BELIZE: 10-day Intro to Tropical Birding

Belize--3

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BIRDS & WILDLIFE

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2023 :: February 3 - February 12
2024 :: February 2 - February 11

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $3,200 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Belize City, Belize (BZE)

GROUP SIZE

4 - 7 Participants

AVAILABILITY

January 2023: 7 spaces available

February 2023: 1 space 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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TESTIMONIALS

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Highlights of BELIZE: 10-day Intro to Tropical Birding

  • Less than 2.5 hours flight from the Miami or Houston
  • Belize is the best destination to begin your tropical birding fun
  • Over 60% of the land in Belize is protected
  • Belize is the last Central American stronghold of the majestic Jabiru
  • Many regional endemics such as the Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher and Yellow-lored Parrot

Description of BELIZE: 10-day Intro to Tropical Birding

Belize is the best location to begin your tropical birding travels! Located only a few hours from the USA, Belize is home to over 600 species of birds. Easy trails, comfortable climate and easy access to great birding locations make Belize a very special place to learn the tropical families.

Belize is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the Americas. Thanks in part to its small population, over 60% of Belize’s 8867 sq. miles (about the size of New Hampshire) have been protected. This protection has allowed the birds and wildlife of Belize to continue to flourish. Over 600 bird species have been recorded within Belize’s borders and along its reef!

Belize is the last Central American stronghold of the majestic Jabiru, a stork that stands about 5 feet tall with an 11 foot wingspan, which nests in the savannas and wetlands of the north. Regional endemics such as Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher and Yellow-lored Parrot may also be found in the pine-oak savannas. The tropical dry forest of northwestern Belize offers a multitude of species more easily found in Belize than anywhere else… Great Curassow and Ocellated Turkeys roam the forest floor while Double-toothed Kites and Barred Forest Falcons search for prey under the canopy. Belize’s broad-leaf rainforest holds more target species including many forest raptors like Collared Forest Falcon and Ornate Hawk-Eagle.

Length of Tour

10-Days/9-Nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive / Drive to Rio Bravo Conservation Area

Day 2- Rio Bravo Conservation Area

Day 3 – Rio Bravo Conservation Area

Day 4 – Drive to Cayo District / Crystal Paradise

Day 5 – Crystal Paradise

Day 6 – Crystal Paradise / Mountain Pine Ridge / Carocol

Day 7 – Drive to Crooked Tree

Day 8 – Crooked Tree

Day 9 – Crooked Tree

Day 10 – Return Home

 

Detailed Itinerary

BELIZE BIRDING BONANZA 10-DAY Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL & Drive to Rio Bravo Conservation Area

After going through customs we will load our van and begin our adventure driving the Northern Highway to the Rio Bravo Conservation Area and La Milpa Lodge. Approximate driving time without stops is 2.5 hours.

The RBCA covers 300,000 acres, about 5% of Belize’s land area, and is a privately held wildlife sanctuary and research area within the tropical dry forest region. The La Milpa Station, named for the ancient Mayan ruins found on the site, offers great food and excellent accommodations.

NOTE: Though most birds we pass will be new to everyone, we will stop only for birds that are less common so as to spend less time on the road and more quality time birding! Dinner our Lodge. 

After dinner we will have a short group discussion and an orientation to Belize before turning-in to rest before an early rise.

NOTE: Each day’s activities are subject to minor changes due to weather or unexpected opportunities.

 

Day 2 Rio Bravo / LA MILPA LODGE 

Pre-breakfast birding will offer an orchestra of bird song. We will bird the grounds around the lodge until breakfast is served. After a quick breakfast served family style we will continue our birding through the grounds and seldom used entry road.

Lunch (as with all our meals) will be at La Milpa and will be followed by a brief siesta in the heat of the day. However, butterflies in the area can be fantastic at this time of day!

Birding the property around Rio Bravo is a great experience from dawn to dusk, and beyond, offering a multitude of species. Collared Forest Falcons, Ocellated Turkeys, Northern Potoos and a multitude of tanagers, honeycreepers and hummingbirds may be seen.

Night spotlighting may offer Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-and-White Owl and a number of roosting passerines. We have also seen Jaguar, Margay, Kinkajou, Tapir and other mammals!

 

Day 3 Rio Bravo / LA MILPA LODGE 

Today’s birding will take us to the La Milpa ruins where the forest remains little disturbed and the birding is often interrupted by Black Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys! We always hope for an ant swarm here to bring in a number of tanagers and woodcreepers. 

More spotlighting will extend our day!

 

Day 4 Drive to CAYO DISTRICT / CRYSTAL PARADISE LODGE

Before breakfast we will prepare for departure, leaving Rio Bravo after breakfast. We have several birding stops planned along the way, which may include the Monkey Bay Sanctuary or other locations. Lunch will be at Cheers, a local restaurant. We will arrive at our lodge in time for dinner and checklist update.

From Crystal Paradise we will have access to two amazing habitats:

• The beautiful Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is home to the endangered Orange-breasted Falcon that nests at Hidden Valley Falls, as well as many habitat-specific species.

• The Chiquibil Forest Reserve, a lush broad-leaf rainforest, surrounds the amazing Mayan ruins of Caracol where we can find Keel-billed Motmot, Great Tinamou and many other highly sought-after species.

NOTE: Each day’s activities are subject to minor changes due to weather or unexpected opportunities.

 

Day 5 CRYSTAL PARADISE LODGE

Pre-breakfast birding on the grounds of the lodge will yield some wonderful sights. After breakfast we will explore some trails in search of raptors, toucans, trogons and more.

Lunch will be at the lodge, followed by some siesta time before afternoon birding. Dinner back at the lodge.

 

Day 6 PINE RIDGE / CARACOL / CRYSTAL PARADISE LODGE

A very early departure will take us along a bumpy road for 30 miles to the amazing Mayan ruins of Caracol. Excavation and restoration work continues on Caracol, one of the largest known Mayan sites, and the birding here can be magnificent.

We plan to arrive soon after sunrise and have a box breakfast as we enjoy the morning orchestra of bird song before birding the trails surrounding the ruins.

After a box lunch at the site, we will begin our drive back north, with a stop at Hidden Valley (1000 ft) Falls in the heart of the Mountain Pine Ridge to look for Orange-breasted Falcons, King Vultures and more!

We will return to our lodge for dinner and a good night’s sleep!

 

Day 7 drive to Crooked Tree Sanctuary / Birdseye View Lodge

After breakfast we will depart for Crooked Tree birding stops  along the way. We will again have lunch at a local restaurant and arrive in Crooked Tree in time for some birding before dinner.

The Crooked Tree Sanctuary is part of the village of Crooked Tree. This village, named for an old Bullet Tree that is no longer standing, is on an island in the fresh-water Crooked Tree Lagoon. This inland waterway is the drainage for the surrounding savanna area of northern Belize, and is a “magnet” for birds of many species throughout the year.

NOTE: Each day’s activities are subject to minor changes due to weather or unexpected opportunities.

 

Day 8 Crooked Tree Sanctuary / Birdseye View Lodge

Rise early for pre-breakfast birding. After breakfast we will board our boat to explore the Crooked Tree Lagoon and Spanish Creek in search of crocodiles, howler monkeys and, of course, many birds! The lagoons, streams and surrounding marsh all drain into Black Creek, and eventually into the Belize River. The vegetation along the creek is relatively low, affording some excellent views of the wildlife.

After lunch back at Crooked Tree, we will take a short rest before we explore the upper end of the island of Crooked Tree, a pine/oak savanna home to many hard-to-find species such as Yellow-lored Parrot and Yucatan Jay.

Dinner at Crooked Tree. After dinner we will have a group discussion and list updating, and of course, time to relax and enjoy the moonrise over Crooked Tree Lagoon. This is also a great area for stargazing!

 

Day 9 Crooked Tree Sanctuary / Birdseye View Lodge

Rise early for pre-breakfast birding. After breakfast we will explore the village looking for endemics and other species we may have missed. Lunch back at our lodge.

The afternoon will be kept open for options to explore other locations nearby for additional species.

This evening we’ll have our farewell dinner at the lodge with our final checklist before we prepare for our flights home the following day.

 

DAY 10 Drive to Airport for flights home

Please choose flight departures no earlier than 12:00PM

NOTE: Each day’s activities are subject to minor changes due to weather or unexpected opportunities.

NOTE: The order in which we visit the above destinations may change.

Cost

Cost is $3,200 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 $500 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.

Birding Areas and Accommodations

Bocawina Eco Resort

Mama Noots Eco Resort lies on 47 acre private nature preserve that is surrounded by two national parks. Comfortable rooms with hot showers allow us to wake to the sounds of the jungle each morning. Meals are served in the restaurant/bar. The lodge offers easy access to the surrounding national parks and preserves as well as other lesser known birding locations.

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary – Crooked Tree Lodge OR Birds Eye View Lodge

Both lodges are 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 lodges offer private rooms or cabanas with en-suite bath and their own dining room to serve our guests. The down-home treatement at each lodge, including delicious Creole style meals and desserts are always a hit!

 

La Milpa Lodge

A simple, comfortable lodge was built on the 300,000 acre Rio Bravo Conservation Area property operated by Programme for Belize. Wonderful meals are served family style in the main building. Cabins have two beds, en suite facilities and fans.

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

The trails are easy, but you should be able to easily walk two miles without stopping. Not that we will be doing this, however, sometimes it may be needed to get the birds we seek.

Birds of BelizeRecommended Field Guide:

Birds of Belize

(University of Texas Press, 2003)

by H. Lee Jones

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