Belize Birding & Culture Tours
Now announcing the 2023 Belize tours! Contact David with questions or to register. Scroll down to see info on both tours.
Belize Tropical Birding Tour
January 20-28, 2023
Tour full. Now accepting people for waitlist.
Minimum 6 people, Maximum 9
$2400/person double occupancy
$2950/person single occupancy
The Central American country of Belize, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, is an emerging destination for North American birders because of its close proximity to the U.S., diverse cultures and food, and nearly 600 species of birds in an area the size of New Jersey. It also helps that Belize is an English-speaking country with the friendliest and most genuine people you will ever meet!
On this tour designed for more experienced birders, we will spend 2 nights at Bird’s Eye View Lodge in Crooked Tree, 3 nights at Black Rock Lodge, and 3 nights at Bocawina Resort. While there will be some bumpy gravel roads to travel in this developing country, you will have the chance to relax each evening in beautiful settings with very comfortable accommodations. We will work to maximize the bird list (maybe 250-300 species) by visiting a wide range of habitats, with special attention put on finding tropical favorites like toucans, trogons, manakins, and more.
Day 1. Crooked Tree – Welcome to Belize (night at Bird’s Eye View Lodge)
All flights should be arranged to arrive in early afternoon at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) just outside Belize City. A guide from Bird’s Eye View Lodge will be there to welcome us and provide transportation to the lodge which is less than an hour’s drive from the airport. After checking in, we’ll admire birds around the lodge, which include Vermilion Flycatcher, Hooded Oriole, Common Tody-flycatcher, and Common Pauraque.
Day 2. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (night at Bird’s Eye View Lodge)
The village of Crooked Tree is on an island in the middle a huge lagoon. We will rise at dawn for a “must-do” boat trip for any birder that visits Belize. Target species include the elusive Agami Heron, the stately Jabiru, the Black-collared Hawk, and many more waterbirds. Nine herons are possible and five species of kingfishers. The rest of the day will be spent birding other parts of the island, visiting both pine forest and savanna habitat as we search for Yucatan Jay, Yellow-backed Oriole, and Black-throated Bobwhite.
Day 3. Coast to Mountains (night at Black Rock Lodge)
Before we head further inland, we’ll visit Captain Hook’s Shrimp Farm and Restaurant for a wide variety of shorebirds and a tasty lunch! This is a great spot to find Wilson’s Plover, Western Sandpiper, Willet, and Northern Jacana. We’ll also keep an eye open for the Cinnamon Hummingbird. A guide from Black Rock Lodge will meet us there and take us to the remote eco-lodge along the Macal River.
Day 4. Birding Black Rock (night at Black Rock Lodge)
Black Rock Lodge is one of the top eBird hotspots in Belize. We will spend this day on and near the grounds of the lodge, hoping to get a hawk-eagle sweep: Black, Ornate, and Black-and-white! An open air dining area looks out on the river below, and some of the birds that come to the feeder include Collared Aracari, Red-legged Honeycreeper, and Yellow-throated Euphonia. After a four-course dinner, we’ll head back out on the grounds in search of an owl or two. A Spectacled Owl is a real possibility!
Day 5. Mountain Pine Ridge (night at Black Rock Lodge)
We will rise early for a long road trip to one of the most beautiful and remote areas in Belize: the Mountain Pine Ridge. Rusty Sparrow, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Hepatic Tanager will be among our target species as we view waterfalls, caves, and spectacular scenery. If road conditions allow, we will continue on to the Caracol Archaeological Site to see Mayan Ruins and lots of birds. All four trogons native to Belize can be found here, and Caracol is also a great spot for Keel-billed Toucan, Black-throated Shrike Tanager, and White-whiskered Puffbird.
Day 6. Spanish Lookout to Bocawina (night at Bocawina)
We say goodbye to Black Rock Lodge after another amazing Belizean Breakfast. The agricultural lands of Spanish Lookout, a Mennonite community, will be our morning destination. Here we might find Scissor-tailed and Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Gray-crowned Yellowthroats, and a wide variety of raptors. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel to the south along Hummingbird Highway to Bocawina Rainforest Resort, located in the middle of Mayflower Bocawina National Park. A late afternoon birding stroll here might turn up a Lesson’s Motmot, Golden-hooded Tanager, or any of an assortment of hummingbirds.
Day 7. Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve (night at Bocawina)
Just to the south of Bocawina is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The road to Cockscomb is a birding destination in itself. We will look for both Montezuma and Chestnut-headed Oropendola on the drive. In the preserve we will hope to find the Rufous-tailed Jacamar, both species of manakins, and some of the birds that love ants: Barred Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, Mayan Antthrush, and Dusky Antbird! We will return to Bocawina for more birding before dinner if time allows.
Day 8. Red Bank and Hopkins (night at Bocawina)
We save the Scarlet Macaws for the last full day! The Mayan village of Red Bank hosts dozens of these beautiful birds in the nearby hills. After a morning of birding in Red Bank, we’ll stop at a Mayan restaurant for lunch. The tour finishes with a visit to the Garifuna village of Hopkins, right on the Caribbean Sea. We’ll fill in any gaps still left on our bird list by adding species like Magnificent Frigatebird, Royal Tern, and Brown Pelican. The Hopkins Wetlands is also good for Clapper Rail, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, dowitchers and other wintering shorebirds.
Day 9. Farewell to Belize
It will be difficult to leave, but on our ride back to the airport for departure we can discuss other Belizean birding hotspots that you can visit when you come back!
All meals, lodging, tips, and transportation are included with the tour package. Not included are flights to and from Belize, alcoholic beverages and extra drinks, laundry service, and trip insurance. Expect long van rides on bumpy roads a few of the days, plus some moderate hiking in uneven terrain.
Belize Birding & Culture Tour
January 28 – February 4, 2023
Minimum 6 people, Maximum 9
$2300/person double occupancy
$2850/person single occupancy
Seeking woman to join tour as roommate for woman already registered. Contact David for details.
Belize is such a magical place, and we want to share it with you. We’ve arranged the best local guides and tours, mixing birding trips to diverse habitats with cultural tours and boat trips. And the food is amazing! The following is a summary of the itinerary for our 7-night stay in Belize where birds are the focus, but not the only thing!
We will start the week by staying Saturday night at the Birds Eye View Lodge in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a “must-see” on any birding trip to Belize. The early morning boat ride here could give us a view of the beautiful Agami Heron or the stately Jabiru. The next two nights will be spent at the Lamanai Outpost Lodge. The food is fantastic and so are the guides! We’ll visit the Lamanai Mayan Site, make tortillas and tamales in the town of Indian Church, and take the River Spotlight Safari in search of wildlife… a night adventure you won’t likely forget!
Tuesday night will include accommodations at the Belize Zoo Jungle Lodge and a guided night visit to the Belize Zoo to see the wild cats of Belize in action. The next day we will stop at the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch to enjoy the butterflies and hummingbirds, followed by a chocolate-making demonstration in San Ignacio. We will spend the next three nights at the incomparable Black Rock Lodge, where guide Isaias Morataya will share his enthusiasm for Belize’s birds (like the Keel-billed Toucan or the Red-legged Honeycreeper) with us. Among the variety of tours offered from Black Rock will be a visit to the Xunantunich Mayan Site and a meal in a local restaurant.
Our bird list for the week should be around 200 species, but our focus won’t be on birds alone! We’ll connect with the friendly Belizean people that come from Mayan, Creole, and Mestizo cultures. We’ll celebrate the food, history, and nature that will make you want to come back time and time again! We hope you will join us.
The price of the tour does not include the flights to and from the U.S. (which we will help you book), alcoholic beverages, or souvenirs, but everything else is included. This tour will move at a more relaxed pace. However, the ability to climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain is needed.
If neither of these tours suit you but you have interest, you are welcome to email us to receive first priority when we announce our next Belize tours.