14 Unique Monkeys you Cannot Miss in Colombia

Colombia is one of the countries with the largest diversity of monkeys. It is ranked as the sixth country in the world, and the third in the region after Brazil and Peru. Such diversity is associated to Colombia’s geographic location and topography.

Colombian primate species, aka Colombian monkeys,  are a good example of Neotropical monkeys, since we have representatives of the three families recognized for the American continent: Cebidae, Pithecidae and Atelidae. The department with the largest number of species is Cauca, since it includes Andean, Chocó and Amazonian Piedemont areas, each of these regions usually has some particular species.

Below you will know and discover some of the most unique monkeys that you can find in Colombia.

Discovering the endemic monkeys of Colombia

Brumback’s night monkey – Aotus brumbacki

Brumback’s Night Monkey – Aotus brumbacki

Where to find it: Arauca, Boyacá, Casanare, Cundinamarca, Meta, Vichada

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Habitat: inhabits at low altitudes in Colombian Eastern Plains, usually in dense forest, fragmented forest, gallery forest and riparian forest.

It is also found in a small part of Apure State, Venezuela. Its western range extends from the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera between the Arauca River to the north and the Guaviare River to the south.

They are nocturnal animals, being mainly active on full moon nights. During the day they take refuge mainly in tree hollows to rest. They are monogamous and congregate in groups of 3 to 5 individuals.

Hernández-Camacho’s night monkey – Aotus jorgehernandezi

Where to find it:  Habitat: Quindio and Risaralda, it is possible that it occurs in Tatamá Natural National Park.

Conservation status: Data deficient.

Habitat: dense forest, fragmented forest, gallery and riparian forest and secondary or transitional vegetation.

It is a nocturnal species, first described in 2007 by Thomas Defler and Marta Bueno, two of the most important primatologists of Colombia.

This monkey has a gray neck and a white spot over each eye, separated by a black band. The skin on the chest, belly, lower arms and lower wrists is thick and black.

Gray-handed night monkey – Aotus griseimembra

Where to find it:  Sinú River, including the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Magdalena River, Cauca River and Sao Jorge River valleys. It can be found in the border with Venezuela near to Maracaibo.

Conservation status: Vulnerable.

Habitat: tropical dry forest. It is arboreal and nocturnal.

This little monkey eats fruits, flowers, leaves, nectar, and insects. A curious fact of this monkey is that it is monogamous, and communicates visually. Also, male and female are identical. The Gray-handed night monkey is an important dispersor of seeds and are also potential pollinators for trees, and it is used by scientists as a model because it is resistant to VIH-1.

The hair on the back of the hands and feet is the color of light coffee with darker hair tips, a key distinguishing feature from other A. lemurinus subspecies.

Varied white-fronted capuchin – Cebus versicolor

Where to find it:  Middle and high Magdalena Valley.

Habitat: Lowland moist forest and palm swamps in the Río Magdalena Valley of northern Colombia

Conservation status: Endangered.

It was classified as a subspecies of the white-fronted capuchin (C. albifrons) but genetic analysis revealed it to be a separate species.

Santa Marta white-fronted capuchin – Cebus malitiousus

Where to find it:  Magdalena

Conservation status: Endangered

Habitat: The habitat where this species can be seen is in Mosaic of crops with natural spaces Gallery and riparian forest.

This primate is a medium-sized monkey, is characterized by a color that is rather dark brown over almost the entire body with yellowish shoulders.

It is omnivorous, feeding mainly on fruits, invertebrates, other plant parts and sometimes small vertebrates.

Colombian black-handed titi – Cheracebus medemi

Where to find it:  Putumayo and Caquetá.

Conservation status: Vulnerable.

Habitat: Inhabits tropical rainforest in southern Colombia, and this is one of the species most affected by climate change. They live in family groups and are monogamous.

The Colombian black-handed titi is territorial, and vocalizes loudly when couples from other groups enter their own territory.

Their diet consists mainly of fruits. To a lesser degree they also eat other parts of plants and insects.

Ornate titi – Plecturocebus ornatus

Where to find it:  Caquetá.

Conservation status: Critically endangered.

Habitat: This species can be seen in the following habitats: Dense forest, fragmented forest Secondary or transitional vegetation Mosaic of crops, pastures and natural spaces Gallery and riparian forest.

It is a miniature monkey with a graceful red beard, discovered in the Colombian jungle. Its fur is grayish-brown, it does not have a white band on its forehead and is the size of an average domestic cat.

They have one offspring per year and, when the offspring arrive, the parents usually force the eldest of the offspring to leave the group, to concentrate their attention on the newborn. Family groups of this species stay together in groups of up to four individuals.

Caqueta Tití – Plecturocebus caquetensis

The Caquetá Titi Monkey (Plecturocebus caquetensis) (Illustration: Stephen D. Nash)

Where to find it:  Caquetá.

Conservation status: Critically endangered.

Habitat: It usually inhabits the humid forests between the Caquetá and Orteguaza rivers, in the northwestern Amazon, southern Colombia.

Its body measures between 35 cm in length and its tail 61 cm, weighs between 800 and 1400 g. Their body fur is abundant and reddish on the neck; the end of the tail is black with white tips.

They are monogamous and form small groups of 3 to 6 and preferably 4 individuals.

White-footed tamarin – Saguinus leucopus 

Where to find it:  Confined to restricted forest patches in the Magdalena River valley towards the center and north of Colombia, particularly in the departments of Antioquia, Bolívar and Tolima; between 0 to 1600 m.a.s.l.

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Habitat: This primate is found in dry tropical, humid tropical, very humid tropical and very humid premontane forest (under the Holdridge scheme). This species uses different types of habitat: primary forest and secondary forest with several years of regeneration, preferably using primary forest.

The White-footed tamarin is very similar in appearance to the cotton-top tamarin, from which it is separated by the Atrato. Its average weight is 440 grams. These primates are diurnal and arboreal, active and agile. They move constantly and quickly between trees, and can jump up to four meters between them.

The back is pale silvery brown, or yellowish white variegated with brown. The face is almost naked with some thin white hairs. The forehead is whitish, as well as the area from the crown of the head to the ears.

Groups range in size from 2 to 15 individuals.

Cotton-top tamarin – Saguinus oedipus

Cotton-top tamarin – Saguinus oedipus

Where to find it: Atlántico, Bolivar, Sucre, Córdoba, Antioquia.

Conservation status: Critically endangered.

Habitat: Found only in the northern region of Colombia in tropical dry forests.

Squirrel-sized, they also have white chests and bellies, while their backs and tails are covered with long black and brown fur. They have claw-like nails, which are essential for jumping from one tree to another.

They feed through the middle layer of the canopy in search of the fruits and insects that make up much of their diet. The Cotton-top tamarin form social family groups that include breeding parents, their adult offspring and even unrelated adults that have migrated into the group.

Interesting Endemic subspecies

Colombian woolly monkey – Lagothrix lagothricha lugens

Where to find it:  Amazonia and Orinoquia Regions.

Conservation status: Critically endangered

Habitat: it can be found in dense forest, fragmented forest and open forest.

It is a large species among the New World monkeys. The body length ranges between 45 and 55 cm, the tail is longer than the body and measures between 60 and 65 cm; the average weight is between 7 to 10 kg, larger males can have a muscular body, with well-developed arms and tails. They are obligate frugivores, completing their diet with immature leaves, their main function in the forest is the dispersion of seeds.

They usually live in groups of 20 to 24 individuals, for their rest periods they look for tall trees to sleep 25 to 30 meters high.

Hernández-Camacho’s Black-mantled Tamarin – Leontocebus nigricollis hernandezi

Where to find it: Amazonas, Caquetá, Cauca, Cauca, Huila, Meta, Nariño, Putumayo

Conservation status: Least concern

Habitat: Found in a wide variety of habitats: secondary vegetation, isolated patches of forest, seasonally flooded forest and inland non-flooded forest up to an altitude of approximately 500 meters above sea level.

Head-body length ranges from 175 to 270 mm, while its tail reaches 250 to 383 mm; it weighs between 338 and 436 g. Females are slightly heavier than females. Females are slightly heavier than males. Their diet is based on insects and fruits.

Colombian squirrel monkey – Saimiri cassiquiarensis albigena

Where to find it:  Amazonia and Upper Orinoco

Conservation status: Least concern

Habitat: It is one of the best known monkeys in Colombia due to its wide distribution, its adaptability to highly disturbed or urban environments.

The body with the head reaches 25 to 37 cm in length in the male and up to 34 cm in the female; the tail is 38 to 45 cm long in the male and up to 43 cm in the female; it weighs between 550 and 1,200 gr.

Their diet is based on insects and ripe fruits, so they spend most of the day moving among the branches in search of food, they are social and arboreal animals, and rarely travel on the ground. Females give birth to 1 or 2 young after a gestation period, which lasts between 150 to 170 days.

Varied Capuchin – Cebus versicolor cesarea

Where to find it:  Cesar, Magdalena, Bolivar, Santander, Boyacá, Caldas, and Cundinamarca.

Conservation status: Critically endangered.

Habitat: it inhabits mosaics of crops with natural spaces, gallery and riparian forest, and dense forest. It is an arboreal and diurnal animal, however, they come down to the ground more often than most New World monkeys.

They feed on many types of food including fruits, plant material, invertebrates and in some cases small vertebrates. They are medium-sized animals weighing between 1.5Kg and 4Kg, with an average adult length between 33.5cm and 45.3cm (excluding the tail), with the male being about 27% larger than the female.

What Can be Done to Conserve Primates in Colombia?

Half of Colombia’s primates are at some level of threat to their survival and little effort is being invested to protect them. This situation is serious, considering the decisions that need to be made for the future of primates, which are an extremely important part of Colombia’s forest ecosystems.

The Atlas of primate biodiversity published by the Humboldt Institute tells us that the loss of the distribution area of endemic primates is a recurrent pattern in the country, some of them have lost between 8 and 68% of their potential and natural distribution.

Avoiding the destruction of forests and minimizing hunting are the main actions that can help their conservation. It is also important to monitor populations and carry out forest restoration projects, generate biological corridors and protect habitat in the most important areas for their populations.

Recently, researchers from the University of Caldas confirmed the presence of a nocturnal monkey in the department of Nariño, which could be a new species. Also in the south of Meta there is a species of marmoset that has a similar appearance to Plecterocebus caquetensis… This means that perhaps in Colombia there are still monkey species to be discovered!.

Nature tourism is also a help since it serves as a tool for the education of human populations around the habitats of these species, which they begin to learn about and care for. Learn about Conocer para Conservar initiative in the Primatology Association of Colombia website.

If you want to see monkeys in Colombia, contact us and we will help you plan the best trip!

  • http://www.humboldt.org.co/
  • https://www.asoprimatologicacolombiana.org/
  • https://www.itis.gov/
About the authors

Sara Colmenares

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

Luisa Martin

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

Exuberant Fauna and Flora to Discover During a Wildlife Tour in Colombia

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 (Tremarctos ornatus) 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.

Spectacled Bear rescued at La Planada Nature Reserve. Its name is Arcoiris (Rainbow)

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 NNP might 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 thirdlargest 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. 

Next Jaguar Destination in Colombia

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 Aurora in 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 Hato Corozal, 4.5 hours by car from the capital of Casanare.

Know more about the Colombian safari experience in La Aurora in our entry Booking a Safari in Colombia? Find here the Best Options!

Know more about the conservation of the jaguars in Colombia at Panthera Colombia.

Monkeys in Forests and Jungles

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.

Red Howler Monkey – Alouatta seniculus

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.

Cotton-top tamarin

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. 

Coral reefs in the Islas del Rosario National Natural Park

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 1hour 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 Park covers 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.

Coral Reef at Islas del Rosario

Sea turtles, nurse sharks, Caribbean spiny lobsters, Nassau groupers, and many other animals can be seen swimming around these corals, in shallow waters.

Providence Island

In Providence Island, next to San Andres island, you can explore part of the world’s thirdlargest coral reef, protected as Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.

Seaflower Meaningful Diving – Natural Wealth Award

Visit the Old Providence McBean Lagoon NNP with its mangroves and seven colors sea. 

Visit our entry Next Travel Ideas? Visit the Biosphere Reserves of Colombia, to know more about Seaflower Biosphere Reserve and the other Biosphere Reserves in Colombia.

Hammerhead Sharks in Malpelo Island 

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 36hour 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

Frog Fish or rosy-lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini) by Thomas Kotouc at Malpelo protectmalpelo.org

Scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewiniare 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. 

Hammerheads Schooling (Sphyrna zygaena) by Thomas Kotouc at Malpelo protectmalpelo.org

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 of Humpback 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. 

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Bahía Solano, Chocó

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! 

Nuquí, Chocó

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.

Find out more about the whale watching season in our blog When and Where to Go to See Humpback Whales in Colombia

Reptiles and Amphibians to See in Colombia

Crocodiles and Caimans 

The spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus)

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’ Caño Cristales, and animals such as Capuchins, the Speckled tanager, and the Straight-billed woodcreeper.

The vast savanna of El Tuparro hosts the mighty Maipures torrent, as well as tapirs, the Orinoco goose, and giant otters. Find out more about El Tuparro in our entry Next Travel Ideas? Visit the Biosphere Reserves of Colombia.

The American crocodile 

The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) 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 

Dart frog (Dendrobatidae) at Santa Cecilia, Risaralda

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 (Phyllobates terribilis), 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 FrogKokoe 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 Tour in 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 (Eunectes murinus) 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 olivegreen 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. 

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

When you travel to Colombia and go on an Amazon night safari, watch out for these nocturnal, stealthy reptiles! The other way to meet them is to visit Hato 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 over half of the total species, with 944 endemics. 

Finca Romelia Colors of Life

Finca Romelia Colors of Life

One of the places to admire the beauty of these flowers distinctively shaped and colored is Romelia Farm on 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 5hour 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. 

Find out more about the beautiful orchids of Colombia in our blog The Richest Country in Orchids in the World: Colombia.

The Wax Palm

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  (Ceroxylon quindiuense 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. 

I invite you to visit our entries The Wax Palm and Why it is a Must to See When Visiting Colombia and The Unique Wax Palm Forests Landscape Destinations in Colombia.

The Queen Victoria’s water lily

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. 

Victoria amazonica is a species of flowering plant, the largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies.


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 Espeletia uribei is one of the world’s tallest —up to 18 m and can be found in the Chingaza NNP, a páramo near Bogotá. 

Espeletia, Páramo at the Andean Forest

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). 


About the authors.

Ana María Parra

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.

Sara Colmenares

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