Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
Pink-headed WarblerEasy!
GUATEMALA

February 13 - 19, 2021 Info>

Tikal Extension: Feb 11 - 13, 2021 Info>
Horned Guan Extension: Feb 19 - 20, 2021
Info>

Right: Pink-headed Warbler!
Just one of 720 reasons to bird in Guatemala

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

Wine-throated Hummingbird. Photo by Steve Bird.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 740 bird species have been reported in Guatemala with at least 370 of them known to breed.

 

For birders, Guatemala offers so many avian delights like Pink-headed Warblers that are not only fabulous to look at they are actually quite easy to find in the right habitat. 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 an arduous 4 hour each way hike!)
 
Other key species on offer in Guatemala include Blue-throated Motmot, Resplendent Quetzal, Lesser Roadrunner, Belted Flycatcher, Ocellated Turkey, 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 Monkey and Central American Spider Monkey plus Tayra and a host of cats such as Ocelot, Margay and even Jaguar. Butterflies, dragonflies and a wealth of flora abound.

 

We've redesigned our itinerary for 2021 to offer an easy paced, two center tour, with more choices and better value.  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: Pink-headed Warbler, Wine-throated Hummingbird, Horned Guan


ITINERARY, TIKAL Pre-tour Extension, February 11 - 13, 2021
 
Day 1: Arrival in Guatemala / Fly to Flores / Tikal National Park
Plan on arriving today at the International Airport La Aurora, Guatemala (Airport code: GUA) by 3 PM.  In late afternoon, you will take a flight to Flores. On arrival, you’ll be taken to our lodge in the heart of Tikal National Park. 2 Nights Jungle Lodge, Tikal.


Tikal

 

Day 2: Tikal National Park
Tikal is the largest excavated Mayan site on 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 we can look for some tricky birds such as Yucatan Poorwill and Gray-throated Chat. Night Tikal (B,L,D)

 

Day 3: Tikal area / Guatemala City
This morning we will bird the area around our lodge and the forest adjacent to Tikal National Park.  A trial into the forest could yield Black Catbird, Rose-throated Tanager, Royal Flycatcher, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Ocellated Turkey, Keel-billed Toucan, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Red-lored Amazon, Northern Schiffornis, Russet-naped Wood-Rail and Purple-crowned Fairy.  After lunch we will fly back to Guatemala City and then head to the Antigua for the main tour. 


Blue-throated Motmot by Gina Nichol.ITINERARY
Main Tour, February 13 -19, 2021

Day 1, February 13: Arrive Guatemala City, transfer to Antigua
Those not joining the pre-tour extension to Tikal should plan on arriving today at the International Airport La Aurora, Guatemala (Airport code: GUA). Please arrive by 2 PM to avoid the afternoon rush hour traffic between 4 - 7 PM. You will meet for a group transfer to the wonderful city of Antigua (some time around 2 PM, to be determined). Those arriving in time will meet for dinner. If you wish to have a more relaxed start and spend a day looking around Antingua, we suggest arriving a day earlier. Please advise and we can help you arrange this as well as additional cultural activities.  Night in Antigua, Guatemala (D)

 

Day 2, February 14: 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 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.

Breakfast al fresco overlooking Antigua, Guatemala

Breakfast al fresco overlooking Antigua, Guatemala!

 

After a superb breakfast we will move on to Finca El Pilar, a private reserve where Antigua new species could include Black-capped Swallow and Slate-throated Redstart.  The main attraction here are the hummingbird feeders that are visited by Rufous Sabrewing, Berylline Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird and Rivoli's (Magnificent) Hummingbird. A walk on the trails into the forest may reveal Western Tanager, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and 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. 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)

 

Day 3, February 15: Ocellated Quail / Las Palmeras
This morning we will head back up the slopes above Antigua to look for the mythical Ocellated Quail.  We'll strategize our quest for this shy bird and we have a chance for views if we employ good fieldcraft.  Later on we will visit Las Palmeras above El Pilar to look for Fulvous Owl, Painted Redstart, Bushy-crested Jay, Elegant Euphonia, Gray Silky-Flycatcher, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Bar-winged Oriole, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Rose-throated Becard, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, White-faced Ground Sparrow, Black-headed Siskin and more. Later on we'll enjoy another great meal in Antigua. 

 

Day 4, February 16: Tecpan / Lake Atitlan
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 and 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, Steller's Jay, and the Guatemala race of Hairy Woodpecker. Flowering shrubs here offer nectar to Garnet-throated or Amethyst-throated Hummingbird. During migratory (winter) season, neotropical warblers are found here including Townsend’s, 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.

 

Later on we will transfer to Lake Atitlan where we should have some time for birding in the late afternoon. Our wonderful accommodation overlooking the picturesque Lake Atitlan makes a superb base to explore this area.  In the flower filled gardens of the hotel, we can see Painted Buntings, Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, a host of wintering North American migrants, and more. Night at Lake Atitlan (B,L,D).

 

Hotel at Lake Atitlan

 

 

Brown-backed Solitaire (Photo: Gina Nichol)Day 5, February 17: Fuentes Georginas /
Boat trip on Lake Atitlan

At dawn we will be bird watching in the 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 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.

We'll head back to Lake Atitlan for lunch and then enjoy a boat ride around the lake to look for Violet-green Swallows, Purple Gallinule, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, a multitude of herons, egrets, and kingfishers, Sora, and weather permitting, a beautiful sunset. (B,L,D)

 

Resplendent QuetzalDay 6, February 18: Rey Tepepul / Los Tarrales Reserve

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 just under 6,000 feet 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.  When the activity wains, we will head to Los Tarrales Reserve to have lunch and look for the specialties of the 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. Here, 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.


Cinnamon Hummingbird (Photo: Steve Bird)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. Cinnamon Hummingbird (Photo: Steve Bird), White-throated Magpie-Jay, and roosting Mottled Owls are all possible. We will spend time 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 Lake Atitlan (B,L,D)

 

Day 7, February 19: Departures from Guatemala City or Horned Guan extension
This morning after breakfast, those not continuing on the Horned Guan extension will depart for Guatemala City and flights out.  Those going on the Horned Guan extension will have an early breakfast and head for Volcan San Pedro.  (B) 


NOTE: Itinerary subject to change depending on weather and birds!


ITINERARY, HORNED GUAN EXTENSION, February 19 & 20, 2020

February 19: Volcan San Pedro
Note: This excursion to look for Horned Guan requires a high degree of effort and fitness as you will need to hike a steep, rocky, muddy 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 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 White-faced (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, and Bar-winged Oriole among others.


At 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 Lake Atitlan (B,L,D)

 

Day 9, February 20: Departures from Guatemala City
This morning we will head back to Guatemala City for afternoon departures from GUA.  (B)


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.

Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird.GUATEMALA Easy!
Main Tour: February 13 - 19, 2021
Tikal Extension: Feb 11 - 13, 2021
Horned Guan Extension: Feb 19 - 20, 2021
Registration Form>   
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

MAIN TOUR, EASY, Feb. 13 - 19, 2021
TOUR PRICE: $2150.00 per person/double occupancy from Guatemala City, Guatemala based on minimum of 6 persons.
Single supplement:
$395.00 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 [email protected] when you have made payment. 

TIKAL Pre-trip EXTENSION, Feb. 11 – 13, 2021
TOUR PRICE: $995.00 per person/double occupancy from Guatemala City, Guatemala based on minimum of 4 persons plus round-trip internal flight to Flores (approx. $250).
Single supplement:
$195.00 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 [email protected] when you have made payment. 

HORNED GUAN EXTENSION, Feb. 19– 20, 2021
TOUR PRICE: $350 per person/double occupancy from Guatemala City, Guatemala based on minimum of 4 persons.
Single supplement:
$95.00 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 [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Included in cost: Accommodation in /double twin rooms, all meals from dinner on the first day (for those arriving in time) through breakfast on the last day, 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 4-6 and maximum 10.

RESERVATIONS: Contact [email protected] 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 11, 2020. 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 [email protected]


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 [email protected].com