Honduras Trip Itinerary

Only 2 Cabins left!

January 5, 2018 – January 13, 2018

DAY 1

Arrival SAP and Departure for Panacam Lodge

Panacam Lodge

Panacam Lodge

We ask that our guests’ international flights arrive San Pedro as close to mid-day as possible. This will ensure an afternoon arrival to Panacam Lodge and allow time for some birding before dinner.

Panacam and Cerro Azul are roughly 1 1/2 hours’ drive from SAP and are nestled within easy access to mid elevation rainforest and pine-oak forest. Upon arrival this afternoon, we will see that the area around the park’s visitor center is alive with bird activity, and we may observe species such as: Keel- billed Motmot, Black-crested Coquette, Tody Motmot, Spectacled Foliage Gleaner, Collared Trogon, White-bellied Emerald, Bushy-crested Jay, and many more.

Find out more about Panacam Lodge

Dinner at Panacam Lodge

Day 2

Santa Barbara National Park

Santa Barbara National Park – Photo by James Adams of Resplendent Quetzals

 

We’ll start out bright and early today for the one hour drive into the coffee plantations and cloud forests of Santa Barbara National Park. Here we will be birding in and out of forests within a restoration effort known as “Fuente de Vida” which is a local community effort to protect and even restore areas of cloud forest through birding tourism. Among the expected avian thrills here are: Resplendent Quetzal, Emerald Toucanet, Flame Colored Tanager, and other species such as Bushy Crested Jay, Emerald Toucanet, Wine throated Hummingbird, Blue and white Mockingbird, Blue Crowned Chlorophonia, Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge and many others.

We’ll descend the mountain by mid-day for lunch at Finca Las Glorias, and then move west a mile to “Los Naranjos” archaeological park along the lush shores of Lake Yojoa. Los Naranjos is the site of a nearly 3,000 year old pre-Columbian city, and here, easy walking

along the park’s shore-line boardwalk will have us looking for Ruddy Crake, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Muscovy Duck, Spotted Rail, Snail Kite, Gray-breasted Crake, Northern Jacana and more wetland, lakeshore species.

We will return to Panacam Lodge for Dinner

Day 3

Today after breakfast at Panacam we will bird the “Panacam Lowlands”, which consist of a mix of pine-oak, and tropical rainforest. Here are good opportunities for Prevost Ground Sparrow and many other species such as: Green-backed Sparrow, Passerini’s Tanager, Plain Chachalaca, Black-crowned Tityra, Slate-headed Tody Flycatcher, Dusky Antbird, and many more.

We’ll have lunch at Panacam Lodge before departing for Honduras’ North Coast, and The Lodge at Pico Bonito, the highly acclaimed birding/rain forest resort within 270,000 acre Pico Bonito National Park. A late afternoon arrival at The Lodge will afford us time to unpack, refresh and enjoy some light birding of the Lodge grounds before dinner.

Learn more about The Lodge & Spa at Pico Bonito

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

Day 4

Pico Bonito Lobby

Pico Bonito Lobby

Our first full day at The Lodge at Pico Bonito will begin at 6:00 AM, with an early breakfast on the spacious front deck of The Lodge’s Itzama Restaurant. For the next several hours our guide will lead us throughout the Lodge grounds and gardens, spotting numerous bird species that are common here. A climb to the top of the “Toucan Tower” observation platform, offers a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy that can include heart-stopping views of the coveted Lovely Cotinga.

Throughout the morning we will bird areas of tropical, secondary and gallery forest and plantations areas along the Rio Coloradito. Along this route, diversity is the rule and examples of sightings include Lovely Cotinga, Masked and Black-crowned Tityras, Blue crowned and Turquoise-browed Motmots, Tody Motmot, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Ferruginous Pigmy Owl, Black-cowled Oriole, Black-headed, Violaceous, Collared and Slaty-tailed Trogons, Royal Flycatcher, Green, Shining and Red-Legged Honeycreepers, and 16 species of Hummingbirds including Crowned Woodnymph, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Violet Sabrewing, Purple-crowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Green Violet-ear and White-necked Jacobin.

Lunch at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

In the afternoon, after lunch and a light siesta, we’ll ascend with our guide along The Lodge’s loop trail system in search of the more forest interior birds this rain forest paradise has to offer.

In addition to the Toucan tower at the trail’s beginning, this route offers an elevated ridge platform, which overlooks the Rio Coloradito and surrounding forested slopes. Well also visit observation Tower #3 along the way, set amidst an area of bird rich secondary tropical forest and overgrown plantation.

White-collared and Red-capped Manakins occur at various locations here and the Grey-headed Piprites may be seen as well. Both Keel-billed and Tody Motmots are frequently encountered along this route. Other species here include the Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Keel-billed, Emerald and Yellow-eared Toucanets, Collared Aracari, a host of Flycatcher species, including the Royal Flycatcher, and many of the Trogon, Woodpecker, Woodcreeper, Tanager and Oriole species on The Lodge’s 420+ bird list.

In addition to superb viewing from The Lodge’s towers, this route passes several overlooks along the Rio Coloradito and sightings of many Raptor species can be made here. Great and Northern Potoo occur here as well.

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

Day 5

Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is named for the Cuero and Salado Rivers which here meet the ocean, The Refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests that are home to diverse wildlife including; West Indian Manatees, American Crocodiles, Spider and White-faced Monkeys, Lesser Anteaters and a variety of birds exceeding 350 species.

We’ll meet our guide early for breakfast, and depart for the refuge by 6:30. Access into this wilderness is via a small motorized train, which takes us along a century old track through bird-rich ranchlands, marshlands and plantation areas, ultimately arriving at the mouth of the Salado River and the Refuge itself. Birding from the train is always exciting, as even the conductor is eager to stop and point out species of interest along the way. Depending on season, a variety of raptors, wading birds and edge- habitat species abound along the railway.

Once at the Refuge, we will explore the various aquatic and forest habitats from a small, motorized skiff. Our guides and boat handlers are superbly trained spotters and when needed, prefer to silence our boat’s motor and quietly paddle in for a better look.

Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Tri-colored Heron, Jabiru Stork, Pigmy Kingfisher, Gray-necked Wood Rail, Sungrebe, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Gray-necked Wood Rail, and Sungrebe are but a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado.

After lunch at The Lodge, we will have the afternoon to relax, visit The Lodge’s butterfly farm, or do additional birding from the Lodge’s decks or gardens.

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

After dinner, we’ll be guided around the Lodge’s gardens and plantation areas where Mottled Owl, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Black and White Owl, and both Great and Northern Potoo may be found. A stop at The Lodge’s frog pond nearly always turns up several Red-eyed Treefrogs and other tropical, amphibian species.

Day 6

We’ll begin this full day of birding Honduras’ unique dry forest habitat with an early breakfast at The Lodge, and departure by 4:30 AM.

The target of our search, the beautiful but critically endangered Honduran Emerald survives only in remaining pockets of tropical dry forest to the south of Pico Bonito National Park. Descending the “rain shadow”, or southern side of the Park, cloud forested
peaks and pine studded slopes give way to an arid, almost desert-like plain, once dominated by tropical thorn or dry forest.

Although endangered, the Honduran Emerald is considered common within its habitat. As such, regardless of season, our chances of seeing the Honduran Emerald are very good.

Our ride into “Emerald country” can be equally exciting, as a surprising number of bird species inhabit dry forest. Along the way, we’ll also visit localized wet areas within this arid region. These sites can be magnets for wading birds and other species. We’ll go after species such as; Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground- cuckoo, Beardless Tyrannulet, White-lored Gnatcatcher, White-throated Magpie-jay, Banded Wren, White-bellied Wren, and Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Salvin’s Emerald among others.

We’ll enjoy lunch in the nearby ranching town of Olanchito, and return to The Lodge by 4:00 PM.

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

Day 7

Rio Santiago Nature Resort is a 150 acre private preserve located 30 kilometers west of The Lodge at Pico Bonito. Its secluded, rain forest location and impressive numbers of hummingbird feeders has earned it the name of “hummingbird capital of Honduras”. Throughout most of the year, Santiago’s trails and main garden areas abound with bewildering numbers of some of Honduras’ most well-known hummingbird species.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Violet Sabrewing, Crowned Woodnymph, Stripe-throated Hermit, Long- billed Hermit, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-bellied Emerald, and Scaly-breasted Hummingbird are among the 20+ species that frequent Santiago’s feeders.

In addition, the spectacular Keel-billed Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Sunbittern are frequently seen along with Red-capped and White-collared Manakins along Santiago’s trail system.

Lunch/Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

Day 8

We’ll meet our guide for breakfast, and depart for The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens by 6:00 AM. Set amidst a coastal valley flanked by low, rain-forested hills, The United Fruit Company founded Lancetilla as a station where tropical fruit and wood trees were studied for commercial value. The Gardens were founded in 1925, and some of that work continues. However this diverse tropical treasure, composed of a mosaic of forest and edge habitats, is today best known for its superb birding.

Honduras’ annual Christmas Bird Count is held at Lancetilla, and every December, bird watchers flock to confirm and add to the Garden’s growing list of colorful, tropical species. The current bird list reads like a who’s who of tropical birds, and includes Motmots and Manakins, Woodcreepers and Warblers, Woodpeckers, Toucans, Tanagers, and scores of others.

A typical day of birding here could yield: Little Tinamou, Common Black Hawk, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Ruddy Crake, White-fronted Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black- headed Trogon, ViolaceousTrogon, Collared Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Blue- crowned Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Great Antshrike, Barred Antshrike, Long-billed Gnatwren, and a host of other resident and migrant species.

We’ll complete our morning at Lancetilla with lunch in the beach-side town of Tela, and return to The Lodge in time to relax, freshen up and enjoy our last night’s dinner at The Lodge.

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito

Day 9

Depart for San Pedro Sula International Airport

IAS Members: $2939.00/Single Supplement: $3325.00

NON Members: $3239.00/Single Supplement: $3600.00

Does not include

  • Airfare
  • Gifts
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Trip Insurance

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • 6 nights at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
  • All meals w/one soft drink per meal.
  • Bi-lingual Guide throughout.
  • Guided Birding of Lodge Property/Pico Bonito National Park.
  • Guided Birding Rio Santiago Nature Reserve.
  • Guided Birding Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge.
  • Guided Birding Lancetilla Botanical Gardens.
  • Guided Birding Rio Aguan Valley (Honduran Emerald reserve).
  • Guided Night Hike.
  • Guided Butterfly Farm and Serpentarium Tour.
  • 2 nights at Panacam Lodge.
  • All meals w/one soft drink per meal.
  • Guided Birding Panacam/Cerro Azul National Park.
  • Guided Birding Lake Yojoa/Los Naranjos.
  • Guided Birding Santa Barbara National Park.
  • All in-country Ground Transfers.
  • All taxes, gratuities.
Pico Bonito Room

Outstanding rooms

The Lodge & Spa at Pico Bonito seamlessly combines nature and luxurious comfort. The luxury eco-lodge located on the Caribbean coast of Honduras near La Ceiba is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The Lodge offers the adventure of the outdoors, the beauty of the rainforest, and the personal service and luxury of a boutique hotel.

The Lodge & Spa at Pico Bonito’s 400 acre property together with Pico Bonito National Park and Cuero y Salado Manatee Refuge encompass eight distinct ecosystems, each with their own resident and migrant avian species.

Three multi-story canopy observation towers offer maximum viewing and photography opportunities.

Bilingual birding guides offer personal tours along a privately maintained trail system.

A birder’s dream destination, with confirmed sightings of more than half of the nearly 800 birds known to Honduras. And the list is growing.

Want to Learn More Before Booking?

Carl & Amy Wilms

Carl & Amy Wilms, Organizers

Contact Carl or Amy Wilms, Trip Organizers

Amy: wilmsab@indianaaudubon.org

Carl: carl.wilms@indianaaudubon.org

Phone: 765-827-5109 (evenings are best)

2017 Copyright ©  Indiana Audubon Society, Inc.

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