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Nature tours in Latin America
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nature tours in Latin America

I'm interested in spending a week or two in Central America or the Caribbean or maybe Ecuador for bird and bug photography. This would be during winter, January to March or thereabouts, maybe also including December. I am asking for ideas for putting such a trip together.

I was thinking of maybe two to four nights at a hotel before moving on to the next place. The hotel should be close to a natural area where I can go exploring with my camera. If possible, I would like to avoid driving. Hiring a driver might be a solution for getting around.

There are various tours (including photo tours) available on the Web, but the ones I have found are not very suitable for different reasons: too much bus time (distances too great) per day, emphasis on luxury resorts instead of nature, and too much time on organized activities.

I've already been on a couple of tours, one in Costa Rica and one in Nicaragua, and they were nice, but suffered from the disadvantages mentioned.

The ideal trip would be two weeks in duration, 4 or 5 locations, each walking distance to a national park (or maybe driving distance with a driver or shuttle), and pre-arranged transfers between locations.

Is such an ideal trip even possible? I think it must be, but it is not easy to come up with an itinerary. If anyone has ideas, they would be appreciated.

Jul 16, 2017 at 01:56 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nature tours in Latin America

In case they don't peruse this advice forum, I'd suggest PMing the FMers who are posting the spectacular images of birds, etc., from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, etc. There are lodging places in Costa Rica and Panama that cater specifically to bird photographers--including observation platforms. I don't know about Colombia. There is also a place on the Amazonian side of Peru that birders rave about because it has one of the highest diversities of birds in the world. The FMers should be able to supply details. You can easily use up your time allotted with few photos if you don't target these specialty hot spots for photography. Also, tours for bird watchers are much different than tours for bird photographers. Birders will tolerate seeing a bird as a speck in the distance or high overhead in the tree canopy--not the best for photography. If you don't go to the specialty locations for bird photography, you are likely to find that most of the birds are widely dispersed and high up in the trees--very difficult to locate and successfully photograph, especially in the few days you have available.

As part of your investigations, ask about the best time of year for your target location. Your December to March time frame is late rainy season into dry season, which will probably influence the number of birds at each location. Also, for travel, Latinos are very family oriented and Christmas is prime travel season. Planes/airports will be very crowded.

Edited on Jul 17, 2017 at 03:31 AM · View previous versions

Jul 16, 2017 at 07:19 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nature tours in Latin America

Thanks for the reply!

I will go and look at some of those photos and contact the makers to see if I can get some ideas about places and logistics.

I think I should also start searching for specific eco-hotels/resorts. Such establishments tend to be fancy, though, and not worth it if I just want access to natural areas. But some might be right.

Jul 17, 2017 at 01:47 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nature tours in Latin America

Definitely check out the Nature and Wildlife section for photos of birding in Ecuador. There is one company offering birding trips and which has a few Americans working for the company as guides (or course they also have local guides)

Jul 19, 2017 at 12:12 AM

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