The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a unique natural ecosystem along the of the northern coast of Colombia. This majestic mountain range is the tallest coastal mountain range in the world, with the snow covered Simón Bolívar and Cristóbal Colón peaks rising 18,700 feet above sea level.
Amazingly, all the climatic zones and biomes present in Colombia can be found within the 6,600 square miles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. That makes it an excellent place to come into contact with animals and plants from around the country in just one park. Jaguars, tapirs, páramo deer, condors, endemic parrots and important groups of endangered wildlife call the Sierra Nevada home.
The Sierra Nevada and Tayrona parks have a combined 300 recorded archaeological settlements along the coast and in the highlands. The largest is the Teyuna Archaeological Park, known as The Lost City (Ciudad Perdida), testimony of the country’s most important ancient Indian civilization. At present, around 30,000 members of the Kogui, Arhuaco, and other indigenous communities continue to live in the park and maintain many ancestral beliefs and customs.
Hiking is the main tourist activity in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. In this virtually untouched paradise of animals and plants, visitors climb mountains, observe endemic plants and animals and explore indigenous cultures. Birding is also quite popular. The El Dorado Bird Reserve, located on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is the top birding site in Colombia. Some of the 21 endemic species that can be seen in the reserve and around the lodge are the Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Screech Owl and the Santa Marta Toucanet.
A birding lodge, trails, hummingbird and antpitta feeders, an observation balcony and six rooms make up the lodge and reserve. Hummingbird feeders and Antpitta feeding stations create excellent photo opportunities.