Although Cartagena is most well known for its beaches and colonial history, there are still things to see for nature lovers. In fact, Colombia happens to be the country with the most different species of birds in the world. Save and share this post to know about the 3 best places to go birdwatching in Cartagena and nearby.
1. Birdwatching in La Boquilla
Located north of Cartagena, La Boquilla is a traditional fishing village on the edge of the city that is also well known for its beaches. What makes it one of the best places for birdwatching in Cartagena are the nearby mangrove forests that surround the inlet swamps known as Ciénaga de la Virgen. The mangroves are extremely important for the coastal ecosystem in part because they attract lots of fish. The fish in turn attract lots of birds. Both native and migratory birds flock to the mangroves to partake, making them a great place to go birdwatching. Particularly neat about birdwatching in La Boquilla is you can do a tour that includes a canoe ride through the mangroves with a local guide that will allow you to learn more about the community and the importance of the mangroves while seeing lots of birds along the way.
2. Agricola La Camelias Reserve
You’ll find the Agricola las Camelias about 50 minutes north west of Cartagena in the town of Turbaco. Naturalist Alexander von Humboldt actually passed through this area in his famous expedition through colonial Colombia. Fortunately, bird and nature lovers can follow in his footsteps today. Visits to this 60 hectare nature reserve dry forest reserve allow you the chance to see more than hundred different species of birds all in their natural habitats. You are also likely to catch a glimpse of other animals like iguanas, colorful frogs, howler monkeys, sloths, anteaters, and even ocelots. That makes this not only one of the best places to go birdwatching near Cartagena but one of the best ecotourism spots period.
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3. National Aviary in Barú
The Colombian National Aviary Located on the island of Barú, very close to the famous Playa Blanca beach, you’ll find the Colombian National Aviary. While this may not necessarily qualify as a good place to go birdwatching near Cartagena since the birds are in captivity, the aviary is very well done and many of the birds are in open enclosures or allowed to free roam in areas that are similar to their native habitats. Highlights here include the very rare Harpy Eagle and Condor, Colombia’s national bird. There is also a show twice daily where you can learn more about the birds. The Aviary can be easily visited via tour or private transportation from Cartagena and a morning here and afternoon at the beach makes for a great day trip from Cartagena.
Bonus Place for Bird Lovers: Minca
Minca is a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountain range above Santa Marta, approximately 5 hours north of Cartagena. It might be a bit further away, but it is still absolutely one of the best places to see birds near Cartagena. The tropical jungle covered mountains here are home to lots of different species, and it’s easy to arrange a birdwatching tour and hike. You’re likely to see plenty on your own walking around as well, and there are nice hikes to waterfalls, a coffee farm, and a lookout to Santa Marta and the Caribbean beyond to go along with the great birdwatching near Cartagena here.