BIRDS & WILDLIFE
Belize has prided itself on being "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret" for years and today between 65 and 70% of Belize is still covered by native forests and much of the country is protected by national parks and reserves. One of the reasons Belize has been able to preserve its ecological resources is because of its relatively small human population. With just over 300,000 inhabitants, Belize is by far the least populated country in Central America.
Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians
Most wildlife is protected by Belize law. In addition, habitats supporting non-avian wildlife are large, contiguous and well-preserved, and human pressures (hunting, poaching, collecting) are relatively low. As a result, the chances of seeing wildlife are relatively high.
Some mammals such as coatis, foxes and agoutis are conspicuous and not easily missed. Many are nocturnal, such as kinkajous, armadillos and opossums and are most often found by owling with a flashlight. Mammals such as the Baird's tapir and jaguars are rare, nocturnal and shy and and are hardest to find, however with the aid of a good guide you can often spot their footprints.
BELIZE AS A BIRDING DESTINATION
With More than 500 bird species in varied habitats, many of which can be reached in a day, it is not uncommon for a week-long itinerary to produce a trip-list of more than 200 species during the winter months. On a Birding Tour you’ll have the chance to look for birds in tropical forests, in open savannahs and among the country’s many swamps and mangroves. And since some of the best Belize bird-watching sites are found close to other Belize attractions, coupling your birding adventure with other fun pursuits will only add to the experience.
Situated in Northern Belize, with its numerous birding-trails, lagoons, narrow river-ways and swamps, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is considered a birding-haven and one of the best known and most visited birding destinations in Belize. Jabaru storks, the largest flying bird in North & Central America, can often be found at the top of isolated trees or feeding in lagoons.
Located further North, nearly 400 bird species have been documented within a 3 mile radius of the Maya archaeological site of Lamanai, making this area a prime birding location. Habitats range from vast wetlands and broad-leaf forest to pine savannah. Regular sightings include the Northern Potoo, Yucatan Nightjar, Common Pauraque, Nighthawk, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Sungrebe and Agami Heron. In addition, Yucatan Black Howler Monkeys are commonly seen or heard here.
Western Belize's, Cayo District is well known for its abundant bird-life and duPlooy's Jungle Lodge, with its rich mixture of wildlife habitats, could not be better placed. Set in secondary growth tropical forest, overlooking the Macal River, and adjacent to the Belize Botanic Gardens, duPlooy's offers an unparalleled opportunity to get up-close to forest birds.
"Best Birding in Belize" - Birding Package (ALL-Inclusive 8 Nights / 9 Days)
This 9-Day Birding Package features the Best of Belize Birding. From Northern Belize to the Cayo District and into Guatemala, you could easily spot 200 species or more. As a bonus, you will also have the opportunity to visit some of the the best-known Maya sites in the region, where many of these birds thrive, as a result of their protected status within the reserves.
With this package you have 2 options for Day 1 through the morning of Day 3. Choose 1 of these options and then continue on with the Cayo District - Guatemala portion of you trip, starting on Day 3 in the afternoon, as outlined in the Package Details.
From US $2,800
* Actual cost depends on which option and room type you choose.
Option 1- Orange Walk & Crooked Tree
- 1 Night - Orange Walk Town - St. Christopher’s Hotel
- 1 Night - Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary - Bird’s Eye View Lodge
- Scheduled Activities: Birding and guided tour of Lamanai Archaeological Site;
Evening Birding at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary and Birding by boat in Crooked Tree Lagoon
Option 2 - Lamanai
- 2 Nights -Lamanai - Lamanai Outpost Lodge
- Scheduled Activities: Evening Birding at Lamanai Outpost Lodge; Birding and guided tour of Lamanai Archaeological Site and Birding by boat in Crooked Tree Lagoon
- 5 Nights - duPlooy's Jungle Lodge Resort
- Scheduled Activities: Birding at duPlooy's Jungle Lodge Resort & Belize Botanic Gardens; Caracol and El Pilar archaeological sites.
- 8 Nights Accommodations
- Expert Bird Guide
- ALL Transportation
- ALL Entrance Fees
- ALL Meals
- ALL Applicable Taxes & Gratuities
SAMPLE BIRDING IN BELIZE PACKAGE ITINERARY - 8 NIGHTS / 9 DAYS
DAY 1 - After clearing immigration and customs at the airport you will be met by your Bird guide and then will bird your way along the Northern Highway to Orange Walk Town and an overnight at St. Christopher’s Hotel.
DAY 2 - After breakfast travel by road to Tower Hill to meet your boat for the 26-mile jungle river ride up the New River to Lamanai Archaeological Site and a guided tour of the site. After your tour, head South to Crooked Tree for evening birding in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
DAY 3 AM - After breakfast hop in a boat to bird your way through the Crooked Tree Lagoon looking for shore birds and waterfowl.
DAY 1 - After clearing immigration and customs at the airport you will be met by a representative of Lamanai Outpost Lodge and head to the lodge by road. Wander around the grounds before dinner seeing what birds you can spot.
DAY 2 - After breakfast take a guided tour of the Lamanai.. In addition to this being a popular archaeological site, you will have the opportunity to spot new birds to add to your list.
DAY 3 AM - After breakfast meet your boat for the 26-mile downstream jungle river ride to Tower Hill to meet your guide who will take you to Crooked Tree for a boat trip through the Lagoon looking for shore birds and waterfowl.
DAY 3 PM - Leave for the Cayo District with a stop at the Belize Zoo and lunch at a favored restaurant along the way. When you arrive at duPlooy’s, enjoy a welcome drink while you discuss the rest of your itinerary with your guide. If there are particular birds you want to add to your list, let your guide know so that you can make any necessary changes to your itinerary (no extra charge for this. It’s Your trip.)
DAY 4 - Meet your guide for coffee on the deck and start your Birds of the Cayo District List right there. After breakfast your guide will take you around the site to some of the 100 acres of forest, field and riverside habitat, including the 45-acre Belize Botanic Gardens. Just from the deck you are sure to spot the hoards of hungry aracari who regularly feed from the fruit tray, yellow throated euphonia, yellow-winged tanager, blue-crowned motmot, the ubiquitous brown jay, masked tityra and more.
DAY 5 - While at duPlooy's you have the option of a pre-breakfast bird walk on the property. After breakfast depart for Caracol, the largest Mayan Archaeological site in Belize and the Mountain Pine Ridge, a 300 square mile reserve for beautiful scenery, waterfalls & birding. Stops will be made along the way as birding opportunities present themselves and at specific known birding sites.
DAY 6 - Birding at El Pilar Archaeological site. The site is excellent for birding, hiking, and provides an insight to Belize's sub-tropical forests. We will make stops along the way to view such birds as Collared Manikins, honey-creeper's and an array of flycatchers
DAY 7 - A Short trip into Guatemala takes you to Yaxhá, a Maya site where the birding has been described as "brilliant". Here you will find a wide variety of exotic species. observe swarms of Red-lored Parrot , White-fronted Parrot, Mealy Parrot and White-crowned Parrot flying over the canopy to reach their evening roosting site. At the lagoon you may observe the rare Jabiru and various species of Nearctic shorebirds. After your tour of Yaxha, head on to Tikal, check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening on your own.
DAY 8 - Today tour Tikal where you're sure to spot birds to add to your list as well as spider and howler monkeys and other small animals. After lunch head back to Belize for your last evening
DAY 9 - Air or Ground Transfer to Belize International Airport or Belize City for your return home or onward to your next destination.
* This Package begins from the time you leave the airport exit terminal to when you are ready to board again for your flight home or onward destination. And includes All costs for Transport, Accommodations, Tours/Fees & Equipment and ALL meals starting with dinner on your arrival day to breakfast on your departure day.
* Ask about special rates for your birding group
* The order you do your activities may change depending on your preferences or weather conditions.
* Ask us about adding a Southern Belize Component to your Birding package itinerary.
* A Belize Departure Tax of US $39.25 per person is not included in any of our package prices.