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Los Tarrales Birding Tour
Embark on a unique adventure with the los tarrales birding tour, an exquisite haven for birdwatchers.
Nestled in the lush landscapes of Guatemala, Los Tarrales Reserve stands out as a premier destination for avian enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The Los Tarrales Birding Tour invites you to explore the rich biodiversity and unparalleled beauty of Guatemala’s first private birding reserve, offering a haven where birdwatching’s vibrant world melds seamlessly with nature’s tranquility.
Diverse Ecosystems and Remarkable Species
Situated in the southeast region of the Atitlan Volcano, the reserve spans elevations from 615 to 2,600 meters above sea level, crafting a unique mosaic of habitats that host a remarkable variety of species. From the lowland rainforests to the highland cloud forests, every altitude presents a new chapter of exploration and discovery for birdwatchers.
A Spectrum of Avian Wonders
As you embark on the Los Tarrales Birding Tour, you’ll traverse a spectrum of ecosystems, each teeming with distinct avian life and flora. Furthermore, the reserve is a sanctuary for endemic and migratory birds and a testament to the rich biodiversity that Guatemala proudly hosts. The avian treasures awaiting discovery are boundless, from the vibrant Azure-rumped Tanager to the elusive Horned Guan.
Conservation Efforts and Sustainability
Moreover, Los Tarrales Reserve shines as a beacon of conservation efforts, ensuring the preservation of the pristine habitats and the species they host for future birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Engaging in a birding tour here not only satiates your passion for birdwatching but also contributes significantly to the vital conservation initiatives undertaken by the reserve.
Beyond Birdwatching: A Holistic Nature Experience
In addition to the avian wonders, the reserve also offers a rich tapestry of other wildlife, including various mammals, reptiles, and stunning flora, providing ample opportunities for photography and nature appreciation. Consequently, the Los Tarrales Birding Tour transcends mere birdwatching, offering a holistic nature immersion experience.
Guided Journeys Through Cherished Locales
Expert guides lead the way, curating each tour to provide an enriching and educational journey through one of Guatemala’s most cherished natural locales. Whether you are an experienced birder or a novice nature lover, the Los Tarrales Birding Tour promises a captivating adventure through the heart of Guatemala’s vibrant ecosystems.
Embark on a Spectacular Nature Journey
Embark on a journey where every step introduces a new spectacle of nature, and every glance reveals the vibrant hues of birdlife only at Los Tarrales Reserve.
Book This Tour
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DEPARTURE / RETURN LOCATION
- Availability: All Year Round
- Tour Duration: One Day
- You Will Visit: Los Tarrales Nature Reserve
- Round trip Private transportation
- Entrance Fees to Los Tarrales Nature Reserve
- Bird watching specialist tour guide (English- Spanish speaking)
Birdwatch with limited time., flexibility is the key.
Do not worry, take a note that Birdwatching Guatemala is a tailor made birding company that offers birding excursions, starting from the most significant travel destinations, so let us know where you are, and your requirements, we can customize a personal birding trip for you
Some species to observe in Los Tarrales Birding Tour are:
- Highland Guan
- Pacific Parakeet
- Yellow-naped Parrot
- Rufous Sabrewing
- Blue-tailed hummingbird
- Resplendent Quetzal
- Blue-throated Motmot
- Long-tailed Manakin
- Azure-rumped Tanager (cabani’s Tanager)
Packing Ideas – What to bring?
- Small backpack
- Mosquito repellent
- Hiking shoes
Related Birding Day Tours
El Pilar Birding Tour
A private birding day trip from Antigua Guatemala or Guatemala city visiting El Pilar Reserve, a destination with a high degree of regional endemism located within the North Central American Highlands Zone.
Our Pink-headed Warbler one day birding trip is operated in this small region located in the mountain forest biome of Tecpan, a very attractive and effortless destination for birders looking for the highlands specialties.
El Mirador del Rey Tepepul
This reserve is found on the western slopes of the Atitlán volcano, with montane and subtropical humid forest areas inhabited by exciting bird species. The main target of this day tour is The Resplendent Quetzal.
Tikal Birding Tour
Tikal is one of the best places for birding in Guatemala; More than 400 species of birds have been recorded within Tikal National Park, including 30 birds of prey and 60 migratory bird species.
The Cerro or Paquisis volcano (“Paquisis hill”) encloses a micro-watershed at the top, where the observation of Horned Guan and other guans (Crested Guan, Highland Guan) is feasible.
Los Tarrales Nature Reserve
Tarrales is a Natural Private Reserve situated in the southeast area of the Volcano of Atitlan, from 615 to 2.600 meters above sea level. This condition allows having a great variety of species in the same place.
Tecpan & Antigua
Tecpan & Antigua Guatemala One – day birding trip is one of the best options for a day birding tour in the Guatemalan highlands, combining two effortless destinations located nearby Antigua.
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If you have any questions, a person from our local travel advisors will always be happy to assist you.
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Guatemala tours & trips.
If you want to catch a glimpse of ancient Mayan civilisation in South America then come along on a adventure of Guatemala to Tikal, one of the most important cities in the Mayan world. Visit highlands and tropical forests, adventure junkies can take a volcano climbing expedition.
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Guatemala: The Table of The Mayans - 8 days
- Discover Mayan hospitality with a home stay in the lakeside town of Panajachel.
- Add some thrill to your holiday with a trek up the active Pacaya Volcano.
- Be one with nature as you gaze upon the mind-blowing limestone formations in the Kamba caves.
- Spend the day enjoying the nature and beauty of the Languin Caves in the Semuc Champey National Park or go for a quick swim in one of the crystal clear natural pools.
- Venture into the Peten Jungle in search of Mesoamerica’s largest Mayan pyramid.
- Watch the sunset from the peak of an ancient Mayan pyramid after exploring the La Dante temple with your guide at the El Mirador site.
- Unwind with water sports, swimming, bird watching or even horseback riding at the tranquil village of Jaibalito, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
- Absorb the sounds of music and the sights of local art and architecture as you walk through the plazas and cobbled streets of the colonial town of Antigua.
- Watch your step while exploring the ruins as there may be missing steps, uneven ground or tree roots on the way.
- Keep your eyes open for the rare red and green quetzal which is Guatemala's national bird. You won’t find them in zoos.
- Remember to carry an insect repellent as sand fleas and flies can be a bother in the jungle.
- Guatemalans are polite and quite reserved, so avoid being aggressive, loud or rude.
- Always ask permission before you photograph the Mayan people, especially the children.
- If you pass a street performance on a marimba; stop, listen and offer a tip. Tips are their livelihood.
- Try and read up on Mayan history before you visit the sites as it will enhance your experience.
- Guatemala doesn’t encourage begging, so avoid giving money to people who approach you.
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THE 10 BEST Guatemala Nature & Wildlife Areas
Nature & wildlife areas in guatemala.
- Nature & Wildlife Areas
- Bodies of Water
- Good for Big Groups
- Good for Kids
- Good for Adrenaline Seekers
- Good for Couples
- Honeymoon spot
- Hidden Gems
- Good for a Rainy Day
- Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
1. Atitlan Nature Reserve
3. Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve
4. Ixpanpajul Nature Park
5. Biotopo del Quetzal
6. Maya Biosphere Reserve
7. Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas
8. Auto Safari Chapin
9. Cerro Biotope Cahui
10. Tzantizotz Nature Reserve
11. Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii
12. Parque Natural Las Conchas
13. Vuelbe Mujer
14. Antigua Mountain Trail - Finca El Pilar
15. Parque Ecologico Chuiraxamolo
16. EcoPark La Igualdad
17. El Garden Antigua - The Butterfly House
18. Refugio del Quetzal
19. Parque Ecologico Los Senderos del Abuelo
21. Cerro Alto Parque Ecológico
22. Tarrales Natural Reserve
23. Cueva Del Tigre
24. Sendero Las Escobas
25. Corazon del Bosque
26. Volcan Monte Rico
27. Parque Ecologico Senderos de Alux
28. Peten Birders Club
29. CECON Turtle Hatchery
30. Rio Sachichá Villa Ecológica
What travelers are saying.
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Guatemala Wildlife Tours 2023/2024
3 great wildlife trips in Guatemala. Searching for a wildlife trip in Guatemala? Below you will find 3 curated wildlife trips taking place in Guatemala with 12 reviews. Our wildlife trips are supplied by 2 hand-picked tour operators in Guatemala. With trip prices ranging from 3,076 USD to 3,316 USD and trip durations varying from 16 days and to 31 days, there is plenty to choose from.
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3 Wildlife tours with 12 Reviews
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Central American Highlights
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- Ends Panama City, Panama
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- Brochure Price: US$ 4,145
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Guatemala Wildlife: Top 23 Animals to See
Central america, destinations.
Guatemala holds some of the most ecologically diverse environments in the world. The massive forest ecosystems and untouched mountains are the best places to see a wide range of wild animals in Guatemala wildlife.
There are probably many wild Guatemalan animals that you have probably never heard of and will only get a chance to see if you book a trip and travel to Guatemala .
In this article, you will learn about 23 incredible Guatemalan animals, some of which are even quite rare and others are so unique that seeing them in the wild is worth the price of your Guatemala vacation .
Table of Contents
Top Guatemala Wildlife & Animals
Common name: ‘Resplendent quetzal’
Scientific name: Pharomachrus mocinno
The Resplendent quetzal is a small but strikingly beautiful bird native to Central America , including Guatemala. This bird is considered one of the most magnificent and colorful species in the world.
The quetzal holds significant cultural and symbolic importance in the region and is also the national bird of Guatemala.
There are so many interesting facts about the Quetzal like; the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs used the feathers of their tails to decorate their outfits. It is truly one of the standouts of Guatemalan wildlife.
Ironically, despite its national significance in Guatemala, because of illegal hunting and habitat destruction, they are on the list to be one of the extinct wild animals in Guatemala.
I recommend taking time to catch a glimpse of the Quetzal by visiting El Biotopo del Quetzal (one of the most important national parks in Guatemala ) as part of tours that depart from Guatemala City or Antigua to Coban.
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2. Spider Monkey
Common name: ‘Spider Monkey’
Scientific name: Ateles geoffroyi
The Guatemalan spider monkey, also known as the black-handed spider monkey, is characterized by their long limbs, prehensile tail, and a mostly black body with distinctively lighter-colored hands and face.
Spider Monkeys are curious Guatemalan animals that live mainly in the tropical forests of Guatemala, but again the destruction of their habitat is reducing their population rapidly and in some places, they are almost extinct.
For a chance to see this curious creature in its natural habitat, consider taking the Tikal National Park private tour for an unforgettable experience to see the spider monkey and other wild animals in Guatemala.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out the Best Places to Visit in Central America .
Common name: ‘Keel-billed toucan’
Scientific name: Ramphastos sulfuratus
The Guatemalan Toucans are colorful and abundant tropical birds that can be found in Guatemala’s forests, especially in the areas of Peten and Coban, Alta Verapaz .
These toucans are known for their vibrant and distinctive appearance, with a black body, a white throat, and a multicolored bill that features shades of green, red, orange, and yellow.
People love them so much that they used to have them as pets. This practice has now been forbidden in the country.
Probably the best place to see the Toucan is Tikal National Park in the Petén region which is home to over 300 bird species and a great place for birdwatching.
The Tikal National Park Wildlife Tour is a recommended option to see the Toucan and beginning at sunrise there is more than enough time to experience all the Park has to offer for Guatemalan wildlife and lots of opportunities for photos too.
Common name: ‘Montezuma Oropendola’
Scientific name: Psarocolius montezuma
If you are coming to Central America this magnificent bird called Montezuma Oropendola is something you can’t miss.
Belonging to the icterid family this amazing bird is recognized for its distinctive appearance and captivating vocalizations.
In Guatemala, it can be seen primarily in the northern region of Peten.
So keep your eyes open while exploring the Mayan ruins of the area like Tikal and Yaxhá.
And the Yaxha National Park Tour is a private sunset tour where you will have the opportunity to spot a Montezuma Oropendola and many other wild animals in Guatemala.
5. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
Common name: ‘Olive Ridley Sea Turtle’
Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea
The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is one of the smaller species of sea turtles and is recognized for its olive-green coloration.
You can observe Olive Ridley Sea Turtles in their natural habitat in Guatemala, particularly along the country’s Pacific coast.
They love open ocean inhabitants and tend to avoid reef areas. In Guatemala, they can be seen nesting in Monterrico .
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles can also be encountered in mangrove areas and coastal zones along the Pacific coast, so consider taking guided boat tours or exploring these ecosystems for a chance to spot them.
Sipacate-Naranjo National Park located along the Pacific coast of Escuintla in Guatemala is a great place to see the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.
Sipacate-Naranjo National Park beaches are breeding areas where several endangered turtle species lay their eggs, including the olive ridley.
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Common name: ‘Nine-banded Armadillo’
Scientific name: Dasypus novemcinctus
These armored little guys can be found from northern Argentina to the southern United States.
Armadillo’s habitat is moist soil near the creeks, streams, and arroyos near which it generally lives and feeds.
Armadillos are primarily nocturnal animals, so night safaris or guided tours that focus on nocturnal wildlife viewing can increase your chances of encountering them.
Armadillos are known for their elusive nature, but with the right timing and guidance, you may have the opportunity to spot these unique creatures in their natural environment.
Many of Guatemala’s national parks and wildlife reserves provide habitat for armadillos. Places like Tikal National Park, Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, and Laguna Lachúa National Park offer opportunities to encounter these creatures and other wild animals in Guatemala.
7. Vampire Bat
Common name: ‘Vampire Bat’
Scientific name: Desmodus rotundus
This species of bat is one of three vampire bat species and is known for its feeding habits, which primarily involve blood meals from various animals, including livestock.
Vampire Bats live in a range that covers Mexico, Central America, and part of South America.
In Guatemala, its preferred habitat is the tropics. They are commonly found in slowly bleeding farm animals like chickens.
Common vampire bats are primarily nocturnal, and observing them in their natural habitat can be challenging due to their secretive and nocturnal behavior. But the limestone cave systems of the Peten department are a good place to look for these little vampires.
Common name: ‘Ocelot’
Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis
The ocelot is a small wild cat known for its beautiful spotted coat and adaptability to a range of habitats including forests, highland mountain areas, and mangroves.
Many people confuse these cute felines with domestic cats because of their tiny bodies. These small carnivores love eating animals like rabbits, lizards, fish, and armadillos.
Ocelots are elusive and primarily nocturnal animals, which can make spotting them in the wild quite challenging. But you could catch a glimpse of them at either Maya Biosphere Reserve, Tikal National Park , or Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve as well as other wild animals in Guatemala.
9. Brown Rat
Common name: Brown Rat
Scientific name: Rattus norvegicus
Brown rats are one of the best-known and most common animals in the world. They are the second most successful mammal in the world.
In Guatemala, just as in the rest of the Countries of the world, they are mostly found in populated areas.
10. Capuchin Monkey
Common name: ‘White-Faced Capuchin’
Scientific name: Cebus capucinus
White-faced capuchin monkeys are small to medium-sized primates with distinct facial markings, typically having a white face and dark-colored body.
These small and inquisitive monkeys are the easiest to observe in the wild.
Capuchin monkeys are diurnal (active during the day) and are often seen in the canopy of trees, where they forage for fruits, insects, and other food.
They can be found in forest and mangrove habitats up to 2,100m elevation.
Tikal, one of the most famous Mayan archaeological sites in Guatemala, is also home to a variety of wildlife, including white-faced capuchin monkeys.
You can explore the Tikal ruins and keep an eye out for these monkeys in the surrounding forest.
Tip: Guatemala Wildlife tours are safe, but be aware!
Wild animals are unpredictable.
Get travel insurance before starting your journey.
I recommend Visitors Coverage .
11. White-Lipped Peccary
Common name: ‘White-Lipped Peccary’
Scientific name: Tayassu pecari
White-lipped peccaries are social and gregarious mammals that belong to the pig family (Suidae) and are known for their distinctive white facial markings.
White-lipped Peccaries are the big and aggressive brothers of the collared peccary and are widely considered the most dangerous peccary .
They have been known to kill jaguars when trying to defend themselves.
White-lipped peccaries often travel in groups, making them easier to spot and hear due to their vocalizations and the sound of them moving through the forest.
Maya Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Maya) is a massive protected area in northern Guatemala that encompasses several national parks and wildlife reserves, including Laguna del Tigre National Park and Sierra del Lacandón National Park.
These areas are home to White-Lipped Peccaries and other wildlife and there are several tours and day trips you can book online to visit Guatemala’s national parks and observe the amazing wildlife.
12. Brown Basilisk
Common name: ‘Brown Basilisk’
Scientific name: Basiliscus basiliscus
Brown Basilisks have the nickname ‘Jesus Lizard’ because when fleeing from a predator, they are so fast that they can even run on top of the water.
They are native to Panama, Belize, northwestern Colombia, and Costa Rica. In Guatemala, this species is widespread and found practically anywhere where there is a water source. This species can be found in tropical and subtropical wet, moist, and dry forest habitats.
Basilisks are known for their excellent climbing and swimming abilities, and they are often seen basking in the sun near water or running on the surface of ponds and streams.
To see the Jesus Lizard in the wild, the Rio Dulce region in eastern Guatemala is a good place to visit with its rivers and lush landscapes that provide a suitable habitat for basilisks.
Take boat tours in Rio Dulce or explore the riverside areas to spot them and other water-based wild animals in Guatemala.
13. Spectacled Caimans
Common name: ‘Spectacled Caiman’
Scientific name: Caiman crocodilus
Spectacled caimans are small to medium-sized crocodilians and are known for their bony ridge between the eyes that gives them a “spectacled” appearance.
Although they are one of the smallest crocodile species , these guys are fierce predators. It can be found in much of Central and South America. It lives in a range of lowland wetland and riverside habitats and can tolerate salt water as well as fresh.
Spectacled caimans are primarily nocturnal and can often be observed near the water’s edge and can be commonly found in wetlands and rivers, especially in the lowland regions of Guatemala
14. Black Hawk
Common name: ‘Black Hawk’
Scientific name: Buteogallus anthracinus
Black hawks are medium-sized raptors known for their dark plumage and distinctive call. These are successful predatory birds with a mysterious touch.
They inhabit the Southwestern United States through Central America to Venezuela, Peru.
Black hawks are typically observed perched in trees or flying over their preferred habitats.
Generally, these birds are found in lowland habitats, with a source of water nearby. In Guatemala, it can be found around the Caribbean coasts.
15. Black-Necked Stilt
Common name: ‘Black-Necked Stilt’’
Scientific name: Himantopus mexicanus
Black-necked stilts are wading birds known for their long, slender legs and distinctive black neck and head.
The Black-necked Stilt is an abundant shorebird of American wetlands and coastlines. It is found in Central America and the Caribbean.
In Guatemala, they are commonly seen in the southern coasts. It is found in estuaries, salt ponds, and emergent wetland habitats.
Black-necked stilts are wading birds often seen foraging for food in shallow waters, particularly along the water’s edge.
16. Yucatan Black Howler
Common name: ‘Yucatan Black Howler’’
Scientific name: Alouatta pigra
The Yucatan Howler is a species of howler monkey native to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, northern Belize, and northern Guatemala.
Yucatan howler monkeys are known for their distinctive calls and black fur, and they primarily inhabit forests and rainforests in the Yucatan Peninsula.
These howler monkeys are primarily folivores, which means their diet mainly consists of leaves. They also consume fruits, flowers, and some insects.
Yucatan black howlers are considered a near-threatened species due to habitat loss and hunting. Conservation efforts are in place to protect their populations.
Tikal National Park, one of the most famous Mayan archaeological sites in Guatemala, is also home to a population of Yucatan Black Howler Monkeys.
While exploring the park’s ancient ruins, keep an eye out for these monkeys in the surrounding jungle and a few other wild animals in Guatemala.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Everything you need to know about Tikal .
Common name: ‘Jaguar’’
Scientific name: Panthera onca
Jaguars are the largest big cat species in the Americas and are known for their powerful build and distinctive rosette-patterned coat.
Guatemala is one of the countries in Central America where jaguars can be found in their natural habitat. They inhabit a range of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, lowland wetlands, and montane cloud forests.
These elusive predators are known for their ability to adapt to various habitats and are typically spotted near water sources, forest edges, and areas where they hunt for prey.
Seeing a jaguar in the wild is a rare and challenging experience due to their elusive nature and declining population.
But, you could book a trip to the northern Petén region of Guatemala and visit the Maya Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Maya) known to have Jaguars inhabit the region.
It is one of the best places to have a slim chance of encountering jaguars. And even if you don’t manage to spot a Jaguar you will get to see a wide range of wild animals in Guatemala.
18. Baird’s Tapir
Common name: ‘Baird’s Tapir’’
Scientific name: Tapirus bairdii
Baird’s tapirs are the largest land mammals in Central America and are known for their distinct appearance, characterized by a long, flexible proboscis or snout.
Baird’s tapirs are primarily crepuscular and nocturnal, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk or at night.
To see the Baird’s Tapir you could visit Sierra del Lacandón National Park which is part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Maya).
The Maya Biosphere Reserve is a vast protected area in the northern Petén region known to be a stronghold for Baird’s Tapirs.
19. Guatemalan Pygmy Owl
Common name: ‘Central American Pygmy Owl’’
Scientific name: Glaucidium griseiceps
These small owls inhabit a variety of woodland and forested habitats across their range.
While they can be found in Guatemala, they are also present in other parts of Central America, making them a regional species.
Their adaptability to different types of forested environments allows them to thrive in a variety of locations within the region.
Central American pygmy owls are small owls with a distinctive appearance, including a round head and large yellow eyes.
Unlike most other owls, Central American pygmy owls are often active during the daytime. They are known for their distinctive calls.
Consider staying at eco-lodges in Guatemala near known owl habitats and national parks and reserves .
20. Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey
Common name: ‘Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey’’
Geoffroy’s spider monkeys are large, long-limbed primates known for their prehensile tails and are often recognized for their black fur and bearded appearance.
Geoffroy’s spider monkeys are often seen high in the canopy of trees, where they forage for fruits and leaves.
While exploring the ancient Mayan ruins at Tikal , you may also encounter these monkeys in the surrounding jungle.
21. American Crocodile
Common name: ‘American Crocodile’
Scientific name: Crocodylus acutus
American crocodiles are a large species of crocodile known for their powerful jaws and semi-aquatic lifestyle. The American Crocodile is the second type of crocodile found in Guatemala together with the Spectacled Caiman.
American crocodiles are often seen basking in the sun near the water’s edge or partially submerged in water.
22. White-nosed Coati
Common Name: White-nosed Coati
Scientific name: Nasua narica
White-nosed coatis are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) and are known for their distinctive white facial markings and long, ringed tails.
To see white-nosed coatis in their natural habitat in Guatemala, you can explore various regions with suitable woodland, forested, and lowland habitats
White-nosed coatis are often observed foraging on the forest floor or in trees, searching for fruits, insects, and other food.
23. Hawksbill Turtle
Common Name: Hawksbill Turtle
Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Hawksbill turtles are a critically endangered species of sea turtle known for their distinctive beak-like mouth and beautiful tortoiseshell pattern on their shells.
To see hawksbill turtles in their natural habitat in Guatemala, you can explore various coastal regions, particularly along the Caribbean coast, where these turtles nest.
Hawksbill turtles are primarily encountered in the water when they are foraging or nesting on sandy beaches to lay their eggs.
The most notable location for hawksbill turtle nesting and conservation in Guatemala is the Monterrico-Hawaii National Park. The park, especially the area near the town of Monterrico in Guatemala , is known for its efforts in sea turtle conservation.
The best time to see hawksbill turtles nesting in this area is during the nesting season, which typically occurs from July to November.
Looking for More Inspiration?
I have been traveling and living in Guatemala for over 25 years Check out these Hand-Tested GUIDES
If you want to travel without the hassle and confusion – check out a complete guide for traveling to Guatemala .
For more travel ideas to add to your bucket list, check out a complete guide to all the best places to visit in Guatemala .
Guatemala has a huge variety of food, check out the guide to the top 15 Guatemalan Food and Dishes .
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8 thoughts on “ Guatemala Wildlife: Top 23 Animals to See ”
My family is planning a trip to Guatemala for sometime next year. I’m very interested in the wildlife there. Any way you could give me more information?!
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this is great website. I’m from guatemala , i was adopted. I love hearing about the animals that live in my home country .
have you been back to visit?
Your picture of a spider is actually a capuchin.
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Birding & Photography
Guatemala Birding & Photography Tour at Patrocinio Nature Reserve
The Route to the Reserve
On Thursday, June 12, we headed for a Guatemala Birding & Photography Tour to the province of Retalhuleu.
We headed to the Municipality of El Palmar, in the department of Quetzaltenango; our final destination: was La Reserva Natural Patrocinio.
We left from La Antigua Guatemala, and took the scenic route from the colonial city through El Rodeo, and Escuintla.
This road offers spectacular scenery, especially since the road passes through the volcanic chain in front of the active Fuego volcano and its dormant twin, Acatenango.
Following the CA2 highway, we headed to Retalhuleu, where we took a secondary paved road. It is very difficult to get lost.
When we reached the crossroads where the Hotel and restaurant Siboney are located, there is a sign that leads you to the next intersection through a dirt road on the right side of the road.
Then we reached the reserve, the road was enjoyable, and we found ourselves surrounded by different crops.
We traveled 172 kilometers in approximately three and a half hours.
Wwe must consider that the passage through Cuyotenango is sometimes complicated and can take more time than expected to cross; this time, we were lucky.
When you arrive at the reserve, you immediately find yourself surrounded by crops, the forest, and lovely people.
Immediately before going to our rooms, we went to the restaurant area.
The views are impressive towards the woods. In the distance, the volcanoes, the most significant El Santa María, serve as a frame for a small but very active Santiaguito volcano.
The Lodge at Patrocinio Reserve
The reserve has a lodge surrounded by different crops that attract birds and wildlife species that inhabit this part of the country’s area.
The lodge is divided into: Casa Patronal, Casa Del Bosque Santiaguito, Room del Bosque Patrocinio, Casa Campesina, and an area for Camping.
The restaurant area is open and has feeders for birds; the birds are familiar with the presence of people and present a fantastic photo opportunity.
The reserve is a family property with an extension of approximately 140 hectares.
The land distributed in forests and agricultural areas dedicated to producing coffee, macadamia, mangosteen, avocado, cocoa, among other crops.
We arrived around noon, checked in, and then we headed to the restaurant for our respective lunch.
While we waited for our food, the Yellow-winged Tanager (Thraupis abbas) and the Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) were there giving us a show.
Guatemala Birding & Photography Tour
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)
The Yellow-winged traveled towards the interior ceiling transporting material to build their nest; the Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi) did the same.
Yellow-winged Tanager (Thraupis abbas)
The White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra) disputed the space at a close distance in the Cecropias.
More species appeared, among them the Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha), the Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), and the Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata).
The gardens of Verbenaceae and heliconias were the favorites of the Cinnamon Hummingbirds (Amazilia rutila).
They vied for space against some daring Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), Blue-tailed Hummingbird (Saucerottia cyanura), and Canivet’s Emerald (Cynanthus canivetii).
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
After lunch, we decided to explore the trail that leads into the woods located at the back of the room.
The pacific parakeets were the first to appear feeding in the Teak trees.
Pacific Parakeet (Psittacara strenuus)
Entering the forest, about 200 meters between the forest and the bamboo area, we began to hear the call of the Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis).
A few meters ahead, an adult and a youth gave us a few seconds to observe them. I was able to take some pictures.
The butterflies were also participants on the walk. Among them was a Common Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides) that quickly disappeared, leaving us the blue of its wings in our memory.
The trail is straightforward to walk most of it is flat with only one slope that can be easily walked.
Then, finally, we reached a more open area where the forest disappears, and the coffee-growing area begins.
Long-tailed Manakin (Chiroxiphia linearis)
Here the few trees inside the coffee plantation served as a perch and feeding area for species such as pairs of Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus), Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata), and Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi).
We spotted a Long-billed Starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris) that moved through the treetops.
Aalso a Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus), a pair of Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus), and Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons), among others.
Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
During the return, which we did by the same route, we found a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris).
A fascinating bird that migrates from the south to the north where it comes to reproduce and then returns to the south.
Throughout dinner, the calls of a Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata) and Barn Owl (Tyto alba) could be heard in the distance.
Finally, a Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus) said goodbye to the day with its call.
That was our first day at the Patrocinio Reserve.
Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata)
The global big day.
The following day the dawn woke us up with the symphony of birds.
We went to the restaurant area to join the Swarovsky optics international transmission.
We met virtually one day before the global big day to shared a live-broadcast by digiscoping birds from different destinations through Swarovski spotting scopes and our phones.
The bird feeders at the restaurant area and the forest surrounding it were the stage from where it was broadcasted.
There wasn’t much time since several groups share the virtual space.
Still, after waiting, Maynor had the opportunity to bring some White-bellied Chachalacas (Ortalis leucogastra) from a nearby cecropia onto the stage.
White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra )
After the transmission, we continued enjoying the morning’s movement and of cours ourGuatemala Birding & Photography Tour.
The tanagers were activated; the woodpeckers appeared, including the Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons) and Golden-olive Woodpecker (Colaptes rubiginosus).
A Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) flooded the environment with the sound of its hammering on an old tree.
The Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata) was present flying in the surroundings.
Some perched in the distance, we also spotted the Pacific Parakeet (Psittacara strenuus) which is common in this area.
A couple of Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus) were around a Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), and a Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus).
Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata)
A pair of Scrub Euphonia (Euphonia affinis) appeared briefly at the feeders.
Then, a couple of Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) moved among the heliconias.
Don Paulino, the local guide, came into action, a man over 80 who had been in Patrocinio Reserve for more than a couple of decades.
He asked us to accompany him to the parking area to show us more birds.
By the way, several artificial nests have been installed to support the parrots’ reproduction.
Scrub Euphonia (Euphonia affinis)
Don Paulino showed us a hole and a branch of another bush at an old tree very close by.
He told us that the Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) would perch and then enter the nest to feed the chick.
Said and done, the bird appeared and then entered the nest to feed the hatchling.
Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis), spot-breasted Oriole (Icterus pectoralis), Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa), Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps), and White-winged Tanager (Piranga leucoptera) appeared here.
Finally, in a tree in the parking lot, a group of Eastern Kingbirds (Tyrannus tyrannus) perched and caught our attention.
Following this show, we had breakfast and enjoyed the delicious organic coffee produced in the reserve.
After breakfast, we began a walk accompanied by Don Paulino. He was telling us the history of the reserve and the care of the crops.
First, of course, he tried to show us the wildlife of the place.
We spotted White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa), Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa), and a Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus) that flew overhead.
Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus)
Disturbed Tigerwing Butterfly (Mechanitis polymnia)
A fair amount of skippers, butterflies, dragonflies, and reptiles took up our time while we were trying to photograph them.
On the way back to the restaurant, we crossed the suspension bridge that passes over an area of the stream where it is possible to make a quick-stop and take a refreshing swim..
Returning to the restaurant for lunch, we noticed that the birds were getting used to our presence.
At the feeder, the White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra), and the Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus), the Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) perched in front of us on the zip-line cable.
After lunch and a short rest, we walked along a small path in the lower part of the cabins.
Here, we found a White-throated Thrush (Turdus assimilis), an Ivory-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster), and a Lesson’s Motmot (Momotus lessonii).
Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)
Further on, in the upper part of the bamboo forest, the endemic Guatemalan Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus) and a migratory Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) recharged energy before its long journey back north.
Wildlife & Nature Night Walk
After dinner, we agreed with Don Paulino to take a short night walk to explore the trails and thus, let us be surprised.
Don Paulino led us to a small pond where we found some frogs. He identified them by their calls.
After a search, we found the Morelet’s tree frog (Agalychnis moreletii), which appeared in the middle of some leaves, which we could admire and photograph, improving our Guatemala Birding & Photography Tour.
We tried to find the glass frog, but unfortunately, it was impossible. So it will remain pending for the near future.
Morelet’s tree frog (Agalychnis moreletii)
Then we headed to a pond without first running into an armadillo that ran me over.
We also found a coral snake and another snake species, that were searching for frogs, just like us, but with different intentions.
Several Morelet’s tree frogs (Agalychnis moreletii) were in the pond, we also found big toad.
This is how we ended a long but productive day at the Patrocinio Reserve.
The following day we headed to the restaurant for our last breakfast and to say goodbye to this beautiful place.
As always, the feeder surrounded by a lot of birds; this time, the Rufous-naped Wrens (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) were in charge of saying goodbye to our team.
The Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis) showed us that the meeting point was there as we headed to the parking lot to board our vehicle.
Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)
The Patrocinio reserve has a list of approximately 185 species of birds; it is a comfortable place, with good food and friendly people, like most of Guatemala’s country people.
The trails are very well made. The restaurant platform with its feeder is perfect for a Guatemala Birding & Photography Tour.
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If you have any questions, a person from our local travel advisors will always be happy to assist you.