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5 Reasons Why Birding in Belize is for Everybody

By 7/11/2019 2 minutes

Birdwatching has ceased be known as such. Forget the old, cliche image of the bespectacled, clumsy professor wearing a pith helmet peering into bushes and jotting down notes. Although there might have been a few ornithologists and birdwatchers like that at some point in time, most folks who watch birds nowadays wear whatever clothes or hats they want, carry cameras just as much as binoculars, and come from all walks of life.

These days, we go “birding” and although the hobby continues to be popular among retirees, a growing number of birders are twenty and thirty somethings. Birding has become discovered by the younger crowd, has become “a thing”, and Belize is one of the best places to do it, with a thriving community or avid birders.

1. Anyone Can Watch Birds

It’s true, one of the best things about birding is that anyone can do it. Walk outside, look around and start paying attention to the birds you see and that’s about it. Use binoculars because that makes it easier to appreciate and identify them, and use a field guide app for Belize to put names on everything seen in hotel gardens and during day tours. 

2. It’s Easy, Lots to See!

Birding is easy to do no matter where you go but it’s even easier in Belize. This is because Belize has lots of habitats that harbor literally hundreds of species. Many are common and it’s simple to start watching them at nature lodges and any number of hotels.

3. Toucans and Other Exotic Birds

One of the most exciting things about birding in Belize is the number of interesting birds waiting to be seen. Toucans, parrots, tanagers, and many other tropical bird species are fairly common and not that difficult to see. The Keel Billed Toucan is very special in Belize as it has been designated as the national bird and revered with pride throughout the country.

4. Enhance Any Trip to Belize with Birding

Another fun thing about birding in Belize is that it makes for a simple means of enhancing any trip. Even if you just spend one day birding, seeing parakeets, toucans, and other exotic birds is an unforgettable adventurous experience.

5. Experienced Birding Guides

Birding is easy enough to do on your own but it gets ten times better with a practiced, local guide. Take a day trip or a longer birding tour and one of the many qualified Belizean birding guides will show you one new tropical bird after another. The country is so forested that birders can sometimes spot up to 50 species in a single excursion, and over 200 on a single trip.

Day trips are an easy ways to see lots of birds on a vacation in Belize. Visiting Belize in October? Check out the Belize Birding festival! No matter when or where you go in Belize, don’t forget to pack binoculars. There are a lot of cool birds to see!

Belize Field Guide App

Learn More
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Departs From:
Belize City
This tour is offered to capture both the wonderful world of the Maya and some of the amazing birds of Belize. The tour begins with pickup at your hotel, cruise ship, or airport. We ... morehead to the old northern highway en route to the ancient Mayan City of Altun Ha, once a major trading city in the Mayan World and home to the famous jade head of Kinich Ahau. Passing through the savannas of northern Belize we may encounter the magnificent Jabiru, Black-throated Bobwhites, and Vermilion Flycatchers. Leaving the savanna we pass through the old logging settlements of Luckystrike and Rockstone Pond and unto Altun Ha. At the site itself, our expert guide will provide you with a well-informed tour of the ancient city by pointing out birds that may be passing over; such as King Vultures, White-crowned Parrots, and Montezuma Oropendolas. Following the tour of the main site, we will take the trail to an ancient pond that was built by the people of Altun Ha to provide water during the dry season. Along the way, the broadleaf forest will provide us with species such as Golden-Olive Woodpeckers, Royal Flycatchers, Black-headed Trogons, and our national bird the Keel-billed Toucan. At the pond, we'll come across Green and Ringed Kingfishers, Anhingas, Green Herons, and even the surprise treat of a Morelet's Crocodile. After finishing up the tour we will head back to your drop-off location.
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Day 1: AIRPORT/CRYSTAL PARADISE You will be met at the airport by your Belizean bird guide and transferred to your jungle lodge accommodations. Optional stop to visit the Belize Zoo ... more(entrance fee not included, US$15/pp). We check into our accommodations at Crystal Paradise after a short orientation.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. /D

Day 2: MACAL RIVER CANOEING – morning or afternoon
Canoeing on the Macal River. While canoeing we have the chance to see Neotropic Cormorants, Mangrove Swallows, Kingfishers, Gray-necked Wood-rails and other wildlife that frequent the riverbanks such as iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

We will make an afternoon visit to El Pilar, a Maya site, and flora/fauna reserve. It is excellent for birding, and hiking, and provides an insight into Belize’s sub-tropical forests. We will make stops along the way to view such birds as the Collared Manakins and Honeycreepers an array of flycatchers etc. We will then return to our accommodations after witnessing a Belizean sunset.
O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 4: Mountain Pine Ridge/Rio on Pools/Rio Frio Caves
The Cayo District’s principal town of San Ignacio is the gateway to some of Belize’s most precious ecological gems. After breakfast at the hotel, we will experience the wonders of Mountain Pine Ridge.

Bring along your walking shoes, swimwear, and adventurous mind for a full day of activity. The reserve is teaming with hills and valleys, rivers and falls, swimming holes and caves, all surrounded by the majestic beauty of Pine Forests. Our main stops will be at the Rio Frio Caves, Rio on Pools, and weather and road conditions permitting, you’ll get a chance to see the 1000 ft. Hidden Valley Waterfalls. Bring along your binoculars, as there is much to see in the line of exotic flora and fauna, endemic only to this extremely rugged, but beautiful part of the county. Lunch is included before returning back to Crystal Paradise Resort. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 5: Spanish Lookout & Laguna Aguacate
A 45-minute drive north of Crystal Paradise through rolling green hills brings you to Spanish Lookout, a modern-day Mennonite settlement reminiscent of Pennsylvania farmlands. Several different habitats in the area make it a favorable birding destination. The area consists of Savannah, open farmland, and subtropical forest around the lake. In the open land and pastures, it is easy to find Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-Tailed Kites and Hawks, Laughing Falcons, Meadowlarks, Swallows, Herons, Jabiru storks just to name a few. Aguacate Lagoon Reserve is located about 20 minutes beyond the community and provides a birdwatcher’s paradise. In the forest around the lake common sighting may include Jacamars, Trogons, Puff-birds, Crested Guans, and Great Curassows. Other birds may include Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Night Herons, rails, and Crakes. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Belize City/Belize Airport.B/

** itinerary is subject to change once here due to weather conditions or unforeseen events***
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Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
INLAND BLUE HOLE BIRDWATCHING Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise! As many as 587 birds have been recorded in Belize and, of these, approximately 20 percent are migrants from North ... moreAmerica. Every year new species are documented. Eight new records were accepted in 2007, including the Crested Caracara, Canada Goose, and Spot-breasted Oriole. For those interested in exploring the diversity and beauty of the avifauna of the diverse habitats MayaWalk expert birdwatching guides will point out tiny iridescent hummingbirds, impressive raptors, and various migratory and endemic songbirds. One of the best places to go on a Belize birding tour is St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, a beautiful protected area along the scenic Hummingbird Highway.

This small park covers 575 acres and has two natural features open for touring, St. Herman’s Cave: a beautiful crystalline cave in the limestone hills, and the Blue Hole: a clear sinkhole filled with turquoise waters, perfect for a swim. A series of lovely hiking trails over various landscapes take visitors into the jungle where the foliage, tropical flowers, and rainforest canopy are the feeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds. For those interested in finding out more about the amazingly diverse avifauna of Belize we recommend purchasing Birds of Belize (University of Texas Press) by H. Lee Jones, illustrated by Dana Gardner-- a must-have for serious birders. Published in 2003, this is the first complete guide to the identification of all the birds of Belize and it is beautifully illustrated and complete with habitat information. Our birding guides will be equipped with binoculars and a spotting scope to make the most of your birding experience. Enjoy the serene trails of the park and end the day with a lovely swim in the Blue Hole.
In this episode we speak with Dorian Rivero, owner of Private Belize Adventure and tour guide of over 20 years, to discuss what activities are available to visitors in and around Belize ... moreCity. Take a virtual walk-through of cave tubing destination Nohoch Che’en as well as the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.
Guest Name:
Dorian Rivero


Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell grew up watching birds in Niagara Falls, NY. His passion for birding eventually took him to the Neotropical Region and he moved to Costa Rica in 2007. A biologist by training and a professional birding guide, he also writes about birds, ecotourism, and sustainability, and works on birding apps including the Belize Birds Field Guide app. Some of his writing can be seen at his blog, Costa Rica Living and Birding.

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