Expert guided by Daniel Winkler & Dr. Tatiana Sanjuan
Colombia is a very diverse, listed as one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, actually the most biodiverse per square kilometer. Colombia is a truly fascinating country. Traveling in Colombia is such a joy. Colombians seem so happy and proud to share their country with foreigners again. It is emerging as one of the most enticing destinations in South America since civil unrest has ceased and normality has returned. Colombia is located at the nexus of South and Central America. We will meet in Medellin, one of the most progressive cities in Latin America endowed with a pleasant climate surrounded by forested mountains and explore sites within a few hours from Medellin in Antioquia region. Our first drive will take us to Jardin, a scenic town surrounded by intriguing cloud oak forests, where it is easy to see absolutely stunning "Cock of the rocks" and coffee farms. We will enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee right after visiting a coffee farm. Next destination will be Rio Claro, where an ecolodge is built right into a very scenic marble gorge with low land rain forest in very biodiverse ecology. Too cool off we can swim in the gorgeous river. The next leg of our adventure will take us to Colombia's Caribbean coast; A short flight from Medellin to Santa Marta. The next day we travel to Minca Village and visit the cloud forest around El Dorado's Reserve, famous for its endemic birds. Then we will relocate to Tayrona National Park, renowned for its monumental granite boulders in the ocean surrounded by white beaches adjacent to pristine tropical forest. Above all towers the majestic Santa Marta Mountain, that peaks at 5700m / 18,700 ft. In Tayrona we can enjoy empty beaches or hike in the forests and hunt mushrooms. After 5 days around Santa Marta we will drive to Cartagena (5h), with a beautiful, well preserved old town build by the Spaniards. A farewell dinner will conclude our adventure on Oct. 4 and the fungal fellowship will disperse in the morning of Oct. 5. We will be accompanied by Colombia native Dr. Tatiana Sanjuan who received her PhD for her neotropical Cordyceps studies. If you wish to add a visit to Bogota to your journey we will gladly help you make arrangements.
Sept. 23 Saturday Medellin - Jardin
We meet in Medellin and have the morning to roam and enjoy the famous city. Due to its location at 1500 m / 5000 ft Medellin has a very pleasant climate and is known as "The City of Eternal Spring". Visit Plaza Botero & Museo de Antioquia. In the afternoon scenic drive (80 mi / 130 km, 3h) south to Jardin (1820m / 5640ft)
Sept. 24 Sunday Jardin
Explore Jardin, a small picturesque town in the “Zona Cafetera”, the famous coffee growing area in Colombia’s lower elevations of the Andes Mountains. We will taste local roasts on a coffee hacienda as we learn about natural elements that influence flavor and explore coffee cultivation on-site.
Sept. 25 Monday Jardin
The coffee farms are surrounded by mountains covered by oak forests. Here we can see the absolutely stunning "Cock of the rock", a bright red, very vociferous iconic bird. From the bird sighting spot we will move deeper into the intriguing cloud forest dominated by Andean oak (Quercus humboldtii) and finally get to hunt mushrooms; maybe even get lucky and find some chanterelles.
Sept. 26 Tuesday Jardin - Río Claro
In the morning we will drive from Jardin via Medellin to Rio Claro (170mi / 280km, 5.5 h). Río Claro is renowned for its humid tropical forest, where the extremely biodiverse biomes of the Amazon-Orinoco basin and Central America meet. We stay for three nights in an inviting eco-lodge, El Refugio, built into the marble cliffs along the river.
Sept. 27 Wednesday Río Claro Marble Gorge
In Rio Claro we have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the incredible scenery of this gorgeous marble river valley with all kinds of cool karst phenomena surrounded by tropical rain forest. We can also take a refreshing swim in the river. In addition the primordial tropical rain-forest awaits for walks and exploration of flora, fauna and funga.
Sept. 28 Thursday Río Claro Marble Gorge
We can explore the karst caves and search the forest for tropical fungi including a wide range of Cordyceps species, strange insect-parasitizing fungi. Dr. Tatiana Sanjuan has been researching Rio Claro’s Cordyceps for many years and can lead us to the best spots. In the afternoon, if not drawn back into the mesmerizing rain forest, with its endless life forms, we can also take a refreshing swim in the river.
Sept. 29 Friday Rio Claro - Airport - Santa Marta - Minca
We leave Río Claro in the morning and drive (90mi / 150 km, 3h) direction Medellin to board a flight at noon taking us to Santa Marta, located on Colombia's Caribbean coast. We will visit the old town of Santa Marta. We will rent a house for ourselves for two nights in the foothills of Santa Marta Mountains surrounded by nature! Cook out!
Sept. 30 Saturday
Minca - Santa Marta Hills - Minca
We explore to Minca (650m / 2000ft altitude, less than an hour drive) where breath-taking birds like Toucans are regulars in the small scenic village. We continue 1 hour up hill to Eldorado and then visit the cloud forests (alt. 950-2600m). The area is famous for its 19 species of endemic birds and we will check out the local mushrooms! The area’s back drop is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta that peaks at 5700m / 18,700 ft, thus being the world tallest free standing mountain (it is not connected to the Andes). We will return for the night back to our house.
Oct. 1 Sunday Minca - Tayrona National Park
In the morning we will relocate to Tayrona National Park (30mi/50km, 1 h) renowned for its monumental granite boulders in the ocean surrounded by white sand beaches adjacent to pristine tropical dry forest. Our visit is timed so that the area should have enjoyed several months of rainy season. We will walk into the Park along the Caribbean coast to our jungle lodge.
Oct. 2 Monday Tayrona National Park
We enjoy the peace in Tayrona and roam the old-growth forests looking for cool mushrooms and plants. When we have enough of that we hit the beach and cool off in the Caribbean.
Oct. 3Tuesday Tayrona National Park
This day is free and can be enjoyed in many ways: most relaxing would be just to hang out on the gorgeous white beaches under coconut palms; A bit more demanding, but very exciting, would be exploring the protected tropical forests. Or, if the idea of relaxation stresses you, you could hike up steep hills to check out the ruins of Pueblito.
Oct.4 Wednesday Tayrona National Park - Santa Marta- Cartagena
Last day of our touring! Leaving Tayrona in the morning we will drive along the Caribbean coast to Cartagena (165mi / 265km, 5h), a city with a beautiful, well preserved old town built by the Spaniards that also inspired Gabriel García Márquez. We can walk the cobble stone streets; explore the fortifications along the coast, a beautiful botanical garden, and awesome ice cream with great tropical flavors such as lulu, passion fruit, and cherimoya. A farewell dinner will conclude our adventure in Cartagena.
Oct. 5 Thursday Cartagena
The fungal fellowship disperses
Please note that sometimes the itinerary might have to be changed due to circumstances.
MushRoaming Colombia 2017
$2990 (group of 11 or more)
$3190 (8 to 10 people)
$3390 (5 to 7 people)
All expenses on the ground including accommodations in double room where available, meals & transfers & boat transportation, except alcoholic drinks, coffee breaks, snacks, laundry, tips etc. Also not included is the flight between Medellin and Santa Marta (starting at $60).
Single room extra charge $450 (when available).
Participants will need to organize their own flights to Medellin and back from Cartagena. It is recommanded to arrive a day early, we will help booking a room, so you are fresh to participate in the first days activities.
Note: For years Colombia's tourism has suffered from lack of security in the country. However, the security for foreigners has substantially improved in recent years. In late 2016 the government has signed a peace accord with the biggest rebel fraction and Colombia is moving beyond the painful decades of internal violent clashes and tourism is picking up again.
130 photos Mushroaming Colombia 2014
Hymenogloea papyracea, a gilled mushroom from the Marasmiaceae family without gills.
A scarlet Favolaschia, which is a gorgeous wood decaying member of the Mycenaceae family. Most Mycenaceaea members are regular gilled mushrooms.
Karst cave in the marble cliffs of the awe-inspiring gorge of Rio Claro.
Link to my Cordyceps of Colombia blog page
A Masdevallia ignea orchid encountered in Bogota's beautiful Botanical Garden. Masdevallias are endemic from Mexico to south Brazil. They mostly grow in the higher regions from 2500 to 4000 m, especially in the Andes.
Dictyonema sp., a lichenized basidiomycete from the Hygrophoraceae. In the past there was only a few species recognized, but new DNA research shows an incredible diversity of maybe 100 or even more species. In Ecuador grows Dictyonema huaorani, which is reported to be psychedlic.
Boletellus ananas growing with Humboldt's oak in the Colombian Andes. What a beautiful and strange partial veil from the extended skin of the cap (pileipellis) this bolete has! In the USA it is reported from Florida. Furthermore in Southwest China and Tibet there grows a very similar mushroom, so far listed under this name.
Lactarius indigo, a spectacular milk-cap that is oak associated from the US East Coast down to Colombia. It is also edible.
The ubiquitous Blewit, Lepista or Clitocybe nuda. A good edible!
A hiking path passing through the cloud mountain oak forest. The temperature is perfect for hiking under such conditions!
All pictures © Daniel Winkler unless otherwise noted
130 photos Mushroaming Colombia 2014
Page first uploaded April, 2013
Last update July. 1, 2017