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El Dorado Nature Reserve

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Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca, Santa Marta Municipality 470001 Colombia
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About

#5 of 68 Specialty lodging in Minca
Location
4.9
Cleanliness
4.8
Service
4.8
Value
4.7
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
Restaurant
Airport transportation
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Breakfast available
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Mountain View
Great View
135Reviews20Q+A36Room tips
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Leisyka Lee wrote a review Sep 2022
Bayside, California13 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
BEFORE YOU MAKE RESERVATIONS… make sure you are able bodied and mobile. There is a new lodge in El Dorado that is even more remote. The old lodge is no longer used and they plan to eventually make it into a coffee shop. Above Minca, deep in the Santa Marta Mountains you’ll find this beautiful oasis. Complete with five star accommodations, unmatched views from the Santa Marta’s down to the Caribbean Coast, and birds you will only find here. You have to be committed to getting to this place. Long, windy and dangerous roads with a motor bike carrying a family seems to be around every corner. Along with small, yet menacing, landslides making the road even narrower. Not to mention the 4-wheel drive road up the last 2 miles. It’s no joke. Four wheel drive IS required. We rented an SUV with 4 wheel drive and it was not really the right vehicle for the road. We made it but bottomed out frequently. A high clearance Toyota Land Cruiser is the desired vehicle. We rented one of them to get up to San Lorenzo, and that “road” is 10x worse. (I come from Humboldt County, California and have driven endless 4x4 roads.) Samantha and Fred are simply fantastic hosts. Meeting us at the early morning beginning of our birding day trips to ensure we had everything we needed. They were then there at the end of the day as well asking us about what we saw and experienced. They carried all of the food up and down the stairs since the kitchen is on the bottom floor of the lodge and the sitting area is at the top. Every kind of guidebook you can imagine from butterflies to birds to insects to amphibians that can be found in the Santa Marta mountains can be found in the sitting area in the lodge. We stayed in the Kobis, the round huts above and below the new lodge. It was difficult to leave this place I think three nights minimum. It is a lot of travel for only two nights. I hope that I can go back to this place someday, the birds, the scenery, and the people are all wonderful.
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Date of stay: September 2022Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Room Tip: Be ready to hike up a steep hill to get to your lodging.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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jessi wrote a review Aug 2022
New York City, New York59 contributions9 helpful votes
Came here for 3 nights as a family of 3, a couple and our 2 year old kiddo. The ride up is hella rough and absolutely worth it. We are avid nature lovers but don’t know much about birds- this is a place specifically excellent for bird watching. Still we had a really satisfying and fulfilling experience. The organization is really dedicated and doing the good worth to contribute to local economy, uplift and value indigenous knowledge and protect the ecosystem. Our child came down with a bug pretty much upon arrival, and it was the most wonderful place to just unplug, recharge and rest. The room’s 180 view was stunning and enough to keep us entertained a lot of the day. We stayed in Kogihab 5, which is very close to the restaurant, which is helpful w a toddler. Sit in the restaurant with a 360 view, snow capped mountains in one direction and turn the other way to see the sea. Samantha was an incredible manager and host, and Ruben was also so helpful with taking care of our needs. The walks around the property are well maintained and immersed in fascinating nature. For the time of year we visited, I wish we had brought more cozy and cold rainy gear. Thank you for a sensational stay.
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Date of stay: August 2022Trip type: Traveled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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krnielse wrote a review Jul 2022
Europe70 contributions77 helpful votes
We stayed 2 nights in a Kogihab in El Dorado - family of 3 and it was a wonderful experience. The Kogihabs are amazing and offer a very unique experience. The staff friendly and service is top. The reserve offers well laid out routes to discover the flora and fauna. All in all, a unique and highly recommended stay fully immersed in nature!
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Date of stay: July 2022Trip type: Traveled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
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Kotinka wrote a review Apr 2022
Madrid, Spain280 contributions107 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
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1 Helpful vote
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katherine153 wrote a review Mar 2022
Lancaster, United Kingdom268 contributions115 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
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Room Tip: Balcony rooms & Kogihabs each have their own advantage but the rooms are away from restaurant...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
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904agnesc wrote a review Jan 2022
Zoutleeuw, Belgium301 contributions126 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
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mikelboe wrote a review Jan 2022
minneapolis202 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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LCNM19 wrote a review Mar 2020
Lowestoft, United Kingdom321 contributions178 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: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
3 Helpful votes
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nbrocka wrote a review Mar 2020
Delta, Canada39 contributions7 helpful votes
Unfortunately for us we could only spend 1 night in our fantastic Kojihab. The uphill walk to it was worth it but we had to get someone to carry our luggage. The Koji's are spectacular, the view's breathtaking and we didn't want to leave. The food in the lodge is also very good and the hummingbirds and other species around the lodge are wonderful. This is the ideal jumping off point for more birding, including many endemics. The road to get there and roads that lead to more birding are rough and you need to be prepared to get seriously bounced around but the drivers and vehicles are very competent. Good fun and so memorable.
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Date of stay: March 2020
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Room Tip: Koji's highly recommended unless a bit of a climb to get there is a problem
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
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cwisle wrote a review Mar 2020
9 contributions2 helpful votes
Our birding group of 6 stayed here for three days, and it was heaven start to finish. We stayed in the khojis, a 15-minute walk from the lodge/dining room/hummingbird feeders. Our only regret was that our schedule was so full that we never did have an hour or two - awake - to hang out in our cabaña. The staff is terrific - helpful, cheerful and patient. It's a special experience to walk by a White-tipped Quetzal, and across a wiggly suspension footbridge to get to our room. Yes, the road is rough, moreso above the lodge than below, but that's part of the adventure.
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Date of stay: February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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LOCATION
ColombiaMagdalena DepartmentSanta Marta MunicipalityMinca
NUMBER OF ROOMS
15
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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 (3.1 miles), Cascadas de Marinka (3.5 miles), and Museo del Cacao de Minca (4.4 miles).
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.