Colombia Tour

  Gallery: check out 220 photos from Mushroaming Colombia 2016  - 190  Mushroaming Colombia 2015  - 130 Mushroaming Colombia 2014 

MushRoaming Colombia:  April 22 - May 4, 2019

Please note we changed the dates, 2019 is projected to be an El Nino year and rains come usually later in an El Nino year to Colombia.

The tour will start in Bogota and we will explore Via de Leyva and the Paramo near Bucaramanga from where we  will fly to Medellin to visit the tropical lowland rain forest in the beautiful and very diverse marble gorge of Rio Claro. More details soon.

 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. 
Below the 2017 outline, 2019 details are still in the works:

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.

MushRoaming Colombia 2017

(We might need to make changes to the itinerary to make sure we optimize finding mushroom)


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 

 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. 

A Cock of the Rock (Rupicola Peruviana) seen in Jardin (Photo T.Sanjuan)


MushRoaming Colombia 2017

$2990 (group of 11 or more)

$3290  (8 to 10 people

$3490 (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.


220 photos from Mushroaming Colombia 2016  

190 photos from Mushroaming Colombia 2015

130 photos  Mushroaming Colombia 2014

My Cordyceps in Colombia page


Tatiana Sanjuan, our Colombian guide and PhD mycologist. She is good with mushrooms and people! and loves to share her fascination for her home country. Daniel Winkler on her side in the cloud forest in front of a big Andean oak (Quercus humboldtii).

View from the room in Rio Claro

A Cordyceps close to C. militaris growing on a giant larva in Rio Claro

Isaria tenuipes colombia
Isaria tenuipes, a Cordyceps anamorph so abundant, we stopped  photographing it.

A Plaza in Cartagena.

A gorgeous Favolaschia seen in Chicaque Preserve, 2500m.

The cluster of the above depicted individual Favolaschia growing from a big fallen branch.

Hymenogloea papyracea

Hymenogloea papyracea, a gilled mushroom from the Marasmiaceae family without gills.

Xylaria teleomorph and anamorph growing side by side.

Macrolepiota colombiana
"Sombrillas o caicas" (Macrolepiota colombiana), Colombian parasol, a choice edible mushroom.  Source:  Ruiz, Angélik; Henao M., Luis Guillermo; Peña, Yiny Consuelo; Martínez, Eduard 2008. Hongos comestibles de Iguaque. Bogotá Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humbold, 8 p.

The main church in Jardin, Antiqua.

A porcini-like Bolete we found near Villa de Leyva. It could be Boletus variipes. It had the nutty mild tatse, people love in porcinis.


River flowing near Minca. 

Great swimming spot In Minca.



Caribbean beach with granite rocks in Tayrona National Park.

  A scarlet Favolaschia, which is a gorgeous wood decaying member of the Mycenaceae family. Most Mycenaceaea members are regular gilled mushrooms.

Guzmania, a member of the Bromeliaceae family, which also includes pineapples and Tillandsia 

Laternea dringii, a tiny but gorgeous strange stinkhorn endemic to the neotropics growing in late stage decaying wood in Rio Claro, Antioquia, Colombia

Río Claro - note the waterfall coming out of a karst cave.

Karst cave in the marble cliffs of the awe-inspiring gorge of Rio Claro.

Looking down into a street in Cartagena seen from the massive  fortification.

Diverse neotropical forests in Maraquita.

Clouds enshroud the mountain oak forests (Quercus humboldtii).

These oak-associated chanterelles are still known as Cantharellus cibarius in Colombia, but are much closer to the Smooth Chanterelle - Cantharellus lateritius.

Nice juicy, big chanterelles. Hardly any Chanterelles or for that matter any other edible mushrooms are collected in Colombia due to lack of knowledge. The exception is in the Villa de Leyva area, where people collect corals, chanterelles and a neotropical Shiitake relative.

Lentinula aciculospora is a close cousin of Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and also a good edible and known as such in the Villa de Leyva area.

Ramaria sp. "Manita" Iguaque Colombia
A Ramaria
sp. coral known locally as "Manita" and appreciated as an edible mushroom. Seen near Iguaque Parque Nacional.

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis
A "Zombie ant" with the parasitic fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis growing out of its neck. This ant was direct by the fungus in this location. At this point the fungal fruiting body is not developed yet beyond a little "horn-like" structure. Once the fungus has moved the ant in its final location for optimal spore dispersion, it makes the any bite into a leaf or twig and/or clasp a twig. Then the ant will be killed off by the fungus and the fungal mycelium will anchor the insect to the site. At this point the fruiting body will grow and mature.

A Cordyceps stroma growing out of a steep slope. Digging out will reveal its identity, see below...

Ophiocordyceps caloceroides group growing on a trap-door idiopidae spider. See below for a close up (the tip had been sniped of for analysis.

Link to my Cordyceps of Colombia blog page 

Sunset with coconut palms in Tayrona.

A Kochi kid selling coconuts ready to drink in Tayrona.

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii seen in Maraquita. Elsewhere known as the Flowerpot Dapperling.

There are plenty of empty beaches in Tayrona due to its remoteness.

Laternea pusilla
Laternea pusilla,  
a strange stinkhorn fungus. 


Mycena holoporphyra Colombia
Mycena holoporphyra

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.

A wild Fuchsia.

Begonia flowering near Termales del Ruiz in 2600m.

Gunnera giant Heidi Schor
A giant Gunnera hiding Heidi. 

Gunnera ground cover Paramo colombia
A tiny Gunnera flower branching off a ground covering vine growing in the Paramo. Most people know Gunnera as giant perennials.

Leotia viscosaalso known as Chicken lips, is also encountered in North America and Europe.

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.

Cryptothecia rubrocincta Christmas wreath lichen
A very striking and widely distributed forest lichen in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas: Cryptothecia rubrocincta, known in North America as the Christmas wreath lichen.


Boletellus ananas Colombia

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.

Marasmius sprucei
The tiny Marasmius sprucei growing out of twigs.

Balomophora mycoheterotroph
As many other members of the Balaonphoraceae family this Heliosis sp. looks quite fungal. Actually some of its cousins were first erronously described as fungi! Balaonphoraceae are direct root parasites and do not produce any photosynthetic sugars themselves, but feed of others plants.

Helosis sp?
Once in flower Balaonphoraceae do not look very fungal anymore, but are still a very strange plants. This should be a male Langsdorffia hypogaea. Seen in
 Chicaque, April 2015 in 2400m. 

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!

Diglossa cyanea Masked Flower-Piercer
Diglossa cyanea, the Masked Flower-Piercer is easy to observe in Chicaque.

Senecio formosus, a splendid Hawkweed growing in the Paramo known in Colombia as "Arnica falsa".

All pictures © Daniel Winkler unless otherwise noted


220 photos from Mushroaming Colombia 2016  

190 photos from Mushroaming Colombia 2015

130 photos  Mushroaming Colombia 2014

My Cordyceps in Colombia page


 Page first uploaded April, 2013

Last update June 7, 2018


Last edited on Mon, September 17, 2018, 9:12 am