Pico Bonito and more!
9 days / 8 nights
$2695 double occupancy
$600 single supplement
January 3 - 11, 2016
Just 1 spot remains!
DAY 1- Arrival: After meeting our guide at San Pedro Sula International Airport, we’ll transfer to the lovely Panacam Lodge, a naturalist’s paradise nestled in the high mountains of 300 sq. kilometer Cerro Azul National Park. We’ll enjoy an afternoon / evening of birding along one of the Park’s many birding routes. Trails here lead from mid elevation rainforest through pine-oak habitat and eventually into cloud forest. Along the way we will look for Keel-billed Motmot, Highland Guan, Green Jay, Bushy-Crested Jay, Elegant Trogon, Black-crested Coquette, Wine-throated Hummingbird, and a myriad of other species that inhabit this pristine highland preserve. (D)
DAY 2- Resplendent Quetzals
Early morning coffee/light breakfast before a 4:30 AM departure for Santa Barbara National Park. Santa Barbara Park encompasses nearly 125 sq. kilometers of broadleaf rain and cloud forest. Up to 300 pairs of Resplendent Quetzals are estimated to thrive in this cool and cloudy montane reserve. Our trail will take us to nearly 6,000 feet in elevation, and the open nature of the forest along the way provides great views not only of Resplendent Quetzals, but also other species found in this habitat, such as Highland Guan, Emerald Toucanet, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Slate-colored Solitaire, Flame-colored Tanager, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Green Violet-ear, Red-throated Parakeet, Blue and White Mockingbird and others. We will enjoy lunch at Lake Yojoa before an afternoon and evening of birding the shorelines and marshes of Honduras’ largest lake. We will bird along the trails and elevated boardwalks of “Los Naranjos”, an archaeological park protecting a huge, pre-Colombian Lenca settlement on the lake’s bird-rich north shore. Here we’ll look for stunning, scope-filling views of waterfowl such as Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Blue-winged Teal, as well as Common Moorhen, Rudy Crake, Swallow-tailed Kite, Snail Kite, Black-necked Stilt, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Banded Wren and others. (BLD)
DAY 3: Because we liked it so much in 2013, we've scheduled an extra day to explore the Cerro Azul area before leaving for Pico Bonito. (BLD)
DAY 4: Transfer to Lodge at Pico Bonito
After early morning birding of the Panacam Lodge entrance road and grounds, we will enjoy a hearty breakfast before departing for Honduras’ North Coast and The Lodge at Pico Bonito, the highly acclaimed birding/rain forest resort within 270,000 acre Pico Bonito National Park. We’ll stop for lunch along the way, and a late afternoon arrival at The Lodge will afford us time to unpack, refresh and enjoy some light birding of the Lodge grounds before dinner. (BLD)
DAY 5: The Lodge at Pico Bonito - Lovely Cotingas
Our first day at The Lodge at Pico Bonito will begin at 6:00 AM, with an early breakfast/orientation on the spacious front deck of The Lodge’s Itzama Restaurant. For the next several hours our guide will lead us throughout the Lodge grounds, spotting numerous bird species that are common in the early hours. A climb to the top of the “Toucan Tower” observation platform offers a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy that can include heart-stopping views of the coveted Lovely Cotinga. Throughout the morning we will bird areas of tropical, secondary and gallery forest and plantations along the Rio Coloradito. Along this route, diversity is the rule, and examples of sightings include Lovely Cotinga, Masked and Black-crowned Tityras, Blue-crowned and Turquoise-browed Motmots, Tody Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Black-cowled Oriole, Black-headed and Violaceous Trogons, Collared and Slaty-tailed Trogons, Royal Flycatcher, Green, Shining and Red-Legged Honeycreepers, and 16 species of Hummingbirds including Crowned Woodnymph, Blue-throated Sapphire, Violet Sabrewing, Purple-crowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Green Violet-ear and White-necked Jacobin.
In the afternoon, after lunch at the Lodge and a light siesta, we’ll ascend with our guide along The Lodge’s loop trail system in search of species that inhabit the more interior parts of the forest. In addition to the Toucan Tower at the trail’s beginning, this route offers an elevated ridge platform which overlooks the Rio Coloradito and surrounding forested slopes. We'll also visit observation Tower #3 along the way, set amidst an area of bird-rich secondary forest and overgrown plantation. White-collared and Red-capped Manakins occur at various locations here and the Grey-headed Piprites may be seen as well. Both Keel-billed and Tody Motmots are frequently encountered along this route. Other species here include the Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Keel-billed, Emerald and Yellow-eared Toucanets, Collared Aracari, a host of Flycatcher species (including the Royal Flycatcher), and many of the Trogon, Woodpecker, Woodcreeper, Tanager and Oriole species on The Lodge’s 420+ bird list. In addition to superb viewing from The Lodge’s towers, this route passes several overlooks along the Rio Coloradito, and sightings of many Raptor species can be made here. Great and Northern Potoo are common here as well. (BLD)
DAY 6: Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge
Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is named for the Cuero and Salado Rivers which meet the ocean here. The Refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests that are home to diverse wildlife and a variety of birds exceeding 350 species. We’ll meet our guide early for breakfast, and depart for the refuge by 6:30 AM. Access into this wilderness is via a small motorized train which takes us along a century-old track through bird-rich ranchlands, marshlands and plantation areas, ultimately arriving at the mouth of the Salado River and the refuge itself. Birding from the train is always exciting, as even the conductor is eager to stop and point out species of interest along the way. Depending on season, a variety of raptors, wading birds and edge-habitat species abound along the railway.
Once at the refuge, we will explore the various aquatic and forest habitats from a small, motorized skiff. Our guides and boat handlers are superbly trained spotters and, when needed, prefer to silence our boat’s motor and quietly paddle in for a better look. Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Tri-colored Heron, Jabiru Stork, Pygmy Kingfisher, Gray-necked Wood Rail, Sungrebe, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon, and Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture are but a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado. During the right season (Feb. – March), we may also have the opportunity to visit an established Boat-billed Heron rookery, consisting of several hundred pairs of these broad-billed, wide-eyed, bill-clapping mangrove inhabitants.
After lunch back at The Lodge, we will have an afternoon to relax, visit The Lodge’s butterfly farm, or bird from the Lodge’s decks or gardens. (BLD)
DAY 7: Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
We’ll meet our guide for breakfast and depart for The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens by 5:30 AM. Set amidst a coastal valley flanked by low, rain-forested hills, The United Fruit Company founded Lancetilla as a station where tropical fruit and wood trees were studied for commercial value. The Gardens were founded in 1925, and some of that work continues, but this diverse tropical treasure, composed of a mosaic of forest and edge habitats, is today best known for its superb birding. Honduras' annual Christmas Bird Count is held at Lancetilla. Every December, birders flock to confirm (and add to) the Garden’s growing list of colorful, tropical species. The current bird list reads like a who’s who of tropical birds, and includes Motmots and Manakins, Woodcreepers and Warblers, Woodpeckers, Toucans, Tanagers, and scores of others. Thanks to this diversity, a typical day of birding here could yield Little Tinamou, Common Black Hawk, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Ruddy Crake, White-fronted Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-headed Trogon, ViolaceousTrogon, Collared Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Blue-crowned Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Great Antshrike, Barred Antshrike, Long-billed Gnatwren, and a host of other resident and migrant species. We’ll complete our morning at Lancetilla with lunch in the beach town of Tela, and return to The Lodge by late afternoon.
DAY 8: Rio Aguan Valley and The Endemic Honduran Emerald We’ll begin this full day of birding Honduras’ unique dry forest habitat with an early breakfast at The Lodge with departure by 4:30 AM. The target of our search, the beautiful but critically endangered Honduran Emerald, survives only in remaining pockets of tropical dry forest to the south of Pico Bonito National Park. Descending the “rain shadow”, or southern side of the Park, cloud forested peaks and pine studded slopes give way to an arid, almost desert-like plain, once dominated by tropical thorn or dry forest. Although endangered, the Honduran Emerald is considered common within its habitat. As such, regardless of season, our chances of seeing the Honduran Emerald are very good. Our ride into “Emerald Country” can be equally exciting, as a surprising number of bird species inhabit dry forest. Along the way, we’ll also visit localized wet areas within this arid region. These sites can be magnets for wading birds and other species. We’ll go after species such as Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground-cuckoo, Beardless Tyrannulet, White-lored Gnatcatcher, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Banded Wren, White-bellied Wren, Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Salvin’s Emerald, among others. We’ll enjoy lunch in the nearby ranching town of Olanchito, and return to The Lodge by 4:00 - 5:00 PM. (BLD)
Day 9: Depart The Lodge at Pico Bonito for San Pedro Sula International Airport (B)
The price INCLUDES:
- All meals during tour - Dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 9
- All entry fees to reserves in itinerary
- Expert local birding guide
- Cheepers! tour leaders, Cindy and Jim Beckman
- Private transportation during tour
- Transfers to and from airport
- Pre-trip gift package, including customized checklist
- Post-trip electronic checklist and photo dvd
The price does NOT include:
- International airfare
- Departure tax ($38.75)
- Items of a personal nature, such as extra drinks, snacks, alcoholic beverages, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Deposit of $600 with registration (link for registration form is at the bottom of this page). Balance is due on or before October 14, 2015.
Checks should be made payable to Cheepers! Birding on a Budget and mailed with the registration form to:
Cheepers! Birding on a Budget
Post Office Box 385
Spring Valley, OH 45370
Cancellation must be made in writing (email or snail mail)
More than 6 months prior to departure – full refund of deposit
Between 4 and 6 months prior to departure – 50% refund of deposit
Less than 4 months prior to departure – No refund of deposit
If cancellation occurs after full payment is made, a refund will be
given only if the vacant spot is filled.
Trip insurance is recommended.
You can compare prices and coverage offered by various trip insurance companies at this website:
Cheepers! Birding on a Budget LLC reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary if the need should arise due to unforeseeable circumstances such as weather, landslides, and other natural phenomena, as well as suggestions by local guides in order to take advantage of an unusual birding opportunity. Lodging is subject to change based on availability.