January 14-22, 2017: NORTHERN HONDURAS & The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Tour Fee:$4,840 single/$4,040 double
Imagine waking each morning in a bed so comfortable that you do not want to get up. Then imagine a chorus of bird sounds outside your bungalow so intriguing that you can barely get dressed fast enough to go see what on Earth is making those sounds. Now, imagine walking to breakfast and nearly being pummeled by two huge purple hummingbirds, while overhead you are surrounded by those exotic bird sounds that got you out of bed. As you reach the lodge, imagine seeing your friends just down the boardwalk enjoying their morning coffee, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot pull yourself away from the feeding platform standing just 15 feet away, where birds you have only seen in your dreams are eating bright red palm fruits for breakfast. Your friends frantically signal you to come sit down, and you manage to shuffle your feet enough to get down the walkway to your breakfast table, only to be surrounded by more exotic hummingbirds whizzing by your table.
And all this has happened within a mere 100 yards between your cabin and breakfast.This is Pico Bonito!
This place really exists, and seeing is believing, so get out your calendar and block out the end of January. This is not a long trip, and it is not far from home, but it will be one of the most memorable vacations of your life. Tropical birding has never been so easy—and so downright comfortable—as this extended week of birding around Pico Bonito Lodge. Come see for yourself!
Your host and guide, Steve Shunk
The Lodge at Pico Bonito lies about 20 minutes from the Caribbean coast of northern Honduras. Nestled in a lowland tropical rainforest, the lodge and grounds are immaculately maintained and specifically designed for nature lovers. The trails on the property course through an historic cacao plantation, now overgrown with native fruiting trees. From the high canopy to the dense understory, you can barely turn your head without seeing (and hearing) tropical birds, mammals, herptiles, and arthropods. Pico Bonito defines “Paradise Birding”!
Our 9-day Pico Bonito vacation begins and ends at San Pedro Sula airport, which is far removed from the city itself. As you exit baggage claim, you will be greeted by our two US guides, and our local guide and driver. We jump into the Pico Bonito van, equipped with snacks and beverages, for the 3-hour drive to the Lodge. After checking in and getting settled in our bungalows, we will meet back at the lodge for a casual afternoon of birding on the grounds.
Our birding agenda is designed so that we have full birding days alternating with slower days, allowing a perfect balance for those who want to bird all day, every day, and those who like to have an occasional break. In addition to exploring the trails on the Pico Bonito property, we will venture out to several nearby birding hotspots, exposing us to excellent habitat diversity within an hour’s drive of the Lodge. Only one day will take us on a longer drive, to the dry side of the mountains in search of a whole different suite of birds, including the endemic Honduran Emerald—a handsome little hummingbird, and the only bird species endemic to Honduras.
On one day, we will take a very casual boat ride through mangrove-lined wetlands; on another day, we explore a world famous botanical garden; and on another day, we visit a hummingbird station just a few minutes from Pico Bonito, where we could see up 5 new hummer species that are not found on the Lodge property.
Whenever the group is together, we will never be without our local guide.
If you feel like taking a break from the group, you will have plenty of opportunities to relax on your own at the Lodge, watching the swarms of hummingbirds, the courting oropendolas, and the woodpeckers feeding right in front of the lodge deck. This is an outstanding trip for non-birding spouses (especially if you want them to get hooked on birding!) and nature/bird photographers, with photo ops around every corner and the time to dedicate to your photography without disrupting our birding agenda.
The itinerary below outlines our basic plan for 7 full days, with all 8 nights of the trip at Pico Bonito. We may shuffle the agendas for different days depending on the weather and our success at finding certain bird species. We will even allow opportunities for those who want a break from birding to take other guided trips around the region.
Jan 14—Guides meet guests at San Pedro Sula airport, followed by a 3-hour drive to the Lodge. Afternoon birding around the Lodge property.
Jan 15—All day birding the expansive Lodge property.
Jan 16—Morning birding Rio Santiago Nature Resort, afternoon around the Lodge.
Jan 17—All day birding at the coast; boat tour of Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, then coastal estuaries. Night walk looking for nocturnal birds and other wildlife.
Jan 18—All day birding at the lodge, including longer hikes to higher elevations; great day for optional activities, e.g. snorkeling, rafting, or bird sketching with Christine.
Jan 19—All day birding to Rio Aguan, with optional activities for non-birders.
Jan 20—Morning birding at Lancetilla Botanical Garden; afternoon at the Lodge.
Jan 21—Pico Bonito Lodge birding, including additional trails, or flex day for rain makeup, snorkeling, etc.
Jan 22—Depart Pico Bonito, return to San Pedro Sula.
This is a custom itinerary designed for Paradise Birding. We specifically requested that we not bird from dawn to dusk; that we occasionally take afternoon breaks; that we have non-birding and independent birding options on several days; and that our driving distances are kept to a minimum, whenever possible. These requests were made to help you thoroughly enjoy this very special place and to give everyone ample opportunity to see the unique birds of the region.
So that you have the highest possible level of service, we also have made a commitment to dedicate 2 US guides to all our tours. Despite our casual approach, we still have a chance to see up to half of the nearly 550 species on the Pico Bonito bird list.
Tinamous, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Boat-billed Heron, White Hawk, Bat Falcon, Crested Caracara, Ruddy Crake, Limpkin, Northern Jacana, Red-billed Pigeon, Parrots (Brown-hooded, White-crowned, Red-lored and Olive-throated Parakeet), Squirrel Cuckoo, Groove-billed Ani, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Pauraque, Great Potoo and MANY hummingbirds - up to 20 species - such as Long-billed Hermit, Violet Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, and the endangered Honduran Emerald, 5 trogans, motmots (Tody, Blue-crowned, Keel-billed, Turquoise-browed), Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, 7 woodpeckers including the Pale-billed, Lineated, Black-cheeked, Chestnut-colored and Olivaceous Piculet. Many woodcreepers, flycatchers, manakins, vireos, 25+ warblers, 20+ tanagers, Oropendulas, and last but not least, the Lovely Cotinga.
Boat ride to see water birds, monkeys and endangered manatees, excursions to botanical gardens and to the dry tropical forest in the Rio Aguan Valley to seek out the endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird, and many optional activities including a guided night hike, visiting a butterfly breeding facility and serpentarium, and bird sketching with Christine. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights is simply relaxing at the Pico Bonito Lodge, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 50 ecolodges on the world.
Your tour fee includes:
The fee does not include:
2017 TOUR FEE: $4,840 single/$4,040 double
Balance Due October 22: $4,745single/$3,945 double
NOTE: Our tour fees are structured to allow the best possible client-to-guide ratio for an optimal birding experience; this tour will operate with 2 US guides and a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 participants.
REFUND POLICY: Your deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel your reservation more than 90 days prior to the tour, you will be refunded any payments above your deposit. If you cancel between 90 and 60 days prior to the tour, you will receive a 50% refund of fees paid over the deposit. If you cancel less than 60 days prior, you forfeit your entire tour fee, unless you can fill your space with another birder. If you cancel at any time, your deposit is transferrable to any Paradise Birding tour at any time in the future. If we cancel the trip for any reason, all payments will be refunded.
To reserve your space, submit a non-refundable $95 deposit with our registration form.