Copán Archaeology & Birds
Lodge at Pico Bonito
February 18 to March 2, 2011

Honduras Map

Friday, February 18
Fly from Houston Intercontinental Airport (9:05 AM) to La Mesa International Airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Arrive (Noon) and take taxi to Metrotel Express Hotel in San Pedro Sula. Settle into room. Mid-afternoon, Brad and I birded gardens and grounds surrounding the hotel. Welcome dinner at restaurant nextdoor to hotel.

Saturday, February 19
Early breakfast at hotel (6:00 AM). Drive to Hacienda San Lucas near town of Copán Ruinas with a stop at El Puente archaeological site (Parque Arqueológico El Puente). This site is located in the Florida Valley in the municipality of La Jigua. Focused on birding and archaeology. Lunch at the Hacienda San Lucas. Settle into cabin and take a brief siesta. (Each cabin had an outdoor hammock which provided an excellent location for a siesta). Late afternoon hike (4:00 PM) along the Los Sapos Trail on the grounds. Candlelight dinner (limited availability of electricity necessitated the use of candles at the restaurant and in the cabins). Note: dinner and lunch were always a surprise, with their unique blend of Mayan foods and spices. The manager always came to our table to introduce the menu and describe the foods (enhancing the experience).

Hacienda San Lucus - Room 10
Hacienda San Lucus - Room 10

Hacienda San Lucus - Room 10
Hacienda San Lucus - Room 10 inside

Hacienda San Lucus - Joanne
Hacienda San Lucus - Room 10 Porch

Sunday, February 20
Early breakfast at the hacienda (5:00 AM). Visit the main archaeological site of Copán. Spent the early part of the morning birding. Fito, our guide at Copán, provided us with a detailed overview of the history and archaeology of the area. Lunch at the ruins catered by the Hacienda San Lucas and a local restaurant (included tablecloth covered tables and excellent food). Who knew a simple grilled cheese sandwich with excellent sides could be so delicious! Spent the early afternoon at the Sculpture Museum. Mayan artifacts are in abundance here as is a replica of an early Classic Temple - a terraced, two-story building dubbed Rosalila (Templo Rosa Lila, this masterpieceis also known as Templo del Sol) by its excavators. Visited local vendors and several on-site stores. Dinner at Hacienda San Lucas.

Monday, February 21
Early breakfast at the hacienda (5:00 AM). Morning birding along the La Laguna-San Francisco Road (located in the foothills on the south side of Copán Valley) starting at the bottom and working our way up to 1,000 meters. Lunch at the hacienda followed by a siesta. Late afternoon birding and visit to the Las Sepulturas archaeological site. Las Sepulturas forms part of the Proyecto Arqueológico Copán. Seeing how the Lencas and Mayans lived helps one understand their cultures. Dinner at the Hacienda San Lucas.

Tuesday, February 22
Early breakfast at the hacienda (5:00 AM). Morning birding along the La Laguna-San Francisco Road starting at the top 1,300 meters and working our way down the road. Lunch at the hacienda, a siesta, and late afternoon birding along the Los Sapos Trail. Dinner at the hacienda.

Wednesday, February 23
Early breakfast at the hacienda (5:00 AM) followed by a (6:00 AM) departure for the La Mesa International Airport in San Pedro Sula. Those not continuing on with the trip boarded planes for home. The rest of us headed on to Pico Bonito.
Drive from the Hacienda San Lucas, which is located in the hills above Copán Valley, to La Mesa International Airport in San Pedro Sula. Members of the group continuing on with the second leg of the trip were picked up by Pico Bonito personnel and vehicles. Arrived at the lodge, which is nestled within the rainforest of the 265,000 acre Pico Bonito National Park near La Ceiba, Honduras, in time for a late lunch.

Lodge at Pico Bonito
Lodge at Pico Bonito

The lodge is sited below the 8,000 foot high Mt. Pico Bonito and located near the Rio Corinto and the Rio Coloradito. Settled into our cabin and then did some late afternoon birding by ourselves around the lodge until dinnertime. Welcome dinner for the group.

Lodge at Pico Bonito
Pico Bonito - Dining Room

Thurday, February 24
Early breakfast at lodge (5:30 AM). Bird on lodge grounds, the observation tower, and the entrance road until 11:00 AM. After lunch and a siesta, drove to an adjacent property in the Pico Bonito Forest at 3:00 PM to look for Keel-billed Motmot (first try). The reported location of this species took us straight up a mountain on a killer trail, muddy, slippery, and straight up. No Motmot. Plus very few species to be seen although some were heard. Dinner at lodge.

Friday, February 25
Early breakfast at lodge (5:00 AM).
Drive to Lancetilla Botanical Gardens (arrive 7:15 AM).


Located only a few kilometers from Tela, the Lancetilla Botanical Garden is the second largest tropical botanical garden in the world. It was established in 1926 as an experimental site by the Tela Railroad Company. The park boasts a large variety of plant species from the Central American region as well as from other tropical lands. Tropical birds have made this area their home, and it provided us with a morning of wonderful birding (some of the best on this trip). At 11:00 AM drive back to lodge for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Dinner at lodge.

Saturday, February 26
Early breakfast at lodge (4:45 AM). Drive to Aguan Valley to look for Honduran Emerald. Arrive Olanchito 7:45 AM. Numerous roadside stops for birding. Arrive at Honduran Emerald Reserve at 10:00 AM. Viewed several Honduran Emeralds. At 11:45 AM drive to Olanchito for lunch at La Casita del Pan. rive back (2:30-5:00 PM) to Pico Bonito Lodge. Dinner at lodge.

Sunday, February 27
Early breakfast at lodge (6:00 AM).
Bird the lodge's Loop Trail to Mermaid Falls and back.

MermaidF alls - Sign
Mermaid Falls Trail

Mermaid Falls
Mermaid Falls

Lunch at lodge (noon). Bird Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge near La Union. Take the tiny tourist train (El Trencito Turistica). The engine plus one car took us along a narrow gauge track. Birded from train and stops made along the way.

Cuero y Salado - Train
Cuero y Salado - Train

Depart from visitor center for motorboat trip through the mangroves for additional birding..

Cuero_y_Salado - Sign
Cuero y Salado

Cuero y Salado - Boat ride
Cuero y Salado - Boat ride

Dinner at 7:00 PM.

Monday, February 28
Early breakfast at lodge (5:30 AM). Bird Campamento Curla, a private and scenic rainforest preserve which adjoins Pico Bonito National Park and is managed by one of Honduras’national universities as a study and research site. Lunch at lodge followed by a siesta. Pre-dinner owling. Saw Vermiculated Screch-Owl. Dinner at lodge.

Tuesday, March 1
Early breakfast at lodge (5:30 AM). Back to adjacent property in the Pico Bonito Forest to try for the Keel-billed Motmot. Hiked a more circuitous path up to previous site visited on 2/24. Still unsuccessful. Very little birdlife seen. Lunch at lodge. Final try at Keel-billed Motmot up Loop Trail (we opted out). This species is regularly seen at the top of the Loop Trail and should be your point of focus. Pack. Dinner at Lodge.

Wednesday, March 2
Breakfast at lodge. Drive to La Mesa International Airport in San Pedro Sula for afternoon flight back to Houston Intercontinental Airport (12:55 PM).