Honduras is a birder’s paradise and boasts over 740 bird species. This new addition to our Bargain Birdwatching portfolio is a single-centre tour based in a luxury eco-lodge lying at the foot of the Pico Bonito National Park, which covers some 270,000 acres of little-explored Caribbean tropical wet forest and cloudforest. As you’d expect, the 400-acre private reserve in which the lodge is situated is alive with tityras, motmots, trogons, honeycreepers, flycatchers and hummingbirds. We will also visit the nearby Salado Wildlife Refuge which should reveal Agami Heron, Jabiru and Sungrebe amongst a profusion of wetland birds, as well as Black Howler Monkey and other mammals. This tour is designed to offer easy yet exciting and varied birding from an exceptionally comfortable base with good photographic opportunities.
If the idea of a warm-weather, single-centre birdwatching holiday appeals — and the popularity of our ‘Bargain Birdwatching’ holidays to such destinations as Zambia (Kafunta Lodge), Brazil (Serra dos Tucanos) and Panama (Canopy Tower) over the years tends to suggest that, to many, it does! — then this new holiday could be just for you!
The Lodge at Pico Bonito, a member of the ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’ group, is a luxury eco-lodge located on the northern (Caribbean) coast of Honduras. The lodge nestles at the foot of the Pico Bonito National Park, which covers some 270,000 acres of littleexplored Caribbean tropical wet forest and cloudforest.
In excess of 420 species have been recorded within 20 minutes of the lodge, amongst them the stunning Lovely Cotinga, a bird which was so revered by the Aztecs and Mayans that the species’ iridescent blue feathers were often given as gifts to tribal leaders.
As you’d expect, the 400-acre private reserve in which the lodge is situated is alive with tityras, motmots, trogons, honeycreepers, flycatchers and hummingbirds. All of these families will feature prominently in our daily sightings, with other magnificent birds such as Keel-billed Toucan, Great Curassow and Royal Flycatcher all ‘on the menu’.
Nearby Salado Wildlife Refuge should reveal Agami Heron, Jabiru and Sungrebe amongst a profusion of wetland birds, as well as Black Howler Monkey, White-faced Monkey, Lesser Anteater and Central American Coati. With luck, we might also see West Indian Manatee, for about 50 individuals reside in the refuge.
We will also target the country’s endemic hummingbird, Honduran Emerald, during a visit to the tropical dry forest south of Pico Bonito National Park, where we should also see Lesser Roadrunner, Lesser Ground-cuckoo and Salvin’s Emerald, amongst many others.
If easy, yet exciting and varied, birding from an exceptionally comfortable base with good photographic opportunities appeals to you, then do ask us for a detailed itinerary. We expect places to sell fast!
Prix : 3995 euros par personne
Supplément single: 580 euros
du 7 Nov 2023 au 16 Nov 2023
Durée: 10 jours / 9 nuits
Flight from London
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
“Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays in this brochure are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed in this brochure. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate”
-“It is a condition of joining one of our holidays that you must be insured against medical and personal liability risks, including our 24-hour medical emergency assistance cover. We strongly recommend that you ensure the cancellation cover under your policy insures the full value of your holiday.”
-Le prix de ces séjours est sous l'influence directe du taux de change de l'US Dollar et de la Livre Sterling... NATURE & TERROIR se réserve le droit, selon ses conditions générales de vente, de revoir son prix en cas de fluctuation importante des devises ou des tarifs de transport.
-Le prix affiché est majoré de 10 euros pour frais bancaires.
-En cas d’inscription à moins de 70 jours de la date de départ, la totalité du montant du bon de commande est dû dès inscription. A plus de 70 jours, un acompte de 30% est dû, le solde étant à verser dans les 70 jours précédents le départ.
We depart from the UK in the morning, picking from the best schedules on offer from American Airlines, United and Delta via Miami, Houston and Atlanta. Upon arrival in the US you will transfer to a convenient airport hotel.
An ESTA will be required for the transit in the US.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Your flight down to Honduras will an arrival around midday. We will then drive for 2½ hours from San Pedro Sula north-east towards the port city of La Ceiba, turning off into the Pico Bonito National Park. The Lodge at Pico Bonito is located on the northern (Caribbean) coast of Honduras. This fantastic place is uniquely nestled between the Corinto and Coloradito Rivers and its 400-acre-reserve borders the park involving various habitats including riparian areas, lowland tropical wet forest, and some small plantations (coffee, banana, orange and cacao). Each area harbours its own set of bird species with some being confined to very specific areas, while others can be seen at several sites. The lodge’s three strategically located observation towers offer maximum viewing and photography opportunities. This extremely comfortable lodge will be our base for the next seven nights.
Our first day at the Lodge at Pico Bonito will begin with an early breakfast/orientation on the spacious, front deck of the Lodge’s Itzama Restaurant. For the next several hours our guide will lead us through the Lodge grounds,
looking for and familiarising ourselves with numerous bird species that are common around the lodge grounds. 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 plantation areas along the Rio Coloradito. Along this route, diversity is high with possible species including: Lovely Cotinga; Masked Tityras;
Blue crowned and Turquoise-browed Motmots; Tody Motmot; Keel-billed Toucan; Collared Aracari; Ferruginous Pygmy Owl; Black-cowled Oriole; Black-headed, Collared and Slaty-tailed Trogons; Royal Flycatcher; Green, and Red-Legged Honeycreepers and up to 16 species of hummingbirds including Crowned Woodnymph, Bluethroated Sapphire, Violet Sabrewing, Purple-crowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Green Violet-ear and White-necked Jacobin.
In the afternoon, after lunch and a siesta/rest period, we’ll ascend with our guide along the Lodge’s loop trail system in search of some of the forest interior birds that this rainforest paradise has to offer.
In addition to the Toucan tower at the beginning of the trail, this route offers views from an elevated ridge, which overlooks the Rio Coloradito and surrounding forested slopes. Forest-dwelling species may include, Violet-headed
Hummingbird, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Green Shrike-vireo, Black-throated Shrike-tanager, Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker and our first attempt at the Keel-billed Motmot. Overlooks often produce White Hawk, Black Hawkeagle and at times Ornate and Black-and-white Hawk-eagles. Other species we will be on the look-out for include Great Potoo, Guatemalan Screech-owl and White-vented Euphonia. Many species of parrots, toucan, flycatchers, orioles and hummingbirds can be found around the pool area.
We’ll may also visit observation Tower #3 along the way, set amidst an area of bird-rich secondary 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. Species here may also include the Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Little Tinamou, Scaly-throated Leaf-tosser; Keelbilled,and Yellow-eared Toucanets; plus Collared Aracari, and a host of flycatcher species, including the Royal Flycatcher, and many of the trogon, woodpecker, woodcreeper, tanager and oriole species in the national parks 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 Potoo are also common here with the chance of Northern Potoo as well.
We will enjoy dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge
After early pre-breakfast birding around the lodge’s gardens, we will get ready to jump on our bus and drive towards the mangroves of Cuero y Salado, located 30 minutes away from the lodge. Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is named after the Cuero and Salado Rivers which meet the ocean here and we’ll likely take a packed lunch today so that we can enjoy fully our time in the field. The Refuge comprises over 35,000 acres of rivers, lagoons, mangroves, and forests that are home to diverse wildlife and a variety of birds exceeding 350 species. After we arrive at the reserve’s main entrance, a quirky little truck-like train will give us a short train ride along the wet plains beneath Pico Bonito National Park right behind us.
Birding from the train is always fun and exciting, as the conductor is eager to stop and point out species of interest along the way. We will scan the rail-side marshes for Wood Stork, White-tailed Kite, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Laughing Falcon, Mangrove Cuckoo and Red-lored Parrot.
Once at the Refuge, we will board a small, motorized skiff and cruise slowly through the mangrove estuary which is comprised of three different species of mangroves, as well as other hardwood tree species. Our guides and boat handlers have great eyes and, when needed, prefer to silence the boat’s motor to quietly paddle in for a better look. Agami Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Tri-coloured Heron, Jabiru Stork, Pygmy Kingfisher, Gray-necked Wood Rail, Sungrebe, Laughing Falcon, Bat Falcon and Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture are but a few potential highlights of a visit to Cuero y Salado. During the right season (February and March), we may also have the opportunity to visit an established Boat-billed Heron rookery, consisting of several hundred pairs of these broad billed, wide-eyed, bill clapping mangrove inhabitants.
Mantled Howler and White-faced Capuchin monkeys are fairly common here, and Manatee could be the highlight of our mammal list if we are lucky! Crocodile populations are also plentiful and Lesser Anteater, Central American Coati, Raccoon and Green Iguana are all possible.
The metallic blue Common Morpho and Shining Morpho butterflies are also a welcome sight amidst the green foliage while Gray-headed Kites may be seen wheeling overhead.
Having driven back to Pico Bonito we will spend the late afternoon birding the trails again (depending on the time) or birding the lower grounds, looking for species such as Red-lored Amazon Great Potoo, Lovely Cotinga, Whitethroated Robin, White-necked Manakin, Black-headed Trogon, Cocoa, Spot-crowned and Olivaceous Woodcreepers, Red-capped Manakin, Green Shrike Vireo, Black-throated Shrike-tanager, Russet Antshrike, Rufous Mourner, Dusky Antbird, Ovenbird, Royal Flycatcher, Tufted Flycatcher, Honduran Screech-owl, Blackfaced Ant-thrush, Olive-backed Euphonia, White-winged Tanager, Black-faced Grosbeak, and many more!
After dinner, we’ll be guided around the Lodge’s gardens and plantation areas where Mottled Owl, Vermiculated Screech Owl and both Great and Northern Potoo may be found.
Rio Aguan Valley and the endemic Honduran Emerald
We will dedicate today to visit the River Aguan Valley and Olanchito areas, home of the only Honduran endemic: the Honduran Emerald. This beautiful but critically endangered hummingbird 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, cloudforested 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.
We need to leave very early today – 0415 – in order to be on site at first light. Our ride into ‘Emerald country’ will be an interesting one, as a surprising number of bird species inhabit this dry forest and it’ll provide a look at a very different side of Honduras. Along the way, we’ll also visit pockets of wet areas within this arid region. These sites can be magnets for wading birds and other species such as Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Roadrunner, Beardless Tyrannulet, White-lored Gnatcatcher, White-throated Magpie-jay, Banded Wren, White-bellied Wren, Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Salvin’s Emerald among others. We will aim to reach the Emerald site for breakfast and will walk a short distance to search for them.
We will enjoy lunch in the nearby ranching town of Olanchito, and return to the Lodge mid-afternoon in time to relax before dinner.
Hummingbirds of Rio Santiago
We will today pay a visit to River Santiago Nature Resort, a 15-acre private reserve located 30 kilometres west of the Lodge at Pico Bonito. Its secluded, rainforest 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’ best-known hummingbird species such as Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Brown Violet-ear, Bandtailed Barbthroat, Violet Sabrewing, Crowned Woodnymph, Stripethroated Hermit, Long-billed Hermit, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-bellied Emerald, and Scaly-breasted Hummingbird. All are among those species that frequent Santiago’s feeders. After enjoying the feeders, we’ll walk along the nearby trails searching for the spectacular Keel-billed Motmot and Rufous-tailed Jacamar along with Red-capped and White-collared Manakins along Santiago’s trail
The Lodge at Pico Bonito
This is an ideal day to walk one of the long trails at Pico Bonito. Alternatively some may prefer to relax, enjoy additional hiking or focus on photography. Our guide will be free and available at all times. If there is interest today, we will endeavor to run a snorkelling excursion to the Cayos Cochinos, a collection of 15 little barrier-reef islets, surrounded by pristine coral reefs. The snorkelling would cost an additional (approx.) $130+tax per person, payable at the lodge. This tour leaves at 6:30am and involves a 35-minute drive, followed a 1-hour boat ride to the Cayos Cochinos archipelago. This price includes the guide, gear, several snorkelling stops, a short island hike in pursuit of an endemic subspecies of boa constrictor (strangely, pink in colour) and lunch on a small island called Cayo Chachaguate. We return to the Lodge at Pico Bonito usually by about 3:30pm or so.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is another of the must-see birding hotspots in Honduras. Set amidst a coastal valley flanked by low, rain-forested hills, William Popenoe of The United Fruit Company founded Lancetilla in 1925 as a station where tropical fruit (especially bananas) and trees were studied for commercial value. Since Popenoe was a plant biologist he also experimented with fruits and plants from all over the world. Some of this work continues, although this diverse tropical treasure, composed of a mosaic of forest and edge habitats, is today arguably best known for its superb birding. Honduras ‘annual Christmas Bird Count’ is held at Lancetilla; every December birders flock to confirm, and add to, the Garden’s growing list of colorful, tropical species.
The current bird list includes motmots and manakins, woodcreepers and warblers, woodpeckers, toucans, tanagers, and scores of others. Thanks to this diversity, a typical day of birding here could yield, Common Black Hawk, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Ruddy Crake, White-fronted Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-headed Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, 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 will complete our morning at Lancetilla with lunch in the beach-side town of Tela, and return to the Lodge by late afternoon.
Pico Bonito – San Pedro Sula
Today, we will be transferred to San Pedro Sula in order to catch our flight to the UK via the US. Please remember
there is a departure tax of $40
Arrive in London
Arrive in Heathrow mid-morning.