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Honduras and Guatemala Birding Tour

Buffy-crowned-Wood-partridge
Violet-crowned-Woodnymph
keel-billed-motmot
long-tailed hermit
lovely-cotinga

Honduras & Guatemala Birding Tour

A 15 days birding adventure to discover the best destinations inside Guatemala and Honduras, a unique and important bird areas that inhabit a wide variety of endemic tropical birds.

Day 01: Arrival at San Pedro Sula (SAP) International Airport – Transfer to Rio Santiago Nature Resort (3 hours’ drive)

Pick-up and ground transfer to Rio Santiago Nature Resort, a unique reserve that inhabit some of the Honduras specialties. Afternoon arrival will afford us time to unpack, refresh and enjoy some light birding of the Lodge grounds before dinner.

Dinner at Rio Santiago Nature Resort.

Day 02: Hummingbirds of Rio Santiago

Rio Santiago Nature Resort is a 150-acre private preserve. Its secluded, rain forest location and impressive numbers of hummingbird feeders has earned it the name of “hummingbird capital of Honduras”. Throughout most of the year, Santiago’s trails and main garden areas abound with bewildering numbers of some of Honduras’ most well-known hummingbird species.

Band-tailed Barbtroat (Threnetes ruckeri), Violet-crowned-Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl), Brown Violet-ear (Colibri delphinae), Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii), Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila), Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), Stripe-throated Hermit, (Phaetornis striigularis), White-bellied Emerald (Amazilia candidad), and Long-billed Hermit (Phaetornis longirostris), Stripe-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusia eximia), to mention some of the abundant hummingbird species that frequent Santiago’s feeders.

In addition, the spectacular Keel-billed Motmot (Electron carinatum), Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda), and Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), are frequently seen along with Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) and White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei), along Santiago’s trail system.

Lunch/Dinner at Rio Santiago Nature Resort

Day 03: Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge

Cuero y Salado Sanctuary is named for the Cuero and Salado Rivers which here meet the ocean, The Refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of coastal rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests, that are home to diverse wildlife including; West Indian Manatees (Trichechus manatus), American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus), Spider and White-faced Monkeys (Cebus capucinus), Lesser Anteaters (Tamandua tetradactyla) and a variety of birds exceeding 350 species.

We’ll meet our guide early for breakfast, and depart for the refuge by 6:30. Access into this remote area is via a small motorized train, which takes us along an aged track through bird-rich open grassland, marshes and cultivation areas.

Once at the Refuge, we will explore the various aquatic and forest habitats from a small, motorboat.

Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), Russet- naped Wood Rail (Aramides albiventris), Jabiru Stork (Jabiru mycteria), Agami Heron (Agamia agami), Tri-colored Heron (Egretta tricolor), Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Bare-throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum), American-Pigmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea), Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans), and Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus), are but a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado.

We return to the Resort after our birding tour, we will have a late lunch and the afternoon for an additional birding from the Lodge’s gardens.

Dinner at Rio Santiago Nature Resort.

After dinner, we’ll be guided around the Lodge’s gardens and plantation areas where Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata), Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata), Black-and-White Owl, Vermiculated Screech-Owl (Megascops guatemalae), Northern potoo (Nyctibius jamaicensis), and Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis) may be found.

Also, the reserve is an interesting location for amphibian and another tropical species.

Day 04: Rio Aguan Valley and the Endemic Honduran Emerald

We’ll begin this full day birding expedition in Honduras, visiting the dry forest habitat with an early breakfast at the Resort, and departure will be by 4:30 AM.

The target bird in this birding tour is the unique but critically vulnerable Honduran Emerald Hummingbird, that survives only in remaining areas of dry forest located at the south of Pico-Bonito Reserve.

Although endangered, the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird is considered very common within its habitat. As such, regardless of season, our chances of seeing the Honduran Emerald are very good.

Our ride into this biome can be equally exciting because the surprising number of bird species that inhabit the dry forest habitat. Along the way, we’ll also visit localized wet areas within this arid region.

These spots can be a paradise for wading birds and another species. We’ll go in the quest of species such as; Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus), Lesser Roadrunner (Geococcyx velox), Lesser Ground-cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus), Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet (Camptostoma imberbe), White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris), White-throated Magpie-jay (Calocitta formosa), Banded Wren (Thryophilus pleurostictus), White-bellied Wren (Uropsila leucogastra), and Stripe-headed Sparrow (Peucaea ruficauda), and Salvin’s Emerald (Chlorostilbon salvin), among others.

We’ll enjoy lunch in the nearby ranching town of Olanchito, and return to the Resort by 4:00 PM.

Dinner at Rio Santiago Nature Resort

Day 05: Breakfast at Rio Santiago Nature Resort, Depart towards Guatemalan Border/ El Rancho

Day 06: Dry Scrub Forest / Quetzal Biotope

Morning birdwatching at Heloderma Reserve (Chaparral or Thorn Dry Scrub Biome)

This natural reserve is located within the municipality of El Jicaro in the province of El Progreso and protects a very fragile and threatened biome in Guatemala.

The Heloderma Nature Reserve is located in the central valley of Guatemala, between 700 and 1000 meters above sea level, with an average of 600 mm of annual rainfall; It is characterized by the abundance of cactus and thorn plants.

Some birds associated with this ecosystem are: Lesser Roadrunner (Geococcyx velox), Russet-crowned Motmot (Momotus mexicanus), White-lored Gnatcatcher (Polioptila albiloris), Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus), Lesser Ground-Cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), Stripe-headed Sparrow (Peucaea ruficauda), Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens), Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis), and Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa).

Midday transfer to El Quetzal Biotope for birdwatching in the afternoon,

1 night of lodging at Posada Montaña del Quetzal.

Day 07: Biotopo del Quetzal / Antigua Guatemala

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Morning birdwatching at Ranchitos del Quetzal and try to spot the Quetzal and another interesting species,

After lunch transfer to Antigua Guatemala.

Day 08: Finca El Pilar / Antigua

Meals: Breakfast and lunch (without drinks)

Morning transfer to Finca El Pilar for a good birdwatching

Lunch in a local restaurant in Antigua

14:00 hrs., We will begin our walking cultural tour of Antigua, an enjoyable trip through outstanding churches and Cathedrals, ruins and museums that combined with the aged stoned streets keep the tales and legends of those colonial days, a fantastic journey through the past and present of Antigua Guatemala, that undoubtedly you will enjoy and which will make your morning unforgettable. We will be visiting the most important areas of Antigua like Central Park, La Merced, Santa Catalina Arch, and much more.

Day 09: Tecpan / Todos Santos Cuchumatanes

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

6:00 am. Departure from Antigua Guatemala toward Tecpan area

Breakfast in Tecpan

Bird watching tour In a Private Reserve located in Tecpan, Guatemala, here you will find remarkable and unique endemic species of the Central highlands of Guatemala (2,286 meters above sea level) like, Blue-throated Motmot (Aspatha gularis), Pink-headed Warbler (Cardellina versicolor), and Rufous-browed Wren (Troglodytes rufociliatus).

During migratory (wintertime) season you will find resident bird species together with the flocks of migratory.

Midday transfer to Todos Santos Cuchumatanes, there will be few birding spots along the way

1 night of lodging at Unicornio Azul

Day 10: Todos Santos Cuchumatanes / Quetzaltenango

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Morning transfer to Todos Santos National Park in the quest of Goldman’s Warbler (Setophaga c. goldmani), this specie will be our first endemic specie and is in small area in Huehuetenango and easy to spot in this park

Midday transfer to Quetzaltenango and birdwatching in the afternoon at Los Vados area

1 night of lodging at Hotel Las Cumbres

Day 11: Fuentes Georginas / Los Tarrales Private Reserve

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Morning birdwatching in the very humid sub-tropical forest at Fuentes Georginas, additionally of being a great birdwatching hot spot, Fuentes Georginas is a hot spring with several pools, lodging and restaurant area.

Here we hope to spot Wine-throated Hummingbird (Atthis ellioti), and Garnet-throated Hummingbird (Lamprolaima rhami), Cinnamon-bellied Flower piercer (Diglossa baritula), Mexican violetear (Colibri thalassinus), (Former Green violetear), Guatemalan Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma (g. cobanense), and occasionally the elusive Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus)

After lunch transfer to Los Tarrales Private Reserve and birdwatching around the lodge in the afternoon

2 nights of lodging at Los Tarrales Private Reserve

Day 12: Los Tarrales Reserve

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Time for Coffee and transfer to Vesubio area in the quest of Cabanis’s tanager (Tangara cabanisi), Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo (Vireolanius melitophrys), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Rufous Sabrewing (Campylopterus rufus), Quails and doves among other bird species of the Guatemala’s highlands. Breakfast at the place (boxed breakfast).

Lunch

Afternoon birding tour around La Laguneta, this area offers good opportunity to find out species such as Yellow-naped Parrot, Rufous-breasted Spinetail and White-bellied Chachalaca among others.

Dinner and lodging at Los Tarrales Reserve

Day 13: Los Tarrales / Lake Atitlan

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Time for coffee and transfer to La Rinconada area where is possible to find species such as Tody Motmot (Hylomanes momotula), White-eared Ground-Sparrow (Melozone leucotis), Long-tailed Manaking (Chiroxiphia linearis), Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow (Melozone biarcuata), among other. Breakfast at the place (boxed breakfast).

Midday transfer to Lake Atitlan and afternoon birdwatching around the lodge,

2 nights of lodging at Santiago Atitlan.

Day 14: Volcan San Pedro / Lake Atitlan

Meals: American breakfast, lunch and dinner (without drinks)

Early boat ride toward San Pedro La Laguna where we will climb San Pedro Volcano in the quest of Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus), and other interesting species such as Belted Flycatcher (Xenotriccus callizonus), Mountain Trogon (Trogon mexicanus), Chestnut-sided Shrike-vireo, Slender Sheartail (Doricha enicura), Amethyst-throated Hummingbird (Lampornis amethystinus), Black-throated Jay (Cyanolyca pumilo), Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus), Rufous Sabrewing (Campylopterus rufus), Blue-and-white Mockingbird (Melanotis hypoleucus), Bar-winged Oriole (Icterus maculialatus), and Ocellated Quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus), among others.

Lunch will be served on route (boxed lunch).

Day 15: Tepepul/ Guatemala City
Meals: Breakfast and lunch (without drinks)
Morning birdwatching around Rey Tepepul Park and afternoon transfer to Guatemala City,
1 night of lodging in Guatemala City

Day 16: Back Home
End of your birding expedition in the country of eternal spring.

NOTE: Our tours and birdwatching expeditions are a suggested birding ideas and can easily be customized to suite your travel dates, target, interest and budget.

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