In January 2020 I spent a week at the El Dorado Nature Reserve in the Santa Marta Mountains of Northern Colombia.  I also spent a week in Cartagena.

Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Chlorophonia cyanea1

Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Chlorophonia cyanea

The lodge at the Reserve has fruit and nectar feeders which attact a number of hummingbird species as well as species like the Blue-naped Chlorophonia pictured above.  The accommodations and food at the lodge are excellent.  There are a number of trails which are accessible from the lodge.

Photographs of bird species taken on this trip are found in the Birds of Colombia photo gallery.  The portfolio of video recordings made in Colombia is found at this link.  Among the bird species photographed and/or recorded on video (the words “photograph” and “ video” are links) from the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Ciénaga, Cartagena, and the Santa Marta mountains are:

Monkey, Gray-handed Night (Colombia) 8

Gray-handed Night-Monkey, El Dorado Reserve

The El Dorado Reserve is also a great place to study flora, insects, and mammals.  While there, I was able to video four mammal species:

I spent a week in the old city of Cartagena, that is the walled city.  I attempted to book a room at the Centro Hotel through  The booking company emailed that the transaction had failed so I booked a room at the hotel through Travelocity.  Later, I found that had subsequently made the booking and was refusing to rectify a transaction which they had made without my permission.  Neither nor Centro Hotel have agreed to rectify their error. Neither company is worthy of your business.

That aside, Centro Hotel has nice staff and is centrally located within the walled city.  Bring ear plugs!!

Cartagena is a wonderful city and like many wonderful cities is overrun with tourists at times, because it is a wonderful city.  When the cruise ships come in the streets are a mass of people (the photographs in the galleries were almost universally taken early in the morning before the tourists had made it in from the “boat”).  The mass of bored naive cruise ship people brings out the hawkers, all selling the same hats (the sun is intense), coffee bean braclets, cold water, and “experiences” bored tourists sometimes crave.  Cruise ship visiting time is a time to find somewhere else to be.

The cruise ship people seem to walk around in large groups with a guide who shows them the outside of some church and then ushers them off to some shop which may be selling emeralds (for which Colombia is famous) - be cautious and knowledgeable.  It is, in my opinion, an experience hardly different from watching television.

As with any locale, if you can get away from the hawkers take the time to interact with the locals.  They are friendly and easy going.

© Robert Barnes 2015-2021