Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
A Focus On Nature Tour
in the Highlands and Lowlands
for Birds, Butterflies, and Other Nature
Including the Mayan ruins at Tikal
April 12-24, 2016
(tours: FON/GU-1 a, b '16)
In a Land of Mayas & Motmots
We'll aim for all 6 of the possible Motmots:
the Tody, Keel-billed, Russet-crowned, Turquoise-browed, Blue-throated, and Blue-crowned
And There will be Numerous Other Birds as well:
Toucans, Trogons, Tanagers, and Tityras,
and the Resplendent Quetzal, the National Emblem of Guatemala,
considered by many the most beautiful bird in the world
During this tour previously, our "Top Birds" have
the Quetzal, Tody Motmot, Sparkling-tailed Coquette, Montane Solitary Eagle,
Pink-headed Warbler, Gray-throated Chat, Azure-rumped Tanager, and Azure-hooded Jay
our tours in Guatemala, other birds have included:
Agami Heron, Orange-breasted Falcon,
Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and Pheasant Cuckoo.
& prices follow.
Tours to be led by Armas Hill,
who has birded in Guatemala
numerous times since 1980.
You may choose to do either parts of the following tour, or both:
FON/GU-1a The Highlands, from Quetzaltenango to Verapaz April 12-19
FON/GU-1b The Lowlands of the Peten, including Tikal April 19-24
FON/GU-1a&b Highlands & Peten Lowlands April 12-24
A List of Guatemala Birds
List & Photo Gallery of Central America Birds, Part 1 of 4
(with links to Parts 2-4)
Mammals in Guatemala (with some photos)
American Butterflies & Moths
A List in 6 Parts (with some photos)
in Guatemala & Belize (with some photos)
Some Guatemala Past FONT Tour Highlights
A Photo Gallery of Guatemala Scenery & Nature
Other Upcoming Birding & Nature Tours in Central America
Tour Registration Form
Itineraries (prices follow):
Tour: FON/GU-1a The HIGHLANDS, in the areas of ANTIGUA, QUETZALTENAGO, LAKE ATITLAN, and VERAPAZ
Tue, Apr. 12: Arrival in Guatemala City. Transfer to the attractive, old capital city of Antigua, for our first overnight in an historic building converted now to a nice hotel. It's a pleasant way to begin our Guatemalan tour. And there's some fine birding in the area of Antigua, (if time permits) late in the day on Apr. 9 and in the morning on Apr. 10.
Wed, Apr. 13: Our birding, through the day, will be in the picturesque western highlands. With travel, this day, from Antigua to Quetzaltenango. In the nice countryside, there will be "nice birds". Notable among those we'll seek would be the attractive Pink-headed Warbler, and the first of a few motmots to be seen during the tour: a denizen of the highlands, the Blue-throated Motmot. Overnight near Quetzaltenango.
Thu, Apr. 14:
A morning of good birding in the vicinity of Fuentes Georginas (an area
with hot springs, in the cloud forest, near Quetzaltenango). Some
particularly interesting birds are possible, including some described as gems:
the Garnet-throated and Amethyst-throated Hummingbirds, the Red-billed
Azurecrown, and possibly the very rare Azure-rumped Tanager. (If we
don't see the Azure-rumped Tanager, we have another, now better, location
for it later in the tour.)
In the late afternoon, we drive to a site close to Lake Atitlan to be in a good position for birding in that area, where, during 1 of our 2 days there, we'll be at that other location for the Azure-rumped Tanager and for another spectacular rarity, the Horned Guan. Overnight near Lake Atitlan.
Fri & Sat, Apr. 15 & 16: Two days of birding in the area of Lake Atitlan, a lake considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Our birding in the area these 2 days should be exceptionally good. It has been, for us, in the past. Highlights during our previous tours here have included: the Horned Guan, Azure-rumped Tanager, 3 species of Hawk-eagles, the Sparkling-tailed Coquette, other notable hummingbirds of the mountains, and the dapper Prevost's Ground-Sparrow. Overall, there's a wonderful assortment of birds in the region, including various flycatchers, orioles, hummingbirds, and more. Often, after dark, we can hear the Mexican Whip-poor-will from the rooms where we'll be staying, during these overnights, again near Lake Atitlan.
photographed during the FONT Guatemala tour in December 2006
(photo by Marie Gardner)
So, yes, these two days should be with some exceptionally good birding. In addition to birds just mentioned, there's a chance that the Resplendent Quetzal could be seen. It's on the same mountain as the Horned Guan. We'll be hiking, one day, on trails up, and then down, that mountain.
As we did that hiking, during our most-recent Guatemala tour, birds included: Spotted Wood Quail, Spotted and Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrushes, Blue-crowned and Blue-throated Motmots, Blue-and-while Mockingbird, Brown-backed Solitaire, Chestnut-sided and Green Shrike-Vireos, Scaly-throated and Ruddy Foliage-gleaners, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Black-throated Jay, Emerald Toucanet, Golden-browed Warbler, and Blue-naped Chlorophonia, in addition to the Azure-rumped Tanager and the Horned Guan.
The Horned Guan (our primary "target") was not our only guan. We also saw the Highland Guan.
And yet, another "very good bird" that would be possible to see is be the not-often-seen Maroon-chested Ground Dove.
photographed during the FONT Guatemala tour
Sun, Apr. 17:
This day, we'll travel to Verapaz (in the eastern highlands)
with some birding enroute in the Upper Montagua Valley,
a dry area, with a number of birds in Guatemala unique to that area. Among them,
the Russet-crowned Motmot. If we've already seen the Resplendent
Quetzal, it wouldn't really be necessary to travel as far as the Verapaz highlands.
But, if we do, we'll stay at the
Posada Montana del Quetzal. (If we don't go to Verapaz, we'd overnight near the
dry desert area to be in position for early morning birding there. In the
evening, we would have our encounter with the Buff-collared Nightjar; in
the morning with birds such as the Lesser Roadrunner.)
Male Resplendent Quetzal
Mon, Apr. 18: Either an early morning visit to the area of the Biotopo del Quetzal to see the Resplendent Quetzal, a truly spectacular bird, and the national symbol of Guatemala, followed by other birding in the Verapaz highlands, or birding, as noted above, in the arid habitat of the Upper Motagua Valley. During the afternoon, travel back to Guatemala City where we'll spend the night.
Tue, Apr. 19: Either departure from Guatemala, or continuation on tour FON/GU-1b in the lowlands of the region of northern Guatemala known as the Peten.
Tour: FON/GU-1b: The LOWLANDS of the PETEN, including TIKAL
19: (Those not on the previous tour FON/GU-1a would arrive the
previous day, Mon. Apr. 18, with that overnight in Guatemala City).
An early morning transfer by plane from Guatemala City to Flores. From there, travel south to the river known in Spanish as the Rio de la Pasion. During an afternoon boat-ride along that river, there should be some interesting birding. Previously we've seen Sungrebe.
Jabiru is a possibility. Various other birds can occur as well. The river passes through the Ceibal National Park. Our overnight will be in nice accommodations along the river, no where near any town, no where near any lights and sounds of habitation. Any sounds we would hear should be those of nature.
Wed, Apr. 20:
Morning birding, not far from where we spent the night, in a forested area of
mostly unexcavated Mayan ruins, in a reserve called, "Aquateca dos
Pilas". There will be numerous birds, but our prime quest will be a
very good bird indeed: the least known, and generally least seen of the
Guatemalan motmots, the one known as the Keel-billed Motmot. After
what should be some fine birding, another boat-ride (in the other direction)
on the Rio de la Pasion, with, in all probability,
some good birding, again. Then, travel by land, to Tikal, for the first of our 3
Thu & Fri, Apr. 21 & 22: Birding in the environs of the Mayan Ruins of Tikal, one of the truly outstanding archeological sites in the world, amidst the jungle in the Peten. And a place always with great birding.
The ruins and the birds are there, where we are, when we wake up in the morning.
Probably, as well, mammals, such as monkeys and coatimundis.
There will be two full days of birding. With many birds to be seen ranging from the Great Curassow down to the Tody (that is the smallest) Motmot.
Some of the large birds should be readily visible: Ocellated Turkey, Keel-billed Toucans, and various parrots.
Smaller birds would also be seen, including: manakins, antbirds, and hummingbirds.
With more to be sought: some crakes, a spadebill, and wood-quail.
After dark, owls and nightjars.
During our tours at Tikal, birds we've seen have included:
Crested Eagle, Orange-breasted Falcon, Ornate-Hawk-Eagle, and Pheasant Cuckoo.
Overnights in the park at Tikal.
Temple 4 in Tikal, where during our tours 2002, 2003, & 2004, we saw a pair of Orange-breasted Falcons.
Either there, or by other temples at Tikal, Orange-breasted Falcons have been seen since then - more recently, during our tours in March 2006, January 2007, July 2007, & January 2009.
Sat, Apr. 23: During much of the day, our final birding at Tikal. Late in the afternoon, travel from Tikal to Flores, and the flight back to Guatemala City. Our farewell dinner and final overnight in Guatemala City.
Sun, Apr. 24:
Departure from Guatemala City.
Tour Prices in U.S. dollars, per person, based upon double-occupancy:
FON/GU-1a The Highlands, from Quetzaltenango to Verapaz April 12-19 $2,395
FON/GU-1b The Lowlands of the Peten, including Tikal April 19-24 $1,695
FON/GU-1a&b Highlands & Peten Lowlands April 12-24 $2,990
FON/GU-1a: $245 FON/GU-1b: $205 FON/GU-1a&b: $355
All overnight accommodations.
All transportation within Guatemala, including flights between Guatemala City and Flores (for Tikal).
All meals (except on April 12 & 24).
Services of the FONT birding leader familiar with the birds and localities.
Prices do not include: Drinks and other items of a
Meals on April 12 & 24.
International flights to/from Guatemala. Airport tax. Gratuities.
Focus On Nature Tours can arrange air travel,
and would seek the best possible fares.
A deposit of US
$400 for either tour 1A or 1B,
or US $600 for the combination of tours 1A&B,
is required to register.
Temples at Tikal, with Bat Falcons, Ocellated Turkey, and Tody Motmot.
Drawing by FONT tour participant, Charles Gambill.
The Ocellated Turkey at Tikal.
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