A birdwatching and wildlife holiday to the two most quintessentially Venezuelan habitats
This, our most popular birding tour to Venezuela, combines safari-style birdwatching in the magical Llanos wetlands with an exploration of the cloudforests of Henri Pittier, the country's first national park. The Llanos – a mosaic of wetlands, seasonally-inundated grasslands and deciduous forests, awash with birdlife and mammals (notably large cats!) – lie at the heart of Venezuela and its culture. We will explore them from the world-renowned Hato Piñero Lodge before heading to the Henri Pittier National Park to search for the avian gems of its cloudforests. We will also visit the Rancho Grande Biological Station and the Caribbean coast in search of their respective avian attractions.
- Visit the Llanos – a wonderland of wetland birds!... 7 ibis and numerous heron species amongst them
- Excellent raptor potential, averaging 20+ species, and often including one or more hawk-eagles
- Yellow-knobbed Curassows, Sunbitterns and Hoatzins
- Encounter such mammals as Capybara, Sloth, Howler Monkey, and perhaps even Ocelot, Jaguar or Tapir
- Endemic birds galore!... from Handsome Fruiteaters to White-tipped Quetzals
- Enjoy the birds and mammals of world-renowned Hato Piñero Lodge
All meals are included, except the evening meal on the day of arrival and on the day of departure.
All accommodation is included in the cost of the tour.
Hoatzin (Michael Frankling)
About the region:
North-west Venezuela is renowned for its wide range of habitats and the tremendous diversity of birds they support.
Well over 500 bird species have been recorded in the virtually pristine forests of Henri Pittier National Park, which is only a 4-hour drive from Caracas. Though covering a small area, its huge altitudinal range is a one of the factors contributing to its extraordinary avian diversity.
The Llanos region is one of the largest wetlands in the world. It supports countless numbers of waterbirds, especially during the northern winter when migrants from North American arrive. Among the interesting mammals found here are cats including Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi and Jaguar.
The tour ‘in a nutshell’:
This 9-day holiday is Naturetrek’s most popular birding tour to Venezuela. It combines safari-style bird watching in the magical Llanos wetlands with an exploration of the subtropical cloudforests of Henri Pittier, home to nearly half the bird species recorded in Venezuela.
We will explore the Llanos from the world renowned Hato Pinero Lodge before heading to the Henri Pittier National Park. We will also visit the Rancho Grande Biological Station and the Caribbean coast in search of their respective avian attractions.
What birds might I see?
In the Llanos it is possible to find up to 7 species of ibis, including the stunning Scarlet Ibis and local Sharp-tailed Ibis, plus numerous heron species. Over 20 species of raptor occur in the Llanos region, including one or more hawk-eagles and Snail Kites.
Among the northern Venezuelan endemics we may see in Henri Pittier National Park is the Blood-eared Parakeet. Cloudforest species such as Venezuelan Wood-quail, Violet-chested Hummingbird, White-tipped Quetzal, Groove-billed Toucanet, and Venezuelan Bristle-tyrant are all possible, among many other species.
Other interesting birds we may see on this tour include Yellow-knobbed Curassows, Sunbitterns, Jabiru and Hoatzins, as well as endemic birds … from Handsome Fruiteaters to White-tipped Quetzals.
We may encounter such mammals as Capybara, Sloth, Howler Monkey, and perhaps even Ocelot, Jaguar or Tapir!
Opportunities for photographers are outstanding, in particular around Hato Pinero in the Llanos.
The tour leader Alexandro was a good birder and knew all the calls. Our party liked him and got on well. He was very helpful and his all round natural history knowledge was great. His sense of humour was also appreciated.
Cecilia the guide was excellent, both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. This enthusiasm filtered through the group and the camaraderie encountered was probably the best I have experienced on any tour. A good holiday, capped by the sighting of a Jaguar, something that will remain long in the memory.
Dr & Mrs T.
Cecilia was an excellent guide with an incredible ability to identify birds and their calls. We saw a great selection of birds and other mammals. The Jaguar and Ocelot sightings were particularly good.
Our guide, Cecilia Herrera was excellent, a very good birder who made a real effort to ensure everyone got to see the birds they wanted. One of the best that I have travelled with.
In general, the holiday was very good value, such a huge variety of birds seen - how many times are you going to see 280 species in a week! 200 of these new to me. The trip leader was excellent.
I cannot praise our tour leader highly enough. The whole experience was magical for me. It was my first trip to South America and in two weeks I saw 402 species, of which 380 were new birds for me. Without Cecilias skill and enthusiasm I would have seen far fewer...I have truly been bitten by the South American birding bug. Thank you Naturetrek!
Cecilia was the best tour leader...knowledgeable and enthusiastic, she kept the group happy and is very well like by all. This was a really good break for me, a much-needed recharge of rather flattened batteries.
The trip was very good indeed, thoroughly enjoyable and a place and leader we would return to without hesitating.
A brilliant trip overall, it really lived up to expectations. Our guide was excellent, knowledgeable, tireless, amusing and fun to be with.
The accommodation was excellent, itinerary was good, the al fresco breakfasts were excellent - a real feature of the trip. The leader was excellent with fluent English and very good birding skills backed up by zesty personality and good sense of humour. Very good trip.
The service from Naturetrek staff was up to its usual high standard. The local guide was superb and did his best to make sure everyone saw everything.
The picnic breakfast was superb!
We did enjoy the trip. The local guide was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and tireless. Largely because of her we put together a decent bird list. The river trip was fantastic.
...would like to say that it is the best Naturetrek trip I have been on. A really brilliant introduction to South American birding. The group as a whole recorded 349 species (339 seen, 10 heard) and my personal total was 326 seen and 12 heard. That the total was so much higher than the November tour could be because of a number of factors (not least luck in hitting flocks in Henri Pittier, and no rain), but the reversed itinerary with the internal flights worked very well indeed. One advantage was that we got to know the common birds on the llanos leg, so we could concentrate on the specialities in the forest, while having the night drives early on in the trip and the more relaxed evenings later (when we were getting tired) also seems to be the right way round. Cecilia Herrera is an excellent guide, particularly good on calls, and with plenty of stakeouts for more difficult species in both the llanos and the forest (which produced good views of the birds a surprisingly high percentage of the time). She likes to keep the odd surprise tucked up her sleeve, which only makes the wows the greater when the bird appears (Spectacled Owl was just one example of this). Her attractive, bubbly personality was a big added bonus. The accommodation and food were good throughout, and the al fresco breakfasts in the forest which Cecilia arranged were an excellent and unexpected touch which was appreciated by everyone. In short, brilliant, contrasting habitats, fantastic birding, an excellent guide, good food and accommodation - a great experience all-round.
This is probably the best Naturetrek holiday I have had. Cecilia is a first rate guide, she is sharp eyed and enthusiastic and her knowledge of bird calls excellent. It was her birding knowledge and excellent English that turned this from a good/very good tour into a first class tour. The ‘picnic’ breakfasts served on cotton tablecloths with tables and chairs were a really nice touch and the quality of the food was first class, as it was throughout the rest of the tour. Praise, praise and more praise this really was a first class tour!