With some 618 recorded species of resident and migrant birds identified throughout the country, and a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats, Belize abounds with great bird-watching sites. Even amateur bird-watchers should have little trouble checking off upwards of 100 species in a week's worth of watching.

Lodges with the best bird-watching include Chan Chich Lodge near Gallon Jug; Lamanai Outpost Lodge  on the New River Lagoon; Chaa Creek; duPlooy’s or any of the nature lodges outside of San Ignacio; Hidden Valley Inn or any of the lodges in the Mountain Pine Ridge area; Rock Farm at Belize Bird Rescue  outside of Belmopan; and Copal Tree Lodge , Hickatee Cottages, and The Lodge at Big Falls, all in the Toledo District.

Some of the best parks and reserves for serious birders are Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve, for scarlet macaws and a host of primary forest dwellers; Shipstern Nature Reserve, for scores of different sea- and shorebirds; Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary , for large varieties of wading birds, including the jabiru stork; Man-O-War Caye, a major nesting site for the magnificent frigate; Caracol Mayan ruins and the Chiquibil National Park, for many different resident and migratory forest species; Half Moon Caye, for the vast nesting flocks of red-footed boobies; and the Río Bravo Conservation Area, for ocellated turkeys and trogons. You’ll also find excellent bird-watching in neighboring Guatemala’s Petén province and around the Tikal area.

Bird-watchers staying on Ambergris Caye should certainly head to the Bacalar Chico National Park & Marine Preserve.

Tour Operators

In addition to the operators listed below, the Belize Audubon Society (www.belizeaudubon.org; tel. 223-5004) is an active and informative organization worth contacting.

Birding in Belize (Paradise Expeditions)
(www.birdinginbelize.com; tel. 610-5593) is the go-to choice for anyone wanting focus their adventure on Belize’s beautiful birds. Based in country, this organization’s guides have experience in leading tours as well as advanced avian knowledge. The 8-day tour goes through some of the best birding spots in the country, and costs US$2,195 for double occupancy, not including airfare.

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours
(www.ventbird.com; tel. 800/328-8368 or 512/328-5221 in the U.S. and Canada) is a very well-respected small-group tour operator specializing in bird-watching trips, and a pioneer of the genre in Belize. These tours focus primarily on the area around Chan Chich Lodge and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, two of the country’s prime bird-watching destinations, though some of their other tour options touch down around Lamanai and the Mountain Pine Ridge region.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.