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Colombia: The Colombian Llanos

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Wedged between the peaks and valleys of the snow-speckled Andes and the sweltering lowlands of tropical Amazonia, los llanos is a yawning expanse of prairies and wetlands  extending across the border into Venezuela and draining into the Orinoco basin. This is Colombia profunda, sparsely populated and strikingly traditional, so off the beaten track that the only places for visitors to stay are modest farmsteads and guesthouses set within vast cattle farms, (hatos), where the cowboy lifestyle still reigns supreme. Only now is this alluring, welcoming region opening up to adventurous visitors.

The tropical prairies, which morph into shimmering wetlands after rain, seethe with a breath-taking profusion of wildlife, feeding and breeding in the myriad of waterways, clinging to the branches of the trees in the patches of dry forest which groan throughout the year with an abundance of exotic birds. Monkeys squabble in the canopy, alligators sprawl on the watery beaches, giant capybara roam cross the paddy fields, anacondas slither silently across the trails, giant storks elegantly pick their way across the pasture. All this trusting wildlife happily co-exists alongside hatos’ humpy zebu cattle.

Our insider tips for The Colombian Llanos

Hannah

Hannah Donaldson

Bring a decent camera. The opportunities to photograph the trusting wildlife up close are staggering. 

Lina

Lina Fuller

Don't miss the chance to learn about and experience llanero culture: cattle round-ups, horse-taming, joropo music and local dances.

Isabelle

Isabelle Mazille

Consider going at least one way by land - the area is accessible from the capital by air (1 hour) but the road trip from Bogotá and elsewhere in the Andes passes through glorious wilderness mountain landscapes.  

Ben Line

Ben Line

To see animals congregated around water holes and enjoy faster journey times, travel in the dry season. The wet season (Apr-Nov) is great for viewing breeding birds, pumas and howler monkeys while the coiuntryside is greener. 

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