FLIGHTS OF FANCY ADVENTURES

HONDURAS 

COPAN MAYA RUINS,

PANACAM LODGE &

THE LODGE AT PICO BONITO


MARCH 21-31, 2018

This fantastic tour provides a wonderful sampling of all that Central American tropical birding has to offer. We will visit highlands, lowlands, seacoast and everything in between!   The tour begins with a visit to the spectacular ruins and restoration of the ancient Maya city of Copan.  Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD.  Copán was occupied for more than two thousand years!  As with many of these restored ancient ruins, the birding is also exceptionally good due to the open habitat adjacent to the deep forest.  From there, the tour will progress through central Honduras, visiting Meambar Blue Mountain National Park and huge Lake Yojoa.  We’ll stay two nights at rustic Panacam Lodge, surrounded by beautiful forest and excellent birding opportunities.
Finally, we’ll transfer to the Lodge at Pico Bonito  (www.picobonito.com), a 400-acre dream destination for birding.  With Pico Bonito National Park and Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge this area is home to over 400 species of birds.   The key species here are the lovely cotinga, keel-billed motmot, great potoo, and emerald toucanet.  Our birding will be along a privately maintained trail system plus THREE multi-story canopy observation towers that offer maximum viewing and photography opportunities.  This luxury eco-lodge is near the Caribbean coast city of La Ceiba, and is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.  The birding is phenomenally good and we will spend a week here exploring all the Lodge has to offer.  

ITINERARY

Day 1:  Arrive San Pedro Sula (SAP) airport and transfer to Hotel Marina Copan.  Birding as time permits.

Day 2: We will start the day with early birding of “Las Sepulturas” archeological site, adjacent to the main acropolis, and after a break for breakfast, return to visit the main Mayan ruins complex.  This world-renowned archeological site is a great mix of birds and culture, and a substantial population of Scarlet Macaws usually flies over the Copan Valley, frequenting the ruins themselves. Other species easy to spot at Copan are: Orange-fronted Parakeet, Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Great and Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Elegant Euphonia, Altamira and Spot-breasted Orioles, Turquoise-browed and Blue-crowned Motmots, Rufous-capped Warbler, Bushy-crested Jay, plus migrants such as Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dicsissel and more!

After Lunch in the village of Copan, we’ll ascend to the area around “La Pintada”, named for an ancient painted Mayan Stela high in the mountains here.  La Pintada is a small Mayan village located 20 minutes from Copan which boasts a huge number of birds inhabiting dry open woodlands and also has a wonderful view over the Copan River Valley.  Species include; Elegant trogon, Prevost ground-sparrow, Streak-backed oriole, Spot-breasted oriole, Yellow-billed cacique, Rufous-capped warbler, Buff- throated Saltator, Red-throated Parakeet, White-throated Magpie-Jay and more!  Night at Hotel Marina Copan.

Day 3:  We depart Copan early today for the montane forests of Finca Welchez and Santa Isabel.  Here are a mix of tropical forests grading into open coffee plantation.  Here we have the opportunity to encounter species such as:  Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Keel-billed Toucan, Olive Warbler, Black hawk-eagle, Rufous-and-white Wren, Laughing Falcon, Prevost Ground-Sparrow, Elegant Euphonia, Bushy-crested Jay, Spot-breasted Oriole, Yellow-backed Oriole, White-breasted hawk, Azure-crowned Hummingbird and many more  We’ll depart for  Panacam Lodge (www.panacamlodge.comand arrive in time this afternoon for some birding.  Night at Panacam Lodge.

Day 4:  Panacam Lodge and Cerro Azul (Meambar Blue Mountain National Park and Lake Yojoa), are nestled within easy access to lush, expansive, mid-elevation rainforest and pine-oak forest.  Upon arrival this afternoon, we will see that the area around the park’s visitor center is alive with birds and we may observe species such as: Keel-billed Motmot, Crimson-collared Tanager, Swallow-tailed Kite, Gray Hawk, Northern Bentbill, Black-crested Coquette, Tody Motmot, Spectacled Foliage Gleaner, Collared Trogon, White-bellied Emerald, Bushy-crested Jay, and many more.  Night at Panacam Lodge.

Day 5: We will do some early birding at Panacam Lowlands including Embalse de Yure where we can spend time looking for raptors and other amazing birds.  Transfer to The Lodge at Pico Bonito and enjoy some relaxing birding around the Lodge until dinner.

Days 6-10: Birding the Lodge area and surrounding Pico Bonito National Park.   Excursions to Rio Aguan Honduran Emerald Reserve, Cuero Y Salado Wildlife Refuge, Lancetilla Botanical Gardens (www.honduras.com/lancetilla-botanical-garden) and Tela, Rio Santiago Hummingbird Reserve, and a guided night hike at Pico Bonito Lodge.  Make sure you bring your swimsuit to enjoy the beautiful pool!

Day 11: Transfer to San Pedro Sula airport for flights home.

TOUR SIZE: The tour will be limited to 10 participants, plus leader(s).

TOUR PRICE: The fee for the Honduras tour from March 21-31, 2018, is $3,599 per person, based on double occupancy, or $4,399 in single occupancy.  This includes: all meals from dinner on day one up to and including breakfast on our last morning; taxes and fees, ground transportation to and from the Lodges from the airport and during the tour; and guide services provided by tour leaders and local guides.  Meals at Pico Bonito include one soft drink per meal.  IT DOES NOT INCLUDE: Airfare to and from your home to San Pedro Sula Airport, Honduras; gratuities for our first guide, Alex Alvarado or drivers or other service providers until we arrive at Pico Bonito, where all gratuities are included (while gratuities are not required, I usually suggest tipping the lodge staff and local guides, if you would like; alcoholic beverages; telephone calls, e-mails or faxes; laundry or other items of a personal nature; or departure taxes.  
IMPORTANT NOTE: A small group surcharge may apply if the tour is less than fully subscribed.

TOUR LEADER:  Sam Fried is the President and founder of Flights of Fancy Adventures, LLC.  Sam has been leading birding and natural history tours since 1984.  Author, photographer, speaker and world traveler, Sam's articles and pictures have been published in books, magazines and newspapers throughout the world.  He has written for all of the major birding magazines in the US and lectures frequently about his travels.  A well-published  photographer, Sam will be happy to offer assistance to anyone interested in working on their photography skills.  He is a former president of the Hartford Audubon Society.

TOUR REGISTRATION : To register for this tour, complete the FOFA registration form and return it with a deposit of $500 per person.  Full payment of the tour fee is required 120 days prior to tour departure.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds are made according to the following schedule:  If cancellation is made 120 days or more before departure date, the deposit less $100 per person is refundable.  After that, the deposit of $300 is not refundable, but any payments made toward the balance of the fee will be refunded.  If cancellation is made fewer than 120 days before departure date, no refund is available.  I strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance for your protection.

If you cancel                                                              Your refund will be:
120 days or more before your departure date         Your deposit minus $100.
 Fewer than 120 days before departure date           No refund available.
           
SMOKING:  Not permitted.

AIR INFORMATION:  Multiple airlines fly from the USA to San Pedro Sula (SAP) airport in Honduras.

CLOTHING: A full list of suggested clothing and equipment will be provided to tour participants. 

BAGGAGE: It is recommended that you pack all documents, medications, a change of clothes, boots, binoculars, photo equipment and toiletry items in your carry-on, in case your baggage is delayed.  

DOCUMENTS:  A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned departure date is required.  Visas are not required for entry by US citizens.  

HEALTH:  I strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor or a travel clinic such as the one at UCONN Health Center in Farmington, CT (860-679-2411) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta (404-332-4555) before travel to any foreign destination.  Health requirements vary from country to country and change frequently.  Please check with your doctor for your own personal needs and plan to bring any prescription drugs you may need with you on the trip.

INSECT PROTECTION:  Biting insects can be an annoying  problem.  I  recommend the use of a repellent that works well for you. 

RECOMMENDED READING 
For fascinating general reading on tropical ecology, I recommend:
Tropical Nature, Forsyth and Miyata
Guide to the Birds of Honduras, Robert J. Gallardo

RESPONSIBILITY:  Flights of Fancy Adventure Tours, LLC (FOFA) and/or its agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel, whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, or airplane and assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the tour.  FOFA and its agents can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as tour rates provide for arrangements only for the time stated.  The right is reserved to substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary where deemed necessary or caused by changes in air schedules.  The right is reserved to cancel any tour prior to departure, in which case full refund will constitute full settlement to the passenger.  The right is reserved to substitute another leader for the first leader on any tour.  Where this is necessary, notification will be given to tour members and they will have the right to cancel their participation and receive a full refund.  No refund will be made for any unused portion of the tour.  The price of the tour is based on the tariffs and exchange rates in effect April 15, 2017 and is subject to adjustment in the event of a change therein.  The right is retained to accept or decline or retain any person as a member of any tour.  Baggage is at owner's risk entirely.


“WE HAVE FUN”


Flights of Fancy Adventures, Inc.

Sam Fried

860-690-8599

sam.fried@live.com 

www.flightsoffancyadventures.com 



If your birding club would like for me to organize and run a private tour anywhere, please let me know!


Please contact me at SAM.FRIED@LIVE. COM if you would like to sign up for this exciting trip or for more information.