Over the past year, Cody has gotten really into birdwatching and bird photography so it only makes sense that when we are in the country with the most bird species he takes full advantage. In fact, just a few minutes outside of Medellin is a nature reserve mountain called La Romera which is great for birdwatching, and just hiking in general. So this review of bird watching in La Romera nature reserve in Colombia is from his experience.
I actually booked this tour on AirBnB and will say right off the bat that it was not only a fantastic experience but a great value for money for those on a budget. I met my host Laura at the Sabaneta metro station at 6am, which was only about a 20 minute taxi ride from my apartment in El Poblado, Medellin.
Laura and I walked from the Sabaneta metro station to a nearby bus station just two minutes away. From there we rode up to Estadero Las Brisas and began our trek up La Romera. The walk from Las Brisas to the entrance of La Romera took about 2 hours, however we stopped to spot birds along the way. If you just wanted to hike you could do it much faster.
It was great to have a native and professional guide because Laura really knows her stuff. She knows all the species in the park and can recognize them by their calls so it was quite fun to spot all the new birds I’ve never seen before.
Along this path are many gorgeous villas and viewpoints, so you get a lot of natural light great for bird photography.
Once we got to the entrance of the park the hike became steeper and more difficult. It also got quite a bit more foggy. I guess it makes sense it is called a mist forest. Inside I was able to see an endemic species only found in a few higher altitude parts of Colombia – a Red-bellied Grackle.
Along the way we saw plenty of other birds such as Oropendolas, tanagers, and the famous Motmot. However it wasn’t until the top of the reserve where I was able to take an amazing photograph of a beautiful motmot perched on a fence post in the morning sun.
At the top there is a restaurant that serves breakfast on weekends, so I was able to get some eggs and meat after quite a hike. I also got some much needed water. It’s important to stay hydrated as you hike, but there are times when you run out, so it was nice to be able to buy a bottle at the top.
There are also quite a few lookout gazebos where other hikers were having picnics or taking in the view of Sabaneta and Envigado, just south of Medellin.
After an hour at the top we walked back down, and talked with some other bird watchers and hikers. I have to say that I found this excursion to be extremely well done, and an excellent value. I had a great time with Laura and still keep in contact through WhatsApp about any bird questions I might have when I go out on my own in the area.
Definite 5/5 stars!
Book this excursion: Bird-watching at La Romera, Sabaneta