Guatemala ’s wide diversity of ecosystems makes it a birding hot spot with more than 700 species of birds found here. You could easily center your entire Guatemala vacation around birding.
With its own private reserve on the southern slopes of Atitlán Volcano, Los Tarrales  harbors forests ranging in altitude from 700 to 3,000 meters (300 to 9,800 feet) that include broadleaf and cloud forests. Bird species are correspondingly diverse and include horned guan, long-tailed manakin, Pacific parakeet, orange-fronted parakeet, and several species of hummingbirds.
Near Retalhuleu , Reserva Patrocinio  lies south of Santiaguito Volcano at an altitude between 750 and 850 meters (2,500–2,700 feet). It is a good place for observing birds found in lowland and middle elevations. A substantial network of trails leads through protected patches of forest interspersed with coffee and macadamia plantations. Hawks, vultures, and falcons abound, as do parrots and woodpeckers.
On the Pacific Coast, the best places for birding are the vast Manchón Guamuchal Wetland Preserve  wetlands and the canals and mangrove swamps bordering Monterrico . Species found in both parks include great egrets, roseate spoonbill, blue heron, and belted kingfisher.
On the moist Caribbean coast, the Cerro San Gil Reserve  harbors more than 350 species of birds, including the black and white hawk eagle and keel-billed motmot. More than 90 neotropical migrants, including the wood thrush and blue-winged warbler, winter in the area.
Also with more than 300 bird species is the remote peninsula of Punta de Manabique , a transit and wintering area for 25 Nearctic shorebirds. Notable bird species include the yellow-headed parrot, great curassow, and several species of herons.
Birding is excellent in the Sierra de Las Minas Biosphere Reserve , particularly if you want to see Guatemala’s national symbol, the elusive quetzal.
To bird-watch in the cloud forest while keeping a comfortable base to come back to after a long day, visit Chelemhá Cloud Forest Preserve , with its wonderful Maya Cloud Forest Lodge. The preserve lies at altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 meters (6,500–8,200 feet). Found within its forests are at least 14 bird species endemic to Central America’s Northern Highlands. A total of 145 bird species have been recorded here to date.
In Petén, it’s hard to beat Tikal National Park . You’ll see oscillated turkeys along the forest floor as well as keel-billed toucans and Montezuma’s Oropendola, among hundreds of other bird species, zipping about the forest canopy. The temple pyramids at Tikal  provide excellent vantage points for bird-watching.
South of Tikal, on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá, Cerro Cahuí is also an excellent place for bird-watching with several waterbird species, including pied-billed grebe, herons, and northern jacana as well as the more typical rainforest birds such as toucans. Two trails wind through the forest with some excellent vantage points over the lake.