The Hummingbird Quest Photography Tour was created for photographers with a special interest in hummers. We will exclusively focus on these tiny little creatures, so you can make the best use of the time to find the best angle, the perfect light, that one stunning shot that might bring you fame—or at least the great feeling of having taken an excellent picture of an even better bird.
We have developed a tour that will give you good chances of seeing over three quarters of Honduras’ 43 hummingbird species, bringing you from the dry pine-oak around the capital to the central highlands, and from the cloud forests around Lake Yojoa to the rainforests of the Caribbean coast, to top off the trip with a visit to the mangroves and beaches of Guanaja.
Spaces on this tour are limited to a maximum of six people to give all participants enough time and space to focus on their photography.
Hummingbirds we are likely to see during this trip:
Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Berylline Hummingbird, Black-crested Coquette, Blue-tailed Hummingbird, Blue-throated Goldentail, Brown Violetear, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Green-breasted Mango, Green-breasted Mountaingem, Green-throated Mountaingem, Honduran Emerald, Long-billed Hermit, Long-billed Starthroat, Magnificent Hummingbird, Plain-capped Starthroat, Purple-crowned Fairy, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Salvin’s Emerald, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Slender Sheartail, Sparkling-tailed Woodstar, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Stripe-throated Hermit, Violet Sabrewing, Crowned Woodnymph, Violet-headed Hummingbird, White-bellied Emerald, White-eared Hummingbird, White-necked Jacobin, Wine-throated Hummingbird.
- July 8-19, 2018
Arrival at Tegucigalpa airport and transfer to hotel near La Tigra NP
Full day birding in La Tigra NP
Morning birding around Cerro de Hula, transfer to La Esperanza
Morning birding in El Consejero Hummingbird Garden, transfer to Lake Yojoa, afternoon birding in Los Naranjos
Full day birding in Santa Bárbara La Fuente de Vida
Morning birding in Santa Bárbara Honduran Emerald Reserve, transfer to Rio Santiago
Full day birding in Rio Santiago Nature Resort
Full day birding in Pico Bonito Lodge
Full day birding on Guanaja
Transfer to San Pedro Sula airport
Day 1| Pick-up at Tegucigalpa airport, transfer to hotel near La Tigra National Park
We meet you upon your arrival in 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 already give the Azurecrowned and White-eared Hummingbird—and maybe even the Garnet-throated Hummingbird—a try in the gardens of the hotel.
Day 2 | Full day birding at La Tigra National Park
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.
Day 3 | Morning birding around Cerro de Hula, transfer to La Esperanza
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.
Magnificent Hummingbird (R. Ozibko)
Hummingbird photography at El Consejero
Day 4 | Morning birding in El Consejero Hummingbird Garden, transfer to Lake Yojoa, afternoon birding in Los Naranjos
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.
Day 5 | Full day birding in Santa Bárbara La Fuente de Vida ecotourism project
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.
Day 6 | Morning birding in Santa Bárbara Honduran Emerald Reserve, transfer to Rio Santiago
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. And 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.
Day 7 | Full day birding in Rio Santiago Nature Resort
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.
Day 8 | Full day birding at Pico Bonito Lodge
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, Long-billed Hermit etc. 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.
Day 9 | Full day birding on Guanaja
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. 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 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.
Day 10 | Transfer to San Pedro Sula airport
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.