Named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado is ProAves’s flagship reserve and a Holy Grail for birding in the Americas. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a unique massif totally separated from the Andes, yet rising precipitously from the Caribbean beaches to 19,000 feet, hosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world.
The 1,600 acre reserve is the sole accessible subtropical to montane forest in the Sierra Nevada, being situated on its humid northern slope, just two hours drive from the popular tourist city of Santa Marta.
All but two of the Sierra Nevada endemics can be readily seen from a road that meanders up through the reserve’s excellent primary subtropical and montane forests. Strategically located at 1,900 meters beside the road are the beautiful Sierra Nevada EcoCentre and Jeniam EcoLodge, providing exceptional facilities for visitors and built entirely from non-native pines that are being cleared in the reserve so the reforestation with native tree species can be undertaken.
A tree house at the highest part of the reserve provides spectacular contrasting views of the towering glacier-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada and Caribbean beaches! Nearby, is the world’s core breeding population of the Santa Marta Parakeet which is assisted by nest boxes.
The reserve also holds one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened amphibian species, and almost all flora and most of the fauna above the EcoLodge are endemic. Yet, the Sierra Nevada remains remarkably little known, with at least two new bird species discovered in 2007, including a new species of Screech-Owl that roosts beside the EcoLodge!
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