Belize: Chan Chich: Dec 07—15, 2007

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Belize City
Tour Limit: 8
Download Itinerary: PDF (79.1 KB)

Tour Leaders

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Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...


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A sensational tropical birding experience featuring pristine habitat, an amazing abundance of wildlife, and Mayan ruins, all centered around one of the world's greatest jungle lodges.

A Barred Forest-Falcon yaps from deep in the forest, and a Strong-billed Woodcreeper whistles a descending tango that echoes around the ceremonial plaza of the ancient Maya city. The "hoot-hoot" of a Blue-crowned Motmot filters down through the lodge clearing, while the frog-like croaking of a nearby Keel-billed Toucan resonates through the forest. Ocellated Turkeys begin parachuting down from their overnight roosts, while noisy squadrons of parrots dispute feeding positions in a breadnut tree laden with fruit. The start of the cascade of dawn activity is witnessed by a small group assembling in front of the restaurant where they have just enjoyed a pre-dawn buffet including fresh tropical fruits and aromatic, locally grown coffee. Though eager to walk one of the many forest trails, the group has a hard time tearing themselves away from a blooming tulip tree that is buzzing with Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Purple-crowned Fairies, Little Hermits, Olive-backed Euphonias, and Red-legged Honeycreepers.

In its short history, Chan Chich has become something of a legend, not only in birding circles but also among those seeking the thrill of immersing themselves in a true tropical forest wilderness. At Chan Chich you can combine some of the best tropical birding in the Americas with easy access, exceptional comfort, and first class service. Indeed, Chan Chich is so beguiling that once installed on the spacious veranda of your cabana or relaxing in the jacuzzi by moonlight, it is hard to believe that you are in the heart of the largest expanse of tropical forest outside the Amazon.

Protected from hunting and logging, many species that have been heavily persecuted elsewhere are now common sights in this area. Ocellated Turkey, Crested Guan, and Great Currasow are among these. Spider and howler monkeys abound, and there is probably nowhere else on the continent where you stand as good a chance of seeing one of the five species of wild cats. In one recent year there were over 80 jaguar sightings alone! Combine this with such special birds as Ornate Hawk-Eagle, White Hawk, King Vulture, Tody Motmot, four species of trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Red-capped and White-collared manakins, and you have the recipe for a fabulous tropical birding experience.

Superior accommodations; good food; excellent swimming pool; easy to moderate terrain; midday breaks; considerable birding on foot (easy to moderate trails) combined with some drives; warm to humid conditions.

Richard K. Walton’s DVD, The New World Tropics, An Introduction for Naturalists, includes visits to several of the finest lodges and field stations in Belize, Costa Rica, and Trinidad. If you would like to receive a free copy of this excellent, hour-long presentation, please contact the VENT office.