The jaguar, yaguar o yaguareté (Panthera onca) is recognized as the largest feline in America and the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion. Besides, Colombia is the third country in Latin America with the largest population of jaguars, after Brazil and Peru. So there is a good chance to see them here!
In this publication, you will get the necessary information about jaguars, and where to discover this wonderful species in Colombia.
Facts About Jaguars
Their skin is yellow with rosettes and black spots. However, this species sometimes presents melanic variations: black or dark brown individuals, which are called the black panthers.
The jaguar measures between 1.5 and 2.4 meters, weighs between 45 and 120 kg. and lives between 10 and 12 years. Its body is robust and muscular, with a broad head and small, rounded ears.
Adult jaguars are solitary, only joining temporarily for a couple of weeks for courtship and copulation. The rutting season lasts 12 days in a 47-day cycle. Ovulation in the female is induced by previous copulation, which stimulates and activates the female’s reproductive system.
It is theorized that female jaguars may give birth at any time of the year, but the few reports of cubs generally occur between December and March. Sexual maturity is attained at 24-30 months of age.
Gestation lasts approximately 100 days, and the female gives birth to two or three cubs weighing 800 grams. The cubs are weaned at 4-5 months to begin their carnivorous diet and become independent from their mother between 16 and 24 months of age.
The jaguar has the most powerful bite of all felines, the intensity of the bite in the attack depends on the prey.
Unlike other felines, they do not reject water. In fact, they are very good swimmers.
They are capable of dragging their prey for dozens of meters, even passing it over fallen logs or over wire fences, demonstrating extraordinary strength with their jaws.
The jaguar also plays a fundamental role in the ecosystem balance, it is capable of guaranteeing the survival of smaller species, and it is an excellent protector of water and forests.
Where do the Jaguar live?
Jaguars can be found in diverse habitats such as forests, wetlands, savannas, and grasslands, from sea level to 3,000m altitude. Current jaguar populations are distributed from Mexico to northern Argentina over an area of 8.75 million km2.
In South America, the number of jaguars exceeds 163 thousand, and Brazil and Peru are the countries with the largest populations of this feline.
Despite this broad range, jaguars have been eradicated from 40 percent of their historic range and are extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador. While the rare individual has been spotted in the US, there has not been evidence of a breeding population in the US in more than 50 years.
The Jaguar is an Endangered Species
There are three causes that endanger the jaguar in the different areas through which it moves:
The loss of its habitat is due to the use of wildlands for agriculture and other developments. This causes jaguars to run the risk of being isolated in small areas, increasing their risk of extinction.
Direct hunting by people living in the countryside, who see the jaguar as a threat to their lives and livelihoods.
The scarcity of natural prey, which is also hunted by humans, has led jaguars to reach areas where they encounter domestic animals for food.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, of the 34 jaguar subpopulations that exist throughout the continent, 33 are Endangered or Critically Endangered. The Amazonian population is the only one in a state of Least Concern.
Recent studies by Panthera Foundation show that there are about 173,000 jaguars remaining in the Americas, less than half of the species that historically existed throughout its range.
The Jaguar Corridor
The jaguar is listed as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, though its status is in review and may be elevated to “Vulnerable” in the next year.
The species is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, conflict with local people due to the real or perceived threat posed to livestock, and overhunting of the jaguar’s prey by local people.
The jaguar corridor is a project showing how big predators can indeed live with humans. Dr. Alan Rabinowitz devoted his life to conserving this magnificent cat and co-founded the Panthera organization, “the only organization in the world that is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems”.
Rabinowitz established the world’s first jaguar sanctuary – the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – in Belize in 1986. He also developed the conceptualization and implementation of the Jaguar Corridor across their entire range from Mexico to Argentina.
The countries that make up the Jaguar Corridor are: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Besides, the initiative is supported by numerous governments, landowners, corporations, local communities, and scientists.
Currently, the governments of Brazil and Argentina have identified an increase in the jaguar population, which has caused an increase in surveillance and monitoring of border areas in both countries and joint parks to prevent illegal hunters, especially in Iguazu.
Today there is a conservation strategy called Jaguar 2030 Conservation Roadmap for the Americas, a multi-government plan to conserve jaguars across their range supported by UNDP, Panthera, WCS, and WWF. Find out more in the document Jaguar Strategy 2020-2030.
Best Spots to See Jaguars in South America
Jaguars are difficult to spot, as good hunters of prey, they are stealthy animals and camouflage themselves very well. Luck must be on your side!
The most famous destinations for jaguar sightings are:
Jaguars are common to find in the Pantanal ecosystem. 80% of Pantanal is in Brazil, and the remaining 20% is located between Bolivia and Paraguay.
The best spots to see jaguars in Pantanal are in Brazil. In the north, the Cuiabá River is the most known place to watch this animal. Jaguars get exposed during the dry season, from June to October, when they visit the riverbanks to hunt capybara and caiman.
Towards the southern Pantanal, there is the Caiman Lodge, the Onçafari Project fosters ecotourism, monitors wild jaguars, and releases rescued cats into the wild.
The Amazon Jungle in Peru
Manú National Park is a biosphere reserve, a hot spot of biodiversity, where you can see jaguars. Besides, this reserve is a great destination for birdwatching.
The tropical forest of the Guiana Shield in Guyana
The place is famous since the BBC filmed its series Lost Land Of The Jaguar in 2008.
The tropical cloud forest of Belize
In Belize, you will find the first nature reserve created to protect jaguars, it is called Cockscomb, a sanctuary located in central Belize.
Eastern Plains in Colombia
In Casanare, in Hato La Aurora, in Hato Corozal, in the Ariporo and Orinoco River Basin, are the places where jaguars can be free and protected thanks to the support of the community.
In this area there is natural prey such as armadillos, deer, and others that are not found in any habitat, that is to say, that where the Jaguar is, it acts as a protector of these species and those that are not seen such as insects, invertebrates and plants that are within an ecosystem.
Colombia is a favorite place for jaguar conservation
Jaguar populations inhabit forests below 2,000 m.a.s.l., in tropical forests, riparian and gallery forests associated with rivers, marshes and beaches, tropical savannahs; they are also found in montane forests.
In Colombia, there are four blocks of large populations, in decreasing size: Amazon, Orinoco, biogeographic Choco, and the Caribbean. Jaguars’ distribution in the national territory follows like this:
4.2 jaguars per 100 km2 in Amacayacu National Natural Park.
2.8 jaguars per 100 km2 in unprotected Amazonian rainforests.
Populations of 3.2 adults/100 km2 for an oil palm landscape in the Magdalena Medio region.
1.9 adults/100 km2 for the Colombian Llanos.
The biological corridor in Colombia covers 228.000 hectares and protects the lives of 34 species of medium and large mammals; it is the most important and largest in the countries where the jaguar is present.
Besides, there are videographic records in different areas of the country where you can see the presence of the jaguar in its natural habitat, which has led to studies for conservation.
Today, Colombia launched its first Jaguar Sighting Route, a conservation – tourism project which aim is to strengthen Colombia as a jaguar sighting destination. The project includes the creation of a guide to good practices for cat watching, training of local guides, and the creation of trails and a portfolio of services associated with nature tourism. Find out more in our entry The Top Post-Covid-19 Destinations for Conservation Lovers in Colombia.
Colombia bets on four new post-Covid-19nature tourism routes! MinComercio, Colombia Productiva, and the Natural Wealth Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the support of the UNWTO, EAN University, and Ruta N, created the Colombia Riqueza Natural Prize, an award for the transformation in nature tourism.
In order for us to continue being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, the government of Colombia will continue to focus on identifying initiatives that promote the natural wealth of the country. The main goals are:
Highlighting Colombia’s biodiversity.
Reactivate the nature tourism sector.
Helping local communities in different regions of Colombia.
This is key to boosting nature tourism in the phase of economic recovery that followed the Covid-19 crisis. And, also, to keep showing and promoting the best of Colombia.
The prize was looking for the transformation of Nature Tourism in the face of the contingency of the COVID-19. The idea was to encourage the reactivation of the nature tourism sector and support environmental conservation and local communities economies.
“This award will not only serve to strengthen our plans to revitalize nature tourism, but it also highlights the importance of being one of the most megadiverse countries on the planet and the second most biodiverse”
– said the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, José Manuel Restrepo.
A Prize for a Post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery
According to Martha Aponte, USAID’s deputy director in Colombia, nature tourism can contribute to the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity as well as to economic development.
For this to happen, it is indispensable to discourage tourism that threatens the health of our ecosystems. Nature tourism should be seen as a tool to improve the well-being of local communities, conserve resources, and educate visitors.
The post-Covid-19 economic recovery phase will support the identification of initiatives that protect natural resources and, at the same time, promote nature tourism in Colombia under the current situation.
In this regard, Camilo Fernández de Soto, President of Colombia Productiva, explained that in Colombia nature tourism needs to:
Implement more efficient processes,
Improve the quality of its offer,
Accelerate the digital transformation,
Implement digital marketing strategies, and
Adopt sustainability as the fundamental part of the experiences.
The award seeks to support the work of nature tourism into overcome its main issues in order to continue attracting more local and international travelers, especially in the context of post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
The winners will receive up to USD 50,000 to make their projects a reality in different regions of the country.
During one month 1,185 projects applied to this prize. All of them coming from the 32 departments of the country.
54% were submitted by legal entities, while 46% were submitted by individuals. Most of the initiatives were submitted by micro and small businesses, foundations, and NGOs.
Proposals were also received from indigenous organizations, collective territories, peasant associations, community councils, and even large companies. Additionally, 84% of the proposals had not received any pre-award funding.
The jury was composed of Brigitte Baptiste, rector of EAN University; Camilo Fernández de Soto, president of Colombia Productiva; Gilberto Salcedo, vice-president of Tourism for ProColombia; Natalia Bayona, director of Innovation and Transformation for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); Ricardo Sánchez, director of USAID’s Natural Wealth Program; Ximena García, advisor to USAID’s environmental office; and Agostinho João de Almeida, director of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
From the total number of projects, 15 finalists were selected and evaluated by the high-level jury.
In addition to the resources funded by USAID’s Natural Wealth Program, the winning initiatives will receive specialized accompaniment from EAN University and Ruta N to execute their projects.
Also, the 15 finalists will receive scholarships from the World Tourism Organization and EAN University in tourism management.
The Top 4 Winning Initiatives
Among the 15 finalists, only four projects won the prize. All these projects are aimed at the conservation and sustainability of Colombian ecosystems. All of them highlight the country’s biodiversity, and focus on addressing the economic impact of Covid-19 on the nature tourism sector, which has been one of the most affected by the pandemic.
The winning projects highlight Colombia’s unique biodiversity:
Caribbean Region: ‘Seaflower Meaningful Diving’ (in San Andres Island).
Andean – Chocó Forest Region: ‘Establishing the first birding route for visually impaired people in South America’ (in Valle del Cauca).
Orinoquia Region: ‘Ensuring a future for jaguars in the only jaguar watching destination (in Casanare).
Orinoquia – Amazon Region: ‘Reactivation of nature and cultural immersion tourism in the Matavén jungle’ (in Vichada).
All projects have one year for their development and implementation.
San Andres & Providencia Coral Reef Diving Destination
An experience that will use augmented reality and learning for you to enjoy diving the coral reefs of San Andres Island, and helping its conservation.
Seaflower Meaningful Diving, Diving With a Purpose
This is a project focused on promoting collaboration between islanders, fishermen, and tourists to finance education, conservation, restoration, and management projects of coral reefs in the San Andrés Archipelago.
This project proposes the implementation of e-courses, complemented with gamification and augmented reality, allowing people to start their diving experience and preparation from home. Also, experiencing from home how is the activity of nursing corals.
At the destination, travelers will be able to obtain three rewards:
The Green Fins certificate, as responsible and environmentally friendly diving operators
The Reef Check Trainers, for participation in coral monitoring, and/or
The Reef Repair Trainers, for participation in coral reef restoration.
Inclusive Bird Watching Destination
A captivating experience that will allow visually impaired people to enjoy the wonders of the San Antonio Cloud Forest and its hundreds of bird species, in one of the most biodiverse areas of South America: the Valle del Cauca.
First Birding Route for People with Visual Disabilities in South America
This is a project carried out in order to find a new way of approaching, recognizing, and linking with nature for the population with visual disabilities.
The initiative transforms birdwatching tourism in Colombia into an inclusive activity and fosters new market niches. In addition, it takes into account the creation of a special sound guide for the visually impaired population and the training of tourist guides in the region.
Jaguar Sighting in Colombia
An experience that allows you to walk the jaguar route and get to Hato La Aurora to visit the first destination for safe jaguar watching in colombia.
First Jaguar Sighting Route in Colombia Post-Covid-19 Destination
Ensuring a future for jaguars in the only jaguar sighting destination in Colombia: Hato La Aurora, in Casanare. This project’s aim is to strengthen this jaguar sighting destination as a strategy for the conservation of big cats and flooded savannas, and coexistence with sustainable productive activities.
The project includes the creation of a guide to good practices for cat watching, the training of guides from the region, and the creation of trails and a portfolio of services associated with nature tourism.
Nature and Immersion Tourism in Vichada
Connect with the indigenous traditions of the Piaroa people in one of the most beautiful jungle areas of Colombia!
Matavén Forest and Piaroa Indigenous People
This project seeks to strengthen nature and immersion tourism products with indigenous communities, as the Piaroa indigenous communities from La Urbana and Pueblo Nuevo, of the Great Matavén Reserve, in Vichada. Its aim is to motivate an economic reactivation and conservation of the region’s biodiversity.
We are all very happy for the winners. We hope to have wonderful products by 2022 that offer you the best nature destinations in Colombia. Destinations that support our biodiversity, that are inclusive, that use innovative technological tools, and of course, that help the economic reactivation of nature tourism in Colombia.
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.
As we have said so many times before, Colombia is the country with most bird species in the world. Well, this also applies to orchids! What we haven’t mentioned is that Colombia ranks second in quantity of plants, amphibians, butterflies and freshwater fish, third in palms and reptiles, and fourth in mammals.
Because of this, it is the second most biodiverse country on the planet. What an amazing country for an amazing wildlife tour.
The great diversity of this plants and animal groups in Colombia is associated with its geographical location and topography, which allows the confluence of five major biogeographical regions: Caribbean, Pacific, Andean, Orinoco and Amazon; and the presence of a wide range of ecosystems.
If you are interested in wildlife in Colombia, there are so many places for birdwatching and you can have a unique safari experience as well.
In Los Llanos, the Amazon and even in Antioquia, you can see capybaras, deer, caimans, giant anteaters, monkeys, armadillos, pumas, and many more animals. In this case, we will present to you other exciting wildlife to see in Colombia.
Land Animals to See in Colombia
Spectacled Bears in the Andes
The unique Andean or Spectacled Bear (Tremarctosornatus) is the last remaining short-faced bear and the only surviving species of bear native to South America. This medium-sized, black mammal –with beige face marks that seem like glasses, inhabits the three Andes mountain ranges.
It is a harmless animal that wouldn’t attack a human unless it feels under threat. However, it is considered Vulnerable in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, due to loss of habitat and illegal hunting.
Fortunately,Colombia’s National Parks System has developed a monitoring and conservation strategy for the Spectacled Bear in several protected zones.
Those who can see this bear in freedom can consider themselves lucky human beings since its population is small and they are elusive. They can be seen in humid montane forests and paramos, in altitudes up to 4,800 meters above sea level.
Solitary Andean bears have been recorded (watch here!) by camera traps in Chingaza National Natural Park, Cueva de Los Guácharos NNP, and Guanentá Alto Río Fonce Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.
If you travel to Bogotá, a day trip to Chingaza NNPmight be your chance to see the Spectacled bear directly or indirectly, through tracks on the ground, scratches on trees, beds made of leaves, and other signs.
Jaguars in Llanos Orientales
The largest feline in the Americas, and the third–largest in the world, wanders the tropical and subtropical moist forests, dry grasslands, and swamps of Colombia. The existence of water bodies in these habitats is a sign of the jaguar‘s presence — it is a swimmer par excellence.
This large, solitary feline on the top of the food chain inhabits most of the country’s land: the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, some parts of the Pacific coast, the Orinoco eastern plains, and the vast Amazon.
However, as a Near Threatened species due to illegal hunting and habitat destruction, it is uncommonly spotted by tourists during wildlife tours in Colombia.
You can embark on a trip to Hato La Aurorain Los Llanos to seek out a jaguar. Hopefully, you will spot one hiding while waiting to ambush its prey or even chasing its victim.
La Aurora is the largest Civil Society Natural Reserve in Colombia and is located in the towns of Paz de Ariporo and HatoCorozal, 4.5 hours by car from the capital of Casanare.
Colombia is the sixth richest country in the world in primates along with Brazil, Zaire, Cameroon, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Peru, and the third richest in the region after Brazil and Peru, as it has 38 species and 45 subspecies, including 10 species and 15 endemic taxa.
Of all the primate species found in Colombia, 53% are endangered as a result of the dramatic deforestation of its habitat and its capture for the illegal trade.
Critically endangered species include the Variegated Spider Monkey (Ateles hybridus), the Brown-headed Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps), the Caquetá Tití Monkey (Plecturocebus caquetensis) and the Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus). The last two are endemic.
The howler monkeys can be found in the eastern plains, in the department of Meta, easy to hear and somewhat difficult to observe in places like Unamas or Lagos de Menegua. Also in the Amazon.
The cotton-top tamarin is endemic to the tropical forests of northern Colombia, and it is possible to observe them at Los Limites, a small village located on the border between the departments of Atlántico and Bolívar, very close to the town of Luruaco, where the “arepa de huevo” (egg-shaped arepa) originates.
Proyecto Tití places there and focuses on scientific studies of the biology of wild cotton-top tamarins and working with rural communities living in close proximity to cotton-top tamarin forested areas, through sustainable community development and conservation education programs, which includes ecotourism.
Marine Life to See in Colombia
Coral reefs in the Caribbean
Most people think that corals are marine plants, but they are actually invertebrate animals of great ecological importance. An individual coral is called a polyp and they live in groups of hundreds to thousands of genetically identical polyps that form a ‘colony’.
Hard corals form what we know as coral reefs, the largest living structure on the planet, and the only living structure to be visible from space! Coral reefs are amazing, colorful living beings that host and protect many other marine species, hence its importance.
In Colombia, you can find the most important coral reef formations in San Bernardo Archipelago and Corales del Rosario Islands, located on the Caribbean sea, approximately 2 and 1–hour boat ride from the city of Cartagena.
Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo National Natural Park
Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo National Natural Parkcovers an area of 120,000 hectares, protecting the largest coral reef of the Colombian continental Caribbean, with about 420 km2! To appreciate the immense and stunning wildlife inhabiting coral reefs, you can practice scuba diving near Baru, Isla Grande, and Tintipan islands.
Sea turtles, nurse sharks, Caribbean spiny lobsters, Nassau groupers, and many other animals can be seen swimming around these corals, in shallow waters.
In Providence Island, next to San Andres island, you can explore part of the world’s third–largest coral reef, protected as Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.
Visit the Old Providence McBean Lagoon NNP with its mangroves and seven colors sea.
Scuba diving with schools of sharks is one of the attractions of Malpelo, the best diving spot in Colombia. Malpelo is one of the world’s top three spots to dive among sharks!
Malpelo Island is a Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and World Heritage Site found in Colombian Pacific waters, 500 km (up to 36–hour boat ride) from the city of Buenaventura, in Valle del Cauca.
This volcanic formation is actually the highest point of a submarine range: Dorsal de Malpelo, which hosts incredible marine wildlife. Know more about conservation projects in Malpelo at Protect Malpelo.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) are found in schools of up to 200 specimens around this island and one of the best spots to observe them is La Nevera, a ‘cleaning station’ where small fish take parasites off the sharks.
Apart from these peculiar sharks, divers can see great schools of fish such as barracuda, tuna, red porgy, and more, along with the rosy-lipped batfish — the ugliest fish in the world, the giant oceanic manta ray, and luckily the small tooth sand tiger—’Malpelo’s monster, in depths over 45 m (150 ft).
Malpelo is every diver’s paradise! You should know that only experienced/professional divers with 35 previous logged excursions can visit the island, with a local guide.
Whales in the Colombian Pacific
During the second half of the year or most of it, the Colombian Pacific coast gains prominence among wildlife lovers.
From July to late October, large groups ofHumpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from the South Pole to the warm waters of the northern Pacific Ocean to mate, give birth, and raise their calves.
Whale watching is one of the greatest wildlife tours for tourists visiting Colombia during this time.
Choco, Cauca, and Valle del Cauca are common places to observe the whales’ acrobatics and hear their songs. These departments have different spots on the coasts surrounded by lush tropical forests and warmed by the kindness of its inhabitants.
Gorgona island, Bahía Solano and Ensenada de Utría NNP in Nuquí are favorite spots!
Gorgona stands out for being a mysterious island with dense jungle, a former prison’s ruins, and a lot of snakes. Here you can also hike, snorkel and do scuba diving to see whale sharks and whitetip reef sharks, and coral reefs.
Colombia, along with Venezuela, hosts the largest number of crocodile species (read more). These semi-aquatic reptiles live in tropical regions, gathering around freshwater habitats, such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands. You can find 2 species in Colombia: the Orinoco crocodile and the American crocodile.
The Orinoco crocodile
The Orinoco crocodile(Crocodylus intermedius), measuring up to 7 meters,is among the largest crocodiles in the world, and the largest predator in South America! It is critically endangered, though. As its name indicates, it lives in the Orinoco basin, both in Venezuela and Colombia.
Sierra de la Macarena in Meta and El Tuparro National Natural Park in Vichada are both large protected areas open to ecotourism, where you can spot Orinoco crocodiles while discovering the beauty of the llanero landscapes and its wildlife.
La Macarena is home to ‘the most beautiful river in the world’ —CañoCristales, and animals such as Capuchins, the Speckled tanager, and the Straight-billed woodcreeper.
The American crocodile (Crocodylusacutus) is the most widespread of the crocodiles from the Americas and inhabits coastal areas, including mangrove swamps and lagoons.
If you travel to Colombia’s Caribbean or Pacific region, you will probably find it still, perhaps with its jaw wide open. Don’t worry, it’s not that they want to hunt you, but this is the way they gain heat.
The Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is one of the crocodiles watching spots. This is a large mangrove swamp where the Northern tamandua, Neotropic cormorant, and West Indian manatee also live.
The Spectacled Caiman
As if it weren’t surprising enough, you can also find the Spectacled caiman—or Babilla, (Caiman cocodrilus) in Hato La Aurora, the pioneer of the Colombian Safari, or El Encanto de Guanapalo (see tour), also in Casanare.
About 800 amphibian species of different shapes and colors live in Colombia. Frogs account for 93% of amphibians in the country, which means that there are 734 species. Also, more than half of them are endemic!
However, 53 species are critically endangered because of the destruction of their habitats and collectors of exotic animals. Although most species can be found in the Andean region, the greatest wealth is in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon and the Pacific region, between 0 and 249 MASL.
Poison dart frogs
All bright colored and dangerous, are one of the main attractions to herpetologists and wildlife lovers. These can be found in the Biogeographic Choco region, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
There are frog tours in the departments of Choco and Valle del Cauca, along the Colombian Pacific coast.
Golden Poison Dart Frog
Actually, in the lush jungles of Choco, you can find the Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobatesterribilis), the most poisonous in the world! An adult frog’s skin has enough poison to kill 20,000 mice or 100 human adults.
Although the poison of the Golden Poison Dart Frog only acts when ingested or when entering the body through the mucosae, not the skin, you should be cautious with dart frogs during your wildlife tour.
Other Dart Frogs
Other dart frogs found here are the Black-legged Poison Dart Frog, Kokoe Poison Frog, Yellowbelly Poison Frog, different Harlequin Poison Frogs and the Diablito Poison Frog.
Get to know dart frogs of the genus Dendrobatidae and others with us in our Dart Frogs Tourin the Biogeographic Choco! You will visit places in Valle del Cauca such as Cali, Anchicayá, the San Cipriano Forest Reserve –both near Buenaventura, the Yotoco Natural Reserve, and Santa Cecilia in Risaralda.
Also, you will witness the Lehmann Frog, Marbled Poison-arrow Frog, Harlequin Poison Frog, Yellow-bellied Poison Frog, Gliding Tree Frog along spectacular snakes and lizards.
The Green Anaconda(Eunectesmurinus) is the heaviest and one of the longest snake species! This reptile, which can reach up to 5 meters long, is native to South America and is mostly found in the Amazon rainforest and the Orinoco basin.
Because of its weight, which reportedly ranges from 30 to 70 kg (66 to 154 lb) in adults, this snake doesn’t stay that much on the ground, but it is an agile swimmer. Its olive–green skin with black botches allows the anaconda to camouflage in the waters and surprise its prey easily.
It is not venomous, but once it has kept its eyes on its victim, it is hard to run away from a fateful death by suffocation.
When you travel to Colombia and go on an Amazonnight safari, watch out for these nocturnal, stealthy reptiles! The other way to meet them is to visitHato La Aurora—once again. but this place is great!— in the eastern plains of Colombia.
Plants to See in Colombia
Orchids in Colombia
4,270 species of orchids can be found in Colombia. Out of these, 1,572 are not seen anywhere else in the world! Hence, the Cattleya trianae was named as the national flagship flower.
The country’s National Natural Parks host about 20% of the orchids, but the most privileged zone in the national territory is the Andes region, since it hosts overhalf of the total species, with 944 endemics.
Finca Romelia Colors of Life
One of the places to admire the beauty of these flowers distinctively shaped and colored is Romelia Farmon the outskirts of Manizales, in the Coffee Region. This family farm is a haven of 8,000 orchids of 840 species, as well as a variety of bonsai and over 200 bird species.
Romelia offers 3 to 5–hour orchids tours around the house, natural trails, and a garden center, where you get a lesson about these stunning flowers and how to sow them. Plus, you get a snack and lunch. The price is around USD 35.
Puracé National Natiral Park
Another place full of orchids is Puracé NNP in Cauca, a natural reserve that protects a volcanic complex, the source of the Magdalena, Cauca, Patía and Caquetá rivers, some of the main rivers of the country. In this indigenous land, there are over 200 species of orchids that you can appreciate while hiking along the Orquideas trail made of stone. The species Epidendrum fimbriatum is a highlight.
In terms of flora, Colombia has a major role too. Colombia’s over 45,000 plant species account for 10% of the world’s plant species!
The Quindio Wax Palm (Ceroxylonquindiuense) is the national tree and is the world’s largest palm, reaching up to 60 meters. It is native to the Andean humid montane forests of Los Nevados National Natural Park and you can find it in the high Andean valley of Toche, Tolima, and the Cocora Valley in Quindío.
The Queen Victoria’s water lily or Victoria amazonica is another flower that amazes foreigners that visit the Amazon. It is the largest of the water lilies, having a diameter of up to 40 cm (16 in). These amazing floating flowers are pollinated by beetles.
Last but not least, during your wildlife or hiking tour in Colombia, you have to meet the Frailejones (“big monks”).
These subshrubs of the genus Espeletia are native to the páramos of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador and play a key role in the creation of subterranean water deposits.
The Espeletiauribei is one of the world’s tallest —up to 18 m— and can be found in the Chingaza NNP, a páramo near Bogotá.
So here you have many living reasons to visit Colombia. We hope you dare to explore the breathtaking landscapes of this country and book your wildlife tour with us (tours).
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.
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.