Find here the top zoos of Colombia! In the past entries Can Zoos be Considered as Fair Ecotourism Destinations? and Zoos in Colombia and COVID-19 Crisis: Your Visit Can Help Them, I covered the topics about defendind zoos, or not, why to visit zoos, or not, covid-19 pandemic effect on zoos survival, and about the importance of zoos in Colombia. I recommend you to read those posts to get a broader view about visiting zoos in Colombia, and around the world.
Visitors to zoos traditionally attended for entertainment purposes. Today, besides entertaining, visiting a zoo involves supporting education, awareness, and sensitization programs for the care of wildlife and the environment, and the rejection of wildlife trafficking. Some zoos are considered “a classroom open to research” or “a new place of hope“.
In this post I recommend you the best Zoos, Aquariums and Bioparks to visit in Colombia, specially during the post-covid-19 reality.
#1 Cali Zoo
The Cali Zoo is the best zoo of Colombia by far. There you will find native animals such as the Andean Condor, the Spectacled Bear, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, the tapir, the puma and some primates, birds, fish and reptiles. There are also exotic animals such as zebras, hyenas, baboons, Bengal tigers, and zuricates, among others.
The Cali Zoo is home to many events, among them the Colombia BirdFair, the most important international bird fair in Colombia, which covers topics such as: conservation, bird watching tourism, education, etc.
FUNDACIÓN ZOOLÓGICA DE CALI, Cra. 2 oeste Calle 14, Santa Teresita. Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.
It has education, communication, recreation and research programs for the conservation of Colombia’s biodiversity.
How to get there
The Cali Zoo is located in a noble area of the city. The closest hotels are the Hampton by Hilton, the Intecontinental de Cali, and El Obelisco. The trip from these places can be done on foot or by cab. If you go on foot from one of these hotels, it will be a nice half hour walk along the Rio Cali.
Adults 7USD – Kids 5USD
It is not alowed the entrace for people older than 70 years old and younger than 6 years old.
#2 Marine World Aquarium, Santa Marta
Marine World Aquarium works to harmonize research, conservation, education and recreation purposes.
The design of the infrastructure of the Marine World Aquarium allows to have replicas of some marine ecosystems and physical phenomena. It constitutes the only engineering work of this type in Colombia, which, due to its specific technical characteristics, makes it possible to develop a great number of observations and investigations that are difficult to carry out in the natural environment.
It has 24 large exhibition aquariums and a giant swimming pool, where the visitor experiences the sensation of being submerged while contemplating the wonderful underwater life.
The Marine World Aquarium is located in El Rodadero. Carrera 2 # 11-68, El Rodadero, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.
Marine World Aquarium uses a series of exhibition aquariums of the different species and their environments, in order to become an educational and scientific tool.
Its objective is to promote the knowledge, conservation and adequate use of marine resources, and the commitment to the preservation of the environment, and to promote research.
It is also a destination for your company (MICE). Marine World encourages companies with special benefits and discounts if they purchase an Adoption Plan. With this plan you will be helping the care and attention of the species living in the aquarium.
How to get there
If your accommodation is in downtown Santa Marta, Mamatoco, Taganga or any other place in the city, you can get to El Rodadero by cab. It is a distance of about 5 km, and you will arrive in 15 minutes. It is not recommended to go by walk from Santa Marta.
Adults 7USD – Kids 5USD
You can plan your kids’ birthday party there.
#3 Biopark Guatika
Most of the animals in Guátika have arrived because of the illegal traffic of fauna and have special conditions so they must remain under human care.
In Guátika Bioparque Zoo you can find more than 1000 animals of more than 100 different species. The Zoo has ample spaces, suitable in the best way possible, to provide the best welfare to the animals, for their mental and physical health.
In addition to visiting the animals, the zoo offers adventure activities such as horseback riding, buggy rides, sky coaster, wall climbing, ziplining, among other activities.
Tibasosa at Km 1, Vía las Antenas, Tibasosa, Boyacá, Colombia.
Special programs for rescued animals from illegal traffic, which cannot be released to the wild and require human care.
How to get there
Tibasosa is a municipality in the department of Boyacá, located between the cities of Duitama and Sogamoso. Tibasosa is located 3 hours from Bogota. From Bogotá you can take a private transportation to Tibasosa. The zoo is located 800 meters from the main park of Tibasosa
Adults General 9USD – Adults Plus 20USD – Kids and Older than 65 7.5USD
The park has the Guatika Boutique Hotel. The hotel houses a children’s club, a restaurant and a terrace. The accommodation has a hydromassage bathtub. Accommodation includes activities at the zoo.
#4 La Reserva Biopark
The Reserve is a natural theme park and sanctuary for plants and animals rescued from illegal trafficking. This park is specialized in receiving, treating and releasing, when possible, the rescued animals.
As a visitor you will have the opportunity to connect with nature and get to know some of the Colombian ecosystems.
Abra village, Km 1.2, Cota, Cundinamarca, Colombia.
The reserve has developed innovative projects contributing to environmental education in Colombia, scientific research, knowledge about endangered species and the conservation of the country’s biological diversity by promoting respect for nature.
The park also has different projects related to animal care, water protection, and ecological restoration projects in which you can participate and make donations.
How to get there
The Bioparque la Reserva is located 40 minutes from downtown Bogotá, in the municipality of Cota. From the center of Cota, you will arrive in 10 minutes by car, or in 30 minutes walking.
Adults 8.5USD – Kids Free until 3 yeras old
Among its especial attractions are:
- The recreation of a human construction taken by nature, where the visitor finds interpretative exhibitions of opportunistic animals such as rats, mice, cockroaches and snakes.
- A space dedicated to illegal trafficking where visitors learn about the consequences it has on biodiversity.
- A space to learn about the science that takes care of animals, the duties we have as pet owners, which animals you can have and which you can’t.
- A workshop to discover the myths and truths about carnivorous plants.
#5 Ukumarí Biopark
The Biopark is located in one of the most important tourist areas of Colombia: the coffee zone. Ukumarí means, in Quechua language, the “one that has the strength of the Bear”.
The Biopark has been under construction since 2015 and is expected to be the largest of its kind in Latin America, covering 820,000 square meters.
There will be aquariums, aviaries and attractions in the fourth dimension, as well as interactive games and adrenaline scenarios related to biodiversity.
The transfer of the animals from the old zoo was called Operation Noah’s Ark, which lasted 2 years between 2015 and 2016.
Km 14 Vía Cerritos – Costado Sur – Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia. 21.5 km far from the Matecaña International Airport.
Ukumari Biopark replaced the old Matecaña zoo, with the purpose of developing a Biopark that would improve the quality of life of the animals, and also contribute to energize the tourist offer of the region.
The Biopark seeks to change man’s attitude towards the planet, the care of species and the environment.
How to get there
The Ukumari Biopark is located at Km 14, south margin, of the road that from Pereira leads to the Cerritos village. At Santa Barbara Station, only 8 km from Matecaña International Airport, you will find the clearly marked main access road that will take you (in a 1 km route) to the entrance of Ukumari and the Biopark parking lots.
Adults 9.5USD – Kids 7USD
The nearest hotel is the Sonesta Pereira. Very nice Hotel!
#6 Los Ocarros Biopark
The biopark Los Ocarros, is committed to the preservation, rehabilitation and conservation of the native fauna of the Llanos Orientales. It consists of 5.5 hectares that have ample areas, which serve as habitat for about 680 animals of 150 species typical of the ecosystem of the eastern plains region of Colombia.
The visit to the biopark Los Ocarros is an example that tourism and ecological protection can go hand in hand.
Vanguardia village, Km 3 vía Villavicencio – Restrepo, Meta, Colombia.
This place focuses on environmental education as a tool for the conservation of the fauna of the eastern plains of Colombia.
It offers a virtual library with scientific documents of research results about the species present in the zoo.
Also, Bioparque los Ocarros, along with other organizations, attends and values confiscated or rescued animals, made available by the environmental authority, until the necessary conditioning is achieved to return them to their wild life.
How to get there
The biopark Los Ocarros, is located on the outskirts of the city of Villavicencio, 5 km from downtown. You can get there by car or walking. The Wyndham Garden Hotel is a recommended hotel to stay near to Los Ocarros.
Adults 4.5USD – Kids 3.5USD – Seniors 2.5USD
Guidance service is not included. The park offers specialized tours and events for one or more days, as well as workshops, conferences and seminars.
Wild animals are not pets, leave them in their natural habitat, they don’t feel at home in your house! The possession of wild animals is a crime in Colombia and is penalized according to current regulations.
If you want to come to Colombia, don’t hesitate to contact us and plan your trip with us!
- Colombia park fights animal trafficking with education. By MANUEL RUEDA. October 12, 2018.
About the author
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.