Best of Belize: Crooked Tree & Chan Chich Lodge: Mar 03—10, 2018
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Price: To Be Announced.
($4,795 in 2017)
Departs: Belize City
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Previous Itinerary (2017): PDF (112.4 KB)
Past Field Lists:
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Crested Guan— Photo: David Wolf
Combines the best of Belize—Crooked Tree Sanctuary and Chan Chich Lodge, one of the world’s greatest jungle lodges. Several rarely seen and highly sought birds among a list that should approach 270 species, good chances for mammals, and fantastic waterbird spectacles.
We are pleased to offer this tour to the premier birding locales in the popular country of Belize (formerly British Honduras).
Our journey begins at the Crooked Tree region, renowned for its excellent waterbirds. We will spend time exploring the expansive wet and dry savannas, plus patches of coastal thorn scrub and the famous Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary where Jabiru, Agami Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Snail Kite, Black-collared Hawk, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Sungrebe, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Yucatan Woodpecker, and Yucatan Jay are among the many possibilities. This trip is timed to coincide with falling water levels at Crooked Tree which can result in great concentrations of water birds.
After two days in the vicinity of Crooked Tree we venture westward toward Chan Chich Lodge, thought by many to be one of the best ecotourist lodges in the world. Anyone who has had the privilege to visit Chan Chich has been very impressed with the comfortable facilities, the special ambience, and the overall superb birding. It’s an ideal situation for both novice and veteran birders alike, especially those who wish to spend a short period of time enjoying fantastic birding at only one location. For many years this area was private property, inaccessible to the public. In 1988, the owner completed tourist facilities which permitted birders and naturalists to have the unprecedented opportunity to experience wildlife on tens of thousands of acres of pristine, subtropical moist forest.
Built into the main plaza of ancient Maya ruins and surrounded by vast tracts of forests, the birding begins the moment you step outside your room. There is nothing to distract us from the wonderful sights and sounds of nature; we have the entire range of habitats for our enjoyment. This is a region where rare and/or secretive species may still be encountered, many of which have been eradicated from other less protected areas. Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Black Hawk-Eagle, Ocellated Turkey, Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Tody Motmot, Gray-throated Chat, and Rose-throated Tanager are among the many targets here. Many wonderful tropical species are readily found on the lodge property including toucans, trogons, motmots, parrots, woodcreepers, manakins, and tanagers. Mammals are also frequently encountered with Central American Spider Monkey and Mexican Black Howler Monkey likely, and even a real possibility for seldom-seen species such as Ocelot, Red Brocket Deer, or even the nearly mythical Jaguar. Simply put, this is the largest tract of undisturbed, easily accessible lowland forest remaining north of the Amazon, and it is a birder’s paradise.
Excellent to good accommodations and food; swimming pool at Chan Chich Lodge; easy to moderate terrain, considerable birding on foot (on easy to moderate trails; distances up to 2.5 miles); one morning boat trip; weather generally warm, sometimes humid.