No longer ruled by drug cartels, the wild west of Colombia is a birdwatching paradise reborn


I have never heard a voice like it. Melodic and intense, liquid yet orotund. A serenade contriving to blend Dido with Pavarotti, spiced with the swagger of Jagger.

The performance makes my knees buckle. Yet the singer stays resolutely hidden – a voice disembodied but indisputably present. Given that I have travelled to the wild west of Colombia – territory only recently unshackled from the control of the notorious Medellín drug cartel – I desperately want to clasp eyes on this Latino soprano.

Our guide, Andrea Beltrán, grants my wish, extending a shaky finger. “Aquí nomás,” she whispers. “Just here.”

We are in neither an opera house nor a concert hall. Rather we are 8,200ft up in the Andean…

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