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Birds and orchids on the road to Medellín

Colombia day seven

View Colombia 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Kiskadee at the Bio Habitat Hotel

With a long drive ahead of us we were up at six, checked out and eating breakfast at seven, and leaving the hotel by half past seven. Juan-Paolo was there to accompany us to Medellín with a new driver, Romido.

Farewell to the Bio Habitat Hotel

The first part of our route followed the road we'd taken to the coffee farm, through Pereira and Santa Rosa.

From the road near Pereira

Cable cars in Pereira

Finca Romelia


A bad photo of an
Andean monkey

After that we were on new ground, following a very good road through some beautiful scenery. After a while we left the main road to climb into the hills, arriving eventually at Finca Romelia, an orchid and birdwatching oasis. We were met by one of the guides there, Felipe, who drove us a little distance to a path through a bamboo grove. There he pointed out what even for him was an unusual sight, a nocturnal Andean monkey, dosing high in the bamboo. They had spotted some there the previous day, the first time they’d been sighted in day-time.

The path led us to a clearing with a picnic table where we were served a refreshing fruit salad. Then we were driven further down the track to the finca’s main house, a beautiful traditional old home. We met the owner and his wife and spent some time on the terrace, photographing many of his thousands of orchids. He has more than 840 species and over 8000 individual plants! They include the orchid adopted as the country’s national flower, cattleya trianae, commonly known as a ‘May lily’ and named for Colombian naturalist Jose Jeronimo Triana.

The cattleya trianae orchid, or May Lily




More of my favourite orchids

There were also lots of birds visiting the feeders which kept my camera even busier, including:

Blue-grey Tanager
Thick Billed Euphonia
Red-crowned Woodpecker
Riparian or Large-billed Parrotlet
Black-billed Thrush
Clay-coloured Thrush
Tropical Kingbird

Blue-grey Tanager

Thick Billed Euphonia (male)

Thick Billed Euphonia (female)

Clay-coloured Thrush

Red-crowned Woodpecker

Riparian Parrotlets

Tropical Kingbird

Then we walked down to the greenhouse where lots of smaller orchids were kept. Felipe showed us tiny flowers we would never have spotted on our own and explained the pollination process in detail.

Soon after that it was time to leave but only after we'd been given a quick look inside the house. Romelia’s owner is clearly an obsessive collector. In addition to the orchids there were cacti and bonsai outside, and paintings, books and old pottery inside.

The road to Medellín

Most of the rest of the day was spent on the long drive to Medellín. There were lots of road works, necessitating long queues and slow progress over unmade roads. After about three hours we stopped for a snack and drink at a service station, then continued. The good road we were on at that point proved to be incomplete and we spent much of the second half of the journey crawling behind lorries on a winding country road.

On the road

A view from the road

Double rainbow near the service station


On the streets of Medellín, taken from the car

But we made it to Medellín eventually, arriving at the Park 10 Hotel around 5.30. We checked in, and settled into our large sixth floor room, adjusting to the sound of city traffic after the tranquillity of our aviary! But isn’t travel all about contrasts?


Our room at the Hotel Park 10

In the evening we went to a nearby Italian restaurant, Terrazza, where we secured the last unreserved table! The service was very friendly and the food and wine excellent, especially my tortelloni. And such good value compared with home, at less than £40 for two courses and a generous glass of wine each.

Posted by ToonSarah 15:47 Archived in Colombia Tagged birds monkeys flowers hotel roads colombia

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Beautiful pictures of the birds and orchids.

by irenevt

Thank you Irene :)

by ToonSarah

Beautiful orchids! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks Henna, glad you liked them :)

by ToonSarah

such beautiful pictures!!

by Ils1976

Thank you Ils 😊

by ToonSarah

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