Custom Birding Belize-7 nts
Best Birding Sites in Belize
- Lots of walking, mostly flat, comfortable accommodations
8 days/7 nights
Begin any day
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You will spend 3 full days exploring the trails and the Lamanai ruins, the mysterious jungle-shrouded temples of this once powerful 3000 year old civilization. Local guides at Lamanai know this area like it’s their back yard, which it is! In the evening you can see birds come in for the night on a sunset river cruise or do a ‘Spotlight Safari’, looking for nocturnal species such as Yucatan Nightjar, Common Pauraque or Mottled Owl. Along the shores you may even see jaguar. Each day you will have at least two outings with the local guide, allowing for quiet afternoons, or your option to do trails on your own or take out a canoe on the river. Non-birding activities are available, such as visits to the ruins and museum, medicinal plant walk, or visit a local village.
Lamanai Outpost Lodge is very comfortable, featuring spacious rooms with private bath, mini-fridge, and verandah. Delicious food (special diets can be accommodated) is served in the dining room, which overlooks the forest and the river, with Wi-Fi available in the sitting area of the lodge.
En route to our next destination, the Mountain Pine Ridge, we make a stop at the Belize Zoo. You may ask, “Why visit a zoo when you are in a country filled with amazing flora and fauna?” This question can be answered by reading The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw by Bruce Barcott. A book of inspiring environmental activism, it is the story of Sharon Matola, founder of the Belize Zoo. The inhabitants here are mostly injured or orphaned animals, and the facility serves as an educational tool for visitors to Belize as well as natives, teaching them about their natural heritage.
The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is the largest and oldest of Belizean parklands, established in 1944. The red earth and sandy terrain, Caribbean Pines, granite outcroppings, tumbling waterfalls, huge limestone caves, and rolling, open savanna grasslands, bordered by lush tropical rainforest, make the Reserve unique in Central America. The pine is in the process of regeneration after the explosion of the bark beetle population; indeed it is amazing to witness the renewal of this special habitat. This diverse area is known for its cool evenings and breeze filled days, as well as the many incredible species of birds which inhabit it. A full day will be spent exploring the preserve at Hidden Valley by vehicle and on foot on its over 90 miles of trails. You will search for species that inhabit higher elevation pine-oak forest and broad-leaf rainforest, like Stygian Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Yellow-backed Oriole, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, King Vulture and the rare Orange-breasted Falcon.
Another day you will visit Caracol, deep in the Chiquibul Wilderness, and one of the largest sites of the ancient Mayan world, with over 4000 structures spread over 55 square miles. Cloaked in a jungle shroud, it is difficult to appreciate the extent of this mighty city, but Caracol features the towering temple of Caana (the Sky Palace), Belize's tallest manmade structure. The view from the top over the pristine jungle is breathtaking. Trails have been cut through the surrounding jungle for those interested in observing the wealth of fauna, flora and birdlife that inhabit the area.
Hidden Valley Inn, a luxury hotel with only 12 cottages, is located on a 7200 acre private reserve in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. The cottages have one king or two twin beds, private bath, ceiling fans, and a fireplace.
On the final day we will head back to Belize airport, about 2 ½ hours.
- Accommodations: 2 very comfortable lodges, private bath with hot water, delicious food
- Included: 7 nights hotel with tax, all local transportation, services of local guide, entry fees, all meals
- Not included: International airfare, gratuities
Bring: Binoculars, sun screen, bug juice, flashlight, hiking boots, personal items