The Hummingbird Photo Quest is perfect for photographers with a special interest in hummers. Because we focus exclusively on these tiny creatures, you have plenty of time to find the best angle and the perfect light. And who knows: take that stunning shot that brings you fame?
The Hummingbird Photo Quest takes you from dry pine-oak to cloud forest and from rainforest to mangrove and beach. Thanks to that variety, you can see and photograph about three quarters of Honduras' 43 hummingbird species.
We limit the spaces on this tour to six people to give you all the time and space you need to focus on creating awesome photos.
We meet you upon your arrival in Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa. After a short drive towards La Tigra National Park, we reach our hotel for the next few nights. Depending on your time of arrival, we may still have time for some afternoon birding close to the hotel.
Today, we spend the whole day in La Tigra National Park. We look for one of the prettiest hummingbirds of the trip: the spectacular Wine-throated Hummingbird. The extravagant magenta gorget of the male will make your heart race when you hit that button.
The Park is not only a hotspot for Wine-throated Hummingbirds. It is also home to beauties such as Green-breasted Mountain-Gem, Mexican Violetear, White-eared Hummingbird, and the uncommon Amethyst- and Garnet-throated Hummingbirds.
With those, we will have made a great start to our Hummingbird Photo Quest.
Early this morning, we drive to Cerro de Hula. This area of dry shrub is the preferred habitat of Slender Sheartail and Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird. These rare long-tailed hummingbirds are attracted by the wild salvia and pito blossoms that abound here. Make sure to inspect those flowers closely for our tiny bee-like hummingbirds! Other species that we will photograph here are Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Green Violetear, White-eared Hummingbird and Cinnamon Hummingbird.
After breakfast, we drive to La Esperanza. We are still in the pine-covered highlands of Honduras, and in one of the coolest (or coldest) places in the country. Upon arrival, we visit Private Reserve El Consejero in nearby Yamaranguila. The Reserve is run by Julio Bu and his family. 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 and his daughter and grandchildren to create a Hummingbird Garden. The garden was a success, and after merely a few months, 7 different types of highland hummers had found their way to the feeders and flowers: Magnificent Hummingbird, Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (during migration), Azure-crowned Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, and Green-throated Mountain-gem. The Hummingbird Garden is a wonderful spot to photograph these hummingbirds and at the same time help this very humble family make a sustainable living in harmony with nature.
We have some more time this morning to photograph at El Consejero before we drive to Gracias, in the western department of Lempira. situated at the foot of Parque Nacional Celaque, which boasts the highest peak of Honduras. Our hotel is located amidst pine forest, woodland and coffee plantations. In Beaks and Peaks’ nearby Hummingbird Garden, we have another chance at photographing Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, White-eared Hummingbird, Azure-crowned Hummingbird and perhaps Stripe-tailed Hummingbird.
In the morning, we make our way high up into the mountains of Opalaca. This reserve is one of many hidden gems littering the Honduran countryside. It has only recently been discovered by the Honduran birdwatching community but has enormous potential, both for its biodiversity and access. The reserve is now on the list to be recognized as a National Park. Depending on the altitude you will find pine forest, dry shrub and cloud forest in Opalaca. We will be look out for Wine-throated Hummingbird, but other hummers such as Rivoli’s, White-eared, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Green-throated Mountain-gem, or Mexican Violetear are also to be seen.
After lunch in Gracias, we head to the Rio Grande. The river is bordered by dry forest and is home to Honduras’ only endemic: the Honduran Emerald. This beautiful hummer species feeds mainly on Inga, a native tree that produces white blossoms. The afternoon light over the river should make for some great photo opportunities.
This morning, we drive to Lake Yojoa, Honduras’ only natural freshwater lake. As soon as we are settled in our hotel, we head out to find some more hummingbirds. The deck of the hotel restaurant has several hummingbird feeders and thus offers a great starting point. Among the species we will try to capture on film here are White-bellied Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Violet Sabrewing etc.!
No long drives today, since Panacam Lodge itself offers wondrous opportunities for hummingbird photography. The hummingbird feeders on the deck and the various flowering trees near the cabins and that attract several hummingbird species to well-lit and open areas, given you the chance to easily work on angles, light and composition. We’ll be taking our time today with species such as Violet Sabrewing, White-bellied Emerald, Green-throated Mountain-gem, and if we’re lucky even the tiny but spectacular Black-crested Coquette!
Very early in the morning we drive up into the mountains of Santa Bárbara, where we will follow the Quetzal Trail. This is part of a conservation project 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 and its natural resources for the communities of El Dorado, San Luis Planes and el Sauce. The three communities sit on the edge of the national park and are offering basic ecotourism services to diversify their income–which is now exclusively based on coffee growing – and protect their natural environment.
Up in these beautiful mountains, we will look for the Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, a spectacular creature living in the cloud forest 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 Mountain-gem 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.
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, Purple-crowned Fairy, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Brown Violetear, Long-billed Hermit etc. The gardens and trails of the Lodge are well tended and create a beautiful setting for your photography.
Given the big variety of hummingbirds this area hosts, we will spend all of today at the Lodge too. There are several feeders near the restaurant and reception area, even though many of the hummingbird species here readily feed on the many flowering bushes and trees. Great shots guaranteed!
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 Manatí 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. And for sure you will appreciate the relaxed Caribbean vibe of this location while taking heaps of gorgeous pictures. Add to that the delicious lunch served at Manatí, 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.
Beaks and Peaks is an ethically and ecologically responsible birding and adventure tour company based in Gracias Lempira, Honduras. Sustainability, authenticity and diversity are the core values our company is built on. In combining the extensive knowledge and experience of Honduras’ very best guides and naturalists with the hospitality and authenticity of the local communities we strive to create a successful, productive partnership that benefits all. Living here we have in-depth knowledge of local politics, economics and culture. We are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the country and the society we live in. In the first place we aim at showing you those strengths: the unspoilt natural beauty, the charming local people, the stunning flora and fauna. But we also need to protect that natural beauty and aim at bettering the lives of the people. We therefore try to involve local communities, businesses and guides into our tours where possible and we support several projects which we believe will contribute to raising the standard of living and protecting our natural resources. Beaks and Peaks does not just offer tours. We seek to offer experiences — unique, authentic, unforgettable experiences. We want to create memories you will want to share with your friends, colleagues and family back home. And in doing so we hope strive to change the world… your world, our world, our people’s world. Honduras is a beautiful, remarkably diverse country that has an extraordinary range of experiences to offer to the adventurous traveler, from discovering the amazing avifauna or visiting spectacular mountains and forests to exploring the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and having a taste of the true Hondureño culture. We at Beaks and Peaks make it our mission to reveal Honduras’ stunning, vibrant true colors to adventurous travelers. And what better way to experience this beauty than by spotting colorful exotic birds, hiking through virgin cloud forests or listening to the enthralling stories of the local people?