Getting to Know the Wildlife in Colombia
By Sara Partington
Until relatively recently, the idea of visiting Colombia wasn’t considered by lots of travellers but it’s fast becoming more popular. And rightly so (though I confess we hopped it out of Bogota pretty sharpish on landing, only returning for a night at the end of the trip when we’d got the hang of Colombia!)
Meanwhile, we were attracted to stay at a small hotel in La Casona that sold itself as a magnet for hummingbirds; to be honest, I was sceptical as many places say the same but put out feeders with syrup and one or two hummers put in an appearance if you're lucky….
This however was absolutely the place to go if you're a hummingbird enthusiast with a camera and some patience.
The feeders attract bigger birds. They aren't exactly photogenic and show clearly that you're cheating, but are worth it for the excellent close-up results.
The garden of flowers was fizzing with birds, and lots of other occupants.
Another interesting place to stay is the town of Chinchiná in the beautiful countryside and hills of the Zona Cafetera. The hotel we stayed in had been owned and managed by the same family for many years, coffee plantations surrounded by a paradise of guava, mango, avocado, lychee trees…
Local guide Jorge introduced us to coffee production in three stages (growing, harvesting and washing, brewing – roasting the beans is the only part of the process which is outsourced). Jorge starts with a walking trip around the coffee plantation, to spot the maturing "cherries".
He culminates by giving a handy “How to Make a Proper Cup of (Guayabal!) Coffee” tutorial: from plantation through to the glorious cup
His sister, meanwhile, is resident birdspotter-in-chief and alerted us to unusual visitors: motmots, toucans, woodpeckers, and many others which are attracted to the bird tray, including her tame parrots.
All in all, a highly recommended place to stay with gloriously green surroundings.
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