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Birding the Maya Route: A Journey Through Belize, Guatemala & Honduras

Program Number: 21281RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/2/2014 - 12/17/2014; 2/2/2015 - 2/17/2015; 3/2/2015 - 3/17/2015; 11/3/2015 - 11/18/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/16/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Honduras/Guatemala/Belize
Price starting at: $3,995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 44; 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Where Mayan cities once flourished, birds such as potoos, Red-lored Parrots and Emerald Hummingbirds remain. On a journey that leads through the rainforests and ancient ruins of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, discover a myriad of species that will make exotic additions to your birding life list — and offer a staunch contrast of vibrant life among the remains of ancient civilizations.




Highlights

• In Tikal National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — marvel in the sight of ancient Mayan temples and species such as Slaty-tailed Trogons.
• Search for potoos and Jabiru Storks in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, named a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.
• Join experts on a search for the Emerald Hummingbird — the only species endemic to Honduras — during a day of birding in Olanchito.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three hours at a time over uneven terrain. Stairs without railings.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Belize City (Belize), coach to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, 2 nights; coach to San Ignacio, 2 nights; coach to Tikal (Guatemala), 2 nights; coach to Alta Verapaz, 3 nights; coach to Copan (Honduras), 2 nights; coach to Pico Bonito, 3 nights; coach to San Pedro Sula, 1 night; departure.



Arrival Belize City (Belize)
Coach to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
2 nights

Thousands of years ago, the Mayas inhabited the region that is now Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary — today, this region is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, and is a haven for birdwatchers. Your adventure begins with an evening bird walk in search of nighthawks, owls and potoos. Then, utilize observation towers and boardwalks to spot Wood and Jabiru Storks, Bare-throated Tiger Herons and a myriad of other species.



Coach to San Ignacio
2 nights

Following a field trip to the fascinating Belize Zoo, explore the Maya ruins at Cahal Pech and search for Blue-crowned Motmots, Collared Aracaris, and Rose-throated Becards. Travel to Mountain Pine Ridge for opportunities to view Ocellated Turkeys, Red-lored Parrots, King Vultures — and potentially the rarely seen Orange-breasted Falcon.



Coach to Tikal (Guatemala)
2 nights

Massive Mayan temples dot the rainforest landscape of Tikal National Park, home to wildlife including jaguars, spider monkeys and tapirs. Spend a day birding along these ancient ruins in search of Keel-billed Toucans and Brown-hooded Parrots. Search for Plain Chachalacas, Emerald Toucanets, Bicolored Hawks, and Yellow-breasted Chats in the protected lands of the Biotopo Cerro Cahui.



Transfer to Alta Verapaz
3 nights
Transfer to Copan (Honduras)
2 nights

Search for the elusive Resplendent Quetzal in the Biotopo del Quetzal, a reserve set in 1,000 hectares of tropical cloud forest. In Copan, marvel in the Mayan ruins of the Great Plaza and Las Sepulturas.



Coach to Pico Bonito
3 nights
Coach to San Pedro Sula
1 night
Departure

At the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens and Biological Reserve, search for the Shining Honeycreeper, Cocoa Woodcreeper and more. Then, explore the breathtaking cloud forests of Pico Bonito National Park which offer refuge to over 275 species of birds. An opportunity to add the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird to your life list presents itself during a day in the tropical dry forest of Olanchito.




Accommodations
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary: Family-run lodge. San Ignacio: Hotel near Cahal Pech ruins. Tikal: Jungle hotel. Alta Verapaz: Hotel on nature reserve. Copan: Colonial-style hotel. Pico Bonito: Lodge in national park. San Pedro Sula: Resort-style hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Bird's Eye View Lodge
  Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize 2 nights
   Cahal Pech Village Resort
  San Ignacio, Belize 2 nights
   Camino Real Tikal
  Tikal, Guatemala 2 nights
   Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul
  Coban/Alta Verapaz Region, Guatemala 3 nights
   Hotel Marina Copan
  Copan, Honduras 2 nights
   The Lodge at Pico Bonito
  Pico Bonito, Honduras 3 nights
   Hotel y Suites Copantl
  San Pedro Sula, Honduras 1 night
 Bird's Eye View Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Small, family-run lodge located on the shores of Crooked Tree Lagoon, within the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. The lodge is located approximately 33 miles from downtown Belize City and only 23 miles from the international airport.
  Contact info: Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
Crooked Tree,   Belize
phone: +501-203-2040
web: www.birdseyeviewbelize.com
  Room amenities: Rooms have private bathrooms and are equipped with ceiling fans, hot water, and hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: Dining room, laundry services, phone service, Wi-Fi in the Guest Lounge area, and cable TV in the Guest Lounge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are based on lodge availability. Please contact 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for help in booking additional nights.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Cahal Pech Village Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Cahal Pech Village Resort is located across from the Cahal Pech archaeological site and only 15 minutes from the Guatemala/Belize border. The best features of this property are its unparalleled views of the Belize River Valley and its lush tropical gardens. Guests can enjoy watching local birds such as Collared Aracaris eating fruit from a bird feeder while sitting for breakfast.
  Contact info: Cahal Pech Hill
San Ignacio Town,   Belize
phone: +501-8243740
web: www.cahalpech.com/
  Room amenities: Private proch, 2 beds, cable TV, air conditioning, ceiling fans, private bath, tiled floors and Belizean hardwood furniture. Rooms have views of the Belize River Valley and surrounding villages.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, 3 pools, spa services, laundry service, and WiFi in pool area.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Camino Real Tikal
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Camino Real Tikal is set in the heart of the Peten Jungle, close to the island of Flores and within a 45-minute drive to Tikal National Park. This property offers a great starting point for exploring Tikal and the surrounding area.
  Contact info: Lote 77, Parcelamiento Tayasal, San José
Peten,   Guatemala
phone: +502-23374402
web: www.caminoreal.com.gt
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, private bathroom, cable TV, mini bar, safety deposit box, and private balcony with lake views.
  Facility amenities: Pool, billiards, bar, café, restaurants, beach and table games, Jacuzzi, and souvenir shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul
Type: Hotel
  Description: Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul is located off the main highway to Coba, in the beautiful Alta Verapaz region. The hotel has its own nature reserve with forest trails and a large waterfall.
  Contact info: Km. 158.5 Carretera a Coban
Coban,   Guatemala
phone: +502-59084066
web: www.ramtzul.com
  Room amenities: Spacious rooms have private bathrooms with hot water. Large windows offer views of surrounding hills and green areas.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, tour desk, laundry services, and private nature reserve,
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Marina Copan
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The oldest hotel in Copan, the Marina Copan overlooks the Central Plaza on a former family estate. The hotel, built in traditional style, has been updated with modern facilities while retaining its colonial charm.
  Contact info: Avenida Centroamericano
Copan Ruinas,   Honduras
phone: +504-514070
web: www.hotelmarinacopan.com
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, phone, private bathroom.
  Facility amenities: Pool, restaurants, bar, laundry services, gift shop, and meeting rooms.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Type: Lodge
  Description: This enchanting lodge is tucked away at the base of the Pico Bonito National Park, among 400 acres of lush tropical forest. The lodge's natural surroundings and peaceful atmosphere make it hard to believe that this property is only 20 minutes from La Ceiba's airport.
  Contact info: At the base of Pico Bonito National Park.
La Ceiba,   Honduras
phone: +504--2-4400388
web: www.picobonito.com
  Room amenities: The elevated cabins have private bathrooms, wood floors, ceiling fans, louvered and screened windows, CD player, clock, coffee machine, and private verandas with hammocks and sitting area. Participants must climb approximately 8-10 steps to reach each cabin. A network of gravel walkways connects cabins to the main lodge buildings.
  Facility amenities: Lodge trails, pool, in-room massage service, restaurant, large veranda with sitting areas, conference room, butterfly farm, and gift shop. Complimentary Wi-Fi in the lobby and in the restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Hotel y Suites Copantl
Type: Hotel
  Description: Modern, resort-style hotel located in northern San Pedro Sula. The property can accommodate up to 300 guests.
  Contact info: North of San Pedro Sula Airport
San Pedro Sula,   Honduras
phone: +504-25618900
web: www.copantl.com
  Room amenities: All air conditioned rooms have private bathroom, Internet access, cable TV, telephones, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and minibar.
  Facility amenities: Convention center/banquet halls, two restaurants, a bar, fitness center, 6 tennis courts, Spa, swimming pool, laundry service, and business center. Complimentary Wi-Fi in hotel common areas.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact the program provider, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals into Belize City, Belize. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Bird's Eye View Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel y Suites Copantl the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. No additional documents required unless arriving from an endemic area for yellow fever.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: No vaccinations are required for entry into Honduras, Guatemala & Belize--unless arriving from an endemic area for yellow fever. Please consult with the Centers for Disease Control for their latest recommendations. Participants can call 800-CDC-INFO for more information or visit www.cdc.gov/travel.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
  Nearest city or town:  Crooked Tree Village
  Nearest airport:  International Airport in Belize City.
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available for hire outside the arrivals hall of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. If you choose to hire a taxi to the hotel, please agree on the price beforehand since the taxis do not have meters. Authorized taxis can be identified by their green license plates. The Birds Eye View Lodge offers airport pick-up and transfers. The service is provided at an additional cost and requires advance booking. If interested, please call the lodge at (011-501) 235-7333 or send a fax to (011-501) 224-4869.
  From End of Program
  Location:  San Pedro Sula
  Nearest airport:  San Pedro Sula International Airport
  Transportation from site: Taxi services can be hired at the hotel. If you wish to use this service, please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk.


Required innoculations:

Yes: No vaccinations are required for entry into Honduras, Guatemala & Belize--unless arriving from an endemic area for yellow fever. Please consult with the Centers for Disease Control for their latest recommendations. Participants can call 800-CDC-INFO for more information or visit www.cdc.gov/travel.

Equipment Requirements: Scopes are recommended but not required. We recommend wide angle binoculars, something within the range of 7x35, 8x40 or even 10x50 with good light gathering characteristics. Although light and comfortable, pocket binoculars don't work as well in low light conditions.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depart U.S. - Arrivals in Belize City, Belize/Transfer to Crooked Tree.
(Tuesday, December 2)

Note: Two arrival group transfers will be provided from the international airport in Belize City to the hotel at Crooked Tree. Participants will need to complete Immigration and Customs procedures before leaving the secured area of the airport and entering the arrivals hall. The Road Scholar representative will be standing next to the tourist information desk in the international arrivals hall with a Road Scholar sign. The transfers will depart at 2:00 pm and at 5:00 pm.



   
 Arrive To: International flight arrivals into Belize City's Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE). Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport

Meet the Road Scholar representative and transfer to Crooked Tree (approximately 30 minutes driving time).

Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Pre-dinner orientation to the program.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Search for potoos, owls, and nighthawks during an evening birding exploration around the lodge.
   
Accommodations: Bird's Eye View Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Crooked Tree, Belize -
In Search of Wetland Species at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary - RAMSAR Site.

(Wednesday, December 3)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Today, enjoy a full day of birding activities in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Bird along the lagoon and its tributaries in search of Wood and Jabiru Storks, Bare-throated Tiger and Boat-billed Herons, Black-collared Hawks, Snail Kites, Neotropic Cormorants, Anhingas, Limpkins, and American Pygmy Kingfishers.

Crooked Tree's subtropical freshwater complex is a vital habitat for migratory and resident wetland species, a fact that led it to be designated a RAMSAR site (#946) in 1998. The sanctuary contains streams, creeks, marshes, and shallow lagoons.

Large numbers of wading birds flock to the lagoons during Belize's dry season (February through May) when food is harder to find in other regions of the country and in nearby Guatemala and Mexico.
 Lunch: At the lodge restaurant.
 Afternoon: Lecture: Mesoamerica - A Birder's Paradise

Continue birding in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

A network of boardwalks provides access to the protected forests and savanna at Crooked Tree, while well-placed observation towers offer nice views of the lagoons.

Although the Sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise, it also protects a variety of other wildlife including coatimundi, black howler monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, otters, and iguanas.

Return to the lodge.
 Dinner: At the lodge restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Bird's Eye View Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: San Ignacio, Belize -
Transfer to San Ignacio/Belize Zoo/Bird Walk at Cahal Pech Ruins.

(Thursday, December 4)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding.

Return to the lodge for breakfast.
 Morning: After breakfast, check-out of the lodge and begin transfer to San Ignacio with a stop at the Belize Zoo.

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center was founded in 1983. The organization was born from an effort to provide a safe haven for a number of wild animals that, ironically, had been used in the making of documentaries about tropical forests. The zoo and its education center encompass 29 acres of tropical savanna and house more than 125 animals native to Belize.

Weather and time permitting, we will attempt to do some birding en route.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Afternoon birding in the Cahal Pech Mayan ruins, located just a 5-minute walk from our hotel.

The Maya ruins at Cahal Pech are located on a hilltop, just 1 mile south of downtown San Ignacio in Belize’s Cayo District. The name Cahal Pech (kah-hahl pech) means “Place of Ticks”—a nickname given in the 1950s when cattle, laden with ticks, grazed in the area. Archeologists currently believe that Cahal Pech was probably established by Maya from Guatemala during the Early Middle Preclassic period, making it one of the oldest Maya settlements in Belize. Excavations have revealed seven interconnected plazas and various buildings including two ballcourts and the site’s tallest temple—structure A-1. The jungle-like environment surrounding the ruins supports a variety of wildlife including Blue-crowned Motmots, Collared Aracaris, and Rose-throated Becards.

Return to the hotel.
Pre-dinner lecture on the wildlife of Belize.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Cahal Pech Village Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: San Ignacio, Belize -
Birding in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.

(Friday, December 5)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning box breakfast.
 Morning: Early morning transfer to Mountain Pine Ridge (1 - 1.5 hours) for a full day of birding in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, looking for local specialties.

The Mountain Pine Ridge area of Belize reveals a vegetation and landscape that is very different from the country's predominantly tropical environment. Mountainous terrain and Caribbean pine forests serve as home to Stygian Owls, King Vultures, Ocellated Turkeys, Red-lored Parrots, Blue-crowned Motmots, as well as the rarely seen Orange-breasted Falcon.
 Lunch: At the lodge restaurant.
 Afternoon: After a break for lunch, continue birding in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest.

Transfer back to San Ignacio.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Cahal Pech Village Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Tikal, Guatemala -
Transfer to Guatemala/Belize-Guatemala Border Crossing/Cerro Cahui Nature Reserve.

(Saturday, December 6)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast we will check-out of the lodge and begin our transfer to Tikal, Guatemala. Our journey will include a stop at the border between Belize and Guatemala to undergo Immigration/Customs procedures.

Arrival in Tikal National Park.

Tikal brings to mind images straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, with massive Mayan temples rising above the steamy rainforest canopy. No matter whether your interests lean more towards history and archaeology or towards botany and wildlife--this site has enough to please everyone! The 22,100 hectares of rainforest in and around Tikal protect a wide range of insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and plant life. Some iconic wildlife found within the park includes spider monkeys, margays, ocelots, jaguarundis, tapirs, howler monkeys, Ocellated Turkeys, coatis, and giant anteaters.

Archaeologists unearthed thousands of structures once swallowed by the Peten region’s dense tropical jungle. The large Mayan city has more than 4,000 buildings and features some of the tallest temples in the Mayan world. An impressive network of causeways, aqueducts and canals served as an irrigation system and provided drinking water for the city. The city remains a testament to the masterful engineering of the Maya.
 Lunch: At local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: After lunch continue with transfer to the Tikal. Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Transfer to Biotopo Cerro Cahui for afternoon birding activities in the reserve.

The Biotopo Cerro Cahuí is located in the Petén region of Guatemala, along the road to Tikal National Park. Declared a protected area in 1989, it is one of the last remaining tracts of undisturbed forest (high and medium broad-leaved forest and lowland forest) in the area. Urbanization of the Petén region and the expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching pose a serious threat to the wellbeing of this and other natural areas in northern Guatemala. The reserve is home to 11 amphibian, 17 reptile, and 29 mammal species including howler monkeys and jaguars. At least thirteen of the 82 recorded bird species at this reserve are classified as endangered by Guatemala’s National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP). Birds seen at this site include Ocellated Turkeys, King Vultures, Plain Chachalacas, Emerald Toucanets, Bicolored Hawks, Black-hawk Eagles, and Yellow-breasted Chats.

Return to the hotel.
Pre-dinner lecture: Tikal - Where Only Legend Survives.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Camino Real Tikal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Tikal, Guatemala -
Birding in Tikal National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Sunday, December 7)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding activities. Cookies and coffee will be provided to help tide us over until breakfast.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.
 Morning: After breakfast, transfer to Tikal National Park.

Tikal brings to mind images straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, with massive Mayan temples rising above the steamy rainforest canopy. No matter whether your interests lean more towards history and archaeology or towards botany and wildlife--this site has enough to please everyone! The 22,100 hectares of rainforest in and around Tikal protect a wide range of insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and plant life. Some iconic wildlife found within the park includes spider monkeys, margays, ocelots, jaguarundis, tapirs, howler monkeys, Ocellated Turkeys, Keel-billed Toucans, Slaty-tailed Trogons, coatis, and giant anteaters.

Archaeologists unearthed thousands of structures once swallowed by the Petén region’s dense tropical jungle. The large Mayan city has more than 4,000 buildings and features some of the tallest temples in the Mayan world. An impressive network of causeways, aqueducts and canals served as an irrigation system and provided drinking water for the city. The city remains a testament to the masterful engineering of the Maya.
 Lunch: At Tikal National Park.
 Afternoon: Continue with birding activities within the Tikal National Park.

Tikal is home to 410 bird species in addition to some 50 migrant species that frequent the area during the North American winter. Registered species include the Collared Aracari, Emerald Toucanet, American Pygmy Flycatcher, Eye-ringed Flatbill Flycatcher, Royal Flycatcher, Roadside Hawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Blue-crowned Motmot, Stripe-throated Hermit, Crested Guan, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Montezuma's Oropendula, Brown-hooded Parrot, White-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, and more!

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Camino Real Tikal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Alta Verapaz, Guatemala -
Early Morning Birding/Transfer to Alta Verapaz Region.

(Monday, December 8)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding activities.

Cookies and coffee will be provided to tide us over until breakfast. Return to hotel for breakfast.
 Morning: After breakfast we will begin our transfer to the Alta Verapaz region. This is a lengthy journey that will have us arriving at our hotel at approximately 3:00 p.m.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Mid-afternoon arrival at the hotel, followed by check-in and some free time to rest.

Late in the afternoon enjoy birding in the hotel's private reserve.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Alta Verapaz, Guatemala -
Birding in Biotopo del Quetzal.

(Tuesday, December 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After a restful night we transfer to Biotopo del Quetzal for a full day of birding.

The Biotopo del Quetzal helps to protect approximately 1,000 hectares of tropical cloud forest in Guatemala's Alta Verapaz region. This is home to the colorful and elusive Resplendent Quetzal--Guatemala's national bird. While walking along the forest trails, take the time to admire the bromeliads, mosses, and orchid varieties that thrive in the moist, mountainous environment.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch we will return to Biotopo del Quetzal for more birding and an on-site lecture.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Alta Verapaz, Guatemala -
Birding in Private Nature Reserve/Bird at Biotopo del Quetzal or at Local Orchid Garden.

(Wednesday, December 10)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: This morning we will bird in the hotel's private nature reserve. Walk along forest trails, through pine forest and past streams before reaching a spectacular waterfall.

Return to the hotel.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will have the option to do more birding at the Biotopo del Quetzal or enjoy birding activities during a visit to a local orchid garden.

Return to the hotel for dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Eco-Hotel Ram Tzul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Copan, Honduras -
Early Morning Birding/Transfer to Copan/Guatemala-Honduras Border Crossing/Birding in Copan Forest.

(Thursday, December 11)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning at the hotel.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.
 Morning: After breakfast, check-out of hotel. Say farewell to Guatemala and begin transfer to Copan, Honduras. Stop at the border between Guatemala and Honduras in order to undergo standard Immigration and Customs procedures before continuing the journey to Copan.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon birding in the Copan Forest. In addition to the well known Mayan city, Copan is also an important migration bird pathway. There is also a big number of resident birds as well such as Blue-crowned Motmots, Turquoise-browed Motmots, and Barred Antshrike.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Marina Copan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Copan, Honduras -
Birdwatching Activities/Copan Mayan Ruins/Las Sepulturas Ruins, Mayan Residential Zone.

(Friday, December 12)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning birding activities in pine tree forest at Copan. Cookies and coffee will be provided to help tide us over until breakfast.

Return to the hotel for a full breakfast.
 Morning: Midmorning visit to the Copan ruins.

Copán has none of the towering pyramids and temples that are characteristic of other Mayan cities. The splendors of Copán are represented by its beautiful carvings, inscriptions, and paintings. The Great Plaza, the ball court, several lesser courts, and amphitheater that lie near the base of the Hieroglyphic Stairway are symbolic of the boundaries between the actual and supernatural worlds as games were metaphors for the struggle between good and evil. The Stairway, which has 63 steps, is inscribed with a partial history of Copán and is the longest extant Mayan inscription.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit the Mayan site at Las Sepulturas and take advantage of the riverside location to do some afternoon birdwatching.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Marina Copan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Pico Bonito, Honduras -
Transfer to Pico Bonito/Birdwatching in Lancetilla Botanical Gardens.

(Saturday, December 13)
   
 Breakfast: Early birding by the Copan River.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.
 Morning: Check-out of the hotel and begin the transfer to Pico Bonito.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Lancetilla Botanical Gardens and Biological Reserve. Target species include the Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Great Antshrike, Long-billed Gnatwren, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, White-collared Manakin, Orange-billed Sparrow, Gray Hawk, Shining Honeycreeper, Ruddy Crake, and Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet.

Lancetilla's botanical collection was established in 1925 by famed American explorer and tropical botanist, Wilson Popenoe. He was given the task of establishing an experimental garden where fruit trees and ornamentals from around the world could be cultivated and eventually brought to market by the United Fruit Company. Today Lancetilla boasts over 630 species of plants and has one of the world's largest collections of Asian fruits. It is also a birder's paradise with at least 360 recorded species from October-April!

Arrive at the lodge and check-in.
 Dinner: At the lodge restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Pico Bonito, Honduras -
Birding in Pico Bonito.

(Sunday, December 14)
   
 Breakfast: At the lodge restaurant.
 Morning: Today we will enjoy a full day of birding activities at Pico Bonito National Park. Target species include the Lovely Cotinga, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Yellow-winged Tanager, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Blue-crowned Motmot, Keel-billed Motmot, Social Flycatcher, Montezuma Oropendola, Royal Flycatcher, Red-lored Parrot, Emerald Toucanet, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Vermiculated Screech-Owl, and Rufous Mourner.

Pico Bonito National Park is Honduras' largest, and arguably its most beautiful, national park with over 100,000 hectares of virgin rainforest and cloud forest. Seven different eco-systems exist within its borders. The Park is home to over 275 species of birds as well as jaguars, tapirs, deer, puma, white-faced monkeys, and spider monkeys.

Return to the lodge for lunch.
 Lunch: At the lodge restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue birding in Pico Bonito National Park and on-site lecture.

Return to the lodge.
 Dinner: At the lodge restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Pico Bonito, Honduras -
Birding in Tropical Dry Forest at Olanchito.

(Monday, December 15)

Note: Departure at 4:30 am



   
 Breakfast: Early morning breakfast at the lodge. Then transfer to the tropical dry forest at Olanchito at 4:30 am.

 Morning: Full day of birding activities in Olanchito, in the Valle del Aguán. Olanchito's dry tropical ecosystem is home to White-bellied Wrens as well as the country's only endemic species--the Honduran Emerald hummingbird. Other target species include the Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, White-collared Seedeater, Cinnamon Hummingbird, and Gray-crowned Yellowthroat.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue with birding activities in the Olanchito area.

Return to the lodge.
 Dinner: At the lodge restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a bird list review session and a briefing of next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: San Pedro Sula, Honduras -
Birding in Pico Bonito/Transfer to San Pedro Sula/Farewell Dinner.

(Tuesday, December 16)
   
 Breakfast: At lodge.
 Morning: Spend the morning birding in and around Pico Bonito, making use of forest trails and observation towers.

Final bird count before breaking for lunch.
 Lunch: At the lodge restaurant.
 Afternoon: Check-out of the hotel and begin transfer to San Pedro Sula.

Arrive at hotel and check-in, followed by some time at leisure to rest and freshen-up.
 Dinner: Early farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Join your group leader in a final bird count.
   
Accommodations: Hotel y Suites Copantl
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures/Flights to the U.S.
(Wednesday, December 17)
   
 Depart From: Transfer to the international airport for flights back ot the U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Footprint Central America Handbook


Author: Richard Arghiris


Description: This comprehensive travel guide is a great source of information for anyone planning to travel throughout Mexico and Central America. Itineraries and maps complement a wealth of information provided on the history, culture, politics and main attractions found throughout the region.



A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America


Author: Stephen Howell, Sophie Webb


Description: Serious birders will want this definitive guide to the 1,070 bird species. It may be awkward to carry but it covers, in detail, all the birds you will see in the region.



Birds of Mexico & Central America, Princeton Illustrated Checklists


Author: Ber Van Perlo


Description: An admirably compact, comprehensive guide featuring color plates.



Breaking the Maya Code


Author: Michael Coe


Description: Michael Coe chronicles the centuries-long search for the "rosetta stone" of the Mayan language, a search which received an enormous boost in 1952 when Yuri Knorosov successfully translated the Dresden Codex, a Mayan bark-paper text. The book also includes an extensive discussion of Maya studies and political activism in the wake of Knorosov's discovery.



Central America Map


Author: ITMB


Description: A detailed map of the Central American isthmus at a scale of 1:1,100,000.



Chasing Neotropical Birds


Author: Vera and Bob Thornton


Description: A Neotropical sampler, featuring 116 color photographs of dazzling, rare and charming birds of Central and South America.



Maya Art and Architecture


Author: Mary Ellen Miller


Description: An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Maya artistic influence. With 200 illustrations, 50 in color, including site plans, maps, strikingly rendered reconstructions and color photographs of key temples and buildings.



Time Among the Maya, Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico


Author: Ronald Wright


Description: An account of travels among the contemporary Maya of Guatemala and Yucatan (with a side trip to Belize City). Organized geographically, it devotes chapters on Belize, the Peten, highland Guatemala, Chiapas and the Yucatan. Unlike most travelogues, this book includes a glossary, notes, bibliography and index. Wright (who also wrote the excellent Cut Stones and Crossroads, set in Peru) combines journalism, archaeology and a fine ear for dialogue in this engaging account.



Tropical Nature


Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata


Description: A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest





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