Highlights of Colombia

Tatama National Park

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One of Colombia’s most interesting geographical features has to be the Andes-Choco divide, a transition point on the western slopes of the western Andes where Andean species meet those from the Choco. At the highest altitudes, enough time has passed for speciation to occur – PNN Tatama is a medium-sized national park of 51,900ha that protects a pristine portion of Andean cloud forest and has the only páramo in Colombia where no human intervention has been recorded.

The high humidity that sweeps over the Choco lowlands and collides with the Andean chain creates one of the wettest places on Earth where many species of plant and animal abound. Orchids flourish and the birds in the highest reaches are almost all endemic. Those slightly further down the mountain are almost all near-endemic, providing a clue that this forest is shared only with northern Ecuador.

The most visited site next to the park is Cerro Montezuma, a 13km road ending at an army base around 2,600masl that offers panoramic views over the 4,000m peaks of Tatama. Tatama, an Embera word meaning Grandmother of the Waters, and its forests offer a birding experience of the highest quality as species here don’t simply exist – they thrive. The local lodge is run by a large, friendly matriarchal family which imparts intimate knowledge of the flora and fauna, provides excellent service and food on a par with the unequalled biodiversity in the surrounding mountains.

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