|ProAves Cerulean Warbler Reserve - Ecotourism for ALL|
I spend a lot of time and money at places that conserve the world's
forests. Many of these places are just visited by 'birders', but
could be enjoyed by all. This article is about a very nice vacation
spot in Colombia, with several one or two day hiking options.
I was looking for a place to spend some time in Colombia photographing
birds, and where I could get online easily. The ProAves Cerulean
Warbler Reserve seemed a great choice when I saw the list of close to
300 interesting species, including many hummingbirds and endemics (and
endemic hummingbirds!). And I was told my air-card would work. To
get to the reserve take a bus to Bucamaranga, a large city, and then a
bus to San Vincente de Chucuri, a small town. That route to that town
had been closed for months because of a landslide after the record
setting rains of 2010, but I arrived the second day the road was open.
The ride was about six hours, but normally is close to five.
San Vincente seems a quiet town, and if you like short hikes or just
relaxing, it could be a great place to spend some time. A good option
would be to hike up to ProAves lodge and spend the night there. To
get there, follow the ProAves signs leading out of the town, and
continue following the dirt road a few kilometers until you reach a
school with birds painted on the outside. Always follow the main dirt
road, and if there is any question, stay left. Then, on the left of
the school is a sign for a path called "Sendero de Lengerre". There
is one intersection on the path, and stay right, or level; do not go
up or left as it is a much longer way. When you've gone another few
kilometers up a path made of rocks, you'll reach another dirt road.
The trail marked "Lengerre" continues through some cow pastures, and
up and right is the ProAves lodge. Best option now is to spend a
night at the ProAves lodge and enjoy the great cooking and experience
live on a banana/coffee plantation, which doubles as a bird reserve.
The next day get directions to the ProAves reserve, almost an hour
uphill through cow pastures.
About ten years ago ProAves purchased about 700 hectares on the side
of a mountain and connected to a much larger national park. The
reserve has one main trail that goes up and up for a few kilometers,
and offers many opportunities to see the local flora and fauna in a
primary forest. Colomba, especially the Magdelena Valley, has been
heavily deforested, so the reserve is really a breath of fresh air.
Some notable sightings in my two weeks were foxes who walk up and down
the trail, coatis and squrrels, butterflies with clear seethrough
wings, and almost a dozen species of hummingbirds. And a few dozen
other species of birds. A short trail to the left leads to the
hummingbird feeders, and should not be missed. The Colombain endemic
and beautiful Black Inca hummingbird is only found in this part of
To learn more about ProAves visit their website ProAves.org.