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Wine-throated Hummingbird. Photo by Steve Bird.GUATEMALA!
February 1 - 9, 2020
Plus Tikal, February 9 - 12, 2020

Right: Wine-throated Hummingbird.
Just one of 720 reasons to bird in Guatemala

Spectacular birding, stunning scenery, Mayan ruins, fantastic wildlife! Don't miss it!
Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

Guatemala is truly something special. This small, little known country, rich in culture, has stunning scenery, friendly people, superb food, wonderful accommodations, fantastic wildlife, and the incredible Mayan ruins of Tikal. Located in the heart of Central America, Guatemala encompasses a wide variety of ecosystems from both Southern Mexico and Central America. More than 720 bird species have been reported in Guatemala with at least 370 of them known to breed.

Pink-headed Warbler

For birders, Guatemala offers so many avian delights. Pink-headed Warblers are not only fabulous to look at they are actually quite easy to find in the right habitat. Our tour includes a fairly easy quest for the soon to be split Goldman's Warbler and we will also look for mythical Horned Guan. Our guides have now found a new spot where a 3+ hour hike will take you to a prime location to see the Horned Guan allowing a very good chance of seeing this extraordinary bird. (Most other tours involve a 4 hour each way hike!)
 
Other key species on offer in Guatemala include Blue-throated Motmot, Resplendent Quetzal, Lesser Roadrunner, Belted Flycatcher, Scarlet Macaw, Ocellated Turkey, Yucatan Poorwill, Wine-throated Hummingbird, Azure-rumped Tanager, Gray-throated Chat, Hooded Grosbeak and Orange-breasted Falcon, which can be seen perched on the Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park. Mammals include Black Howler Monkeys and Central American Spider Monkey plus Tayra and a host of cats such as Ocelot, Margay and even Jaguar. Morelet's Crocodile can be seen in some of the rivers and butterflies, dragonflies and a wealth of flora abound.

Join us to discover one of the most beautiful countries in Central America and the next birding hotspot - Guatemala!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>     Registration Form>             Photos: Horned Guan, Pink-headed Warbler.


Blue-throated Motmot by Gina Nichol.ITINERARY
Main Tour, February 1 - 9, 2020
(Subject to change depending on weather and birds!)

Day 1: Arrive Guatemala City, transfer to Antigua
Plan on arriving today at the International Airport La Aurora, Guatemala (Airport code: GUA) where you will then be transferred to the wonderful ancient city of Antigua. The official tour will then start with dinner tonight, where we will be entertained by folkloric dance and marimba music. If you wish to have a more relaxed start and spend a day looking around this fascinating and very safe city, we suggest arriving a day earlier. Please advise and we can arrange this.  Night in Antigua, Guatemala (D)

 

Day 2: Finca El Pilar and Antigua
This morning we will explore the hills that surround this beautiful city where, on a clear day, thirteen volcanoes can be visible through the early morning mist. Our brief introduction to the bird life in this area could include Bushy-crested Jay, Rusty Sparrow, Elegant Euphonia, Gray Silky-Flycatcher, Black-vented Oriole, Golden-olive Woodpecker and even Black-headed Siskin.


After a superb breakfast we will move on to Finca El Pilar, a private reserve where we are likely to see Antiguaa few new species including Black-capped Swallows, Slate-throated Redstart and on the hummingbird feeders we can find Rufous Sabrewing, Berylline Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird and Magnificent Hummingbird. A short walk on the trails in the forest may reveal Western Tanager, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, White-naped and Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches among others.


We will then return to Antigua for lunch. After lunch, we will take a delightful cultural tour of Antigua visiting the magnificent churches, ruins and museums that combined with the old cobbled streets provide stories and legends of the colonial times that you will undoubtedly enjoy and which will make your morning unforgettable. We will be visiting the most important areas of Antigua like La Merced Church, Central Park, the Santa Catalina Martir famous Arch of the 5th Avenue, and much more. Dinner will be in a local restaurant in Antigua.  Night in Antigua (B,L,D)

Breakfast al fresco overlooking Antigua, Guatemala
Breakfast al fresco overlooking Antigua, Guatemala!

 

Day 3: Tecpan / Huethuetenango
Mountain Trogon (Photo: Gina Nichol)Today we have an early start as we depart Antigua and head toward Tecpan area. We will stop for another superb breakfast near to the Tecpan Private Reserve after which we will take a walk on its forested trails.  Here we hope to see some of the more interesting species associated with the highlands of north Central American. Pride of place will undoubtedly go to the unforgettable Pink-headed Warbler, while other species possible here include Blue-throated Motmot, Mountain Trogon (Photo: Gina Nichol), Rufous-browed Wren, Hooded Grosbeak, Rufous-collared Robin, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and the Guatemala race of Hairy Woodpecker, Steller's Jay. Flowering shrubs here offer nectar to Garnet-throated or Amethyst-throated Hummingbird. During migratory (winter) season, you will find Townsend’s Warblers plus Wilson's, Black-and-white, and Red-faced Warblers here together with the resident Slate-throated Redstart, Pink-headed, Crescent-chested and Olive Warbler, as well as Hutton's Vireo.

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. Photo by Steve Bird.
In the afternoon, we will travel to Huethuetenango in the highlands of western Guatemala. Time permitting, we will check in to our accommodation and check the conditions for a night time foray into the mountains. If weather conditions permit, we will take a packed dinner and drive up to Todos Santos Park to look for the Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, a mythical bird restricted to high-elevation humid pine-oak forests of Central America. Note: We will do our best to get to the location to look for the owl. It involves quite a drive up into the highlands and conditions can be wet and cold and slippery on the roads. If conditions are deemed unsafe, we will unfortunately have to forgo this excursion.

 

 

Goldman's Warbler.Day 4: Todos Santos Cuchumatanes / Quetzaltenango
This morning we will visit Todos Santos National Park in the quest of Goldman’s Warbler, a resident here and fairly easy to find. Goldman's Warbler, with its yellow throat and black breast has been part of the Audubon’s Warbler group among the Yellow-rumped Warbler complex but recent studies will likely result in it being given full species status soon and it is destined to become Guatemala's first endemic bird species.


The Todos Santos, a region with a unique landscape in Guatemala combining sub-alpine meadows, rocky areas and slow-growing vegetation. It is one of the oldest areas geologically, has the highest mountain formations of Central America and is also one of the areas with the greatest biological diversity and endemism in the country. Here a number of endangered species of flora and fauna can be found like Guatemalan Fir (Abies guatemalensis), Hartweg's Pine (Pinus hartwegii), Huitum (Juniperus standleyii), Maya Mouse (Peromyscus mayensis), and Cuchumatanes Salamander (Dendrotriton chujorum).


Brown-backed SolitaireBirds here include Goldman's Warbler, an isolated, resident subspecies of Yellow-rumped Warbler (likely to be split soon) that is almost entirely restricted to Guatemala. There are also local subspecies of Savannah Sparrow and Pine Siskin as well as Rufous-collared Robin, Eastern Meadowlark, Yellow-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee, Ocellated Quail, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Steller's Jay. Common hummingbirds here include Broad-tailed, White-eared, and Magnificent.


In the afternoon, we will head to our accommodation in Quetzaltenango for the night. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5: Fuentes Georginas / Los Tarrales
At dawn we will be bird watching in the very humid sub-tropical forest at Fuentes Georginas, a popular hot spring resort in Zunil, a small town just southeast of Quetzaltenango. At 7,800 feet, the area features highland specialties. Birding along the entrance road, we hope to spot Wine-throated and Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Mexican Violetear (Formerly Green Violetear), Unicolored Jay, Brown-backed Solitaire (Photo: Gina Nichol), and if we are lucky, Guatemalan Pygmy Owl.

Later in the morning, we will travel to Los Tarrales Reserve for two nights. (B,L,D)

 

Day 6: Los Tarrales Reserve
Los Tarrales Reserve represents one of the most important areas for conservation in Guatemala.  It protects pristine forest around the upper slopes of Atitlan Volcano, as well as cloud forest and at lower levels, broad-leaved forest and coffee plantations. Our first morning will see us take an early coffee or tea and then transfer to an area where we will look for the rare and endangered Azure-rumped Tanager, a species restricted to just a tiny area in Guatemala and Mexico. Here we may see other species such as Rufous Sabrewing, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, White-bellied Hummingbird, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, White-throated Thrush, White-winged Tanager (Photo: Steve Bird) and Red-legged Honeycreeper.


We will then enjoy breakfast and then explore one of the coffee plantations where Prevost's Ground-Sparrows are regular and with luck we could see Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge. This a great spot to look for raptors and we would hope to see King Vulture, Black Hawk-Eagle, White Hawk and Laughing Falcon.  While Pacific Parakeets fly overhead, birds such as Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Long-billed Gnatwren, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Western Tanager and Painted Bunting can all be seen.


Returning to the lodge for lunch we will take a little time to look around the cabins where we can see Cinnamon Hummingbird (Photo: Steve Bird), White-throated Magpie-Jay, and possibly roosting Mottled Owls. We will then spend the afternoon walking a short trail nearby where we will look for species such as White-bellied Chachalaca, Yellow-naped Parrot, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Rufous-naped Wren, Blue-throated Goldentail, White-eared Ground Sparrow and Long-tailed Manakin. Night Los Tarrales (B,L,D)

 

Day 7: Los Tarrales to Lake Atitlan
This morning we will bird around several areas within walking distance from our cabins. In an area of woodland and bamboo, we will search for the tint Tody Motmot and we will check the fruiting trees for tanagers and hummingbirds, as well as Pacific, Orange-chinned and Orange-fronted Parakeets. A walk to a nearby pond could find us Green Kingfisher and Least Grebe, while the forest holds species such as Northern Potoo, Black-and-white Owl, Turquoise-browed and Blue-crowned Motmot, Yellow-winged and White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated and Scrub Euphonia, Spot-breasted, Altamira, and Baltimore Orioles, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Black-headed Saltator, Melodious Blackbird, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper and much more. In fact, Los Tarrales has recorded more than 350 species of birds and is also a haven for mammals, butterflies and dragonflies.


After lunch we will transfer to Lake Atitlan where we should have some time for birding in the late afternoon. Our wonderful accommodation set beside the picturesque Lake Atitlan makes a superb base to explore this area and just around the gardens we can see Painted Buntings and a host of wintering North American migrants. Night at Hotel & Restaurant Bambú (B,L,D)

 

Day 8: Volcan San Pedro
Note: Today's excursion to look for Horned Guan requires a high degree of effort and fitness as you will need to hike a steep trail for between 3 – 4 hours to reach the site. For those not wishing to do this hike you will bird the lower elevations with one of our guides.


Horned Guan Photo by Gina Nichol.Today we will take a boxed breakfast and lunch in preparation for our quest to see the mythical Horned Guan. It should take around 2-3 hours to reach our birding spot (for reasonably fit persons) and then we will look for the Horned Guan (Photo: Gina Nichol). Our guides have a 100% success rate at this new site to date. We could be back by lunchtime, but in case it takes longer we are bringing a boxed lunch.


So, the first thing after coffee in the morning we will take a boat ride toward San Pedro La Laguna and continue by pickup truck the beginning of our trail. Note that this is a new site found by our guides and eliminates an all-day trek to the place where most people try and see the Guan. This is probably the easiest and most reliable site to see this rare and mythical bird.


We will climb the hill to reach our site looking for other interesting species such as Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Slender Sheartail, Rufous Sabrewing, Violet Sabrewing, Bushy-crested Jay, Olive-sided Towhee, Chestnut-sided Shrike-vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Mountain Trogon, Bar-winged Oriole and Ocellated Quail among others.


Resplendent QuetzalAt the higher altitude where the Horned Guan can be found we can also see Black-throated Jay, while our return journey puts us in the habitat for the rarely seen Belted Flycatcher. Depending on our return time we may have time for some local birding around the lake edge or hotel gardens. Night Hotel & Restaurant Bambú (B,L,D)

 

Day 9: Rey Tepepul / Guatemala City
This morning we will be bird watching on the western slopes of Atitlan Volcano at Rey Tepepul. This subtropical humid forest at an altitude of 1800 meters gives us a chance to find the Resplendent Quetzal, as well as other species such as Yellow-naped Parrot, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Elegant Euphonia, Bar-winged Oriole, Crested Guan, Emerald Toucanet, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Hooded Grosbeak, White-eared Ground Sparrow, Green-throated Mountain-Gem, Pacific Parakeet, and Rusty Sparrow. Mid-morning we leave this wonderful area and make a couple of stops near the shore of Lake Atitlan where we could see some water birds, herons and swallows. We may even be lucky with finding the dainty Slender Sheartail or Sparkling-tailed Woodstar. We will continue on our drive to Guatemala City and our hotel for the last night of the tour. (B,L,D)


For those continuing on the Tikal extension, you will go to the airport for a 6 PM flight to Flores.

 

Day 10: Breakfast / Transfer to Airport

 


ITINERARY, TIKAL EXTENSION, February 9 - 12, 2020
(Subject to change depending on weather and birds!)

 
Day 9: Flores / Tikal National Park
Late in the afternoon, you will take a flight to Flores. On arrival, you’ll be taken to our lodge in the heart of Tikal National Park. 3 Nights Jungle Lodge, Tikal. (B,L,D)


Tikal

 

Days 10 & 11: Tikal National Park
Tikal is the largest excavated site in the American continent and contains some of the most fascinating archaeological remains of the ancient Maya civilization. Declared a world heritage site in 1979, Tikal comprises 576 square miles of lush jungle surrounding impressive Mayan ruins. The monuments, remnants of the ancient Maya culture located in the middle of lush jungles, are ideal places for bird watching and you’ll find birding around our lodge and the surrounding forest can be very rewarding.


This morning we will bird the area early when wildlife and bird activity are at their best. We hope to find Ocellated Turkey, Orange-breasted Falcon which can often be seen perched high on one of the monuments, Yucatan Jay, Black Catbird, Rose-throated Tanager, Great Curassow, White-fronted Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Crested Eagle, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-headed Trogon, Gartered Trogon, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Ivory-billed and Tawny-winged Woodcreepers, White-bellied Wren, Northern Schiffornis, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Montezuma Oropendola, Green-backed Sparrow among many others. Wintering flocks of warblers, tanagers and others makes this destination a fantastic tropical paradise.


We will have a proper Archaeological tour of this site and then in the afternoon evening we can look for some tricky birds such as Yucatan Poorwill and Gray-throated Chat. Nights Tikal (B,L,D)

 

Day 12: Tikal National Park / Guatemala City
This morning we will fly back to Guatemala City for evening departures from GUA. 


LEADERS: This tour will be led by the best local guides in Guatemala. A Sunrise Birding leader will also be leading with 8 or more clients.

GUATEMALA
February 1 - 9 / 9 - 12, 2020   Registration Form>
Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:
MAIN TOUR, Feb. 1 - 9, 2020

$2995.00 per person/double occupancy from Guatemala City, Guatemala based on minimum of 8 persons. Single supplement: $350.00 per person. Deposit: $500.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise gina@sunrisebirding.com when you have made payment. 

TIKAL EXT Feb. 9 – 12, 2020
$995.00 per person/double occupancy from Guatemala City, Guatemala based on minimum of 8 persons plus round-trip internal flight to Flores (approx. $250). Single supplement: $250.00 per person. Deposit:$500.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise gina@sunrisebirding.com when you have made payment. 

Included in cost: Accommodation in /double twin rooms, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10, group airport/hotel transfers, ground transport throughout including 4x4 where necessary, and boat trips as per itinerary, bottled water, all taxes, entrance fees to National Parks as mentioned in the itinerary, and bilingual professional guides.

Not included: International flight, domestic flight for Tikal (Approx. $250.00), passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks, laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Note: The tour price is based on a minimum of 8 passengers. 

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 6 and maximum 10.

RESERVATIONS: Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space! 
Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $500 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.    >Download & print the Registration Form 


Final payment is due October 1, 2019. 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). To make credit card payment arrangements, contact gina@sunrisebirding.com.


Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with all day birding. The only particular strenuous walks is for the Horned Guan.  Other walks are mostly from open roads, wide tracks but be prepared for hilly terrain in the highlands. To see a good amount of endemics and specialties you need to be prepared for full days. We will generally start early and either have an early breakfast or return for breakfast. Lunches will be either picnic or at the lodge depending on our schedule. All in all this itinerary is probably the best available to see a good selection of Guatemalan birds and has been designed to maximize our birding at the right times of day, which should allow for a respectable list. We can expect all types of weather from warm and hot to cool and showery. Please be prepared for this.


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: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at gina@sunrisebirding.com