Colombia offers immense biodiversity and thousands of species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic and can only be seen inside the country. An example, the Cauca Guan, only lives in limited areas of the slopes of the West and Central Andes such as the Cauca River valley.
An ideal area to experience nature on a Colombia tour is Tayrona National Park in the department of Magdalena. In the park thorny scrub, tropical dry-forest and tropical rainforest host a wide range of flora and fauna. Higher up the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is cloud forest where epiphytes and shorter trees grow. The forests are home to Jaguars, howler monkeys and rare species of titi monkeys.
Over 300 species of birds live within the park boundaries such as the lance-tailed manakin, Andean condors and the montane solitary eagle. Other inhabitants include iguanas, oncillas (little spotted cat) mountain tapirs and the Andean bear or spectacled bear.
The Sierra Nevada encompasses cloud forest, grassland, paramo ecosystems and snow capped mountains. The park includes coastline and beaches along the Caribbean Coast where mangrove forests act as protective barriers against strong tides and erosion, creating another unique ecosystem.
Cloud forests are tropical areas where low lying fog or mist forms frequently. These areas are very thrilling to be in and draw both nature enthusiasts and those on Colombia adventure holidays. High densities of flora and fauna exist in these areas due to the moisture present in these environments. Many species of rare orchid can be found in cloud forest areas. Colombia has been attracting orchid hunters since the 19th century when William John Swainson transported plants from Brazil to England. The popularity of these flowers and their capacity to inspire collectors and botanists resulted in “orchid fever” which still holds sway over many enthusiasts today. Colombia tours through this area resonate with the footsteps of some of the most intrepid and determined explorers in history.
Other species which can be encountered on a Colombia tour include pink dolphins, the endemic Andean fox and the blue-grey tanager. Many people head to Gorgona Island in June through November for whale season to glimpse humpback whales and many people have been excited by recent sightings of critically endangered brown-spider monkeys in Selva de Florenica National Park.