Belize & Tikal, Guatemala Nature Photo Tour ♦ 12-Day Itinerary


♦ This extraordinary 12-Day/11-Night land-based extended expedition that travels throughout Belize with a 3-day tour to Tikal, Guatemala.

We visit a Black Howler Monkey Preserve, a Belize Audubon Bird Preserve (300 resident/migratory neotropical birds) and the World's only Jaguar Preserve, in Cockscomb Basin, Belize to search for the elusive cats.

In Guatemala, we explore Central America's most significant Mayan ruins at Tikal to photograph its colorful and abundant tropical wildlife.

Travel is in comfortable air-conditioned vehicles with plenty of room for you and your gear. This is one of our most popular expeditions.

Knowledgeable guides assist with species identification and natural history interpretation and wildlife photography instruction of your personalized photography curriculum. Comfortable regional hotel stays and restaurant visits sample local flavors. A friendly family in Belize invites us in to experience a taste of local culture.


       Itinerary - Belize & Tikal Nature Photo Tour ♦ 12-Day
Tikal Photo Tours

  • Day 1
  • ARRIVAL - BELIZE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT • CROOKED TREE BIRD PRESERVE

    Belize Luxury Photo Tour White-necked Jacobin Photo

    Meet guide(s) at Belize City Airport, Belize (BZE). Afternoon spent searching for Jabiru Stork, Red-lored, Yucatan and Yellow-Headed Parrots, Olive-throated Parakeet, Barred Antshrike, Black-headed Trogon and White-collared Manakin. Mid-afternoon (depending on arrival time), travel short distance to Bermudian Landing Howler Monkey Preserve to search for Howlers, Green Iquanas, Bat Falcon, Rose-throated Becard, White-fronted and Yucatan Parrots, Squirrel Cuckoo and Rufous-breasted Spinetails. Short transfer to Crooked Tree Audubon Bird Preserve lodging. Evening return to lodge on banks of Crooked Tree lagoon in the Belize Audubon bird sanctuary. Gourmet welcome dinner at Lodge. Short orientation presentation after dinner. Evening nocturnal bird session on grounds of lodge to search for Common Pauraque. Drift off to the night sounds of the tropical wetland around us.


    Belize Bird Photography

    •  Day 2

    CROOKED TREE AUDUBON PRESERVE • ALTUN HA MAYAN RUINS

    Early morning private 3-hour boat tour of the Lagoon at Belize Audubon Bird Preserve at Crooked Tree to search for Snail Kites, Black-collared Hawk, Jabiru Stork, Yucatan Parrots, Bare-throated Tiger-Herons, Roseate Spoonbill, and Limpkin, among many bird species. Lunch at the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. Afternoon birding the trails and grounds of and lagoon at Altun Ha, along with our Archeology guide for interpretation of the history of the ruins. Evening dinner at local favorite restaurant. Evening review of bird list and following day's itinerary. Bird the grounds of lake-front hotel in the evening for nocturnal birds. Lodge Accommodations.

  • Day 3
  • LAMANAI MAYAN RUINS • CROOKED TREE AUDUBON PRESERVE WALKING TOUR

    Early morning departure to explore Lamanai Mayan Ruins for Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Red-capped Manakin and a host of Tanagers. Lunch at local restaurant near Lamanai ruins or Orange Walk. Return to Belize Audubon Bird Preserve at Crooked Tree to further explore and search for Yucatan Jay, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Canivet's Emerald, etc. while walking local trails.. Evening dinner at local favorite restaurant. Evening review of bird list and following day's itinerary. Bird the grounds of lake-front hotel in the evening for nocturnal birds. Lodge Accommodations.


  • Day 4
  • COCKSCOMB BASIN JAGUAR PRESERVE • HUMMINGBIRD HIGHWAY • HOPKINS

    Early morning 3-4-hour drive (with stops) south down the spectacularly scenic "Hummingbird Highway", along the rugged Maya Mountains of southern Belize and into the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve. Search for Collared-Araçari, Keel-billed Toucan and Grey Hawk en route. Lunch at local restaurant in the Stann Creek area. Siesta after lunch at cabanas to enjoy the beach at Hopkins and village life. Afternoon birding along wetlands of Hopkins to search for Jabiru Stork and Roseate Spoonbills, etc.. Dinner in Hopkins along the beach. Evening relax to the sounds of the ocean waves gently lapping the beachfront and the soft tropical breezes flowing through the coconut palm fronds. Evening beachfront cabaña accommodations in the coastal village of Hopkins.

  • Day 5
  • COCKSCOMB BASIN JAGUAR PRESERVE

    Early morning depature to enter Cockcomb Basin Jaguar Preserve and explore jungle trails/rivers and inner-forest birds like Great Tinamou, Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Passerini's Tanager and Thrush-like Shiffornis. Slowly bird the road into the preserve, looking for White-necked Jacobin and other hummingbirds.

    Belize Beach Tours
    Trail hike (easy but humid) into the densest tropical forest we encounter on the trip. Extremely challenging top-level birding for birds like Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Dot-winged Antwren, Eye-ringed Flatbill and Plain Xenops, etc.. We see fresh evidence of Jaguars here frequently, as well as having encountered a Mountain Lion on a recent 2014 tour Return to Stann Creek area for late lunch.

    Return to Hopkins for afternoon siesta at beach-front cabañas. Time to go for a swim in the placid warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, take a nap, go for a walk on the beach, explore the artisan shops in town to do a little gift shopping or review bird list. Also time to view feeding Magnificent Frigatebirds and Royal Terns, etc...(shorebirds.) Late afternoon 2 hour boat tour on the Sittee River to view nesting Parrots, Bare-throated Tiger-Herons and Ringed Kingfishers. Dinner in Hopkins. Beach-front cabaña accommodations.


  • Day 6
  • COCKSCOMB BASIN JAGUAR PRESERVE • RED BANK (JAN-MAR TOURS ONLY)

    Belize Mayan Ruins Photo Tours

    Early morning deprature to enter Red Bank to search for elusive Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao.) They are potentially viewable from January through March as they migrate over the Maya Mountains in search of newly fruiting trees. This small population (estimated at only 50-150 birds) offers a truly rare sight in Belize!

    Return to Cockcomb Basin Jaguar Preserve preserve to further explore additional jungle trails and inner-forest birds like Great Tinamou, Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Passerini's Tanager and Thrush-like Shiffornis. Cockscomb Basin is a premier birding location in Belize and we felt it really deserves more time to delve into the abundant bird species diversity. Slowly bird the road into the preserve, looking for White-necked Jacobin and other hummingbirds. Trail hike (easy but humid) into the densest tropical forest we encounter on the trip. Extremely challenging top-level birding for birds like Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Dot-winged Antwren, Eye-ringed Flatbill and Plain Xenops, etc.. We see fresh evidence of Jaguars here frequently, as well as having encountered a Mountain Lion on a recent 2014 tour.

    Return to Stann Creek area for late lunch. Return to Hopkins for afternoon siesta at beach-front cabañas. Time to go for a swim in the placid warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, take a nap, go for a walk on the beach or review bird list. Also time to view feeding Magnificent Frigatebirds and Royal Terns, etc...(shorebirds.) Late afternoon 2 hour boat tour on the Sittee River to view nesting Parrots, Bare-throated Tiger-Herons and Ringed Kingfishers. Dinner in Hopkins. Beach-front cabaña accommodations.


  • Day 7
  • TRANSFER TO CAYO DISTRICT • BIRD THE ST. HERMAN'S BLUE HOLE NAT'L PARK

    Early morning departure for drive to the bird-rich St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park. Bird the species rich road back to Hummingbird Highway, en route. Travel north towards the Cayo District of western Belize. Lunch in San Ignacio area.. Afternoon check-in at Jungle Cabañas on the banks for the Mopan River. Here we've seen numerous Keel-billed Toucans, Blue-crowned Motmot and Masked Tityra. Afternoon birding on the lodge grounds and the road leading in. Evening review of bird list and itinerary. Sumptuous Lodge meal with rustic jungle cabaña accommodations.


  • Day 8
  • MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE DAY TRIP

    Belize Bird Photography Tours Client

    Early morning departure for rugged drive to Mountain Pine Ridge and San Ignacio, Belize. Bird the species rich road up into the Maya Mountains searching for Hawk-Eagles, Squirrel Cuckoos, 9 species of Hummingbirds, including the elusive Violet Sabrewing, etc. Special access to private birding area in the Cave's Branch area.

    Late morning hearty home-cooked breakfast in tropical mountain surroundings after our early morning birding. Venture on into the rugged mountain roads to a unique Butterfly Farm that features hummingbird feeders. Here we spend a couple of hours photographing and viewing up to 9 species of Hummingbirds.

    45-minute tour of the butterfly farm operations includes natural history lecture on butterfly lifecycles and is a true delight to photograph. Species include the Blue Morpho (Morpho paleides) and the Owl Butterfly (Caligo spp.) among many others. Lunch back in San Ignacio with late afternoon check-in at lodging. Afternoon birding at local trails. Dinner in downtown San Ignacio. Evening review of bird list and itinerary. Hotel accommodations.


  • Day 9
  • TRANSFER TO TIKAL, GUATEMALA • LUNCH/BIRDING ON MOPAN RIVER

    Belize Photo Tours Digital Photo Safari

    Depart San Ignacio, Belize for early morning departure drive to Tikal, Guatemala. Bird the species rich road back to Western Highway. Cross border and continue on to Tikal area. Bird a wetland en route. Lunch in Guatemala. Check-in at hotel on the banks of the breathtaking Lake Petén Itzá. Short afternoon walk around town to bird watch and explore local culture, artisan shopping (optional.) Dinner at hotel. Evening review of bird list and itinerary. Hotel accommodations.


  • Day 10
  • TIKAL MAYAN RUINS

    Early morning departure for short drive to Tikal National Park in the Péten region of Guatemala. Search for Royal Flycatcher, Black-faced Antthrush, Slaty-breasted & Great Tinamou, Orange-breasted Falcon, White-crowned Parrot, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Red-capped Manakin and Pheasant Cuckoo. Lunch near ruins or back in town. Afternoon siesta. Bird the Cerro Cahui Nature Park. Walking tour of town before dinner. Dinner at hotel. Evening review of bird list. Tarantula walk to search for Red-bellied Tarantulas. Hotel accommodations.


    Tikal Bird Watching Tours

  • Day 11
  • FLORES, GUATEMALA CULTURE AND ARTISAN TOUR

    Breakfast at hotel, with shopping option at stores around hotel area. Drive to Flores, Guatemala to explore tourism zone on Lake Petén Itzá. Central market place exploration, explore culture of village and local artisans. Lunch in Flores. Afternoon birding around Lake Petén Itzá. Review species checklists while absorbing last sunset on Lake Petén Itzá. Return to hotel for late farewell dinner. Evening search for nocturnal birds and Red-bellied Tarantulas. Hotel accommodations.


  • Day 12
  • Hopkins, Belize Beach and Birding Tours

    RETURN TO BELIZE/XUNANTUNICH MAYAN RUINS • TRANSFER TO AIRPORT/END EXPEDITION

    Breakfast at hotel. Early morning departure back to Belize and Belize City Airport for mid-afternoon flight schedule. Stop at Xunantunich Mayan Ruins to search for Blue-crowned Motmot and Common Potoo, etc., (time permitting.) End Expedition.



Testimonials
  • Botswana Photo SafarisJohn Martinson, Executive Vice President wrote:

    .... We are truly grateful to you for your skill, your attention to safety, and your good humor and confident spirit from beginning to end. Thank you again for providing more excitement in three days than I typically encounter over a considerably longer stretch of time. I hope we will meet again in the Nile Valley, Polar Regions, the Gobi Desert or some other equally challenging and exciting spot for adventure in the future..... The two boys will remember you and their time with you for the rest of their lives ...."

  • Costa Rica Nature PhotographySara Fredericks, Travel Agency Director wrote:

    ".... Jon did a great job finding us the wildlife we came to see then teaching us how to make good photographs out of the opportunity. The trip ran very smoothly and exceeded our high expectations. Thank you again for a wonderful time in the wilds of Africa! ...."

  • Mason Morfit, The Nature Conservancy wrote:

    ".... It was a great trip, largely because of your multiple skills as a naturalist, raconteur, bon vivant and boon companion. I hope we can do it again sometime. Please put me on the mailing list for your new brochure.... Again, THANKS. It was a distinct pleasure doing business with you...."

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Belize Photo ToursTrip Details
At-A-Glance

Belize and Tikal, Guatemala
Bird & Wildlife Photography Expedition


Duration: 12-days/11-nights
Limit: 6 or Private Expedition
Activity Level: Easy/Moderate
Accommodations: Regional Hotels, Local Restaurants
Trip Start: Belize City Airport, Belize, Central America (BZE)
Approx. Cost: Contact for details.

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Trip Cost

Prices are based on group size, double occupancy* and trip duration/destination

  • 2 clients: $5395 per person + taxes
  • 3 clients: $5295 per person + taxes
  • 4 clients: $4995 per person + taxes
  • 5 clients: $4895 per person + taxes
  • 6 clients: $4795 per person + taxes

  • 1 client: $10995 per person + taxes

* Single client tours also available.

Reservations/Cancelations Policy »



Trip Highlights:

- Crooked Tree Bird Preserve
- Bermudian Landing
- Xunantunich Mayan Ruins
- Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve
- Hopkins
- Stann Creek
- Cayo District
- San Ignacio
- Mountain Pine Ridge

Possible Sightings:

Black Howler Monkey
Central American Spider Monkey
Morelet's Crocodile
Green Iquana & Basilisk Lizard
Parrot species (8)
Jaguar (extremely rare)
Coatimundi
Jabiru Stork
Red Brocket Deer
Northern Jacana
Keel-Billed Toucan, Collared Araçari, and Emerald Toucanet
Many more...

Accommodations & Amenities




Route Map: 12-Day Belize & Tikal Tour

Belize Bird Photography Tours Map