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Duration: 14 nights - 15 days
Day 1 Henri Pittier National Park
Upon arrival, transfer to the inn in the city of Maracay, the gateway to Henri Pittier National Park. The impressive list of birds in the park comprises over 550 species, including over 30 species of hummingbirds. This 220.000 acre biological wonderland extends from cloud forest at 4,000 feet, through several diverse habitats, reaching down to the Caribbean Sea. Meals: - / - / D

Day 2 Henri Pittier National Park
Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 3 Henri Pittier National Park
Today we will bird from the cloud forest along the beautiful road to Choroní. Our day will probably begin with a picnic breakfast in the pass of the forest searching for such species as Band-tailed Guan, Groove-billed Toucanet, Golden-breasted Fruit-eater, Rufous-cheeked Tanager, Ochre-breasted Brush-Finch and perhaps the secretive Schwartz’s Antthrush. The rest of the day will be spent birding the cloud forest and lower elevations on either side of the mountain pass. Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 4 Henri Pittier National Park
We will drive over the mountain range towards the road to Turiamo and the small town of Cumboto, where we will picnic at one of the cocoa plantations looking for Black-backed Antshrike, Lance-tailed and Wire-tailed Manakin and the Venezuelan Flycatcher. Hopefully, we will have time to visit the Caribbean coast to see Brown Boobies, Magnificent Frigate birds and Brown Pelicans. We will also search for Pale-bellied Hermit, Buffy Hummingbird, Glaucous Tanager and Black-faced Grassquit before we make our return over the mountains.Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 5 Henri Pittier National Park – The Andes
Our last morning in the Henri Pittier National Park will be spent looking for endemic and specialized birds we haven’t yet seen. We might be searching for Northern Helmeted Curassows or Vermiculated Screech-Owls, along the road to Ocumare, teasing Golden-winged Sparrows in the lower deciduous forests or perhaps simply spending a morning watching raptors and photographing Tanagers or Hummingbirds on the terrace of the Rancho Grande Biological Station. After lunch, we will take the late flight to Mérida, Venezuela’s gateway to the Andes. The city is set in a deep valley surrounded by the country’s highest peaks, Pico Bolívar and Pico Espejo, both over 4.000 m. It is a region that still maintains a colonial flavor to its culture and architecture. On arrival, we will drive to our lodgings at a charming colonial coffee hacienda situated below Pico Bolívar. The grounds offer further opportunity for bird watching for Tropical Screech-Owls, Rufous Nightjars and Rufous-bellied Nighthawks.Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 The Andes
We will spend the morning birding the sub-tropical and mountainous elevations in the lower end of the renowned Pico Humboldt trail. Typical target birds are the Rose-crowned Parakeet, Narrow-tailed Emerald, Longuemare´s Sunangel, Gorgeted Woodstar, Blackish Chat-Tyrant, White-capped Dipper, Torrent Tyrannulet and Mustached Brush-Finch together with a nice selection of Andean Tanagers and wintering American Warblers. In the afternoon, we will bird around the city of Mérida.Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 7 The Andes
We will start early for the cloud forest of the Humboldt trail. In this lush, misty forest, we will look for Andean Guan, White-capped and Rusty-faced Parrot, Golden Star frontlet, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzals, Chestnut-crowned and Grey-naped Antpittas, Mérida Tapaculo, Green-and-black Fruit eater, Black-collared Jay, White-fronted Whitestart and Grey-capped Hemispingus. This is the best site for the unpredictable endemic Slaty-backed Hemispingus. Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 8 The Andes
Once more, we will visit the Humboldt trail in the morning to locate those species we still have not seen. After lunch, we will take a scenic drive through Andean villages, climbing into the highlands and returning in the evening to the hotel in the spectacular Santo Domingo valley. A good selection of high altitude avian fauna is to be found right at the hotel.Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Day 9 The Andes
This morning, we will have a leisurely start after breakfast to explore the high altitude meadows known as “páramos”. This treeless environment found above 8.000 feet has a unique flora, the dominant plant being a composite, the Espeletia. Typical Andean páramo bird species occur here, such as the Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Bearded Helmet crest, Andean Tit-Spine tail, Streak-backed Canastero, Páramo Pipit and the Plumbeous Sierra-Finch. We will also search for the endemic Mérida Wren and Ochre-browed Thistle tail. We will visit the highest accessible peaks at over 13.000 feet in order to look for Andean Condor and will also stop at Laguna de Mucubají, a glacial lake, for Andean Teal and migrant American shorebirds.Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 The Andes
After checking out of the hotel we will work our way down the Santo Domingo valley, birding as we go. Our first stop may produce Orange-throated Sunangel, Pearled Tree runner, Streaked Tufted cheek, Lacrimose Mountain Tanager, Mérida Flower piercer and a host of other dwarf forest inhabitants. Later we will hope to pick up Torrent Duck and then a number of lower elevation species such as the Cliff Flycatcher. We will spend the night in another colonial inn on the square of the quiet coffee producing village of Altamira.Meals: B / L / D

Day 11 The Andes
Today, we will begin early in the subtropical forest of the Santo Domingo valley. Our goal will be to find the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, a spectacular bright orange bird known for the elaborate display of the males as they attempt to attract a female. In this exquisite forest, rich in bromeliads, tree-ferns and orchids, we will look for fruiting trees in order to observe feeding fruit eaters and tanagers. We will also be on the lookout for Black-and-Chestnut Eagle, Saffron-headed Parrot, Red-headed Barbet, Crested Quetzal and Orange-crowned Oriole. In the afternoon we will continue downward into the dryer habitats looking for Pale-headed Jacamar, White-browed Ant bird, and White-ruffed Manakin. Meals: B / Lunch Box / D

Days 12, 13 and 14 The Llanos
We will depart early in the morning to drive inland to the Llanos. In Hato El Cedral, a 106.000 acre private wildlife sanctuary, we will be introduced to one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. Three days of excursions on this working cattle ranch will be likely to give us a good look at aquatic birds such as the Jabiru, Maguari and Wood-Stork, seven species of Ibis, Cocoi, Whistling and Capped Herons, Rufescent Tiger-Herons, Homed Screamers, White-faced and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and Orinoco Goose. We have the best chance anywhere for such coveted birds as the Agami Heron, Zigzag Heron, Hoatzin, Sunbittern, Aplomado Falcon, Amazonian Black-Tyrant and the White-naped Xenopsaris. Hato El Cedral additionally boasts a long list of 300 other possibilities including Chestnut-fronted and Scarlet Macaws, Yellow-knobbed Curassow, Black-capped Donacobius and White-bearded Flycatchers. Night excursions can produce Lesser, Band-tailed and Nacunda Nighthawks and savanna fox. We should also see herds of capybara, hundreds of spectacled caimans, anacondas, along with mammals such as red howler monkeys, crab-eating raccoons and pink river dolphin. Accommodation at Hato El Cedral is in spacious, air-conditioned, attractively furnished bungalows with private bathrooms. The dining room serves excellent family-style meals, and the swimming pool is available throughout our visit. At the end of a long day, we may be entertained by the music of the famous Venezuelan cowboys, the “llaneros”, who play with harps, “cuatros” (four-stringed guitars) and “maracas” (a pair of percussion instruments).Meals: B / L / D

Day 15 The Llanos – Caracas
Early morning departure for Barinas and flight back to Caracas. Meals: B / - / -


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