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El Dorado Nature Reserve

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca, Santa Marta Municipality 470001 Colombia
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#5 of 67 in Minca
El Dorado Nature Reserve is located at the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, you will find the highest number of bird species in the world!
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Property amenities
Free internet
Public wifi
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Airport transportation
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Breakfast available
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Mountain View
131Reviews20Q+A35Room tips
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Popular mentions
Kotinka wrote a review Apr 2022
Moscow, Russia276 contributions106 helpful votes
Is it worth the expensive hour and a half long rattle up dirt road in a 4x4 taxi? You bet it is. This location has to be one of the world's finest. Up on the side of a steep ridge, you get views right across the valley on one side (on a clear day, you can see the snow-topped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range) and on the other, right down across the Carribean coast, so that at night the lights of the town of Cienaga twinkle in the distance. When we were there in late January, the days were almost all sunny, but clouds would pass below the property, flowing over the ridges and down into the valleys like waterfalls. I made many time-lapse videos of this stunning experience. The elevation means that although the sun is hot, the air is cool, which is a great relief after the oven-like conditions in Santa Marta. For experienced birders, there are endemic species living here, but even for someone less specialist, this is a truly incredible location not only to see birds, but snakes and frogs and giant insects and all sorted of magical nature. There are several trails leading from the property up, down and along the ridge. The longest walk is across the valley to a small finca, up the hill to San Lorenzo Ridge, and then back down the dirt road that 4x4s can travel up, so you loop back down into the property. It took me about 4 hours in total. Other trails are much shorter and less demanding. We stayed for six nights, which allowed us to really relax into the experience.
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Date of stay: January 2022
katherine153 wrote a review Mar 2022
Lancaster, United Kingdom268 contributions111 helpful votes
You really feel you've earned this wonderful spot by the time you have bounced and rattled your way up the track from Minca! It's hard going, but we had been warned. This is a little piece of heaven, hidden away in the Sierra Nevada mountains, far from the tourist trail. We chose a balcony room, situated in glorious gardens and surrounded by hummingbirds, close to the reception area. The room was simple but very comfortable and the view from the balcony (and the sunsets!) were amazing. The other rooms (Kogihabs) are situated around the restaurant area, up a very steep, unlit 15 minute (at least!) walk up from reception but there is a little motorised 'tuk tuk' with an extremely helpful and friendly driver to drive you up and down at mealtimes. The restaurant building is superb with an all-round, stunning panoramic view - hard to tear yourself away. The food was ok, especially considering how out of the way this spot is, but there's no choice at mealtimes! The staff were delightful - special mention for Samantha, Juan Carlos and Jose who were all very friendly & helpful to us. If you like an adventure, away from it all, in stunning surroundings a visit here is surely a 'must' for you.
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Date of stay: March 2022
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: Balcony rooms & Kogihabs each have their own advantage but the rooms are away from restaurant...
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904agnesc wrote a review Jan 2022
Zoutleeuw, Belgium245 contributions124 helpful votes
Since my first visit 4 years ago, things have changed quite a bit. There is now a huge building where you take meals (delicious soups !), about 20 minutes walk uphill (if you ask, they come collect you by "tuktuk"). The old building is empty, which is quite a shame. There is no more contact with the people working for the lodge. There is no more community, it's now them and the (upclass ?) tourists. They have built luxurious huts near the restaurant, but they lack the charm of the old and very comfortable rooms. The manager was very kind to offer me an upgrade to a hut, but I declined. All the birds are near the old part of the lodge, though the compost pile is no longer in use, so the wood quails are no longer there. If you visit San Lorenzo Ridge, DO stay the full day and not just the morning.
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Date of stay: December 2021
1 Helpful vote
mikelboe wrote a review Jan 2022
minneapolis199 contributions66 helpful votes
The location is one of a kind. Each room has a 180 degree vista of the mountains and the valley below including Santa Marta. It is a tough road to get there which helps to keep the area quiet. The food in the restaurant is simple but extremely good. The hiking trails are nice and there are a lot of endemics to see but it is luck of the draw as to what you see.
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Date of stay: December 2021
LCNM19 wrote a review Mar 2020
Lowestoft, United Kingdom319 contributions171 helpful votes
This is a great location that probably cannot be bettered. Waking up to see the clouds below you and the Sierra Nevada mountains laid out in front of you is magical. That said there is a price. The two hour journey from Minca is tough even in a 4 wheel drive. Great to see what the vehicles can do, on the single track, but your whole body will be exhausted when you get to the lodge. The lodge is basic, with all in two rooms. It was fully booked when we were there meaning as a small party it was quiet crowded with big bird watching groups. Having your dinner in the lounge as restaurant is full is fine, but not when a large group of birders sit round you discussing their bird sightings whilst you try to enjoy the food. The food although simple is good quality and tasty. There is constant coffee, water and biscuits which is nice. The bar is an honesty bar and serves about 5 wines, 3 or 4 beers and cokes. All at a good price. Laundry is also well priced. We had a Kogihab room. This was a good 15 minutes walk up hill on mountain tracks. Good exercise but not for those with any walking issues or fear of the dark (no lights so bring a torch- the one provided is weak). Our local guide (Christian) was excellent as a bird guide. This is the lodge's focus. There are plenty of endemic bird species to see. There is limited information on the wider ecosystem, but that's not their thing although my interest. They are building new huts and a new restaurant which are much needed when they are ready. This is a great spot if you are a birder. We enjoyed ourselves but found the facilities slightly too basic (minimal hot water, limited internet, no shampoo etc in the room). We should have investigated more.
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Date of stay: March 2020Trip type: Travelled
3 Helpful votes
ColombiaMagdalena DepartmentSanta Marta MunicipalityMinca
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Frequently Asked Questions about El Dorado Nature Reserve
Which popular attractions are close to El Dorado Nature Reserve?
Nearby attractions include Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (5.0 km), Cascadas de Marinka (5.5 km), and Museo del Cacao de Minca (7.1 km).
What are some of the property amenities at El Dorado Nature Reserve?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at El Dorado Nature Reserve?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
What are some restaurants close to El Dorado Nature Reserve?
Conveniently located restaurants include La Miga, Duni de la Sierra, and Lazy cat.
Does El Dorado Nature Reserve have airport transportation?
Yes, El Dorado Nature Reserve offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does El Dorado Nature Reserve have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.