For the wildlife enthusiast The Parrot Cove Lodge could hardly be better positioned. Inland lie the jagged green-mantled Maya Mountains, rivers and marshes are to either side, the restaurant opens on to a fine sandy beach and Coco Plum Cay glistens in turquoise waters out to sea. Six days hardly seems enough in such a paradise!
The famous Cockscomb Reserve lies just half an hour away with a fabulous range of birds, butterflies and mammals. Manatees surface around our boats in local lagoons and by the nearby Sittee River we can see all manner of colourful birds including Toucans, Tanagers, Trogons, Manakins and Kingfishers. Hummingbird Highway lives up to its name as iridescent avian jewels hover by trails around scenic Blue Hole National Park. Offshore are islets where Magnificent Frigatebirds’ pterodactyl shapes fill the air, males with great scarlet balloons hanging from their throats. Under shimmering seas are some of the exceptional reefs with colourful corals and fish as well as Eagle Rays and Bottle-nosed Dolphins.
It would take something special to drag us away but then Tikal is certainly that. Many square miles of spellbinding ruins are dominated by five magnificent temple-pyramids that rise above the rainforest canopy. Ocellated Turkeys and inquisitive White-nosed Coatis wander by intricately carved stellae and even the normally shy Great Curassow struts confidently around Tikal’s paths. Howler Monkeys produce a crescendo of sound at dawn as squadrons of multi-coloured Parrots fly in to pluck fruit ahead of acrobatic Geoffroy’s Spider Monkeys. The rare Orange-breasted Falcon sits watching from the top of one the temples, whilst over nearby forest soar Ornate Hawk Eagle and the striking King Vulture. Nearer at hand Purple-washed Eyemark and the Dark Kite-Swallowtail might distract us from the ruins and certainly the Flame-tailed Pondhawk will.
Las Guacamayas Lodge, and the associated biological station, are set in the heart of the Laguna del Tigre National Park in some of the most biodiverse habitats in Central America. The name comes from one of the area’s most famous residents, the fabulous Scarlet Macaw. We’ll take a boat trip to look for the rare and lovely Agami Heron though Sungrebe, Green Jay, Russet-naped Wood-Rail, and Bare-throated Tiger-Heron will try and distract us from our quest! Around the lodge itself we can find Wedge-tailed Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Red-capped Manakin, White-collared Manakin, Black-headed Trogon, Golden-hooded Tanager, Tody Motmot, and Royal Flycatcher, and butterflies are abundant with Long-spotted Silverdrop and Transandean Cattleheart among them.
Guatemala’s volcanos are home to all manner of beautiful creatures. There’s the lovely Pink-headed Warbler, denizen of the wonderfully architectural bromeliads that make the oak trees their very own gardens. There’s colourful Blue-throated Motmot, Hooded Grosbeak and Lesson’s Motmot, and we can find beautiful dragonflies such as Ornate Helicopter, Many-striped Skimmer, Great Spreadwing, Carmine Skimmer and Slough Amberwing. Sky-blue Greatstreak, Blue Metalmark, Red Cracker, Tiger Mimic-Queen, Confused Tigerwing, and Yellow-fronted Owl-Butterfly are amongst a host of lovely butterflies that also include Orange-striped Eighty-eight and Guatemalan Copper. We’ll search for the lovely Azure-rumped Tanager, and other beauties are Wine-throated Hummingbird, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Unicolored Jay, Highland Guan, and with luck the near-mythical Horned Guan.
Dates and Prices
1st November - 17th November 2024 (17 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Birds, Butterflies, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Tropical Mountain Landscapes and Coral Cays (with optional snorkelling).
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 9.
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Belize and Guatemala. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included. Bird, mammal, butterfly and marine fish checklists are available.
Our stay in Belize starts with a night at the Birds Eye View Lodge right by the waters of the Crooked Tree Sanctuary. Then we move to the wonderful Parrot Cove Lodge for a 5 night stay. Sandwiched between the Maya Mountains and the coral cayes of Tobacco Reef this is an ideal base from which to explore rainforests, reefs and rivers. Manatees sometimes swim by offshore! Traditional thatch roof cabanas with very comfortable air-conditioned rooms are set in grounds that surround the spacious main lodge which opens out directly onto a palm-fringed beach. In Guatemala we have three nights we at the Hotel Tikal Inn, within walking distance of Tikal’s magnificence. Rooms are spread around the pleasant shaded grounds with only the forest beyond. Then we move to Las Guacamayas Lodge for a three night stay. Set in the heart of some of the most biodiverse habitats in Central America this lodge is a wildlife-lovers dream. Very comfortable, good food, and with wildlife everywhere you look! Our tour finishes with three nights in the Los Tarrales Lodge whose lovely rooms are set amid fabulous wildlife-filled grounds. All rooms have en suite facilities.
Relaxed and easy. Up to three or four miles a day and always at a slow pace, perfectly suited to photographers.
UK return flights are from London Heathrow/Gatwick, Edinburgh* or Manchester* to Belize City via a US airport, returning from Guatemala City, again via a US Airport. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Pleasantly warm for the most part though it can become quite hot in the middle of the day so relaxing siestas are certainly in order! Rain can be expected during some of the afternoons and is sometimes prolonged.
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.