IE Director of Program Development, Bill Robison has been checking in from Colombia, where he has spent a week finding the best naturalist guides, hotels and nature travel experiences for our guests. How do you feel about travel to Colombia and other previously "taboo" places - let us know.

"A great week in Colombia is coming to an end. Up in El Dorado, above Minca, we observed lots of endemic species. But I have to say the birding in Minca itself was wonderful, especially just around the hotel. Minca is a lovely little town too. I got to Cartagena the night before last and went out to the mangroves early yesterday morning. Great species there! During my boat excursion in the mangroves I saw lots of different herons, diving ducks, fishing martins and eagles. In fact, 97 species of birds are found there at any time, more during migration season. Sadly, the area where we embark/disembark the canoe is quite dirty, but locals have begun a great project to clean the entire area. I saw the men out there with the burlap bags cleaning the shore line...that is wonderful! The area we birded was not, it looks like they are taking the conservation of the area very seriously.

"On to my impressions of Cartagena itself. What a wonderful city! Every avenue of the old town is filled with hotels, shops and restaurants. And it's so large, not just a small portion of a much larger city but it's a large portion of a large city. Cartagena is so charming and it's safe to stroll these flower and vine-lined avenues and squares. Fortunately, I found just the right place for our guests to have lunch and just the right hotel to enjoy this wonderful city.

"So, now comes the fun part. I will get back home and finalize our plans with our Colombian partners, our Expedition Leaders, and the boss of course. I am chomping at the bit to present our Colombia travel program to guests, but need to make sure all the pieces are in the right places so we can be sure this tour lives up to the IE standards of quality. So, keep an eye out for our new Colombia tour to be announced soon!
"Sad to leave Colombia, but as always, happy to get home. My wife tells me my 14-month-old son is learning new words every day. It has been just a week, but it seems like he is a different kid than I left. I think you'll agree that the joys of travel include the joys of returning home.
"So, that is all from Colombia. Take care my friends!"