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Belize Birding Trip

Nature Expeditions to the Mayan Heartland

The small country of Belize sits on the Caribbean Coast just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.  It is blessed with a wide assortment of habitats and topography including tropical rainforests, mountains and ravines and mangrove-covered cays on a barrier reef.  It also boasts an impressive array of flora and fauna within its habitats including monkeys and a colorful variety of birds such as hummingbirds, toucans, trogons, parrots, antbirds, flycatchers, oropendolas, seedeaters, manakins, becards and tanagers.  Please join us as we explore the splendid country of Belize.

Please conact Professor Cox for more details about upcoming birding / ecological trips.

Sample itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrival Belize City and Sibun Lodge

Arrival at Belize City International Airport.  After passing through immigration and customs you’ll be met by someone representing Lincoln Land Community College and/or from the Sibun Lodge and escorted by shuttle to the Lodge.  For those arriving while it’s still daylight, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to get a “headstart” on the birds and habitats that occur around the Lodge.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge.  (D) (TG).

DAY 2 – Sibun Lodge and vicinity

Orientation Breakfast at 7:00 am.  Today will be spent on the grounds in and around Sibun Lodge; in addition to the birding, the jungle hikes will introduce the group to a variety of medicinal plants as well.  Some of the bird species to be sought today include Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, White-fronted and Red-lored parrots, Long-billed Hermit, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Great Kiskadee.  In the evening there will be a special “night” hike for those interested.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge. (B,L,D) (NG).

DAY 3 – Caves Branch.

The group will depart early for Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch and have breakfast there.  In addition to birding, the day’s activities will include a visit to Nekos Cave where you will have an opportunity to observe Mayan artifacts and a tour of the Botanical Gardens and orchid conservation.  Some of the bird species to be sought today include colorful tanagers such Crimson-collared and Passerini’s, Social & Boat-billed flycatchers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Montezuma Oropendola, Laughing Falcon, Violaceous Trogon, Emerald Toucanet, Blue-crowned and Tody motmots, and lots of hummingbirds.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge. (B,L,D) (NG). 

DAY 4 –  Crystal Paradise Resort in Cayo

After breakfast the group will shuttle to the Crystal Paradise Resort, a private resort on the Macal River in the village of Cristo Rey.  The day’s activities will include visits to an assortment of interesting sites and habitats.  More than 200 species of birds have been found in the immediate area; some to be sought today include more species of tanagers, flycatchers, woodpeckers and hummingbirds.  In the evening there will be a special “night” hike for those interested; perhaps you may find an owl or other nocturnal species.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge. (B,L,D) (NG).

DAY 5 – Xunatunich and San Ignacio

After breakfast you will depart for the Xunatunich (pronounced “shoo-nan-too-nitch”) pyramid and Mayan ruins (near the Guatemalan border).  You will have lunch at the ruins and spend the afternoon at nearby San Ignacio where there should be some free (shopping ?) time.  Bird species to be sought today include parrots and swallows, more tanagers and a variety of species associated with the southern hardwood forests.   Dinner will be on your own at a selected San Ignacio restaurant.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge.  (B,L) (NG).

DAY 6 –  Jaguar Reef

After breakfast you will depart for Jaguar Reef.  The trip includes a morning and afternoon “Birds of Paradise” tour.  Since the site is on the coast-line, you should look for species like the Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Magnificent Frigatebird, Olivaceous Cormorant; other species to be sought include Northern Jacana, Ringed Kingfisher, Mangrove Swallow, Great-tailed Grackle, more flycatchers and hummingbirds.  After dinner you will have an opportunity to visit the LeBehe Drumming Center.  Dinner will be on your own at Jaguar Reef.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge. (B,L) (NG). 

DAY 7 – Community Baboon Sanctaury and Blue Hole National Park

Once again, the group will have an early departure for breakfast at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch.  After breakfast you will visit the Community Baboon Sanctuary.  The Baboon Sanctuary was established in 1985 by a zoologist from the University of Wisconsin and a group of local farmers, with help from the World Wildlife Fund, to protect Howler Monkeys (the “black” baboon).  The protected site consists of an approximate 20-mile stretch along the Belize River.  In addition to protecting the monkeys, the site is also a safe haven for a large variety of birds – many of which may be found on today’s tour.  In the afternoon you will spend time at Blue Hole National Park and St. Herman’s Cave.  The Blue Hole is a cool, turquoise pool surrounded by mosses and lush vegetation.  (Bring your swimsuit along!).  The Blue Hole is part of an underground river system.  St. Herman’s Cave is on the other side of the hill from the Blue Hole.  The area is great for birding as well; some interesting species might include the Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Red-capped and White-collared manakins and Tropical Mockingbird.  Overnight at Sibun Lodge.  (B,L,D) (NG). 

DAY 8 – Sibun, Belize Zoo (time permitting) and return to the U.S.

Today you will be shuttled back to the Belize International Airport in time to check in for your jet flight home.  If time permits, you may stop along the way at the Belize Zoo.  Crossing the Caribbean you can reflect on your unforgettable adventures in Belize, the Mayan Heartland.  (B) (TG).

Letter Codes: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, (TG) Transfer Guide, (NG) Naturalist Guide


The itinerary may vary because of airline schedules, weather, local conditions or group decisions. 


NOTE:  When scheduling your airline flight from Belize City back to the United States, you may wish to consider a late-morning or early afternoon flight out of Belize City in order to give yourself adequate time to get ready in the morning. 

About the Trip


  • Pre-departure information to help you get the most out of your expedition
  • All scheduled transportation in Belize
  • All scheduled excursions accompanied by experienced
  • English-speaking guides in Belize
  • All identified transfers, porterage (two bags per person) and service charges in Belize
  • All hotel accommodations in Belize
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff


  • Round-trip transportation from hometown to Belize
  • Fees for passports
  • Excess baggage fees
  • U.S. and foreign airport departure and security taxes
  • Items of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, phone calls, beverages, etc.
  • Excess mileage requested by passengers that is not part of the scheduled itinerary
  • International airfare and airport departure taxes
  • Personal insurance coverage (strongly recommended)
  • Two dinners at local restaurants


  • Lincoln Land Community College needs the SSN and Birth Dates in order to enroll trip participants in the Community Ed Program for insurance coverage purposes.


  • A U.S. Passport valid 180 days beyond your anticipated date of return to the U.S. is essential.


  • No immunizations are required at this time.  It is recommended that you consult your local health board or physician for their advice on precaution against malaria.  Potable water is available throughout the trip. 


  • Owing to the limited number of rooms, single supplements will not be available on this trip. 


  • The electrical current is 110 volts, the same as in the United States.


  • With three native guides available, and up to 8 persons per guide, the trip can accommodate up to 24 people.  However, the limitation will be the available accommodations space.


  • Upon receipt of your Reservation Form, you will be sent information on your destination, baggage requirements, what to take, suggested reading material, etc.


  • Since your personal insurance policies may contain certain limitations, it is strongly recommended that you insure yourself and your property while traveling.  Trip cancellation insurance and other appropriate insurance are available by contacting your travel agent, through travel insurance carriers on the internet, or by contacting TravelEx at (888-457-4602) or its website:  
  • Please note: Payment for insurance is non-refundable. 


General Information, Terms and Conditions

Trip Deposits and Airline Reservations: A deposit is due at time of booking in order to ensure you space on the trip.  You should also, without delay, make your own airline reservations to and from Belize City.
Final Payments: Final payment for all land arrangements in Belize is due 60 days prior to departure and can be paid by phone (217-786-9649) or mail (Belize Adventures Program Director, c/o David Cox, Lincoln Land Community College, P.O. Box 19256, Springfield, IL  62794-9256).  Checks should be made payable to: Lincoln Land Community College.  For most programs, you may purchase domestic and international air tickets with a major credit card; these will require immediate ticketing and payment to protect the fare quoted.  Payment restrictions may apply to airfares with special contracts. 

Published Rates: All rates and fares are accurate as of this notice but are subject to change since they are priced several months in advance.  Changes in pricing would only be made to reflect changes in land services or currency exchange rates If the group falls below the minimum passenger requirement, the expedition is subject to cancellation or re-pricing.   All rates are per person and based on double occupancy.  Expenses due to delays caused by airlines, weather, illness or other unforeseeable circumstances are the responsibility of the guest.

Travel documents: A U.S. passport valid six months beyond your anticipated date of return to the U.S. is essential.  It is the responsibility of the guest to have all necessary information upon departure.

Health requirements: Please consult your local public health boards or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta (404-332-4559 or for current information on suggested or required immunizations.  Certain immunizations may require administering up to one month prior to your trip.  Potable water is available at all lodging locations.

Insurance: It is highly recommended that you insure yourself and your property, since your personal insurance policies may contain limitations.  Please note: you are responsible for your own insurance arrangements; see the Insurance information printed elsewhere.