Having known Chris for many years, we knew this was going to be a great tour. And it was. Chris is personable with a delightful sense of humor. One always feels comfortable around him. He takes excellent care of his birders (clients) by ensuring them what the daily plan is, where we are going and why. His birding skills are beyond excellent. He makes sure everyone sees the bird, if possible, explaining what we’re looking for and where. His ability to provide directions is a skill that goes a long way to making the bird spotting pleasurable and possible. Chris’s keen hearing ensures that birds that aren’t being seen have the potential to be called into view. Rockjumper is fortunate to employ Chris, an extraordinary individual. We look forward to traveling with Chris in the future.
Tiny Belize, the only English-speaking Central American nation, supports the highest density of Jaguar known to man and claims the world’s second largest barrier reef. Our birding & wildlife tour begins in Belize at the famed Crooked Tree Sanctuary, where opportunities for many Yucatan endemics are plentiful. Waterbirds of all sorts abound, and there is a great chance to get up close and personal with the spectacular Jabiru, the largest flying bird in the New World! We then traverse to higher elevation for a time in the submontane wet forest, pine forest, and a unique opportunity for several highland specials including Slate-colored Solitaire, Black-headed Siskin, Rusty Sparrow, Montane Solitary Eagle, and a wonderful opportunity to see both Stygian Owl and the regal Orange-breasted Falcon.
Crossing into Guatemala, we take in the remarkable Mayan temple complexes and cities that dominate the region of Petén. Here we target such highly sought-after species as the remarkable Ocellated Turkey, Black-throated Shrike-Tanager, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Mayan Antthrush, Northern Royal Flycatcher and the impressive Great Curassow! This northern Petén region of Guatemala is covered in extensive lowland rainforest harbouring many special birds of the Yucatan Peninsula and other more widespread forest species, most of which will represent new species for our tour. Not only is the birding superb, but mammal viewing and fascinating historical insights only add to our appreciation of the area. Leaving the Petén area behind, we head into the Guatemalan highlands to seek out Resplendent Quetzal, Azure-hooded, Bushy-crested and Unicolored Jays, Highland Guan, Green-throated Mountaingem, Guatemalan Pygmy Owl and Collared Trogon.
Leaving Guatemala behind, we move into Honduras, one of Central America’s best-kept birding and wildlife secrets. A biodiversity hotspot, it supports more than 700 bird species and various habitats including over 30 separate cloud forests. We will first take some time to explore the remarkable Mayan archaeological site at Copán, once a major Mayan dynastic kingdom and of prime archaeological importance for its numerous, well-preserved hieroglyphic texts that adorn its remaining monuments. Our tour draws to a close at one of the most spectacular eco-lodges on the planet: Pico Bonito Lodge! The bird list will be as impressive as the grounds and cuisine, including such gems as Keel-billed and Tody Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Lovely Cotinga, Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker, Red-capped Manakin, White Hawk, King Vulture, Black-and-white Owl, and too many other fantastic species to list here! We shall also visit the Honduran Emerald Reserve in the Aguan Valley for one of the only true endemics to the region, the glittering little hummer after which the reserve is named.
The awesome birdlife throughout the tour is further augmented by the ease of travel, luxury lodges, super-friendly people and fine cuisine, making this a thoroughly enjoyable birding adventure for both hardcore and casual birders alike!
Ocellated Turkey, Honduran Emerald, Resplendent Quetzal, Lovely Cotinga, Orange-breasted, Aplomado, Bat & Laughing Falcons, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Black-throated Shrike-Tanager, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Mayan Antthrush, Montezuma Oropendola, Northern Royal Flycatcher, Great Curassow, Slate-colored Solitaire, Black-headed Siskin, Rusty Sparrow, Azure-hooded, Bushy-crested & Unicolored Jays, Highland Guan, Green-throated Mountaingem, Elegant, Slaty-tailed, Gartered & Collared Trogons, Keel-billed, Turquoise-browed, Blue-diademed & Tody Motmots, Keel-billed Toucan, Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker, Red-capped & White-collared Manakins, White Hawk, King Vulture, Guatemalan Pygmy, Black-and-white, Mottled, Middle American Screech & Stygian Owls, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Sungrebe, Boat-billed & Agami Herons, Jabiru, Yucatan & Yellow-headed Amazons, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Montane Solitary Eagle, Grace’s, Rufous-capped, Blue-winged, Golden-winged, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Kentucky, Hooded & Worm-eating Warblers, Yucatan Poorwill, Flame-colored Tanager, Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher, Rose-throated Tanager, Grey-throated Chat, Azure-crowned, Stripe-tailed & Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Band-tailed Barbthroat, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Crowned Woodnymph, Purple-crowned Fairy, Mistletoe Tyrannulet, Tawny-faced Quail, Great & Slaty-breasted Tinamous, Great Potoo, Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Long-billed Hermit, Wedge-tailed & Violet Sabrewing
Puma, Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Margay, Ocelot, Baird’s Tapir, Guatemalan Howler Monkey, Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey, White-nosed Coati, Central American Agouti, Red Brocket Deer, Grey Fox, Grey Four-eyed Opossum
rainforest, cloudforest, dry forest, submontane wet forest, mixed temperate forest, coffee fincas, lakes, shoreline, marshes, lakes
mostly warm and humid tropical conditions; some cool to cold mornings at higher altitudes
fairly relaxed pace with some long walks. The climb to the top of the temple at Tikal is rather strenuous, and some of the trails at Pico Bonito and in the Guatemalan highlands are steep.
Copan, Caha Pech and Tikal Archaeological sites, great people, excellent arts & crafts, fantastic scenery