This 10-day birding tour is designed for lovers of hummingbirds and photography. The tour focuses exclusively on these agile little creatures and on giving you the best chances of going home with stunning shots of Honduras’ wonderful feathery acrobats. During the 10-day Hummingbird Quest, you will have the best opportunities to observe and photograph about three-quarters of Honduras’ 43 hummingbird species.
We meet you upon your arrival at Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa, and bring you to our hotel near La Tigra National Park, our base for the next 3 nights.
In the afternoon, we will be in the gardens of the hotel trying to see the Azurecrowned and White-eared Hummingbird and maybe even the Garnet-throated Hummingbird.
We spend the whole day in La Tigra National Park on our quest for one of the most beautiful hummingbirds of the trip: the amazing Wine-throated Hummingbird. The extravagant magenta gorget of the displaying male is likely to make your finger shake when you hit that button. They feed from the nectar of wild flowers like the Salvia cinnabarina and lavanduloides, Vaccinium poasanum, mountain fuchsia and others. We also look for the Green-breasted Mountaingem, Green Violetear, White-eared Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, and Garnet-throated Hummingbird and try to get some good shots from these beauties too.
Our quest for some of the rarest Hummingbirds starts very early today. At 5:00 am, we drive to Cerro de Hula (we will have breakfast on the go), where we look for the magnificent Slender Sheartail and Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, both residents of the southwestern highlands. These two long-tailed hummingbirds are rare, but Cerro de Hula in Honduras is one of the best spots to look for them, as the area hosts many flowers and trees that attract hummingbirds. We will be paying particular attention to one tree in particular: the Pito-tree. It produces a long, red flower that is a favorite of not only the Slender Sheartail, but also of the Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Green Violetear, White-eared Hummingbird and Cinnamon Hummingbird. After a picnic lunch we assume the drive to the central highlands around La Esperanza.
This morning, we visit Julio Bu’s Hummingbird Garden and Private Reserve in Yamaranguila, near La Esperanza.
Julio is a conservationist, and has decided to convert almost the entirety of his land into a nature reserve. Beaks and Peaks has worked with him on creating a Hummingbird Garden, which after merely a couple of months started to attract 7 different types of highland hummers: Magnificent Hummingbird, Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (during migration), Azure-crowned Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, and Green-throated Mountaingem
The hummingbird garden is helping this very humble family to attract visitors to their property, and make a living in a sustainable way, in harmony with nature.
After lunch in La Esperanza, we head to Lake Yojoa, Honduras’ only natural freshwater lake.
Once we are settled in our hotel, we visit Los Naranjos eco-archaeological park for our afternoon birding. Here, we especially keep an eye out for Berylline Hummingbird, but we will probably also see Green-breasted Mango, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.
Very early in the morning we drive up into the mountains of Santa Bárbara, where we will follow the Quetzal Trail.
The trail is part of a larger conservation project that Beaks and Peaks supports, called “La Fuente de Vida”. The name of the project means “The Source of Life”, and reflects the importance of the mountain and the forest for the communities of El Dorado, San Luis Planes and el Sauce. As they realized the impact they exerced on their natural resources, the three communities that sit on the edge of the national park decided to start offering basic ecotourism services to diversify their income–which before was exclusively based on coffee growing–and protect their natural environment.
We will look in particular for the Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, a gorgeous little creature living in the cloud forest up here and feeding on small insects and the nectar of fresh flowers. There are also good chances to photograph the Long-billed Hermit, Stripe-throated Hermit, Mexican Violetear, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Green-throated Mountaingem and Violet Sabrewing. After a full day up in the mountains, with breakfast and lunch provided by the community, we return to the hotel for dinner.
We are up very early again today, and drive to an area of dry forest and shrub southwest of the lake, in the Santa Bárbara mountains. Our next target bird is the Honduran Emerald. This iridescent beauty is Honduras’ only endemic bird (to date). Until about five years ago, people assumed the Emerald occured solely in Olancho or Yoro, but several new populations have been discovered in recent years, including the one we are visiting today in the Santa Bárbara mountains. Luckily, the owner of the property where this gorgeous creature lives, is into conservation and happy to welcome birders to his place! We will spend all morning searching and photographing our national birders’ pride—and potentially a few other hummers such as Salvin’s Emerald or Cinnamon Hummingbird.
After a delicious lunch served by the family that owns the property, we take off to Rio Santiago on Honduras’ north coast, where we should arrive shortly before dark.
Today we spend the whole day birding at Rio Santiago, enjoying the stunning beauty of the hummingbirds that come down to the garden. With 22 species of hummingbirds recorded here, this is Honduras’ absolute hummer paradise: Band-tailed Barbthroat, Long-billed Hermit, Stripethroated Hermit, Brown Violetear, Mexican Violetear, Purple-crowned Fairy, Greenbreasted Mango, Black-crested Coquette, Magnificent Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Scalybreasted Hummingbird, Violet Sabrewing, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Crowned Woodnymph, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-bellied Emerald, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Berylline Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Cinnamon Hummingbird and Blue-throated Goldentail have all been reported here.
Pico Bonito Lodge combines the adventure of the outdoors, the beauty of the rainforest, and the personal service of a boutique hotel and spa. In this luxurious setting, we enjoy yet another splendid birding day, as the area offers an array of interesting hummingbird species such as the Violet-headed Hummingbird, Purplecrowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violetear and Long-billed Hermit. The gardens and trails of the Lodge are well tended, and make for a beautiful setting for your photography. In between a great photoshoot, we will also enjoy a copious lunch, and return to our hotel at nightfall, shortly before dinner.
This morning, a small plane will bring us in about 20 minutes from La Ceiba to the island of Guanaja. This beautifully authentic island in the Caribbean sea is one of the only places—and by far the prettiest and easiest one—to observe and photograph the Canivet’s Emerald, a subspecies of Salvin’s Emerald that cannot be found on the Honduran mainland. Both from Manati restaurant or the deck at Roland’s Garden Guesthouse, we will have great views of these little guys, coming to the wealth of flowering plants and trees and some strategically placed feeders. We hope you will appreciate the relaxed Caribbean vibe of this location while taking heaps of gorgeous pictures. Add to that the delicious lunch served at Manati, and we are convinced you will not want to take the plane back this afternoon. However, it is time to get back to the mainland, and enjoy a final dinner together.
We will bring you to the international airport of San Pedro Sula in time for your flight. We hope you have had a great trip, and return home with lots of stunning pictures and wonderful memories.