Bill Robison, IE Director of Program Development, often has the “difficult” task of scouting a county for the best naturalist guides, hotels and to uncover extraordinary nature travel experiences for our guests. This week he is researching a Colombia tour, part of International Expeditions' 2014 line-up. How do you feel about travel to Colombia and other previously "taboo" places - let us know.

"Muy buenos dias amigos! I just arrived to the town of Minca, just above Tayrona National Park. Yesterday was exciting...I got to practice my Spanish quite a bit! My flight from Armenia to Bogota was delayed, and I had a connection to get to Santa Marta. English is not widely spoken here, and that goes double for the airports! Still, you can get along with those few words and the fact that the staff/people in general are so kind and eager to help.

"Why are Colombians so friendly? My guide tells me that comes from the days of transporting coffee by mule. Thousands of coffee growers would make long processions to the coast - a journey that took many weeks of walking - to sell their coffee. So, everyone knew everyone along the way and they continue that friendliness today.

"Tayrona National Park was wonderful! My guides and I headed out early this morning to see a mess of woodpeckers giving each other trouble. Plus, some capybara, a wild pig and lots of other bird species...and some poison dart frogs that are common in this area. That was just the start to my day! We got to Minca, mid-day (worst time for birding), and we still spotted more than 12 species on a short walk along the main road. Among our species list were the wonderful squirrel cuckoo, sacred bird of the Kogui people, a few species of hummingbirds and flycatchers along with another species of woodpecker. We could hear a toucan in the trees but could not locate him.... And that was during the worst hours of the day for birding! We are going out again this afternoon and my guide is eager for tomorrow. We are going to head further up the mountains to where most of the endemic species can be found. So, hasta manana amigos!

"Colombia has three branches of the Andes, but Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a separate mountain range and has the snow-capped mountain peak closest to the ocean anywhere in the world. If the sky is clear tomorrow I'll get a shot of it.

"I snapped this picture of a poison dart frog in Tayrona National Park. They can be found in good numbers near any puddle of water or wet ground."