Ornithological (Photo)-Tour Andes and Los Llanos- 14 days

At this excursion we will concentrate to see the birds very well and to see a lot of wildlife. It is not a twitcher trip, where we run from bird to bird to fill our lists. Our interess is, that all guests see the birds and wildlife well and that they have enough time to take pictures or videos. The expert guides take pictures by their self, but they do not give photograph instructions. They bring you to the most remote birding hotspots in the country to take wildlife pictures!

Day 1: Arrival at the international airport in Caracas. Transfer to the nearby hotel.
Overnight Costa Real Suites.

Day 2:Transfer to the airport and flight to Merida. At Merida airport your bird guide will welcome you and we drive to the famous La Azulita area, where we stay at El Tao Lodge. At El Tao Lodge there are already plenty of birds in the garden. The La Azulita area is excellent for toucans, macaws and parrots aswell tanagers and hummingbirds.

Highlights La Azulita:Crested Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Plush capped Finch, Military Macaw, Chestnut crowned Macaw, Orange winged Parrot, Bronze Winged Parrot, Rose Headed Parakeet, Black Mandibled Toucan, Citron throated Toucan, Collared Aracari, Emerald Toucanet and many different hummingbirds, flycatchers and tanagers.
Overnight stay at El Tao in La Azulita

Day 3:Today we will observe the bird life around La Azulita in diffrent side roads aswell in the cloud forest of La Carbonera and coffee plantations. In the area around La Azulita there are a lot of colorful birds to see and it is easy to get a lot of diffrent tanagers, macaws, parrots and toucans.

Overnight stay at El Tao in La Azulita

Day 4: In the morning we will have time to observe in the beautiful garden of the El Tao Lodge where we can take pictures of tanagers, thrushes and colorful tyrants relatively easy. Then we continue to the higher part of La Azulita and will stay in a lodge, which is situated in the cloud forest where we can observe more than 10 hummingbird species and take pictures of them.  They come plants and feeders.
To name a few: Orange throated
Sunangel, Glowing Puffleg, Collared Inca, Mountain Velvetbreast, Buff tailed Coronet, Sparkling Violetear…

Overnight La Bravera Lodge

Day 5: In the morning we watch and take pictures of hummingbirds and flowerpiercer in the beautiful lodge and it is possible to do a bird-walk on a path through the subtropical cloud forest. In the afternoon we drive to Tabay to Posada Casa Vieja..
Overnight Posada Casa Vieja in Tabay

Day 6: Full day Humboldt trail at La Mucuy, Sierra Nevada National Park. We drive about 15 minutes to the National Park. At the entrance of the National Park we will search along a creek for White capped Dippers and Torrent Ducks. The river and forest scenery is wonderful.

As well there is a good possibility to observe Golden headed Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Andean and Band tailed Guan, Collared and Inca Jay, Emerald Toucanet. At an altitude of 2000m in subtropical cloud forest, between, tree ferns, bamboo plants, bromeliads and orchids, we make a hike through the cloud forest.

Following species can be seen: endemic hummingbirds like Merida Sunangel + Golden tailed Starfrontlet, Merida Tapaculo, 5 species of Antpittas (hard work!), Gray capped Hemispingus, Moustached-, Slaty- and Chestnut capped Brush-Finch, tanagers, trogons, quetzals and andean woodcreeper + woodpecker. Bird watching in the cloud forest is not easy but with patience and the help of playbacks we will see sub-tropical species.

Overnight Posada Casa Vieja in Tabay

Day 7:Car ride through the Páramo region, between 3000 and 4300 meters above sea level. We drive to the Laguna Mucubaji in the Sierra Nevada National Park, which is the largest glacier lake in the Andean state of Merida, then to Mifafi and further to Pico el Aguila to watch the high mountain species. At the Laguna Mucubaji we have already discovered several North American species of ducks that are not registered for the Venezuelan Andes! The impressive páramos vegetation is of high importance. Very characteristic is the so called Frailejon (Espeletia Schulzei). Great pictures and videos we will be able to do from the landscape of the high Andes and their birds!

Highlights: Andean Condor, Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle, Torrent Duck, Ochre-browed Thistletail (endemic), Bearded Helmetcrest (endemic), Paramo Wren (endemic) and the Sword-Billed Hummingbird.

Overnight Posada Paramo. At night it can get cold!

Day 8:Today we drive on the outer wall of the Andes down into the valley of Santo Domingo. We will drive to San Isidro to the Lek of the Andean Cock of the Rock. Mostly we see the first Cock of the Rocks just starting the walk in the upper part of the path. The way to the LEK, where often up to 25 Cock of the Rocks display in a small area, is a bit exhausting, but really entertaining for photographers. There is so much to see that we will spend the whole day in the San Isidro area. San Isidro is also a good area for butterflies and botany.
Highlights:Cock of the Rock, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Crested Quetzal, Masked Trogon, Sword-Billed Hummingbird und verschiedene endemische Sunangels and Fruiteaters….
Overnight in Altamira – Altamira Casa Vieja

Day 9: After breakfast we watch birds in the area of Altamira and try to see to Wire-tailed Manakin, White-bearded Manakin, Golden-headed Manakin, White crowned Manakin, and various Hummingbirds, lots of Tanagers, which we will observe and photograph. We are also going to see some Antbirds. Close to 11 o clock we see the birds of prey appearing in the sky. With some luck we can observe Black and chestnut Eagle, Crested Eagle and Black Hawk Eagle.
Depending on the success of the previous day and by request we will once again go to San Isidro in the afternoon.

Overnight in Altamira – Altamira Casa Vieja.

Day 10: Early in the morning we set off to Los Llanos, to Hato El Cedral. Los Llanos is the Serengeti of South America. Here exists the possibility to see up to 150 different bird species in one day. Apart Los Llanos is the best spot in Venezuela to observe wildlife animals such as Orinoco crocodiles, spectacled caimans, anaconda, the great anteater, various species of turtles, capybaras, monkeys, etc. The next couple of days we will make repeated trips to see a maximum of animals and birds. We will have plenty of time to take pictures and videos. Los Llanos is just excellente to photograph birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

After lunch remains time for a boat trip in Cano Matiyure where we will observe the pink river dolphins!

Highlights:Orinocan Saltator, Ruby Topaz and Copper-rumped Hummingbird, Orange-crowned Oriole, Russet-throated Puffbird, Pale-headed Jacamar, Yellow-knobbed Curassow, Scarlet Macaw, White-fringed Antwren, Barred- and Black-Crested Antshrike, sowie storks, ibis, herons, hawks, kites, falcons, caracaras, vultures etc.

Overnight Hato El Cedral


Days 11 + 12:Today we make a safari with a safari truck. We will see caimans, capybaras, birds of prey and many waterbirds and with some luck, even anacondas and anteaters.
The next day we will make a further addition to the savannah safari and watch the birds of the gallery forests.
Overnight Hato El Cedral

Day 13: In the morning we visit again one of the many Waterholes and observe wildlife. After lunch we take a boat trip in Cano Matiyure. In addition to the shorebirds we will be able to see dolphins and the shy Agami Heron. In the afternoon we can go specifically to look for birds or Llanos creatures that we have not previously seen.

Highlights: the Hoatzin and, with luck, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle. Jabiru Stork Roseate Spoonbill, diffrent owls, parrots and macaws.

Overnight at Hato El Cedral.

Day 14: Transfer to the airport of Barinas.
Flight to Caracas and possible extension to East Venezuela or flight home.
In case you fly back home to Europe or the US or Canada we recommend that you stay an extra night close to the international airport, like sometimes the local flights are delay and do not arrive on time! We can help you with the hotel reservation and airport transfers close to the airport!
 Price by request

Band winged Nightjar by Joe Klaiber ©

Merida Wren Nightjar by Joe Klaiber ©

Lyre-tailed Nightjar by Joe Klaiber ©

Euphonia by Joe Klaiber ©

Antpitta by Joe Klaiber ©

Merida Tapaculo by Joe Klaiber ©

White-bellied Antbird by Joe Klaiber ©

White-bearded Manakin by Joe Klaiber ©

Inclusive:
– Domestic flights as specified
– Ornithological guide
– Transport
– Accommodation
– From the second day always breakfast and 1 meal a day (either lunch or dinner) example. when we walk in la Mucuy we have to lead a picnic with us. In la Azulita but it is recommended to have dinner and breakfast at the lodge
– From  day 10 in the Llanos all 3 meals.
– Excursions as indicated.
– Mineral water

Not included:
– International and domestic airport taxes
– Alcoholic beverages

Burrowing Owl by Joe Klaiber ©

Boat-billed Heron by Joe Klaiber ©

Crested Caracara with monkey by Joe Klaiber ©

Birds in Venezuela