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  • Remember, the next time you travel, you do not have to miss the birdwatching if your partner or travel companions are non birders; a local guide is flexible, and will easily accommodate other needs too
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Birdwatching in Guatemala

Guatemala is an attractive birding destination with more than 720 bird species, of which 24 are restricted to northern Central America. The highest concentration of range-restricted species is found in the highlands, where 10% (22 species) of all breeding bird species are endemic to the northern Central American highlands. Guatemalan lowlands are less distinct and have many species in common with southern Central America.

"Rainforest at Tikal"



However, the Atlantic lowland is Guatemala's region with the highest species richness (more than 500 species), and therefore an interesting birding destination, especially in the scenic settings of ancient Mayan pyramids amidst the rainforest at Tikal. Protected areas cover more than 30% of the country. Birding is an option of sustainable land use which can support the conservation of these areas. Cayaya Birding aims to have an overall positive impact on the areas we visit and supports conservation.

"Trip map"


Electronic map of Guatemala

Tour I
9-day birding tour in Guatemala including highlands, Pacific slope, and Tikal.

Expect 250+ species during that tour.

Itinerary

Day 1 Guatemala City.
Arrival in Guatemala City. Depending on your flight schedule there might be time for birding in highland mixed forest near Guatemala City. Overnight in a hotel in Guatemala City.

"Atitlan Volcano"



Day 2 Los Tarrales Reserve.
After breakfast we will drive to Los Tarrales, on the southern slope of the Atitlán volcano. Birding in the surroundings of the Los Tarrales Lodge at about 750 m elevation. Common are Cinnamon Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Motmot, Orange-chinned Parakeet. Overnight in Los Tarrales Lodge. (B/L/D)
Day 3 Los Tarrales Reserve.
Birding in shade coffee plantation. The low canopy of the shade trees allows good views at canopy birds like tanagers and warblers. Several species restricted to the Pacific slope: White-bellied Chachalaca, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, and Long-tailed Manakin. Overnight in Los Tarrales Lodge. (B/L/D)
Day 4 Los Tarrales Reserve – Tecpán – Antigua Guatemala.
Birding in secondary growth and shade coffee plantation. Some of the birds expected are Collared Aracari, Rufous-naped Wren, and White-winged Tanager. At noon we will drive to Cerro Tecpán with high-elevation mixed forest, home to the Pink-headed Warbler, endemic to Guatemala and Chiapas. Late afternoon drive to Antigua Guatemala. Overnight in a hotel in Antigua Guatemala. (B/L)

"Pink-headed Warbler"



Day 5 Antigua Guatemala – Guatemala City.
Birdwatching in dry forest and conifer-oak forest. Good chance to see Bar-winged Oriole, Rufous Sabrewing, Green-throated Mountain-gem, Rufous-collared Thrush, and Bushy-crested Jay. Other highland species to be found here are Magnificent Hummingbird, Gray Silky-flycatcher, Black-headed Siskin, and Brown-backed Solitaire. In the afternoon drive to a pine-oak forest near Guatemala City for highland endemic birds: Blue-throated Motmot, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, and Steller's Jay. Overnight in a hotel in Guatemala City. (B)
Day 6 Tikal.
Early morning flight to Flores, Petén, and drive to Tikal. Tikal is an ancient Mayan city with tall pyramids amidst the apparently endless rainforest. A network of trails allows spectacular wildlife observations. Overnight in a hotel in Tikal. (B)
Day 7 Tikal.
Forest birding in the archaeological park. Ocellated Turkey, Black Vulture, and Montezuma Oropendula roost around the hotels. The top of the pyramids are excellent lookouts to see canopy birds like Mealy, Red-lored, and White-crowned Parrot, Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, and a set of Neotropical raptors. The Orange-breasted Falcon nests on the ancient temples and can be seen year round at Tikal. Birds of the under and midstory can be seen along the trails in the forest (including Red-capped Manakin, Red-throated and Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, and tropical flycatchers like Eye-ringed Flatbill, Royal, Sepia-capped, Ruddy-tailed, Ochre-bellied, and Yellow-olive Flycatcher). Overnight in a hotel in Tikal. (B)
Day 8 Tikal - Guatemala City.
Birding along a trail in scrub with Mangrove Vireo, Northern Bentbill, and Pheasant Cuckoo, and swampy forest with Gray-throated Chat, Dot-winged Antwren, and mixed flocks with ant-tanagers, Black-throated Shrike-Tanager, Lesser and Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Ivory-billed, Ruddy and Northern Barred Woodcreeper. In the afternoon transfer to Flores and flight to Guatemala City. Overnight in hotel in Guatemala City. (B)
Day 9 Departure.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport. (B)

Included meals: B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

9 Day tour price is: 2 pax US$2280 per person. 4 pax US$1750 per person.
Single supplement: US$360

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Expert birding guide, private terrestrial transportation (incl. p/u and return to airport in Guatemala City), all park entrance fees, domestic flight, meals as indicated in the itinerary, double accomodation in comfortable hotels and lodges, all guide fees, tips for local guides and meals service at Los Tarrales.
Excluded:
Alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, international airfare.


Notes:
The tour can be extended including all of our birding hotspots and based on your target list.
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time 3 weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Birding season: This tour is available year round. From March to October an extension of including the Chelemha Cloud Forest Reserve on the Atlantic slope is recommended (Resplendent Quetzal, Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, and 14 endemics of the northern Central American highlands). In general, main breeding season ranges from March to June, although many species nest year round. The highest number of species can be seen during spring migration (April).
Fitness:
This tour does not require a high level of fitness. The tropical heat may be tiring at times, you will always have access to pure drinking water or soft drinks. Regardless of the terrain, our tours are tailored to your interests and your pace. We will go at a speed that is comfortable for you and which provides for the ideal birding conditions.
The best protection against diseases that are transmitted through insect bites is to prevent their bites in the first place. The use of insect repellent, long pants and long sleeved shirts in areas were mosquitos are abundant (especially in the rainforest during rainy season) will help tremendously. Other important warnings and advice for health precautions can be found at the website of the Center for Disease Control (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationGuatemala.aspx).
Equipment: Field equipment–binoculars, flashlight and water bottle for each person, sturdy boots for hiking around in the woods, warm sweater for chilly nights in the mountains, long sleeved shirts to avoid insect bites in the humid tropical forest, rain jacket, sandals or a comfortable pair of shoes for relaxing in the lodges, sunscreen and a hat, insect repellent. Personal items–passport and Visa when required for your country, travel insurance documents, personal medicine, ATM accepting Visa or Mastercard are available in all Guatemalan cities.


Should you only need a guide for a day please contact Knut and Claudia.   

Birding guide Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño, your local Birdingpal guide

Knut Eisermann (resident in Guatemala since 1997) and Claudia Avendaño (Guatemalan biologist) are tour leaders specialized in birding tours in Guatemala. Both have been researching birds in Guatemala since 1997. They produced recently an update on the distribution and status of the birds of Guatemala, published by Lynx Edicions (Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala). Both are coordinating the identification of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Guatemala, a project of the Ornithological Society of Guatemala and BirdLife International. They have recently established Christmas Bird Counts at Tikal and on Atitlán Volcano, involving local institutions, nature reserves and Guatemalan birders. Claudia and Knut have successfully supported the development of birding sites like Los Tarrales Reserve and Chelemhá Cloud Forest Reserve, including professional advise, teaching local birding guides and publicity.
Knut and Claudia speaks Spanish, English and German .


Testimonials.

Until recently, I'd never thought too much about birding Guatemala. Our trip with Knut has convinced to return as soon as possible and see more of this fascinating country. Experiencing the Mayan culture and the fabulous birds in the mountains is something I'll never forget. Having traveled with other birding companies, I'd have to recommend Knut and Claudia over the others for personal service and effort given to show us every possible species. A truly remarkable experience.
Howard King, Riverside, CA, USA. redhillbrd(AT)aol.com
Knut and Claudia are amazing.....we told them what we wanted to see and they planned a perfect itinerary. We saw almost all of our target birds! Can't wait to do another trip with them!
Lori Conrad, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA.
Knut and Claudia did a great job for us and was outstanding both in terms of the birding and the logistics of the trip. Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño, are deeply knowledgeable about the avifauna of Guatemala, are great birders and organized everything without a hitch. They are working hard surveying the bird life in Guatemala, developing birding and eco-tourism through local lodges such as Los Tarrales and Chelemhá, and exposing Guatemala as a first rate birding destination with marquee species that may be found more easily in Guatemala than in any other area. We would heartily recommend them for anyone interested in birding in Guatemala.
Jeffrey F. Peters, Weston, MA, USA. petersjfr(AT)yahoo.com
We were 6 senior Danes, however still quite venturous and with great love for nature, some of us especially keen on birds. We found Knut and Claudia on the internet, which we never regretted. We got the most excellent service with regard to planning a trip quite according to our wishes and with their professional advice. More than 300 birds were seen during the 17 days we spent in Guatemala. Knut has a talent for spotting, hearing, and recognizing everything. Claudia joined us during the trip to Monterrico, because of the small boats where we had to split up in two groups. The tour with Knut and Claudia was quite exceptional, not only because of their professional competence and their ability to take care of our well-being, but also because of their great sense of humor which meant that we enjoyed their company so much.
Kirsten Geertz-Hansen, Farum, Denmark. kirsten(AT)farum-dn.dk
Knut and Claudia are a long time Birdingpal guides, well known in their own country and by myself or birders from around the world.
Knud Rasmussen
Birdingpal

Some facts about Guatemala.

The name Guatemala was derived from "Guauthemallan", which means "place of trees" in the Aztec Nahuatl language. This name was given by the Tlaxcaltecas who came with the Spaniards to conquer this land.
Guatemala is a multicultural country and home to 23 Mayan ethnic groups, each one with its own culture and language. The Caribbean coast is populated by the Garífuna people, descendants of African slaves, and in the southeast region of the country the remaining Xinca population also adds diversity to the country. "Ladinos", people who are a mix of Mayan and European decent make up the rest of the population. Total population is about 13 million people and the indigenous population is around 60% of this number. The official language in Guatemala is Spanish. The country is unique for its combination of modern Mayan life–especially in the highlands–and ancient Mayan temples at archaeological sites like Tikal.
In 1996 peace accords were signed, which put an end to a 36 years lasting civil war. Now, a decade later, Guatemala is establishing its position on the tourism world map. Tourism infrastructure was developed in recent years, allowing fast transfers between, and comfortable stays at the birding destinations.

More facts about Guatemala.

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

Howell, S.N.G. & S. Webb (1995) A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford Univ. Press. 851 pages. ISBN 0198540124: Comprehensive (and bulky) field guide for the region. We prefer this book over all other currently available guide books for its extensive information on ID, habitat, distribution, range maps, and Sophie Webb's outstanding drawings. The book has no illustrations of North American species; it requires a book for North American birds as companion.
Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista Comentada de las Aves de Guatemala/Annotated checklist of the birds if Guatemala. 175 pages. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 849655340X: This checklist presents updated information on bird distribution in Guatemala, including range maps for 115 species, and is therefore a good companion to Howell & Webb's guide book. List of 725 bird species, incl. information about status, habitats and endemic species, along with detailed distribution maps, information on species to look for and species of special concern.
To identify birds of North America and waterbirds in Guatemala, we recommend Sibley, D.A. (2000) National Audubon Society The Sibley guide to birds. Knopf, New York. 545 pages. ISBN 0679451226., which illustrates different plumages and all species in flight. For long birding hikes is more practical to bring the smaller National Geographic Society Field guide to the birds of North America, currently available as 5th edition (ISBN 0792253140).
Annotaded checklist of the birds of Guatemala
by Knut Eisermann & Claudia Avendaño

Find lowest prices here

Bird Recordings from Guatemala

BIRDS OF MEXICO: MP3 Sound Collection by Peter Boesman/Birdsounds.nl, 650 species, 725 tracks, 6 hours of playing time.

Available in the US at www.buteobooks.com

In Europe at www.birdsounds.nl

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Last update 20/02/2014