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Guatemala

This underrated destination features superb birding for spectacular highland species like Horned Guan, Pink-headed Warbler, Resplendent Quetzal, and Ocellated Quail. Unlike tours to some nearby countries, there is no difficult hiking or camping - all accommodation is in comfortable hotels and the birding is easy!

Next Dates

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Price: $

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Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

6

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Accommodation:

All comfortable hotels, except for the two nights at Sibinal, which are in a basic hotel with only cold water showers.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy, but the occasional uphill trail at some sites, and accessing steep terrain below the road potentially required at Tacana Volcano to get into viewing position for guans.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: Arrivals into Guatemala City International Airport (GUA) and transfer to hotel in time for early dinner. Spotlighting nearby for Fulvous Owl and Mexican Whip-poor-will.


Day 2: Early transfer to Finca Caleras de Chichavac, where special tropical highland pine-oak forest holds the elusive Pink-headed Warbler, along with Mountain Trogon, Guatemalan Pygmy Owl, Chestnut-sided Shrikevireo, Olive Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Red-faced Warbler, Grey Silky Flycatcher, Singing Quail, Hutton’s Vireo, and Crescent-chested Warbler. After spending the morning at the reserve, we will drive towards Sibinal, a small town in the foothills of Tacana Volcano. We may have time for some birding in the evening. Night in Sibinal.


Day 3: Tacana Volcano is one of the few places in the country where one can drive up to 3000 m elevation and reach suitable Horned Guan habitat without having to leave the vehicle! We will have a full day in search of this enigmatic species, visiting various spots where it can be seen. Other birds we might encounter include Black-throated and Steller's Jays, Pink-headed Warbler, Pine and Black-capped Siskins, Yellow Grosbeak, Rufous-browed Wren, Blue-throated Motmot, and Slaty Finch. We will also have our first attempts at two somewhat unpredictable specialties: Wine-throated Hummingbird and Maroon-chested Ground-Dove. Night in Sibinal.


Day 4: After morning birding, we will drive to the Los Cuchumatanes Mountains in Huehuetenango. During the afternoon, we will be birding in search of Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Pine Flycatcher, and Black-capped Siskin, then after dark have our first attempt to see Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. Night at Todos Santos.


Day 5: A full morning spent in the Cuchumatanes Mountains in search of the exquisite Goldman’s Warbler, Ocellated Quail, and Garnet-throated and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, plus Amethyst-throated Mountaingem, Rufous-collared Thrush, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and several other species. In the afternoon, at Puerta del Cielo National Park, we will have a second chance for Ocellated Quail and other specialties, including more spotlighting chances for Unspotted Saw-Whet Owl and Flammulated Owl after dark. Night at Todos Santos.


Day 6: Today, we drive to Santiago Atitlán, making our way to the slopes of Toliman Volcano this afternoon for our first crack at Slender Sheartail, Belted Flycatcher, and Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird. Night in Santiago Atitlán.


Day 7: We will spend today in the foothills of Atitlán Volcano at Mirador Rey Tepepul, an excellent reserve in which to search for the endemic Azure-rumped Tanager, along with Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Green-throated Mountaingem, Rufous Sabrewing, Yellow-throated Nightingale-thrush, Crested Guan, Bar-winged and Yellow-backed Orioles, Long-tailed Manakin, Northern Emerald Toucanet, Tody Motmot, Hooded Grosbeak, Spotted Wood Quail, and many other exciting specials. We will also hope to see our first Resplendent Quetzal here, with birds in Guatemala sporting much longer tails than the more commonly seen subspecies in Costa Rica! Night in Santiago Atitlán.


Day 8: Another morning in Mirador Rey Tepepul before driving to our lodge at Los Tarrales Reserve, located on the lower slopes of Atitlán Volcano towards the coast. Afternoon birding around our rooms may produce White-bellied Chachalaca, Yellow-winged and White-winged Tanagers, Cinnamon, Beryline, and Blue-tailed Hummingbirds, Spot-breasted and Altamira Orioles, Yellow-naped Parrot, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Lineated Woodpecker, and many other foothill specialties. Night at Los Tarrales.


Day 9: Birding around Los Tarrales in search of Long-tailed Manakin, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Blue Seedeater, Painted Bunting, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Guatemalan Tyrannulet, White-eared Ground Sparrow, Turquoise-browed, Lesson’s, and Tody Motmots, Highland Guan, Thicket Tinamou, White Hawk, and King Vulture. After lunch, we will begin driving north, reaching Purulha for overnight.


Day 10: Morning session in Biotopo del Quetzal, looking for the range-restricted Unicoloured Jay. Other species here include Azure-hooded Jay, Resplendent Quetzal, Highland Guan, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Yellow-throated Nightingale-thrush, Guatemalan Tyrannulet, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, and possibly Barred Forest Falcon. In the afternoon, a nearby small, dry valley is often a good site for the scarce Great Swallow-tailed Swift, plus Slender Sheartail, Belted Flycatcher, Yellow-backed Oriole, Grace’s Warbler, and Painted Redstart. We continue to Coban City for overnight, where we can go looking for the highly range-restricted Bearded Screech Owl after dinner.


Day 11: Las Nubes Reserve is great for birding, with a mix of cloud-forest species like Slate-coloured Solitaire, Keel-billed Toucan, Northern Nightingale-wren, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-collared and Red-capped Manakins, and Black-faced Grosbeak. After lunch at the reserve, we take one last long drive, reaching El Remate Peten this evening. After dinner, we will go spotlighting in search of Middle American Screech Owl and possibly Striped Owl. Night at El Remate Peten.


Day 12: The Mayan Biosphere is the largest untouched lowland rainforest north of the Amazon, and today we will explore the southern portion around the ancient city of Tikal, now protected by a UNESCO-listed national park. Our morning will start at an abandoned airstrip (now unused for 30 years) covered in secondary vegetation hosting Pheasant Cuckoo, Mangrove Vireo, Yucatan Flycatcher, Rose-throated Tanager, Grey-throated Chat, Ocellated Turkey, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Great Currasow, Great Tinamou, and White-bellied Wren. In the taller rainforest, we hope to see Orange-breasted Falcon at the most accessible nesting spot for this scarce neotropical raptor, along with Bicoloured Hawk, Double-toothed Kite, Little and Slaty-breasted Tinamous, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, and Tody Motmot. Night at El Remate Peten.


Day 13: Full day in Yaxha National Park, another very biodiverse site in the Mayan Biosphere. The avifauna here is very similar to that of Tikal, but species like Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Yucatan Jay, and Rose-throated Tanager are easier here. We will spend a full morning birding around the archeological site and nearby forest in search of missing targets. Night at El Remate Peten.


Day 14: Switching to the Santa Ana Savanna this morning, we will target Yucatan Bobwhite, Black Catbird, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Botteri’s Sparrow, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, plus Vermilion and Fork-tailed Flycatchers. It heats up quickly in this habitat, so we will head back to the hotel by mid-morning to check out and drive to Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS), where the tour ends around midday.


NOTE: We can arrange an extension at the end of the tour into Honduras, targeting Honduran Emerald, Green-breasted Mountaingem, and Red-throated Parakeet – please let us know if you are interested at the time of booking.

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