Honduras | Emerald Valley Butterfly Festival and Photography Contest

Honduras | Emerald Valley Butterfly Festival and Photography Contest

About this trip

This unique 7-day adventure for Lepidoptera-lovers blends a large variety of colorful tropical butterflies with some bird watching in beautiful Honduras. On many mornings we enjoy tropical birds and as the sun warms, we search for and photograph the winged gems around the species-rich Lake Yojoa basin (commonly referred to as the "Lake"). Nearly 1,000 species have been documented around the Lake, with Emerald Valley alone harboring nearly 700.
Each participant will have the opportunity to participate and enter photos within numerous categories. You are highly encouraged to bring your own laptop to crop and/or enhance photos due to the limited number of computers that will be available in-country. 
PLEASE NOTE: This event is sponsored and organized by a Honduran conservation organization and is different from our other programs. All activities, contest rules, guiding, etc., are established by the Honduran organizing entity. Holbrook cannot make modifications to the program, as it is an event organized by an outside entity.

Highlights

  • Enjoy six nights of lodging in Cerro Azul Meambar National Park, immersed in the lush forest.
  • See various species of clearwings, swallowtails, firecrackers, and many skippers in the mid-elevations at Cerro Azul Meambar, Bio Parque Paradise, and Emerald Valley.
  • Explore Lake Yojoa, home to over 500 bird species, surrounded by wetlands and rainforests.
  • Enjoy the unique Emerald Valley Butterfly Festival, which highlights a single site that harbors nearly 700 species of butterflies.
  • Observe both birds and butterflies with expert guides.
  • Help support the Pro Nature Honduras Foundation, which strives to teach Honduran nationals how to value and sustainably utilize their natural resources.

Lake Yajoa

Jan 4, 2022

Upon arrival at the San Pedro Sula International Airport, after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met and transferred to Lake Yojoa. The lodging facilities at the BioParque Paradise Nature Reserve are located along the NW corner of Lake Yojoa, about 2 miles from Emerald Valley. The reserve is comprised of over 200 acres of forest, a shade coffee plantation and a crystalline river running through it. This reserve will be 'home' for the next six nights. If we arrive early enough we may go for an afternoon bird walk on the grounds.

Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Lake Yajoa

Jan 5, 2022

Today there will be an optional early morning bird walk before breakfast. This mid-elevation site is rich with species and we often see Elegant Euphonia, Lesson's Motmot, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Trogon and Black-crested Coquette. If we find a fruiting fig tree they can often fill up with a huge variety of birds.

The Butterfly Festival officially starts today and all photos taken will count toward the photography contest. If our group is large we may split up into smaller groups so everyone has a chance to see and photograph the butterflies. There are numerous gardens filled with porterweed as well as trails where everyone can spread out. The porterweed often attract a variety of swallowtails such as the splendid Green-celled Cattleheart and the rarer Green-patch Swallowtail. Sulphurs and skippers can also be seen at the porterweed. Inside the forest along the trails one can usually find the near-invisible Rusted Clearwing-Satyr.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Lake Yajoa

Jan 6, 2022

There will be another optional early morning bird walk before breakfast. Right after breakfast we board our bus and descend to the Lake and travel to the NW corner. Our destination is a private property that encompasses more than 200 acres. It has a large shade coffee plantation and natural forest as well as some porterweed and mistflower gardens. We will spend the entire day there searching for butterflies such as Common Morpho, Tiger-striped Leafwing, Astala Eighty-Eight, a variety of Sisters and many more. We will have lunch at Bio Parque. One very special butterfly that occurs there and is rare most everywhere else in the country is the tiny, yet beautiful Godman's Sarota and we will make every effort to see it.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Lake Yajoa

Jan 7, 2022

Today there will be an optional early morning bird walk before breakfast. After breakfast we board our bus and descend to the Lake, again travelling to the NW corner. Our destination is another private property that encompasses 50 acres. Although this site has only been studied since mid-2016 it has already revealed an amazing 690 species which, at the time of this writing, represented 55% of the country's total. Not only have more than 110 country records been found there, but also Honduras' second endemic species. The diversity is mind boggling and includes some of the rarest species in the entire region.

Robert and Olivia reside at Emerald Valley, and have dedicated years in building up numerous butterfly gardens which harbor a wide variety of flowering plants. However, the star plant is the Blue Mistflower; a native species that Robert 'discovered' behind their house in late 2017. It was on this plant where the endemic Emesis metalmark was discovered. It is the only plant he knows of that attracts species from all six families of butterflies and from both the forest canopy and the forest interior. One can often literally be surrounded by clouds of butterflies. They have installed trails that weave in between the flower-filled gardens and additional trails that pass through the nearby forest. Hordes of butterflies descend upon the flowers and one easily becomes distracted while trying to photograph any given species. Lunch will be at Emerald Valley.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Lake Yajoa

Jan 8, 2022

There will be an optional early morning bird walk before breakfast. Right after breakfast we board our bus and return to Emerald Valley. The hundreds of flowering plants scattered around the various gardens attract different species throughout the day and provide a seemingly endless amount of joy and excitement when one is searching for and photographing butterflies.

Robert will continue to be on the lookout for the more uncommon or rarer species so anyone nearby can see them. Today will be the final day when photographs can be submitted to the contest.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Lake Yajoa

Jan 9, 2022

After breakfast we board our bus and return to Emerald Valley for one final day at this butterfly sanctuary. The composition of species at Emerald Valley changes a little each day and literally with the passing of each hour. The more one looks, the more species will be observed. During our days at the various sites around the Lake we hope to observe more than three-hundred species and if we're lucky new species may be added to the Emerald Valley inventory or even a new species for the country. At noon we will have lunch then announce the winners of the photography contest. There is a separate category for youth and the ceremony is always filled with emotion as more Honduran nationals get involved in nature tourism/appreciation each year.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Bioparque Paradise

Departure

Jan 10, 2022

This morning you will be transferred to the San Pedro Sula International Airport for your flight out.

*Note-Festival organizers may switch daily destinations as a result of inclement weather.

Breakfast- included