Private birding day trips from several villages at Lake Atitlán with CAYAYA BIRDING

Lake Atitlán is one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala. Numerous hotels in Panajachel, San Pedro La Laguna, Santiago Atitlán, San Juan La Laguna, Santa Cruz La Laguna and other villages provide diverse lodging on the lake shore. A number of birding sites is accessible within 10 min to 1 hour drive or boat ride.

Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius melitophrys.

Much of the slopes along the lake shore is used for agriculture, but some fragments of dry oak forest remain, which are home to Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Belted Flycatcher, Rufous Sabrewing, and Prevost's Ground-Sparrow.

Prevost's Ground-Sparrow
White-faced Ground-Sparrow Melozone biarcuata.

Leaving the caldera of Lake Atitlán gives access to high-altitude sites with humid pine-oak forest, where birds such as Pink-headed Warbler, Rufous-collared Robin, Blue-throated Motmot, Yellow-eyed Junco, Slate-throated Redstart, Golden-browed Warbler, and Guatemalan Pygmy-Owl can be found. Birds such as Resplendent Quetzal, Azure-rumped Tanger, and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia can be watched in mid elevation cloud forests.

Blue-throated Motmot
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis.

Climbing one of the volcanoes is strenuous, but rewading. The steep trails provide access to high elevation cloud forest with several birds found only there, such as Horned Guan, Garnet-throated Humminbird, or Black-throated Jay. In addtion, on days with clear weather you can enjoy a stunning view from the top of the volcanoes over Lake Atitlán and the Guatemalan highlands.

View from San Pedro volcano.
View from San Pedro volcano.

CAYAYA BIRDING offers half and full day birding trips at Lake Atitlán:

  • Half day from PANAJACHEL at Lake Atitlán: birding in semi-humid pine-oak forest near Panajachel or high-elevation pine-oak forest.
  • Half day from SAN LUCAS TOLIMÁN at Lake Atitlán: a birding morning in high-elevation pine-oak forest, scrub, or in cloud forest.
  • Full day from SANTIAGO ATITLÁN at Lake Atitlán: a birding day in mid-elevation cloud forest and scrub, or in high-elevation cloud forest..
  • Half day from SANTIAGO ATITLÁN at Lake Atitlán: morning birding in mid-elevation cloud forest.
  • Half day from SAN JUAN LA LAGUNA at Lake Atitlán: birding morning pine-oak forest, scrub, and agricultural plots.
  • Half day from SAN PEDRO LA LAGUNA at Lake Atitlán: birding morning in mid-elevation cloud forest.
  • Half day from LAGUNA LODGE ATITLÁN at Lake Atitlán: birding morning in pine-oak forest and scrub.

CAYAYA BIRDING day tours at Lake Atitlán include:

  • Expert birding guide.
  • Private transport.
  • Entrance fees to nature reserves.
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Bird checklist

We accommodate different trail difficulties according to your requirements.

What birders say about CAYAYA BIRDING day trips


Birds seen on CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán

Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Male Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa baritula, endemic to the highlands of Mexico and northern Central America.
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Blue-crowned Chlorophonia Chlorophonia occipitalis, endemic to northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Azure-rumped Tanager, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi, endemic to the Pacific slope highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. Knut Eisermann of CAYAYA BIRDING discovered Azure-rumped Tanager near Santiago Atitlán (Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño. 2018. An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.)
Blue-throated Motmot, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Blue-throated Motmot Aspatha gularis, endemic to northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Resplendent Quetzal, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Snapshot of a Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno, seen during a tour near Lake Atitilán.
Wine-throated Hummingbird, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Male Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis ellioti, endemic to northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Slender Sheartail, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Slender Sheartail Doricha enicura, endemic to northern Central America and southern Mexico.
White-eared Ground-Sparrow, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis, endemic to the highlands of southern Mexico and Central America.
Elegant Euphonia, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Female Elegant Euphonia Euphonia elegantissima.
Black-vented Oriole, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Black-vented Oriole Icterus wagleri, endemic to Mexico and northern Central America.
Guatemalan Tyrannulet, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Guatemalan Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus, endemic to northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Belted Flycatcher, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus, endemic to the highlands of northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Green-throated Mountain-gem, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Female Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipallens, endemic to the highlands of northern Central America and southern Mexico.
White-faced Ground-Sparrow, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
White-faced Ground-Sparrow (Prevost's Ground-Sparrow) Melozone biarcuata, endemic to the highlands of northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Horned Guan, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus, endemic to the highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico.
Rusty Sparrow, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
A juvenile Rusty Sparrow Aimophila rufescens, endemic to Mexico and Central America.
Rufous Sabrewing, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Rufous Sabrewing Campylopterus rufus, endemic to the Pacific slope highlands of northern Central America and southern Mexico.
Pink-headed Warbler, CAYAYA BIRDING day trips at Lake Atitlán
Pink-headed Warbler Cardellina versicolor , endemic to the highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico.


What birders say about CAYAYA BIRDING day tours at Lake Atitlán

March 2019, day trip from Guatemala City
"Claudia Avendaño arranged transportation for us from the airport in Guatemala City to Los Tarrales Lodge near Lake Atitlán. Then from there to Santiago Atitlan and from there back to Guatemala City. The driver was skilled, prompt and personable. She arranged a reliable local guide to do a half day bird trip for us at Santiago Atitlan. He was terrific - very accommodating with a great back story and a much greater command of English than he lets on. She also helped with suggestions and generally made the trip easy and fun. I would highly recommend CAYAYA BIRDING if you are planning a trip to Guatemala."
Irvin Longenbaugh, USA.

October 2018, 6-day birding tour in southern Guatemalan highlands
"Five days in the company of Knut Eisermann birding the hills and valleys of the countryside surrounding Antigua, Guatemala was an absolute delight. Knut is as much an ornithologist, with a special interest in owls, as he is a birder and this made the trip extra special. I am a serial guide user in the Americas and Knut is up there with the best of them."
Kevin Buckley, New Jersey, USA.

March 2018, semi-independent birding in Guatemala
"My husband and I recently returned from an incredible two-week semi-independent birding tour of Antigua and the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala, organized by Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING. We can't speak highly enough about the entire trip, including, guides, drivers, and lodging. Claudia tailored the tour to our interests and needs, arranged everything in great detail, and the trip went like clockwork. Claudia, herself, was our guide for the first three half-day tours in the Antigua area. Her knowledge of birds and her ability to call, spot, and get them into her scope before they flew away was amazing.
This is the first time a guide has arranged a custom trip for us and her suggestions regarding lodging, not renting a car, what to wear, etc were right on target. She was able to get lodging for us at places that were "sold out" on internet booking sites; all were in excellent locations for walking around town, offered birding on site in their gardens and all had restaurants so that we did not need to go out at night if we were tired at the end of a full day.
The two guides she arranged for us near Lake Atitlan (five more half-days) were also excellent. Their ears were as impressive as their spotting abilities. We saw and photographed motmots, trogons, owls, warblers, woodpeckers, orioles and many other birds that we had never seen before. We even spotted a Resplendent Quetzal. Driving in Guatemala can be challenging and the drivers she arranged to take us between locations also were very skilled. We felt completely at ease in their hands and were grateful that we could just sit back and enjoy the views.
We highly recommend Claudia Avendaño and CAYAYA BIRDING both as guides and has tour organizers."
Janice Eldred, California, USA.

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