Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Ecotourism & Conservation
in Colombia

Santa Marta Mountains © JJ Arango

By traveling with Cheesemans’ to Colombia, you are investing in the development of an economy grounded in the need to protect its ecological systems. Ecotourism, particularly in the rural areas you will be visiting, is essential to the livelihood of Colombia’s citizens. Birding creates jobs, not only for guides, but also for those in multiple tangent businesses who provide transportation, hospitality, and other services. Without birding, the residents would have no means of support. Not only does birding benefit the people, relying on the ecosystems for economic viability prioritizes protection of those natural resources.

Colombia’s ecotourism industry is developing responsibly due to the vision and dedication of citizens like our local operator whose family has opened a small lodge committed to beneficial environmental, social, economic, and cultural practices. They seek to protect the ecosystems through actions such as recycling, eliminating single-use plastics, capturing rainwater, composting organic waste, and using energy-saving room keys. They support the community through job training/professional development for young people and adults in the area as well as through employment for bird guides as well as lodge and ground staff. They grow organic coffee and vegetables and use local producers to supplement what they cannot grow themselves. In addition, they hire local artisans to decorate the lodge which fosters subsistence of traditional cultural practices. Traveling and birding in Colombia supports a symbiotic system for the environmental, social, economic, and cultural well-being of the country.

Selva Verde Lodge & Resort © Selva Verde Lodge & Resort

How Can You Make A Difference?

How You Can Actively Contribute


  • Keep an eBird list for each outing – you don’t need to track EVERY bird you see. See our Reading and Resource List for more details.
  • Take GPS-referenced wildlife and nature photos, and upload to iNaturalist. See our Reading and Resource List for more details.


  • Give a talk about your experience to a local wildlife or nature group or host a virtual webinar to reach a much wider audience!
  • Post your experiences on social media so others can learn more.
  • Submit a written, video, or audio testimonial for Cheesemans’ to share with future travelers.
Acting Locally


  • Support local vendors if you buy memorabilia to take home.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill rather than accepting plastic bottles. Filtered water is provided in the vehicles and lodges.
  • Travel in small group sizes to limit the impact on the environment and wildlife.
  • Ask for the lodging to not replace your towels or bedding during multiple night stays.
  • Use the lodge’s soap, shampoo, and conditioner from dispensers rather than bringing in plastic containers.
  • Tip well to support ecotourism.

Organizations You Can Support

When you travel to Colombia, save room in your luggage for gently used items to donate. The following suggestions are high need:

  • Binoculars
  • Rain Jackets
  • Fleece Pullovers
  • Tennis Shoes
  • Baby Clothes
  • Toys