Special Announcement: Photo
Safari to Belize
March 28 through April 4, 2015
I am very excited to announce my first Photo Safari to Belize! I am working with Kevin Loughlin and Wildside Nature Tours, who have extensive experience and expertise in this beautiful little country.
Belize is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the Americas. Thanks in part to its small population, over 60% of Belize’s 8867 sq. miles (about the size of New Hampshire) have been protected. This protection has allowed the birds and wildlife of Belize to continue to flourish. Belize is the last Central American stronghold of the majestic Jabiru, a stork that stands about 5 feet tall with an 11 foot wingspan, which nests in the savannas and wetlands of the north. Regional endemics such as Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Flycatcher and Yellow-lored Parrot may also be found in the pine-oak savannas. The tropical dry forest of northwestern Belize offers a multitude of species more easily found in Belize than anywhere else.
This awesome trip will include in-depth, hands-on photo instruction as we photograph birds, monkeys, butterflies, flowers, reptiles and local culture. Landscape photography will also be explored while visiting ancient Mayan ruins, as will photoshop skills and image workflow in the evenings back at our lodges.
Day 1 - Arrive/Travel to La Milpa Lodge
Day 2 - La Milpa Lodge
Day 3 - La Milpa Lodge
Day 4 - Crooked Tree Lodge
Day 5 - Crooked Tree Lodge
Day 6 - Crooked Tree Lodge
Day 7 - Crooked Tree Lodge
Day 8 - Home
Full Itinerary (the order in which we visit each location may vary):
Day 1 -
Arrive Belize / Rio Bravo Conservation Area - La Milpa Lodge
After going through customs we will load our van and begin our adventure driving the Northern Highway to the Rio Bravo Conservation Area. Approximate driving time without stops is 3 hours.
Day 2 Rio Bravo / La Milpa Lodge
The RBCA covers 5% of Belize’s land area and is a privately held wildlife sanctuary and research area within the tropical dry forest region. The La Milpa Lodge is named for the ancient Mayan ruins found on the site.
Pre-breakfast photo opps will offer an orchestra of bird song as we explore the grounds around the lodge. After a quick breakfast served family style we will continue our exploration through the grounds and seldom used entry road where wildlife is often found along the forest edge.
Lunch (as with all our meals) will be at La Milpa and will be followed by a brief siesta in the heat of the day. However, butterflies in the area can be fantastic at this time of day!
Night spotlighting may offer Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-and-White Owl and we have also seen Jaguar, Margay, Jaguarundi, Kinkajou, Tapir and other mammals while spotlighting!
Day 3 Rio Bravo / La Milpa Lodge
Today’s will take us to the La Milpa ruins where the forest remains little disturbed and the bird song is often interrupted by Black Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys! We always hope for an ant swarm here to bring in a number of birds to the forest floor to feed on the escaping insects.
After lunch back at the lodge and a short siesta, we will work on some image workflow and editing before heading back out for the good light.
Day 4 - Drive to Crooked Tree Sanctuary / Crooked Tree Lodge
After breakfast we will depart for Crooked Tree having lunch along the way. Photo stops will keep us busy, especially at the Community Baboon Sanctuary (full of Black Howler Monkeys) and we will arrive at Crooked Tree Lodge late afternoon.
Crooked Tree Lodge sits quietly along the edge of the freshwater, seasonal lagoon. Here we can watch a multitude of wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl. The surrounding savanna and wetlands offer excellent birds, including the majestic Jabiru stork.
Day 5 - Crooked Tree Sanctuary
We will explore the Crooked Tree Lagoon and Spanish Creek by boat in search of the many species of birds which inhabit this beautiful sanctuary. With low canopy logwood, turtlebone, provision tree and mangrove, good views of Yellow-tailed Oriole, Mangrove Vireo and Rufous-browed Peppershrike are very possible. The endangered Black Howler Monkey and Morelets Crocodile are also found here.
After lunch back at Crooked Tree Lodge, we will explore the upper end of the island, a pine-oak savanna. Yellow-lored (Yucatan) Parrot, Yucatan Woodpecker and Yucatan Jay can be found in this open habitat.
Our adventure today will take us to the Community Baboon Sanctuary, which is what the British mistakenly called the Black Howler Monkeys! This sanctuary is truly community-based and is made up of about 120 private farms along the Belize river. Encompassing 20 square miles of forest for the endangered Black Howler Monkeys, we will have a local guide who knows where to find the ever moving troops of howlers.
As the light changes we will stop for lunch and come back again later in the day to enjoy more opportunities with these personality-rich primates!
We will return to Crooked Tree Lodge for dinner.
Day 7 - Crooked Tree Sanctuary
Today we will keep open to explore areas we have found to be very active with wildlife or to explore a new location… We have flexibility!
Day 8 - Depart for home
Crooked Tree Lodge is a new establishment that stands in the former location of Paradise Inn. It is set on the western shore of Crooked Tree Lagoon. The comfortable rooms offer fans to help the continuous breeze from the lagoon. Delicious Kreol style meals are served family style.
La Milpa Lodge lies in the heart of the tropical dry forest of the Rio Bravo Conservation Area. This huge, 300,000 acre swatch of land encompasses 5% of Belize’s land area! The lodge rooms are spacious with en suite bathrooms and hot showers. Well prepared meals are served family style in the main building.
Trip Length is 8-days/7-nights. Cost is variable, dependent upon trip participation, from Belize City:
4-5 participants: $3100
6-7 participants: $2500
8-10 participants: $2100
Prices are per person, double occupancy. If a single room is preferred, or a suitable roommate is not available, the single supplement fee is $350.
Included in the Tour Cost:
All ground transportation from Belize City airport. All accommodations. All meals from dinner on arrival day through breakfast on departure day. All entrance fees and guide fees. Tips for meal service.
Not Included in the Tour Cost:
International air travel, passport fees, luggage fees, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, departure taxes, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.
As with all my Photo Safaris, this will be a small group trip, to maximize the personal interaction and teaching opportunities. These trips can fill quickly, so please make your reservation as quickly as you can. Please go to this link for additional information, or to reserve a slot (you can also just email me if you wish to sign up):
Additional Information and Online Reservations
Please email me with any questions you might have, if you would like any additional information, or let me know that you want to go:
Email Me About Belize, 2015