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Golden-winged Warbler by Steve Bird.In association with Bridges to Community
December 2 - 10, 2017

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>     Registration Form>
Contact to reserve your space!

Book by July 1 and save $100! 

Nicaragua! The largest and least known Central American country has more than 750 bird species and new species are being added to the list annually as birders begin to discover the avian riches of this undiscovered country. Nicaragua has 33 IBAs, 72 protected areas and more than 90 private reserves whose owners actively participate in the conservation. It is a major wintering ground for neotropic migrants including Golden-winged Warbler and Golden-cheeked Warbler and with its extensive network of wetlands and the large forested areas, much of Nicaragua Slate-colored Solitaire by Steve Bird. remains pristine. This tour explores Nicaragua and offers specialties like Pacific Parakeet, Green-breasted Mountain-gem, Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, Highland Guan, Yellow-backed Oriole, Slate-colored Solitaire, Rufous-winged Tanager, Three-wattled Bellbird and many others.

Our tour, in the season of coffee harvest and migratory birds, offers the chance to experience Nicaragua’s natural beauty while gaining an understanding of the conservation and economic needs that intertwine birds and humans.  In addition to great birding, you'll learn how about how efforts to use environmentally responsible practices in coffee production can be sustainable for local communities while protecting vital habitat for birds. You'll meet the coffee farmers, scientists and practitioners who are creating solutions to environmental challenges while enjoying some of the best coffee and birding in Central America.

Sunrise Birding LLC is pleased to announce this new tour offered in conjunction with Bridges to Community, a non-profit organization that offers the chance to engage in meaningful development projects with communities in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The goals of Bridges to Community are to improve the lives of impoverished communities in developing countries through volunteer service trips, and to simultaneously educate and transform those volunteers to be more aware of the connections we all share and the ways we can all impact our lives for the better.  For more information, go to

Photos (top to bottom): Golden-winged Warbler, Slate-colored Solitaire by Steve Bird.

Northern Potoo by Gina Nichol Trip Cost & Travel Planning>      Registration Form>


Saturday, Dec 2
Plan to arrive at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (Airport code: MGA) in Managua, Nicaragua by mid-day today. A group pickup will be arranged for early afternoon and you'll immediately head to Montibelli Wildlife Private Reserve. The Reserve is a 402 acre property of predominantly dry tropical forest, protecting wildlife and the watershed that serves the 3 million plus area residents. More than 160 species of birds have been recorded on the property including Northern Potoo, Great and Thicket Tinamous. After check-in we will take a late afternoon tour of the shade coffee and other conservation based agriculture be done at the Reserve. Our dinner presentation will focus on the environmental services Montibelli, and other private reserves, contribute to Nicaragua and how that plays into national and international conservation objectives. You will also learn how conservation-based agriculture preserves these lands. After dinner we will search for owls and other nocturnal creatures.


Turquoise-browed Motmot by Gina NicholCabin deck at Montibelli Reserve by Gina Nichol.



Photos (top to bottom):
Northern Potoo

Turquoise-browed Motmot

Cabin deck at Montibelli Reserve.

Photos by Gina Nichol
January 2017.






Birding on Lake Nicaragua; Sunday, Dec 3
This morning we will explore the grounds of Montibelli before breakfast. Then, we'll move on to Granada for a boat tour on Lake Nicaragua, the largest fresh water lake in Central America. Lagoons and 365 small islands host a large variety of wetland and open-water birds.  A two-hour tour on the Lake can easily produce more than 50 species including Mangrove Swallow, Pinnated Bittern, Crested Caracara, Orange-fronted Parakeet and many more. We will be joined by the science team of Cocibolca Foundation, who oversee preserving this critical natural resource. During the tour, we will learn about the effects of climate change and other challenges this globally significant ecosystem is facing right now.

We will lunch on the shores of Lake Nicaragua at La Calera Nature Reserve and learn about the conservation efforts of the Cocibolca Foundation while enjoying the volcanic hot springs and the wildlife the area supports. On the way back to our hotel we will stop in Granada to visit the Chocolate Museum and learn Pacific Parakeets at El Chocoyero.about Cacao and how it factors into fair trade and forest conservation.

Our last stop for the day will be at El Chocoyero Reserve. This small canyon is home to the largest known roost of cliff dwelling Pacific Parakeets. The short hike to the roost site will also turn up many other species such as Gartered Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot and Collared Aracari. Dinner at Montibelli Reserve and an evening hike if time and energy permit.

Photos: Birding on Lake Nicaragua; Pacific Parakeets at El Chocoyero.
Photos by Gina Nichol, January 2017.


Monday, Dec 4
After a morning walk we will head to Juan Venada Island Nature Reserve, an important wetland reserve in Nicaragua’s National Park system. Located just south of Poneloya and Las Penitas beaches on the country’s Pacific coast, this island is part of a biological corridor that protects important turtle nesting grounds, reptile habitats as well as bird nesting and wintering sites such as Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Western Sandpiper and many more. After lunch we will explore the mangroves for these and other species while learning about the eco-tourism efforts aimed at developing a locally-owned sustainable economy that promotes protection of this vital habitat. Return to the hotel for dinner.


Tuesday, Dec 5
Coffee at El Jaguar by Gina Nichol.This morning we will look for any species we did not find previously. After a learning more about the mangrove conservation plans, we will depart for the central highlands. Late afternoon arrival at El Jaguar Reserve, we settle in and then receive a presentation from El Jaguar owners Lilliana & George Chavarria-Duriaux on their conservation objectives. Dinner at El Jaguar. El Jaguar Private Nature Reserve is a family run coffee farm surrounded by 240 acres of protected cloud forest. By using environmentally responsible practices in their coffee production, the farm has preserved the cloud forest ecosystem around it. This unique habitat provides for incredible biodiversity. El Jaguar’s cloud forest is a sanctuary for a large number of birds such as Highland Guan, White-eared Hummingbird, Smoky Brown Woodpecker, Lesson’s Motmot and many more. Located at 4,430 feet above sea level in the cloud forest, this microclimate provides a long cool growing season their coffee has earned the Whole Foods Market “Authentic Artisan Seal”.


Wednesday, Dec 6
Townsend's Warbler by Steve Bird.THis morning we'll do some early birding followed by breakfast with the hummingbirds on the porch of El Jaguar’s visitor center. After breakfast, we will visit to San Rafael Oak-Pine forest to see another vital habitat of the area and experience a different suite of birds and wildlife. This is the most southerly extent of this forest type in Central America with several species of birds reaching the southern edge of their range here such as Greater Pewee, Townsend's, Hermit, Grace's, Golden-winged and Golden-cheeked Warblers as well as Painted Redstart. Later on, we will return to El Jaguar for lunch, then a tour of their coffee process and a hike of the grounds of the reserve. After a good day, we break for a great dinner further discussion with owners Georges and Lili about their agricultural systems and how they provide employment and assist in key Nicaraguan conservation issues.

Photos: Coffee at El Jaguar by Gina Nichol.  Townsend's Warbler by Steve Bird.
Below: Highland Guans at El Jaguar by Gina Nichol.

Highland Guans at El Jaguar by Gina Nichol.

Thursday, Dec 7
Boat-billed Flycatcher by Gina Nichol.Birding and breakfast at El Jaguar. Then we travel to Lake Apanas for a boat tour of this man-made lake. In December, the lake can host multitudes of waterfowl and wading birds. After that, we depart to Selva Negra whose owners offer local and international guests a full ecolodge experience on a working farm. There are more chances for highland birds here and there are lower slope species here as well.  We'll hope for Mountain Elaenia, Slate-colored Solitaire, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, and perhaps even a Resplendent Quetzal and others. Discussions with the lodge owners will focus on Selva Negra’s sustainable agriculture model. Their organic farm produces coffee, cacao and everything needed for the farm to table restaurant on site. A non-profit organization has been established focusing on sustainable farming techniques, clean water, education, and other necessities for the surrounding community.

Photo: Boat-billed Flycatcher by Gina Nichol. 


Friday, Dec 8
Coffee startsWe continue our tour of Matagalpa’s birding and sustainable economies. Early morning will provide more observations of birds and wildlife while in the afternoon, we will learn how cacao, cattle, fruit, flowers and tourism are integrated into a sustainable economy.


Saturday Dec 9
This morning we will bird the grounds of Selva Negra and then after breakfast we make our way back to Managua. In Matagalpa we will stop at one of the largest co-operatives in the country to learn of their efforts to provide small farmers a fair price for their coffee. We arrive at Best Western, settle into our accommodations and can relax. At our final group dinner we will discuss what we have learned and talk about how we can use these insights back to the US to promote increased community development, support for fair trade and other accredited seals as well as Nicaraguan conservation efforts.


Sunday, Dec 10
Breakfast at Best Western and then walk across to the airport and departure back to the US.

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Gartered Trogon by Gina Nichol NICARAGUA
December 2 - 10, 2017   Registration Form>     

Photo: Gartered Trogon by Gina Nichol

Main Tour:
$1895.00 per person/double occupancy from Managua, Nicaragua for registrations received after July 1, 2017.  Book before July 1, and save $100 per person/double occupancy (Cost $1795.00)   Price based on minimum of 6 persons. Single supplement $300 per person based on availability.

Deposit: $500.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by check or credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 

Group size: Minimum 6, maximum 12

Included in cost: Accommodation in /double twin rooms, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10, one group airport/hotel transfer, ground transport throughout including 4x4 where necessary, bottled water, all taxes, reserve and park entrance fees, and bilingual professional guides.

Not included: International flight, passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks, laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: Our hotels and lodges vary in quality but all are within close proximity to many of the areas we wish to go birding.
Tour code: This is a fairly standard tour with early morning starts and evening finishes to each day. On some days we may take picnic lunches in order to not waste time during the middle of the day or having to leave site. The weather can be unpredictable with rain and sunshine both likely. At higher altitudes it can be chilly. We have fantastic photo opportunities for many species of hummingbird and other species coming to feeders.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour, contact to hold your space! Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit within two weeks to secure your place. Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form. 

Contact to reserve your space! Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit within two weeks to secure your place.

Final payment is due August 2, 2017. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). Please inquire.


Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.


Cancellations and Refunds:  All cancellations must be made in writing.  In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. 

Insurance:  The purchase of trip cancellation insurance to cover any eventuality is strongly recommended.  Sunrise Birding, LLC can not accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour. 



Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724

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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on Lake Nicaragua. Photo by Gina Nichol.
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on Lake Nicaragua.  Photo by Gina Nichol.

Coffee at El Jaguar. Photo by Gina Nichol.
Coffee at El Jaguar. Photo by Gina Nichol.

View from La Calera. Photo by Gina Nichol.
View from La Calera. Photo by Gina Nichol.

Mombacho Volcano. Photo by Gina Nichol.
Mombacho Volcano. Photo by Gina Nichol.

White-fronted Parrot. Photo by Gina Nichol.   Violet Sabrewing. Photo by Gina Nichol. 
White-fronted Parrot / Violet Sabrewing. Photos by Gina Nichol.

Bare-throated Tiger Heron. Photo by Gina Nichol.   Green-breasted Mountain Gem. Photo by Gina Nichol.
Bare-throated Tiger Heron and Green-breasted Mountain Gem.  Photos by Gina Nichol.

Coffee plantation by Gina Nichol

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