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The Birds of Guatemala – Highlands

The Birds of Guatemala – Highlands
Led by Maynor Ovando

11 days / 10 nights
Availability: All year round

Resume of Program:

  • Day 1: Arrival – Transfer to Antigua Guatemala
  • Day 2: Antigua Guatemala
  • Day 3: Tecpan / Todos Santos
  • Day 4: Todos Santos
  • Day 5: Todos Santos / Quetzaltenango
  • Day 6: Fuentes Georginas / Los Tarrales Natural Reserve
  • Day 7: Los Tarrales Natural Reserve
  • Day 8: Los Tarrales / Santiago Atitlan
  • Day 9: Santiago / Paquisis
  • Day 10: Santiago / Rey Tepepul / Guatemala City
  • Day 11: Back Home

Price:

  • 2 pax: US$2,385 per person
  • 4+ pax: US$1,855 per person
  • Single supplement: US$270

Availability May 20th to November 30th, 2017

The tour includes:

  • All lodging as per itinerary sharing room with en-suite facilities
  • All meals from dinner day 1 to breakfast day 11
  • Ground transportation mentioned in the itinerary, 4X4 where is necessary
  • Boat transportation for Lake Atitlan
  • Birdwatching specialized tour guide full time from day 1 – 10
  • Local guides in each destination
  • Check List
  • Reserve and parks entrance fees
  • Hotel taxes

The tour does not include:

  • International flights
  • Airport departure tax (Q20 per person each way, about US$3.00)
  • Difference in price of hotel accommodation on holidays (Holly week, Christmas and New Year season)
  • Beverages
  • Travel Insurance
  • Telephone calls, laundry or any other items of personal nature
  • Tips to drivers and guides
  • Non-specified services

We visit:

Day 1: Arrival

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

Dinner in a local restaurant in Antigua

2 nights of lodging at Hotel Meson de Maria or similar in Antigua Guatemala.

Day 2: Antigua Guatemala

Early in the morning transfer to San Cristobal El Alto to start the birding day tour. Breakfast in a local restaurant with stunning views of the volcanoes.

Then continue birdwatching at Finca El Pilar located 10 minutes away from Antigua. This private area protects habitat ranging from 5000 to 8000 ft elevation, including a dry forest in the lower altitudes, and oak-pine and cloud forest at higher elevations.

Day 3: Tecpan / Quetzaltenango

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 the 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 Warblers, as well as Hutton’s Vireo.

After lunch transfer to Huehuetenango

Day 4: Todos Santos Cuchumatanes

Todos Santos is a region with a unique landscape in Guatemala, which combines sub-alpine meadows, rocky areas and slow-growing vegetation due to climatic conditions and altitude (3,850 meters). It is one of the geologically oldest areas and has the highest mountain formations of Central America.

This is one of the areas with the greatest biological diversity and endemism in the country, where a number of endangered species of flora and fauna can be seen like Guatemalan Fir (Abies guatemalensis), Hartweg’s Pine (Pinus hartwegii), Huitum (Juniperus standleyii), Maya Mouse (Peromyscus mayensis) Cuchumatanes Salamander (Dendrotriton chujorum), among others.

Avian species related to this area are Goldman’s Warbler, which will be the first Endemic Species of Guatemala, Black-capped Siskin, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Common Raven and Savannah Sparrow.

Morning transfer to Todos Santos National Park in the quest of Goldman’s Warbler, this species will be our first endemic species and is located in a small area in Huehuetenango and easy to spot in this park.

Day 5: Todos Santos Cuchumatanes

Morning birding around the lodge.

Mid-morning transfer to Quetzaltenango (3 hours in total). Afternoon birding

Day 6: Fuentes Georginas / Los Tarrales Private Reserve

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

Afternoon transfer to Los Tarrales Nature Reserve

Day 7: Los Tarrales Reserve

Time for Coffee and transfer to La Isla 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 excellent opportunity to find out species such as White-bellied Chachalaca, Yellow-naped Parrot, and Rufous-breasted Spinetail among others.

Day 8: Los Tarrales / Santiago 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 towards Santiago Atitlan (1.5 hours)

Midday transfer towards Santiago Atitlan (1.5 hours)Afternoon birding around the lodge and in the shore of the lake,

Afternoon birding around the lodge and in the shore of the lake.

Dinner

Day 9: Volcan San Pedro

Note: This activity demands high effort

Early breakfast

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.

Dinner

Day 10: Rey Tepepul / Guatemala City

Morning explore Rey Tepepul and Lake Atitlan and after lunch transfer to Guatemala City (2.5 Hours)

Farewell dinner in Guatemala City

Lodging

Day 11: Back Home (Unguided)

Breakfast and transfer to the airport in time to catch your international flight back home!!!

Antigua:

We begin this birding adventure in Antigua Guatemala, a unique destination that offers several activities for the travelers to enjoy while visiting the colonial jewel. This prime destination includes a wealth of churches and ruins that enable you to experience a cultural immersion inside of the Guatemalan culture and history.

Bird watching in Antigua Guatemala is an excellent opportunity to discover the world of the birds of Guatemala, offering, easy and exciting birding activities inside nature reserves and private properties located just 10 minutes from the main square.

Antigua Guatemala, Important Bird Area (IBA – GT016) is situated mainly within the volcanic chain (Agua, Acatenango, the active Fuego, and Pacaya volcanoes); with altitude that goes from 500 to 3,900 meters above sea level.

The land covered by diverse habitats such as farmland, forestry, coffee, avocado, medlar, and macadamia plantations, some pasture land, montane broadleaf, evergreen and pine-oak forest, a with a high degree of regional endemism located within the North Central American Highlands Zone.

Some birds that you can enjoy in this beautiful destination are:

  • Rufous Sabrewing
  • Green-throated Mountain-Gem
  • Magnificent Hummingbird
  • Bushy-crested Jay
  • Velasquez’s Woodpecker
  • Gray Silky-Flycatcher
  • Singing Quail
  • Black-capped Swallow
  • Black-vented Oriole
  • Lesser Roadrunner
  • Black-headed Siskin
  • Ocellated Quail

Tecpan :

Tecpan is located just one hour from Antigua Guatemala on the Inter-American Highway and within the Central Highlands of Guatemala endemism zone, at an altitude of 2,286 meters above sea level and near to Iximche archeological site.

This birding hotspot offers a group of well-designed and easy walking trails under the pine-oak forest that inhabits many exotic regional endemic bird species including the beautiful Pink-headed Warbler, our primary target in this important bird area.

Founded in 1525, Tecpán is recognized as the first capital of Guatemala, the earliest permanent Spanish colonial military settlement in the colonial Guatemala. The fortification was constructed right here because of the problems that the Spanish experienced while conquering the Kaqchikel Maya throughout the Spanish conquest of Guatemala.

Bird species in tecpan are:

  • Pink-headed Warbler
  • Blue-throated Motmot
  • Guatemalan Flicker
  • Mountain Trogon
  • Hooded Grosbeak
  • Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
  • Hutton’s Vireo
  • Amethyst-throated Hummingbird
  • Yellow-eyed Junco

Todos Santos Municipal Park:

Todos Santos is a region with a unique landscape in Guatemala, which combines sub-alpine meadows, rocky areas and slow-growing vegetation due to climatic conditions and altitude (3,850 meters). It is one of the geologically oldest regions and has the highest mountain formations of Central America.

This park is one of the natural reserves with the greatest biological diversity and endemism in the country, where some endangered species of flora and fauna can found.

Some species are Guatemalan Fir (Abies guatemalensis), Hartweg’s Pine (Pinus hartwegii), Huitum (Juniperus standleyii), Maya Mouse (Peromyscus mayensis) Cuchumatanes Salamander (Dendrotriton chujorum), among others.

Avian species related to this area are:

  • Goldman’s Warbler
  • Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl
  • Ocellated Quail
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Rufous-collared Robin
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Eastern Meadowlark

Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango is well known as the second most popular urban center in the country, situated in the western area of Guatemala, at 210 km from the capital town, throughout the Panamerican road.

Quetzaltenango is probably one of the coolest cities in Central America; The temperatures differ from 4 °C to 19 °C, and from November through February (the coldest season) the lowest temperatures occasionally declines to -9 °C, while the highest temperatures never arrive higher than 11 °C.

Fuentes Georginas

Fuentes Georginas is in the municipality of Zunil, just 20 minutes from the center of Quetzaltenango, this birding hotspot offers an easy birding experience within a very humid sub-tropical forest, in addition to being an excellent birding destination, Fuentes Georginas is a hot spring with developed pools.

Here we hope to spot Wine-throated and Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Cinnamon-bellied flower piercing, Horned One, Mexican_violetear (Former Green_violetear) and Guatemalan Pigmy Owl

  • Black-capped Siskin
  • Rufous-browed Wren
  • Unicolored Jay
  • Brown-backed Solitaire
  • Golden-browed Warbler
  • Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer
  • Mountain Thrush
  • Horned Guan (occasionally)

 Los Tarrales Natural Reserve 

Los Tarrales nature reserve is an important area for conservation in Guatemala located 125 km from Guatemala City (2.5 hours) and 1 hour from Panajachel, Lake Atitlan.

Tarrales is a Natural Private Reserve situated in the southeast area of the Volcano of Atitlan, the altitude in this important bird area goes from 615 to 2.600 meters above sea level. This condition allows having a great variety of species and biomes in the same place.

It is home to the endemic and endangered Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus) and the Azure-rumped Tanager (Tangara cabanisi).

Some Species that inhabit Los Tarrales are:

  • Azure-rumped Tanager
  • White-bellied Chachalaca
  • Highland Guan
  • Pacific Parakeet
  • Yellow-naped Parrot
  • Rufous-breasted Spinetail
  • Tody Motmot
  • Emerald-chinned Hummingbird
  • Blue-tailed Hummingbird
  • Long-tailed Manakin
  • Blue-crowned Chlorophonia
  • Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow
  • White-throated Magpie-Jay
  • Green Shrike-Vireo
  • Cinnamon Hummingbird
  • Long-billed Starthroat
  • Spot-breasted Oriole
  • Lesson’s Motmot

Santiago Atitlan – Rey Tepepul – Paquisis

Majestically evergreen volcanoes and turquoise blue waters embellish the magnificent Lake Atitlan, a birding hotspot located within the GT015 IBA.

This important bird area has an altitude that goes from 500 to 3500 meters above sea level, with different habitats such as farmland, coffee plantations, urban areas, montane broadleaf evergreen, and pine-oak forest among other.

Our one-day birding tour in Atitlan is operated mainly around parks, nature reserves, and private properties within the highlands of northern Central America endemism zone; this is an important bird watching destination with a high degree of regional endemism.

Lake Atitlan birding trip provide a very attractive opportunity for birdwatchers looking for the specialties restricted to south of Mexico and Guatemala and other exotic birds of Guatemala.

Some of the birds that you can spot in Lake Atitlan are:

  • Blue-and-white Mockingbird
  • Horned Guan
  • Belted Flycatcher
  • Black-throated Jay
  • Wine-throated Hummingbird
  • Garnet-throated Hummingbird
  • Slender Sheartail
  • Elegant Euphonia
  • Rusty Sparrow
  • White-eared Ground-Sparrow
  • Black Thrush