South America Natural Adventures

Nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Peru, Colombia, Galapagos, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Belize, and Antarctica






Day 5 continued

Cuero y Salado Reserve

Today is the busiest day of the tour, as this afternoon we visit the mangroves, beach and forests of Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge. Early afternoon we’ll take short drive to the town of La Union, where we board the coburra tram to Cuero y saladouple of carriages of an ex-banana transport tram called a burra for the 30 minute trip to the coast and the refuge. The tracks date from the 1890’s, and the scenery we pass by appears to be from the same time period. The burra ride takes us past a small village and houses (the inhabitants use the tram for access as well) dotted in the fields, and birders will keep an eye out for Collared and Variable Seed-eaters, Whooping Motmot, Melodious Blackbird, Roadside (trackside?) Hawk, Laughing Falcon and Ferruginous Pygmy-owl. Once at the ringed kingfisher cuero y salado reserveRefuge headquarters we’ll visit the displays inside, then take to our boats to cruise the waterways. The most significant animal associated with the Refuge, and the main reason for its creation, is the Manatee. While rarely seen, our visit adds to the funds for its protection, and supports conservation by locals employed as guides american crocodile sunningand in the refuge upkeep. The other large animals here are American Crocodile in the salt and brackish areas, and further upstream Spectacled Caiman. We’ll be looking for a variety of birds, including Northern Jacana, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, all five species of Kingfishers, Mangrove Black-hawk, Boat-billed Heron, Laughing Falcon and Gray Hawk. Sungrebe is also here, and regularly seen. We also expect to see some of the smaller forest birds, and our quite approach – the already quiet motors are turned off allowing for a slow paddled approach – offers good photographic opportunities. A more unusual sight in the mangroves (these are actually mixedwhite-faced capuchin mangrove forests, with non-mangrove but salt-tolerant trees and bushes occupying slightly elevated land away from the immediate long-nosed bat in cuero y salado reservewater’s edge) are small Long-nosed Bats which roost during the day clinging to the underside of trunks and branches, usually in single file. Other mammals usually seen are Mantled Howler and often White-faced Capuchin, sometimes otters and sloths. Reptiles include both Green and Spiny-tailed Iguanas, snakes and turtles. As at Pico Bonito we should be treated to the sight of many butterflies as we cruise. We’ll also make a stop at the beach at the mouth of the river for any shorebirds or other waders that may be around, including the possibility of Collared Plover. Nearly 200 species of birds have been recorded in the Reserve. We return to the lodge late afternoon. The Lodge has a light and white sheet set-up in an open area past the pool, and each night we can visit to see what beetles, moths and other insects have been attracted to it.            (B,L,D)


Day 6 – Saturday, March 14: Cayos Cochinos
A little way offshore from La Ceiba is the archipelago of Cayos Cochinos, two small islands and about a dozen coral cays. The area is part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef, and is a Marine Reserve fully protected frombirding from the toucan tower. photo by Roy Toft/the lodge at pico bonito commercial divers and fisherman, and so is abundant with fish, corals and other marine animals. It is far less disturbed than the rest of the Bay Islands, which includpink boa cayos cochinoses well-know Roatan, and most of the rest of the Caribbean as well. We’ll visit here today, for both the exceptional snorkeling (or diving for qualified divers), considered among the best and most pristine in the Caribbean, and for the plants and wildlife of the islands. In addition to birds, which include Ruddy Quail-dove, the main animal of interest is the Pink Boa, an local island form of the widespread Boa Constrictor. Due to lack of some pigments the boa, normally multi-hued in browns and yellows, appears pinkish instead. After lunch at an island Garifuna family café we return to the lodge early afternoon. There’s time for some rest, or possibly a massage after the snorkeling, then late afternoon we’ll go birding, butterflying and woolly opossum. photo by James Adamas / the lodge at pico bonitomaybe mammaling around the lowergreat potoo. photo by James Adams / the lodge at pico bonito parts of the lodge grounds. Flycatchers, motmots, trogons, tityras, hawks, and many of the migrants that have come south for the winter should be around. This could be a good time to see Tayra as well. After dinner we’ll take a guided nocturnal tour, looking for both mammals and birds including Great Potoo, Mottled Owl and possibly Black-and-White Owl. Nocturnal spotlighting tours are always interesting, as it’s rare for two nights to present the same species. In addition to tonight’s walk nocturnal wildlife walks can be taken each night we are here, and you should always look around with a flashlight as you come down to and return from dinner to your cabin, as there is usually something to see along the paths.         (B,L,D)





the itinerary continues   >>>