasts that are bathed by the Pacific ocean and the Caribbean sea. On top of this, Colombia is among the privileged countries to have the páramo ecosystem, where rivers are born.

Rivers flow through the diverse landforms of the country regulating the life of those who inhabit the river banks and occasionally, when encountering a cliff, they form beautiful waterfalls.

Colombia’s aquatic wealth allows for many activities related to water tourism such as diving, surfing, rafting, kayaking, sportfishing, whale watching, diving in coral reefs.

At the same time, it provides a rich landscape for other nature tourism activities such as hiking, photography and safaris.

In this post, we will talk about the main rivers and waterfalls in Colombia.

Due to the abundant rainfall and the topography, Colombia is blessed with many rivers: it has 1,200 permanent rivers, taking into account only the ones with basins over 100 km2!

Basins of Colombia

According to the place where the basins’ waters flow into, there are 5 drainage basins in the country: Caribbean, Pacific, Orinoco, Amazon and Catatumbo.

Fluvial Stars of Colombia

Also, there are 8 “fluvial stars” (geographic zones, mostly in mountain massifs, where several rivers are born due to ice melting): Colombian Massif, Caramanta Hill, Santurbán Páramo, Sumapaz Páramo, Guachaneque Páramo, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Nudo de Paramillo and Nudo de Huaca.

Colombian Rivers

As in any other region, rivers play a vital role in the life around them. Riverside communities subsist thanks to the water and fish the river provides them, and also plant and animal life depend on these water bodies. Read on to know the most important rivers in Colombia!

Magdalena river

Río Grande de la Magdalena is the most important waterway and the longest river in Colombia. It is born in the Colombian Massif and runs from south to north until flowing into the Caribbean sea.

It is 1,558 km long, however only 1,290 km are navigable. The Magdalena basin is over 250,000 km2 and receives water from 500 tributaries, among which the Cauca river is the main one.

Importance of the Magdalena River

It was the protagonist of the settling in America. Caribbean canoes and European caravels entered through its mouth in search of agricultural and mining supplies, as well as places to settle and proclaim dominance.

The river connected the interior of the Andean territory with the Caribbean Sea and, since the 19th century, it became the commercial axis of the Colombian territory.

Today, the Magdalena has vast livestock and agriculture extensions in its valleys and it is a place for hydrocarbons and minerals extraction. It boasts natural beauty and continues to be key in the country’s development.

Cauca river

The Cauca river is the main tributary of the Magdalena river. Also born in the Colombian Massif, it is 1,350 km long and flows between the Central and the Western Andes ranges by 7 Colombian departments: Cauca,  Valle,  Risaralda,  Caldas,  Antioquia,  Sucre and Bolivar, where it meets the Magdalena.

Its navigable area is about 620 km; anyway, it is the second longest river in Colombia. Along the river, productive activities such as sugar cane, cacao, corn, rice and coffee growing, farming, mining and hydroelectric activities are developed, which support the regional economy.

Atrato river

This mighty river, over 700 km long with 500 km navigable, is the main communication path in Choco and has a basin of 35,000 km2, which is rich in gold and wood, being a very fertile region.

It originates in Cerro Plateado, in the Western cordillera and flows northward through a humid valley into the Gulf of Urabá in the Caribbean Sea. Riosuio, Murri, Arquia and Truando are its most renowned tributaries.

The city of Quibdo in Choco, is the main port of the Atrato river.

Amazon river

Born in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon river traverses 6,788 kilometers (4,211 miles) before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

Its 7 million km2 (2 million square miles) basin is the largest in the world and is covered by the largest tropical rainforest on the planet: the Amazon rainforest.

Out of the 6,788 km, 116 km (72 mi) belong to Colombian territory, from the mouth of the Atacuari river to the confluence of the San Antonio gorge.

Puerto Nariño

 If you fly to Leticia, the capital of the Colombian Amazon department, you can get to sail the river up to Puerto Nariño. Your breath will be taken away by the life surrounding the Amazon: ants, tigers, pumas, tapirs, monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, all kinds of birds and fish.

Several indigenous groups inhabit and preserve the ecosystem that is being harmed by uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources.

The Amazon river and its basin are a paradise of life and history in the South American continent. Visiting its greatness is something that every human being should do once in their lifetime.

Caquetá river

Páramo de las Papas, in the Colombian Massif, is the source of the Caquetá river, which is 2,200 km long, but only 1,200 km traverse Colombian territory.

It flows to the east through the southern part of Colombia, where it meets the Amazon river, before reaching Brazil and adopting the name ‘Japura’. It has a great basin of nearly 200,000 km2 and its main tributaries are Apaporis, Caguan and Orteguaza rivers.

Putumayo river

Being a main tributary of the Amazon river, the Putumayo river serves as a border with Peru and Ecuador. Its source is Nudo de los Pastos, from where it runs about 2,000 km eastwards, through Colombian territory mostly.

Since 1,650 km are navigable, the Putumayo river is used as a transportation path. Among the productive activities carried out in its basin, cattle farming and rubber trade stand out.

Orinoco river

The Orinoco river originates in Venezuela, in Sierra Parima, and flows through 2,900 km, of which over 1,900 are navigable. This makes it one of the longest rivers in South America.

The Orinoco basin, of over 750,000 km2, is one of the greatest in America! The river drains into the Atlantic Ocean, on Venezuelan ground, with about 50 mouths.

Although most of it is in Venezuela, the Orinoco has several Colombian tributaries, among which are Arauca, Meta, Vichada and Guaviare rivers.

It houses an immense biodiversity, including the unique Orinoco crocodile.

Meta river

In the Colombian LLanos Orientales, or Eastern Plains, the Meta river is the most important. Its length is 1,000 km and is navigable for the most part.

The stunning Sumapaz Páramo, in the Eastern Cordillera, is the place where the Humea, Guayuriba and Guatiquia rivers get together to originate the Meta river.

It runs towards the northeast of Colombia until its mouth at the Orinoco river. Also, it is useful for commerce in the region. Cravo Sur, Casanare, Cusiana, Upia and Manacacias are some of its tributary rivers.

Guaviare river

1,350 km in length make the Guaviare river the longest in the Orinoco region in Colombia. Its basin has an area of over 160,000 km2 and small vessels can navigate through 620 km.

It originates from the junction of the Ariari and Guayabero rivers, which come from the Eastern Cordillera, and then flows into the Orinoco river.

The plains and the jungle are delimited by the Guaviare river, whose main tributary is the Inirida river, a 1,300 km long river with black waters that bathe the Guainia department.

San Juan river

In the Pacific drainage basin, the San Juan river basin is the most important one, with 15,000 km2.

The river originates in the department of Antioquia, in the Cerro de Caramanta, and runs 380 km through Risaralda, Choco and Valle del Cauca before flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Colombian Waterfalls

We know the rivers themselves might not be that appealing to all tourists. However, the waterfalls that originate from them are! Here are 5 waterfalls you should visit in Colombia.

La Chorrera

The highest tiered waterfall in Colombia and the 6th highest in South America, with a 590 mt fall, is called La Chorrera and is located in the municipality of Choachí, Cundinamarca. This is about 1 hour from Bogota by road, at 2,500 MASL approximately.

To get there, you can take a bus to Choachi for COP$8,000 and get off at La Victoria, where you will see a banner of the adventure park La Chorrera.

There you will find locals that offer to take you to the entrance for COP$25,000 (if more than 5 people, each one will pay COP$5,000), but that is not all. From the point where the car leaves you to the actual entrance, there is a steep path you walk in about 10 minutes.

The facilities are simple but cozy, in the ticket office you can buy different packages that can include extreme activities such as the zip line, rappel, Tibetan bridge or an Indiana Jones-like bridge.


Hiking to La Chorrera waterfall is a must, evidently. The round trip takes 3 to 4 hours, depending on your rhythm.

It is an amazing hike, a bit demanding by the way, in which you will witness an ancient royal road that connected Villavicencio with Bogota, a cloud forest ecosystem with high trees and several bird species, a smaller waterfall of 55 m called El Chiflon, a cave with hanging stone formations called Cueva de los Monos and finally, after several ups and downs, the majestic La Chorrera appears in the landscape.

The sight from the viewpoint rock is amazing and the water splashes on your face. However, take into account there is a dry season, from late November to March, more or less, so you might get disappointed if you visit and don’t find the mighty waters running down the mountain.

You can still go hiking and enjoy the other activities in the park anyway.Salto de Bordones

In the department of Huila, the Purace National Natural Park hosts this marvelous  400 meter waterfall, ranked as the highest uninterrupted fall of Colombia.

Salto de Bordones originates from the Bordones river, in the border of Isnos and Saladoblanco municipalities. Its name is due to the bordones (Spanish for staffs) used by former settlers to cross the river from one shore to the other.

You can walk down a road to the base of the waterfall in the village Alto Medianias, to enjoy the view and the water splashing. There is a namesake hotel where you can spend the night.

Salto de Mortiño

A nearby waterfall you can also visit is Salto de Mortiño, located in the municipality of Isnos too. Born in the Colombian Massif, La Chorrera gorge forms this Salto, with a 170 m fall. The landscape is amazing: a huge cliff, topped with green, which emanates pure water.

El Duende

Huila is so rich that it has another touristic waterfall between Bordones and Mortiño: El Duende. Although it is smaller, you will be amazed when you get to see the 22 meter cascade surrounded by lush vegetation and hanging nests from the Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela).

Salto del Tequendama

Some Muisca tales say that the Salto del Tequendama was created by divine action to drain the water that once flooded the Bogota savanna. Who knows?

This famous waterfall is located in the municipality of Soacha, Cundinamarca, about 30 km southeast of Bogotá. Its 157 meter fall, fed by the Bogotá river, is known to have been traversed by Gonzalo Jiménez the Quesada (founder of the capital), José Celestino Mutis during his Botanical Expedition and even the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt.

The other attraction of the place is the spooky abandoned hotel that lies on the roadside, opened in 1928 and now turned into a museum.

Salto del Tequendama has had bad times, since its flow has decreased over the years and the pollution of the river has caused unpleasant odors in the area.

However, tourists keep visiting this waterfall, perhaps because they are interested in the stories of indigenous mythology, the many suicides that happened in the past century right there or perhaps because they just want to appreciate the natural beauty of this place.

Fin del Mundo Waterfalls

In the Amazonian department of Putumayo, of pristine jungles and biologic wealth, the Fin del Mundo waterfalls impress everyone who travels to the region.

This land of humid tropical climate is home to 12 indigenous communities and many natural treasures, such as this fall of 75 meters that flows between the mountains that separate Mocoa from Villagarzon towns.

To get there, you must cross a wooden suspension bridge over the Mocoa river that leads to the Huaca family house, owners of the territory.

There you hear a 20 minute talk about the history of the community tourism system of the area and you can rent horses and rubber boots.

The road amid the jungle goes up and down, but the highest point is only at 800 MASL. After one hour hiking, a natural pool announces the proximity of the waterfall.

The pozo negro is 8.5 meters deep and you can bathe in it. Then, a natural stone bridge helps you cross over the Dantayaco gorge, after passing by the Almorzadero cascade.

The 4 km journey ends where the mountain ends, this is the end of the world: the water has no alternative but to fall from 75 meters into the void. The peace you feel on the edge of the mountain is indescribable and the violence that once afflicted these lands is gone.

Salto del Indio

13 kilometers south, Salto del Indio receives adventurous tourists that want to dive into the cold water pool that is formed after falling for 35 meters. The indigenous settlements around give the waterfall its name.

Now, 27 km north of Fin del Mundo, you will find the stunning Mandiyaco canyon, whose rock formations have animal and human shapes with mythological background.

These were just some of the most representative rivers and waterfalls you find in Colombia. If we were to talk about all of them, we would probably have to publish an entire book. Anyway, we hope this post has left you eager to visit the gorgeous rivers and waterfalls of Colombia!

About the author

Ana María Parra

Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.