Mountains & Rain Forest - Birdwatching Tour

Mountains & Rain Forest Birdwatching Tour

This tour is a mixture of the best birdwatching destinations in Guatemala including the best locations to appreciate endemic bird species.

We will visit Guatemala’s center highlands (Mountain Forest), the pacific coast (Subtropical Humid Forest), the Biological Corridor of Resplendent Quetzal (cloud forest), las Verapaces and Peten (Tropical Rainforest) in the Guatemala’s lowlands.

Overview

  • Highlights: Antigua Guatemala – Tecpan – Finca El Pilar – Los Cuchumatanes – Quetzaltenango – Los Tarrales – Lake Atitlan – El Quetzal Biotope – Tikal National Park – Las Guacamayas Station
  • Activities: Bird watching – Archaeology – Nature and Wildlife
  • Difficulty: Moderate-High
  • Holiday Type: Tailor-made
  • You will visit: Guatemala
  • Trip Style: Independent birders – Couples – Small Groups
  • Comfort level: Standard – Luxury
  • Transportation: Minibus – Boat – SUV – Flight
  • Length: 12 Days / 11 Nights  (with extension 17 days)
  • Physical demand: Trip may include activities like walks, hikes and boat rides
  • Group size: Minimum 1
  • Pick up / Drop off locations: La Aurora International Airport

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival (Unguided)

Meet & greet at the International Airport La Aurora (Guatemala) and transportation to Antigua Guatemala

2 nights of Lodging in Antigua Guatemala

Day 2 - Finca El Pilar / Antigua

Morning birdwatching at Finca El Pilar located 10 minutes away from Antigua. The vegetation of this reserve is mainly constituted by coffee, pine and oaks, settle at an altitudinal range from 1,710 to 9,500 feet above sea level.

One of the main attractions in El Pilar farm is in the zone of hummingbird’s feeders where it is possible to spot a wide variety of hummingbird’s species that inhabit the area feeding oneself at the same time which represents a great opportunity for birdwatchers.

Lunch in a local restaurant in Antigua

14:00 hrs, you will start the thrilling cultural tour of Antigua visiting the magnificent churches, ruins and museums that combined with the old cobbled streets keep the stories and legends of those colonial times that undoubtedly you will enjoy and which will make your morning unforgettable. We will be visiting the most important areas of Antigua like La Merced Church, Central Park, the Santa Catalina Martir famous Arch of the 5th Avenue, and much more.

Some of the birds that you can spot at this destination are:

Rufous Sabrewing, Green-throated Mountain-Gem, Bushy-crested Jay, Hooded Grosbeak, Elegant Euphonia, Singing Quail, Golden-crowned Warbler, Bar-winged Oriole, among others.

Day 3 - Tecpan / Todos Santos Cuchumatanes

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

Breakfast in Tecpan

Bird watching tour In Tecpan Reserve where you will find interesting endemic species of the north Central American highlands like Pink-headed Warbler, Blue-throated Motmot, and Rufous-browed Wren.

During migratory (winter) season you will find Townsend’s, Wilson’s, Black-and-White, and Red-faced Warblers together with the resident Slate-throated Redstart, Pink-headed, Crescent-chested, and Olive Warbler, as well as Hutton’s Vireo.

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

Day 4 - Todos Santos Cuchumatanes / Quetzaltenango

Morning transfer to Todos Santos National Park in the quest of Goldman’s Warbler, this specie will be our first endemic specie and is located 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

Some of the birds that you can spot at this destination are:

Goldman’s Warbler, Yellow-eyed Junco, Ocellated Quail, Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl, Spotted Towhee, Black-capped Siskin, Ocellated Quail, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Pink-headed Warbler, Olive Warbler, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, among others.

Day 5 - Fuentes Georginas / Los Tarrales Private Reserve

Morning birdwatching in the very humid sub-tropical forest at Fuentes Georginas, in addition to being a great birding destination Fuentes Georginas is a hot spring with developed pools.  Here we hope to spot Horned Guan, Wine-throated and Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Cinnamon-bellied flower piercing, Mexican violetear (Former Green violetear) and Guatemalan Pigmy Owl.

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

Day 6 - Los Tarrales Reserve

Time for Coffee and transfer to Vesubio area in the quest of Azure-rumped tanager, Rufous Sabrewing, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Tody Motmot, Quails and doves among other species of the 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 White-bellied Chachalaca, Yellow-naped Parrot, and Rufous-breasted Spinetail among others.

Day 7 - Los Tarrales / Lake Atitlan

Time for coffee and transfer to La Rinconada area where is possible to find species such as Long-tailed Manakin, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Rufous-naped Wren among other.

Breakfast at the place (boxed breakfast).

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

Day 8 - Volcan San Pedro / Tarrales

Early boat ride toward San Pedro La Laguna where we will climb San Pedro Volcano in the quest of Horned Guan and other interesting species such as Prevost’s Ground-sparrow, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Slender Sheartail, Rufous Sabrewing Violet Sabrewing, Bushy-crested Jay, Olive-sided Towhee, Chesnut-sided Shrike-vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Mountain Trogon, Bar-winged Oriole and Ocellated Quail among others.

Day 9 - Lake Atitlan / El Rancho

Morning birdwatching around the Lake and El Rey Tepepul Park.

Midday transfer to El Rancho.

Afternoon birdwatching in the dry scrub forest

Day 10 - Dry Scrub Forest / El Quetzal Biotope

Morning birdwatching at National Park Lo de China (Caparral or Thorn Dry Scrub Biome).

This natural reserve is located in the municipality of El Jícaro in El Progreso and protects a very fragile and threatened biome of the country.

Located in the central valleys of Guatemala, between 700 and 1000 meters above the 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 Roadruner, Rosset-crowned Motmot, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Streak-backed Oriole, Lesseer Ground-Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Streak-Backed Oriole, Ash-throated Fly-catcher, Altamira Oriole and Turquoise-browed Motmot.

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

Day 11 - Biotopo del Quetzal / Guatemala City

Morning birdwatching at Ranchitos del Quetzal and try to spot the Quetzal and other interesting species.

After lunch transfer to Guatemala City.

Some of the birds that you can spot at this destination are:

Resplendent Quetzal, Highland Guan, Unicolored Jay, White-faced Quail-Dove, Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner, Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, among others.

Day 12 - Back Home (Unguided)

Breakfast and transfer to La Aurora International Airport in time to catch your international flight back Home.

End of our services!!!

Extension to the lowlands

Day 11 - Flight to Flores

17:15 hrs, flight to Flores.

18:00 hrs, meet & greet in Flores and transfer to Flores Island

Day 12 - Las Guacamayas Biological Station

Enjoy this fascinating birding tour in the Scarlet macaw´s sanctuary and prepare to discover the natural world of more than 260 species of resident’s birds

With an abundant wildlife such as spider monkeys and howler monkeys (saraguate), occasionally tapirs, crocodiles, and a great variety of birds, among those we can mention the scarlet macaw, toucans, blue herons, parakeets, and many more…

7:00 am. Leave from Flores to Paso Caballos for a trip of approximately 3 hrs. The whole road proposes great birding opportunity where we can watch some birds in open areas, secondary forest and ponds, such as Flycatchers, Hawks, Herons and Kingfishers among other.

Arrival to the community of Paso Caballos, here we will board a boat that will carry us through the San Pedro River towards Las Guacamayas Biological Station (aprox.20 minutes). Birding on route, here we can find out species such as Herons, Kingfishers, Limpkin, Parrots, Grey-necked Wood-rail, Northern Jacana and many more.

At your arrival, you will be received by the EBG staff and they will give an introduction on the activities of the station, solid waste management, research programs, conservation and social projection.

Lunch and at 3:00 pm. birding tour around the base station ending at Las Guacamayas lookout.

Day 13 - El Peru Archaeological Site

5:00 am. Time for a coffee (breakfast on route) We will board our boat for a birding tour through the archaeological site El Peru, where we will visit the most important nesting area of the scarlet macaw (Ara Macaw) in Guatemala and we can find interesting species such as Ocellated Turkey; Bat Falcon; Scarlet Macaw; Black-and-White Owl; Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Lovely Cotinga, Rose-throated Tanager; Green-Backed Sparrow, among others.

Note: You can spot Scarlet Macaws from February to May

Nighttime aquatic excursion: Explores the stream Sacluc, our experienced guide accompanies us for the nighttime aquatic tour. With the support of a flashlight, our guide illuminates the nighttime creatures that live here, including the crocodile petenero (Crocodylus moreletii), bats, birds and more.

Day 14 - Las Guacamayas / Tikal National Park

After breakfast transfer to Tikal National Park, On route you will stop in Flores to have lunch.  Quick stop at El Remate to do some birding.

Sunset tour in Tikal National Park

Day 15 - Tikal National Park

Early birdwatching Tour within Tikal National Park, Tikal is part of the nucleus areas of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, with a high level of conservation activities and research.

The monuments, remnants of the ancient Maya culture located in the middle of luscious jungles, are ideal places for birdwatching where we will find interesting species such as Ocellated turkey, orange-breasted falcon, Yucatan Jay, Black Catbird, Rose-throated Tanager, Great Curassow, White-fronted Parrot; Mealy Parrot, Crested Eagle, ,Slaty-tailed Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher; White-bellied Wren, Montezuma Oropendola and many hummingbirds among others.

During migratory season flocks of warblers, tanagers and others makes this destination a fantastic tropical paradise.

Day 16 - Tikal National Park

Tikal second day Birding and Archaeology tour.

Afternoon transfer to the airport.

18:30 hrs, local flight from Flores to Guatemala City.

19:30 Hrs, meet & greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel

Day 17 - Back Home (Unguided)

Breakfast and transfer to La Aurora International Airport in time to catch your international flight back Home

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