El Dorado Nature Reserve

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Named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado is the ProAves’ flagship reserve and One of the most important birding sites in South America.  El Dorado Nature Reserve includes 10 rooms and five Kogihabs (individual huts, inspired by the architecture of the kogui indigenous tribe) offering wonderful views of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and its legendary sunsets over the Caribbean Sea.

You must make a reservation prior to your visit. To book now contact visit@conservation.co

Visitors will enjoy:

  • Continental breakfast,
  • Internet access when possible,
  • Unlimited water, coffee, tea, and fruit,
  • Bird watching of endemic bird species, feeders as well as different species of mammals and wildlife in general,
  • Enjoy trails, observation towers, terraces, and seating areas,
  • If you would like a private guide please contact us to check availability,
  • Visit our Things to do page for more details.

This reservation does not include lunch and dinner. You can reserve these meals upon your arrival.

The KOGIHABS are located about 15 minutes from the main lodge, these rooms are only recommended for visitors able to walk through the forest in uneven paths. For more information go to book now.

The Sierra Nevada Eco-Center welcomes visitors and has an Eco-shop; ideal for buying gifts and souvenirs that support conservation. The Blue Moon Restaurant serves excellent meals to a set menu of lovingly prepared Colombian food. Relax and enjoy beautiful views from the bar, whilst having a drink in the evening.

Due to the remote location and weather conditions El Dorado often has electric power cuts, so please bring a flashlight with you and enjoy connecting with nature without the distraction of modern-day technology.

Please make your reservation within 24 hours in advance. Walk-in reservations are not guaranteed depending on availability. Make your reservation here.

Cancellation Policies









We are a globally significant nature reserve, committed to producing finances to invest in conservation all around Colombia, we do our best to make your stay confortable; however the challenges of being in such a remote place means that sometimes we have issues out of control; please be patient with us and know that it is a privilege to be in a place that is recovering from years of violence and would not have been preserved if wasn’t for the work of Proaves and the individuals and partners who have supported us world wide. We are not yet at the level of other countries that have been able to do this for a lot longer.. but we’re certainly working towards it.

In the mornings you can:

  • 5:30 am – Watch the sunrise at the Kogui terraces.
  • Birdwatching from the observation tower: 370 meters up the road above the lodge
  • Birdwatching on the ridge overlooking the Carriker Sanctuary.
  • Birdwatching along the trails:
    • Trail to the Mirador (viewing place).
    • The Quetzal trail to the Kogui terraces
    • La Cumbre trail to the San Lorenzo Ridge (may not be available if weather has caused damage to the path).


  • Enjoy hummingbird observation by the terrace.
  • 6 PM – Enjoy the most amazing sunsets from the Lodge Balcony.


  • At 7.30 pm – Night wildlife watching around the lodge.
  • Watch for Santa Marta Night Monkeys from the Lodge Balcony after 6.30 PM (spot lights needed)



  • Early morning birding
    • In a 4×4 vehicle. Cost $120USD for up to 4 people
    • Early morning birding, leaving at 4.30 AM from the lodge
    • Transportation is required and a guide.
    • About 80-90 minutes up the very rough road towards Cerro Kennedy to watch the sunrise over the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Amazing view of the three snow peaks on a clear morning.
    • Most rare endemic birds seen around the tower (e.g. Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Mountain-tanager).
    • Packed breakfast will be provided at the tower.
    • Bird watching and nest boxes observation along the road and around the tower.
    • Return to the lodge around 11:45am


Located about 2.5 hours from Santa   Marta  and 2 hours from Minca,  it is necessary to have a 4×4 vehicle due to the road conditions after Minca. A mecca for birding in the Americas, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta rises 19,000 feet from the Caribbean coast.

Altitud: 900 – 2600 meters (1900m lodge)    Climate: Mild 18 C (65 F), misty.  Dry season: Nov-April


We recommend you to arrange your pick up from Santa Marta, Minca, Cartagena, or any other location close by, with our trusted transportation company Silvana Travels: silvanatravelsps@gmail.com or +57 315 3305862. For more information, you can contact them directly.


  • Santa Marta Airport to El Dorado Ecolodge  – 2.5 hours
  • Cartagena International Airport to El Dorado Ecolodge –  5 hours
  • Barranquilla International Airport to El Dorado Ecolodge – 4 hours
  • Barlovento to El Dorado Ecolodge – 3. 5 hours
  • Minca to El Dorado Ecolodge – 2.0 hours


When planning your trip to El Dorado please take into consideration:

  • Allow at least 3.0 hours to arrive at the Ecolodge from Santa Marta.
  • The condition of the road from Campano to Minca is extremely bad and only 4×4 vehicles adapted to withstand it should be driven.
  • When departing from the Ecolodge to Santa Marta Airport allow at least 5.0 hours.
  • Bring outdoor clothing and equipment such as walking boots, head torch, rain jacket, sun cream, etc.
  • Please let us know your approximate arrival time so that we can prepare either lunch or/and dinner.
  • We recommend you arrive when there’s still daylight (before 6:00 P.M.).
  • Temperatures can drop at night time. Average  10 oC – 15 oC in the early mornings; please bring appropriate clothing.
  • During raining season ( May-Oct approximately), please bring appropriate waterproof clothing including a small umbrella which can be surprisingly useful.

El Dorado is the ultimate place to relax and enjoy nature, amid spectacular views and abundant wildlife. Its emerald forests invite encounters with a wide variety of wildlife.

Please make your reservation within 24 hours in advance. Walk-in reservations are not guaranteed depending on availability. Make your reservation here



El Dorado – One of the most important reserves for biodiversity in the world

  • El Dorado protects populations of 21 endemic bird species and 9 endemic amphibian species – almost all are threatened with extinction.
  • The global stronghold of Santa Marta Parakeets is within the reserve.
  • The Sierra Nevada reserve was named the “Most Irreplaceable Site on Earth” of over 173,000 Protected Areas assessed worldwide and published by the journal Science
  • It is the most important private protected area in the tropics.
  • Biodiversity in the protected area includes
    Families Genera Species
    Amphibians 6 7 16
    Reptiles 6 9 10
    Birds 42 178 357
    Mammals 15 28 30