BELIZE 9-Day Birding with Rudy & Chris

2019-Belize-01

TOUR FOCUS
BIRDS & WILDLIFE

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2025 :: January 18 - January 26
2025 :: March 8 - March 16

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $3,300 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Belize City, Belize (BZE)

GROUP SIZE

4 - 7 Participants

AVAILABILITY

January: 5 spaces available
March: 5 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of BELIZE 9-Day Birding with Rudy & Chris

  • Quick ~2.5hr flight from the Miami or Houston
  • 9-days, 3 lodges!
  • The ultimate introduction to tropical birding!
  • Over 60% of the land in Belize is protected
  • Top Targets include Jabiru & many Yucatan endemics!

Description of BELIZE 9-Day Birding with Rudy & Chris

Exploring Belize with our Wildside team is the ultimate introduction to tropical birding travel! This small Central American country is located on the Caribbean Sea just south of Cancun, Mexico and only a few hours from the United States. Belize is home to over 600 species of birds, including many Yucatan endemics! Very friendly locals, a comfortable climate, great food, and quick access to superb birding locations with easy trails from great accommodations combine to make Belize a very special place to learn the tropical birds while also recognizing many wintering species you might be familiar with back in the US!

Belize is one of the most environmentally-conscious countries in the Americas thanks in part to the country’s small human population and dedication to eco-tourism. Over 60% of the country’s 23,000 square kilometers have been protected as nature reserves. The broad swaths of protected land across Belize have allowed the birds and other wildlife to flourish. Belize is the last Central American stronghold of the majestic Jabiru which nests in the savannas and wetlands of the north. Many regional endemics such as Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher, and Yellow-headed Parrot may be found in addition to dozens of other tropical specialties and wintering neotropical birds!

This 9-day tour of northern Belize is customized for both a relaxing pace and also huge opportunities to enjoy the region’s birdlife! We will only be staying at 3 different lodges during the trip, and taking the time to really explore the areas we plan to visit. We have two coleaders for these trips – Rudy Crawford who was born and raised in Crooked Tree, and together with his brother Glen, has been the driving force of our Belize and other Central American birding tours for many, many years; and also Chris Brown, one of our Big Year & North American birding guides joins the fun for 2025!

Length of Tour

9-Days/8-Nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals at Belize City & Rio Bravo Conservation Area

Day 2 – Rio Bravo & La Milpa Lodge

Day 3 – Rio Bravo & La Milpa Lodge

Day 4 – Drive to Shipstern Wildlife Area

Day 5 – Shipstern Wildlife Area

Day 6 – Drive to Crooked Tree Sanctuary

Day 7 – Crooked Tree Sanctuary

Day 8 – Crooked Tree Sanctuary

Day 9 – Departures from Belize City

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals at Belize City & Rio Bravo Conservation Area

Arrivals at Belize City and transfer to the Rio Bravo Conservation Area (RBCA) with birding along the way. The RBCA covers 5% of Belize’s land area and is a privately held wildlife sanctuary and research area. The La Milpa Station, named for the ancient Mayan ruins found on the site, offers great food and excellent accommodations in a very bird-rich forest! The birding is incredible with Crested Eagle being seen here regularly! This area is so wild, it is where Belize chose to release a pair of Harpy Eagles donated from the breeding program in Panama. Night at La Milpa Research Station Lodge.

Day 2 – Rio Bravo & La Milpa Lodge

Birding the property around Rio Bravo is a great experience from dawn to dusk! Collared Forest Falcon, Ocellated Turkey, Northern Potoo, and the endemic Rose-throated Tanager will be searched for in addition to multiple species of honeycreepers and hummingbirds. Both Ornate Hawk Eagle and Black Hawk Eagle are possible too! Night spotlighting may produce sightings of Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-and-White Owl and a number of roosting passerines. We have also seen very exciting mamamals here including Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi, Kinkajou, and Tapir! Night at La Milpa Research Station Lodge.

Day 3 – Rio Bravo & La Milpa Lodge

Today’s itinerary will take us to the La Milpa ruins where the birding is often interrupted by Black Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys climbing through the canopy above! We always hope for an ant swarm through the jungle here which can bring in a number of tanagers, woodcreepers, and other specialties! Four species of trogon are possible in this region too! More spotlighting after dark! Night at La Milpa Research Station Lodge.

Day 4 – Drive to Shipstern Wildlife Area

After breakfast we will depart for Shipstern, having lunch along the way. Birding stops will keep us busy and we will arrive at our lodging in the late afternoon. Night at Sarteneja Inn & Restaurant.

Day 5 – Shipstern Wildlife Area

We will spend a full day enjoying locations around the Shipstern Wildlife Area in search of the Yucatan endemics and other specialties! Night at Sarteneja Inn & Restaurant.

Day 6 – Drive to Crooked Tree Sanctuary

After breakfast we will depart for Crooked Tree, having lunch along the way. Birding stops will keep us busy and we will arrive at Crooked Tree Lodge in the late afternoon.

This famous lodge sits quietly along the edge of a large freshwater, seasonal lagoon. Here we can watch for a multitude of wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, and waterfowl. The surrounding savannah and pine forests offer excellent birding, with many endemics possible like Yucatan Flycatcher, Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Parrot, and Gray-throated Chat! Both Pheasant Cuckoo and Striped Cuckoo may be heard and hopefully seen! Night at Birds Eye View Lodge, Crooked Tree.

Day 7 – Crooked Tree Sanctuary

We will explore the Crooked Tree Lagoon and Spanish Creek by boat, searching for the many species of birds and other animals which inhabit this beautiful sanctuary. With low canopy logwood, turtlebone, provision tree and mangrove, good views of Yellow-tailed Oriole, Mangrove Vireo, and Rufous-browed Peppershrike are very possible. The shy but striking Agami Heron will be specially searched for, often hiding in dense tangles of branches in narrow side-channels. The endangered Black Howler Monkey and Morelet’s Crocodile are also found here.

After having lunch back at our lodge, we will head out for the afternoon to explore the nearby pine-oak savannah. Yellow-lored (Yucatan) Parrot, Yucatan Woodpecker, and Yucatan Jay can be found in this habitat. Night at Birds Eye View Lodge, Crooked Tree.

Day 8 – Crooked Tree Sanctuary

Today we will boat up the New River to the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. We will see many bird species along the water’s edge including the intimidating and incredible Jabiru in addition to Northern Jacana, Black-collared Hawk, Sungrebe, and multiple species of kingfishers! The ruins of Lamanai are some of the best examples of the Mayan civilization remaining today. It was the last stronghold of this ancient civilization of which we know relatively little about. Birding near the ruins, we have found both Slaty-tailed and Collared Trogons, Double-toothed Kite, and Brown-hooded Parrot. Night at Birds Eye View Lodge, Crooked Tree.

Day 9 – Departures from Belize City

Departures from Belize City.

Cost

Cost is $3,300 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Belize City, Belize (Airport code BZE).
This trip ends in Belize City, Belize (Airport code BZE).

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $400 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Accommodations

La Milpa Research Station & Lodge

La Milpa Research Station & Lodge is located in northwestern Belize, at the Rio Bravo Conservation Area which covers 5% of the country’s land area! Lush, tropical dry forest covers ancient Mayan ruins where Howler Monkeys move through the trees and rarely-seen Jaguars silently roam the trails. The lodge offers spacious cabanas with en-suite facilities. Excellent meals are served family style in their large dining room.

Sarteneja Inn & Restaurant

The simple yet comfortable Sarteneja Inn and Restaurant is the perfect place to allow us easy access to the far northeastern region of Belize and the wonderful Shipstern Nature Reserve. With delicious meals prepared in the local style, we won’t go hungry!

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary – Birds Eye View Lodge

The famous Birds Eye View Lodge is set along the Crooked Tree Lagoon on the edge of the Creole settlement of Crooked Tree Village. This town of about 900 people offers incredible wildlife viewing as well as a very friendly atmosphere. Smiling faces will greet us everywhere in the village! The lodge offers private rooms or cabanas with en-suite bath, and a large indoor/outdoor dining room serving delicious Creole style meals, and the desserts are always a hit!

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

The trails are often quite easy and relatively flat, but you should be able to easily walk two miles without stopping to keep up with the pace of this tour.

Recommended Field Guides:

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map