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Top 7 Butterfly-Watching Spots in Colombia

Butterfly in Colombia

Updated on 06/13/2024

Dear reader,
I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

Did you know that Colombia is home to more than 3642 butterflies?

That’s right, Colombia contains 20% of the world’s butterfly species. From the delicate and colorful diurnal butterflies to the vibrantly colored nocturnal butterflies, this country offers a winged spectacle that complements its rich diversity. It is considered the most biodiverse country in this biological group.

Join us as we explore the 7 must-see places to spot butterflies.

Where to Observe Butterflies in Colombia

Here are some of the best places to see butterflies, you can’t miss them!

José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden, Bogotá

Location: Av. José Celestino Mutis #68-95, Bogotá. It is located 11 km (6 miles) from Simón Bolívar Square, in the center of Bogotá.

Price: There is an entry fee to the garden.

Website: https://jbb.gov.co/

José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden is a natural reserve of 20 hectares that houses numerous species of endemic plants. Its objective is to research and conserve the flora of the high Andean and moor ecosystems.

Butterflies inhabit this entire garden due to the presence of numerous plants and flowers. Likewise, its construction includes the Tropicarío, which is a kind of greenhouse housing 5 types of ecosystems, where you can explore plants and a typical environment of various regions. Among its spaces are the super moor, the tropical humid forest, the tropical dry forest, and finally, a collection of useful plants and conservation collections.

Thus, this is the home of different insects, including various specimens of butterflies, such as:

  • Monarch butterflies
  • Menelaus Blue morpho butterflies
  • Buckeye butterflies

Events related to butterfly observation have been held here, and although they are not annual, it is possible to observe these beautiful insects up close. Did you know that in 2012, more than 200 butterflies of 36 different species visited the garden? These insects were bred at the Calarcá Botanical Garden and transported to the Bogotá Garden for release and public exhibition.

Services and activities

  • Guided tours of the garden
  • Visit to the Tropicarío
  • Workshops and talks
  • Birdwatching
  • Cafeteria and restaurant service

Monarca Biopark, Tenjo

Location: Vereda Guangata, via La Valvanera.

Price: There is an entry fee to the park.

Website: https://parquemonarca.com/

The Monarca Butterfly Biopark is a theme park aimed at highlighting and conserving arthropod life. In the park, there is an incredible butterfly house that houses more than 150 butterflies belonging to more than 12 species. For example:

  • Monarch butterflies
  • Melenaus Blue morpho butterflies
  • Sara longwing butterflies
  • Camouflaged butterflies
  • Brown siproeta
  • Prepona butterflies
  • Thoas swallowtail butterflies
  • Doris butterflies

And many more.

Here, you can observe them feeding, flying, and mainly witness metamorphosis processes from their chrysalis stage to hatching.

Services and activities

  • Guided visits
  • Hiking
  • Insect therapy
  • Insect museum
  • Tours of different species of carnivorous plants
  • Visits and feeding of farm animals
  • Restaurant service

How to get there

To get to Monarca Park from Bogotá, you can take the 80 route, pass through Siberia, and follow the route to Monarca Park. Also, you can use the road to Chía, take the Fonquetá route, and continue along the La Valvanera route until you reach your destination.

Quindío Botanical Garden, Calarcá

Location: Av. Centenario # 15-190 Km. 3 via Valle del Cauca.

Price: There is an entry fee to the garden.

Website: https://jardinbotanicoquindio.org/

The Quindío Botanical Garden is a non-governmental reserve and organization that aims to preserve the different endemic landscapes of the area, including the native plants and birds of Colombia. In this site, you can enjoy the famous butterfly house, an insect zoo, and 3 astonishing structures for bird watching.

Its fascinating butterfly house is a structure shaped like a butterfly, where different types of butterflies live, eat, and reproduce, including:

  • Monarch butterflies
  • Melenaus Blue morpho butterflies
  • Sara longwing butterflies
  • Camouflaged butterflies
  • Brown siproeta

Butterfly garden in Quindio Colombia


In this site, butterflies flutter around you during the tour where you are explained the natural cycle of the butterfly and the types of species that inhabit there. Of course, butterflies are found throughout the garden in their natural environment.

Services and activities

  • Guided visits
  • Hiking
  • Activities and exhibition of Colombian geology and topography
  • Workshops and talks
  • Cafeteria and restaurant service

How to get there

It is located 38 minutes by car from Armenia, the capital of Quindío.

Andoke Butterfly Sanctuary, Cali

Location: km 6 parcelación la Reforma via Cristo Rey, Cali.

Price: There is an entry fee.

Website: https://www.andoke.com.co/

Andoke Butterfly Sanctuary is a natural reserve that offers different ecotourism services. However, its main attraction is its butterfly sanctuary amidst tropical gardens. Here, future butterflies go through their metamorphosis cycle and once they hatch, they are released into their natural environment.

These are some of the fascinating specimens you can observe and even touch since many of them flutter around you or stick to your clothes:

  • Monarch butterflies
  • Melenaus Blue morpho butterflies
  • Sara longwing butterflies
  • Camouflaged butterflies
  • Brown siproeta
  • Green butterflies

Services and activities

  • Hiking
  • Accommodation
  • Observation of fauna and flora
  • Picnics
  • Observation of butterfly release
  • Workshops and talks
  • Events
  • Special events celebration
  • Cafeteria and restaurant service

This place is fascinating for special and educational events!

Medellín Botanical Garden, Medellín

Location: Cl. 73 #51d-14, Aranjuez, Medellín.

Price: There is an entry fee.

Website: https://www.botanicomedellin.org/

Medellín’s Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden covers around 13.2 hectares. In general terms, it is a center for scientific research, as well as an environmental classroom for education, recreation, and citizen culture related to environmental care.

Among its numerous attractions, the observation of amazing butterflies stands out in its butterfly house Forjas Bolívar. This is an area for learning and interaction with butterflies, pollinators, and other insects. Its purpose is to encourage training and research processes in the areas of entomology and ecology.

And the best part is that it allows you to observe the phenomenon of metamorphosis from the moment the insect lays its eggs until the butterfly takes flight. There are more than 31 species of butterflies living there, 10 of which are endemic to the Aburrá Valley, totaling 1,500, including:

  • Monarch butterflies
  • Menelaus blue morpho butterflies
  • Sara longwing butterflies
  • Camouflaged butterflies
  • Brown siproeta
  • Green hairstreak butterflies
  • Clouded yellow butterflies
  • Passion butterflies
  • Gold rim swallowtail butterflies
  • Veined labyrinth butterflies

This is one of the largest butterfly houses in the entire Antioquia department.

Services and activities

  • Guided visits
  • Hiking
  • Workshops and talks
  • Museum of living collections
  • Volunteering
  • Cafeteria and restaurant service

Mi Querida Colombia Tourist Center, Mesa de los Santos

Location: Finca del Recreo, Mesa de los Santos.

Price: There is an entry fee.

Website: https://www.micolombiaquerida.com/

Mi Querida Colombia Tourist Center is a place that offers tourist activities to discover and protect Colombian biodiversity. There is an interesting butterfly sanctuary called Open Air Butterfly Garden Mauricio Babilonia. This, as its name suggests, is an area where numerous butterflies live freely. Also, it is a laboratory that explains to children and adults the life process of these arthropods.

There you can observe more than 130 species, such as:

  • Common butterflies
  • Menelaus blue morpho butterflies
  • Sara longwing butterflies
  • Camouflaged butterflies
  • Brown siproeta
  • Green hairstreak butterflies
  • Clouded yellow butterflies

Services and activities

  • Guided visits
  • Accommodation
  • Talks
  • Camping area
  • Bikeable
  • Quad bike
  • Pony day trip
  • Bumber ball
  • Virtual reality games
  • Bungee jumping
  • Jumping
  • Target shooting
  • Cafeteria and restaurant service
  • Bar

How to get there

This park is located 1 km (0.6 miles) ahead of the Acuarela Farmers’ Market.

Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area, Playa de Belén

Location: Playa de Belén, Norte de Santander.

Price: There is an entry fee.

Website: https://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/nuestros-parques/anu-los-estoraques/

Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area is a protected natural area of 1,053 hectares that seeks to preserve the natural heritage of the area. Among many of the features that stand out about this natural site, one of the most notable is that there are more than 322 species of butterflies registered, such as:

  • Common butterflies
  • Monarch butterflies
  • Melenaus Blue morpho butterflies
  • Gold rim swallowtail butterflies
  • Cabbage White butterflies

Services and activities

  • Mountain biking
  • Non-commercial photography of fauna and flora
  • Environmental research
  • Stargazing
  • Fauna and flora observation
  • Geological observation
  • Butterfly observation
  • Birdwatching

How to get there

To reach this area, you must go to the municipality of La Playa de Belén. From Bogotá, you can take a bus to the municipality of Ocaña (approximately 10 hours), take a taxi or motorcycle to the center of Ocaña (market square). And from there, take a bus or other vehicle to Playa de Belén (approximately 40 minutes). From the urban area to the protected area is a journey of approximately 1.5 km (0.9 miles).

Butterflies You Can Find in Colombia

These are some of the butterfly species that inhabit Colombia:

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho menelaus)

  • Characteristics: This butterfly species is recognized for its impressive wings of iridescent bright blue.
  • Habitat: It is found in the jungle regions of Colombia.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

  • Characteristics: A migratory species known for its orange and black wings with striking patterns.
  • Habitat: Widely distributed across the country, living in forested areas, fields, and gardens.

Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae)

  • Characteristics: A medium-sized butterfly with distinctive golden wings and black spots.
  • Habitat: Can be found in meadows, forested areas, and open fields in various Colombian regions.

Eunomia eighty-eight (Callicore eunomia)

  • Characteristics: Brown butterfly with wings featuring small blue and red spots.
  • Habitat: Inhabits specific areas of the country characterized by warmth and cold climate, such as Mocoa.

Red Postman (Heliconius erato)

  • Characteristics: Butterfly with a striking color pattern including stripes and red, yellow, and black spots.
  • Habitat: Inhabits various areas, from forests to gardens.

Plain Tiger Butterfly (Danaus chrysippus)

  • Characteristics: This species has a wing pattern resembling tiger stripes, predominantly black and yellow.
  • Habitat: Found in various areas, from forests to gardens.

Finita Burrasca (Diaethria anna)

  • Characteristics: Tropical butterfly with bright-colored wings and complex patterns.
  • Habitat: Distributed in jungle areas and humid forests.

Owl Butterfly (Caligo)

  • Characteristics: Known for its owl-like eyes on the wings.
  • Habitat: Found in tropical and subtropical forests.

Cabbage butterfly (Pieris Rapae)

  • Characteristics: Recognized for its metallic green color.
  • Habitat: Can be found in various areas, from forests to gardens.

These are some of the most fascinating butterflies you can find in Colombia, each contributing its uniqueness to the vibrant diversity of Colombian fauna.

Recommendations for Butterfly Spotting in Colombia

Here are some suggestions to make the most of your experience and avoid setbacks:

  • Visit natural reserves or specialized botanical gardens for butterflies: Look for sanctuaries, natural reserves, or botanical gardens that focus on the conservation and study of butterflies. Avoid participating in activities involving the unethical capture or exhibition of these creatures.
  • Go during the sunniest hours of the day: Butterflies are most active during the warmest and sunniest times of the day, so we suggest going between 10 am and 1 pm.
  • Avoid touching or using flash when photographing butterflies: Respect regulations that prohibit getting too close to butterflies. And although some places encourage you to touch them, refrain from doing so and avoid using flash when taking photographs, as this can alter their natural behavior.
  • Bring cash and respect the regulations of the place: Some reserves or gardens may not accept cards due to various circumstances. Respect the regulations and rules of the place to ensure both your safety and that of the butterflies.
  • Wear comfortable and appropriate clothing: Opt for lightweight clothing, especially if you plan to walk through areas designated for butterfly observation. Use appropriate footwear, such as walking shoes, and consider wearing a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Tips for observation in natural habitats

  • Look for suitable habitats, such as botanical gardens with specific areas for butterflies or natural reserves with flowers and plants that attract them.
  • Keep calm and quiet to avoid disturbing the butterflies while observing them.
  • If you plan to photograph them, avoid using flash to avoid causing them stress.
  • On excursions, consider going accompanied by a guide or butterfly expert.
  • Do not bring uncovered food and avoid feeding the butterflies to not interfere with their natural behavior.
  • Approach their observation with respect and consideration, due to the following reasons:
    • These creatures can be sensitive to human presence.
    • Many of them face threats such as poaching, species trafficking, and habitat loss due to human activities. They are also victims of insecticides used by the agricultural industry and for household use.
    • Butterflies play a fundamental role in pollination by transporting pollen and nectar.

These recommendations will allow you to enjoy the beauty of butterflies in ethical and respectful environments for their well-being.

More Nature Tourism Experiences in Colombia

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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