Belize has become one of the most highly regarded travel destinations in the world. The reason can vary from its diverse and stunning landscapes and stimulating activities to an extensive range of accommodation options with a friendly multicultural population, exciting culinary experiences, and, of course, exceptional birding!
What’s it like to go birding in Belize?
What Belize is less distinguished for, except among the pros and the dedicated birders is its prominence as a Birder’s Paradise.
For many years, the variety, beauty, and sheer numbers of Belize’s bird population have drawn serious birders to the destination. In Belize, there are over 603 species, with 77 being rare!
With birding becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing recreational pastimes in the world, surpassing golfing and fishing in the U.S., little Belize is taking off as the birding destination!
When you think about it, it’s no wonder why birds are so attracted to Belize – they flock here for the same reasons humans do.
With excellent weather and wonderfully varied geography, Belize offers something for both avian and human alike. The Belize Great Barrier Reef is a maritime ecosystem that supports an incredible array of life. It also provides a medley of food for seagoing species as well as the cayes, Caribbean seacoast, lagoons, mangrove forests, and marshes.
You can also head inland where the savannahs, pastureland, mountains, and vast rainforests attract an equally astonishing variety of birds, both resident and migratory.
Our feathered-friends are in the land of plenty! Approximately a quarter of Belize’s land and waters are wildlife sanctuaries or are under some form of protection.
Birding at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
One of the outcomes of that study was having some of Chaa Creek’s naturalist guides develop a keen interest in ornithology and receive on-the-job training with expert birders. It bolstered Belize’s number of specialist birding guides to cater to the growing influx of travelers seeking exquisite birding adventures.
Apart from those birders already drawn to Belize, countless travelers discovered the joys of birding in Belize almost by accident! They either meet birders during vacations, after overhearing conversations while having dinner or drinks and run into hikers who carry an unusual amount of birding equipment. Or, they discover birding through activities offered by their resort or hotel.
For example, Chaa Creek offers complimentary early morning birding walks with a trained naturalist guide. Over the years, many families, couples, groups of friends, and individuals have suddenly found themselves to be enthusiastic birders after their first initial exposure!
It’s easy to see why birding is healthy for your body and mind! It gets you out in nature; and, you get to learn how to walk stealthily to blend into the surroundings. Thus, you are opening up a new world you’d otherwise bypass and miss. Being self-paced is also a sport that’s available to anyone, regardless of age or level of fitness. One of the happiest, most knowledgeable birders I’ve met worked from a wheelchair!
Another advantage is the affordability of the experience. You can easily enjoy some of the best birding in Belize with a pair of decent binoculars, a field guide to birds, and a notebook! Of course, an avid birder would carry around plenty of high quality and high tech birding gear.
As your interest grows, so can your array of equipment. But for those just starting, simplicity is your friend.
John James Audubon traipsed North America with a backpack, sketchpad, notebook, and paints; and, he’s still the most prominent, most popular ornithologist there ever was.
So for all, you birders out there, welcome to Bird Paradise! And for those of you who may have a vague interest or have yet to experience the quiet joy of learning to identify birds by sight, calls, habitat, and traits, welcome to Birding in Belize.
You may be leaving with much more than great memories, photographs, and friendships. You could return home with an exhilarating new pastime that offers hours of enjoyment, exercise, and stimulating fun.
So for everyone, from ornithologists, dedicated birders, or to those just starting, welcome to Birding in Belize.