The El Dorado Reserve is the ideal base camp for exploring the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a unique massif totally separated from the Andes, rising precipitously from the Caribbean beaches to 19,000 feet. This spectacular mountain range hosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world.
The 2,000+ acre El Dorado Reserve is a two-hour drive from the popular tourist city of Santa Marta. All but two of the 21 Sierra Nevada endemics can be readily seen from the road that meanders up through the reserve’s excellent primary subtropical and montane forests.
The species you can see at the Reserve include the endemic Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner, Santa Marta Tapaculo, Santa Marta Antbird, Santa Marta Sabrewing, Santa Marta Wood-Wren, Santa Marta Brush-Finch and near-Endemics: Coppery Emerald and Streak-capped Spinetail and the Santa Marta Screech-Owl, which can sometimes be seen near the lodge!
There are also many non-endemic, wonderful birds to see such as Band-tailed and Sickle-winged guans, White-tipped Quetzal and Black-fronted Wood-Quail, Lined Quail-Dove, White-rumped Hawk, and Golden-breasted Fruiteater. It is also a vital stopover for Neotropical migratory birds like the Cerulean Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the Swainson’s Thrush.
Take an early morning drive up to the highest part of the reserve to take in spectacular contrasting views of the towering glacier-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada and Caribbean beaches below. Here is also the world’s core breeding population of the Santa Marta Parakeet, and first light provides the best opportunity to see these species.