Los Llanos – Tour description
Day 1: Arrival at the international airport in Caracas.
Transfer to a nearby hotel (30-45min.).
Overnight Costa Real Suites.
Day 2: Flight to el Vigia, birding la Mucuy
From here we have a 2,5 hour drive to Tabay Merida, where we will start to observe birds at the forest edge in La Mucuy at the Sierra Nevada National Park. At the river in la Mucuy we will look for Torrent Duck and White-capped Dipper.
Overnight Posada Casa Vieja in Tabay
Day 3: Full day birding at Humboldt trail at La Mucuy.
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 and 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
Day 4: 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, Buff breasted- and Lacrimose Mountain-Tanager.
Overnight Posada La Trucha Azul. At night it can get cold!
Day 5: Visiting 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 and various Sunangels and Golden breasted- (endemic), Barred-, Green+Black Fruiteater.
Overnight in Altamira – Altamira Casa Vieja
Day 6: Birding in the area of Altamira
We will 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 7: Transfer to Los Llanos area, birding and wildlife viewing in the afternoon
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 see the birds and animals well.
Overnight Llanos – Hato Cedral.
Day 8 + 9: Different excursions in the region
We will do different excursions like safaris and boat trips at Hato Cedral. There are plenty of different trails in the gallery forest, different routes and things to see! We visit some one of the many waterholes and observe wildlife, take a boat trip in Cano Matiyure, in addition to the shorebirds and the shy Agami Heron. We always will be looking for birds or Llanos creatures that we have not previously seen and you still need on your list. Highlights: Orinoco 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, and storks, ibis, herons, hawks, kites, falcons, vultures, caracaras, orioles etc.
Overnight Llanos – Hato Cedral.
Day 10: Transfer to Hato Pinero, birding en route
After breakfast we will leave and have a 5 hour transfer to Hato Pinero, where we arrive for a late lunch and start our first excursion in the afternoon.
Overnight Hato Pinero
Day 11 + 12: Different excursions in the region
We will do different excursions in the area looking for birds and animals. With luck we might see Ocelot, Puma or Jaguar.
We always will be looking for birds or Llanos creatures that we have not previously seen and you still need on your list.
Overnight Hato Pinero
In case Pinero will not be operating we have here the option to go to Cano Fistola!
Day 13: Transfer to Caracas
In the morning we have breakfast and have enough time for a walk and do some birding in the garden. After we drive 5 to 6 hours to CCS and stay there close to the airport for night. At the afternoon at the hotel there is no program.
Overnight Costa Real Suites
Day 14: Transfer to Sierra de Imataca
Early in the morning we drive to the airport and fly to Puerto Ordaz. Then we will drive 2,5 hours to Sierra de Imataca and check in at our hotel. After lunch we start to do birding in the area and we will spent the whole afternoon in the forest reserve.
Overnight Posada Taguapire.
Note: The Taguapire Lodge is the only one in the area. It is a basic lodge but clean and they know birders needs, so we can have breakfast early and, packed lunch if we want. We are just at the right place to see the bird life of Imataca!
Day 15: Going for the Harpy Eagle.
These day we will concentrate on the Harpy Eagle. We will have to walk through the tropical forest until we arrive to a huge Saman tree where the Harpy has his nest. Sometimes we see the birds immediately but also sometimes we have to stay there several hours until we see an adult coming back to the nest with pray. The Harpy Eagle hunts monkeys and sloths and feed with them their juveniles. While staying at the nest we also will observe other birds. For example understore flocks of antbirds or parrots and toucans as well fruitcrows and cotingas are flying around. After having seen the Harpy Eagle we will go on birding in the area. We will try to call call the Musician Wren and Ferruginous backed Antbird, which are both very colorful birds with great songs!
Highlights: Red and green Macaw, Black capped Parrot, Violaceous Jay, Paradise Jacamar, Waved Woodpecker, Ferruginous backed and White plumed Antbird, flycatchers and tanagers.
Day 16: Transfer to the Orinoco Delta
After breakfast we drive to Boca de Uracoa, a small port at the edge of the Orinoco River and the Orinoco Delta. From here we will drive by motor boat to the lodge. The lodge lies on one of the many arms of the Orinoco Delta, in the middle of the jungle and is basically made of stilt houses. After lunch we will have our first excursion by boat to observe the variety of the Orinoco fauna and nature.
Overnight Delta Orinoco Delta Lodge
Day 17: Birding and wildlife viewing in Orinoco Delta
Today we will do different excursions in the Orinoco Delta. Macaws, toucans, howler monkeys, dolphins and much more we will be looking for. There are thousands of parrots and macaws flying in the early morning and afternoon over the river. Besides its fauna and flora, the Delta is very impressive because of the Warao Indians. The Warao Indians live in simple stilt houses close to the river bank. They mostly live from fishing, hunting and from the fruits that grow on the Moriche palm.
Overnight Delta Orinoco Lodge.
Day 18: Birding in the area and transfer to Caracas
Today we will drive by boat to the small settlement of San Jose de Buja and from there we will continue to the petroleum city of Maturin. The boat drive to Buja is again like an excursion. At Maturin we will take our flight back to Caracas,
Overnight Costa Real Suites.
Day 19: Transfer to the international Airport and flight back home
Travelling together as Friends