2015 trip itinerary

Our 10-day Birding in Belize trips look like this:

Day 1 (Friday) – Airport Pickup at the Belize City International Airport in the afternoon. Travel to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary to stay at the Crooked Tree Lodge beside the lagoon which is one of the best birding hot-spots in the country. You will be given orientation and an information session about your trip upon arrival and will check into your room. Free time to explore the premises and start on your bird list! Dinner at the lodge.

Day 2 (Saturday) – Early rise and shine for a birding by boat tour. Get ready to list more than 75 species of birds in this 2 to 3 hour boat trip, including the magnificent Jabiru Stork, Snail Kites and the Black Collared Hawk. In the afternoon you will spend some time on your own birding and relaxing. Night birding tour to spotlight Boat-Billed Herons and Common Pauraques along the lagoon edge. Overnight at Crooked Tree Lodge and all meals at the lodge.

Day 3 (Sunday) – Breakfast at Crooked Tree Lodge and then departure for your next destination, the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center, nestled in the Maya Mountains. On your way to the center you will stop at the Belize Zoo, known as the Best Little Zoo in the World (and it truly is!). The bird collection here is excellent and you will get to see many species upfront and personal that are very difficult to find in the wild. Only native animals that have been orphaned, injured, or confiscated as pets are kept at this zoo. After the zoo we will stop at a great restaurant (Cheers) for lunch and then head south to the mountains. Arrive at T.R.E.E.S. by 2:30 pm; check into your room and have an orientation session. Spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing by the beautiful and refreshing river swimming hole. Dinner and then a real treat – a musical and cultural presentation by Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations, an amazing Kriol and West African drumming ensemble!

Day 4 (Monday) – Early morning snacks and coffee followed by a guided bird walk. Return for your real breakfast and have a few hours to rest and bird on your own in the amazing trails around the 200 acre property. In the afternoon after lunch you will take a guided walk on the trail system and learn about useful plants and look for animal signs from a real Belizean bush guide! Dinner at the lodge.

Day 5 (Tuesday) – Birds are great to look at, but even better to hold! After early morning snacks and coffee you will head out to the banding station and learn from the station’s on-site ornithologist how to extract birds from mist-nets and how to age, sex, and band them. Come back for breakfast and take a few hours to relax and explore before lunch and then an afternoon banding session. Dinner at the lodge followed by a night walk along the river to spotlight sleeping birds as well as other wildlife like water possums and many reptiles and amphibians.

Day 6 (Wednesday) – After breakfast you will head to the Blue Hole/St. Herman’s Cave National Park where you will spend some time birding (some really special birds that are commonly seen here include the Royal Flycatcher, Blue-crowned Mot-Mot, and Rufous-Tailed Jacamar). After you have gotten your bird watching fix, head into the depths of the cave with an inner tube where you will get the experience of your lifetime cave-tubing! A Belizean adventure that is not to be missed. Come back to T.R.E.E.S for lunch and an afternoon of swimming or set up a game of volleyball, badmington, croquet, botchi ball, or Frisbee in our sports field.

Day 7 (Thursday) – Another chance to try your hands at extracting birds from the mist-nets and working on your bander’s and photographer’s grip as well as sexing and aging birds using Pile’s. All meals at the lodge and last overnight before heading out to the Caribbean sea.

Day 8 (Friday) – After breakfast at T.R.E.E.S you will hop in the van and head further south to Dangriga, the cultural capital of Belize and the jumping off point for the southern islands (called “cayes”) which sit directly on the Meso-American Barrier Reef, the second longest barrier reef in the world. On your way to Dangriga you will take a quick detour to the pine savannah, to see some more bird species that you may not have yet ticked off your list, including the impressive swallow-tailed kite which is often seen in this area. Once in Dangriga you will head to the Pelican Beach Resort for lunch where you can dine and watch pelicans lazily fishing along the dock. After lunch you will hit the sea and head out to Southwater Caye, stopping on the way to see a Magnificent Frigatebird nesting colony, as well as Brown-footed Boobies at Man-O-War Caye. Arrive at the island Pelican Beach Resort and make yourself at home. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9 (Saturday) – Free day to relax on the beach and observe some common island bird species including the Mangrove Warbler, Brown Pelican, and Magnificent Frigatebird. Snorkel on the reef right from the island’s edge (snorkel gear provided). All meals and accommodations at the Pelican Beach Resort lodge.

Day 10 (Sunday) – Enjoy looking out over the blue blue waters of the Caribbean for your last breakfast in Belize. Boat back to Dangriga where you will transfer to the Dangriga airport for a quick 15-min domestic flight to Belize City International Airport to catch your international flight home.