Register For Tour

Sign up for Newsletter

About Our Guides

Bird Tours at a Glance

Uganda *NEW*

Ecuador: East Slope

Ecuador: Jocotoco

Peru Manu

Panama Canopy Tower

 

Tour Teasers

 

Many-colored Rush-Tyrant seen on the Peru Manu tour.

 

Wilson's Plover is one of the specialties we can look for on a custom Florida tour.

 

Barred Becard can be seen on both Ecuador and Peru tours.

 

The Three-wattled Bellbird can be found at Monteverde in Costa Rica. Plan a custom trip for your birding group!

 

Elegant Trogon is one of the quintessential Southeastern Arizona specialties.

 

The Canopy Tower looks funny, but is one of the best birding locations in Central America.

 

Ecuador is fabulous for hummingbirds, such as this Chestnut-breasted Coronet.

 

We'll search for the rare Black-faced cotinga on the Peru Manu tour, a species described to science in the 1970's

 

Costa Rica is also fun for critters other than birds!

 

Botteri's Sparrow is a common bird of the mesquite grassland in Arizona, after the onset of the summer monsoons, and is seen on both Arizona tours.

 

Ecuador has an amazing diversity of fancy tanagers, such as this Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager.

 

The diminutive Elf Owl is one of the highlights of the May Arizona tour.

 

The El Oro Parakeet is one of the many special birds we look for on the Ecuador Jocotoco Reserves tour.

 

The Round-tailed Manakin is one of several species of manakin seen on the Peru Manu tour.

 

Spectacular view of the Urubamba River Valley from Machu Picchu in Peru.

 

Cape May Warbler is a common migrant in South Florida during April and May.

 

A fiery-billed Aracari poke its head out of a nest cavity on the Costa Rica Quetzals and Endemics tour.

 

Peruvian Thick-knee is often seen on the Machu Picchu extension of our Peru tour, when we bird along the coast outside Lima.

 

The Crimson-backed Tanager can be seen on bout of our Panama tours.

 

A Spotted Owl lounges around in one of the wooded canyons on our Southeastern Arizona tour.

 

Not only do we look at birds on our Peru tour, but mammals are a big attraction, as is this Giant Otter.

AVIAN JOURNEYS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why come on an Avian Journeys tour?

Why are Avian Journeys tours so affordable?

Where does the tour begin?

What is included in the cost of the tour?

What is “not” included in the tour price?

What is the maximum group size of the tour?

Will I be able to photograph on a tour?

How do I book a tour?

What is the deposit policy?

When is full payment for a tour required?

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

Should I buy travel insurance?

Is a single room available?

When should I purchase my airline ticket?

What is the tipping policy?

What is the Avian Journeys smoking policy?

What is the best “field guide” for my tour?

Why come on an Avian Journeys tour?

Taking a birding tour is a big decision. Group birding (particularly in a small group) is both fun and advantageous. Not only is the price of birding in a group more cost-effective, but birding with an experienced  professional tour leader allows a birder to see, learn, and experience a greater number of birds, than if one traveled by themselves. Our tours are designed for interested birders with all different levels of skill, who like to travel and watch birds. Our principal leader, Gary Rosenberg, is highly experienced with more than 25 years of tour-leading experience. He knows what to look for, and more importantly, knows where to find, and how to see the specialty and elusive species. At the same time our skilled leaders understand that this is a birding “holiday” and that the enjoyment of the participant is the most important aspect to a well-run tour.

Why are Avian Journeys tours so affordable?

We can offer the same high-quality tours as many of the other companies at a more affordable price because we have very little overhead. Therefore we don’t need to add a high profit margin to cover the expenses of a large office. Our philosophy is to strive to make our tours as inexpensive as possible, while not sacrificing any ground experience. We also try to schedule most of our tours during a Saturday to Sunday period to make it more convenient for working participants. Longer tours are also usually scheduled so that one arrives on a Saturday, and departs on a Sunday. Shorter tours outside the United States can usually be combined if one is looking for a longer trip.

Where does the tour begin?

Each tour begins and ends at the city of origin clearly stated in the tour itinerary. Each tour participant is responsible for travel to and from that city. Information on how to get to the hotel will be provided. On foreign trips, transfers by our ground agents and/or leader will be arranged. On trips in the United States, we try to stay at an airport hotel that includes a “shuttle” service to and from the airport. There is typically a “get to know you” meeting at 6:00 pm on Day 1, always followed by dinner.

What is included in the cost of the tour?

The cost of the tour includes all accommodations, food, within-tour transportation, baggage handling (when needed), tips to our drivers and local guides, entrance fees, water during the day’s tour activities, and guide services, as indicated by the itinerary. In general the hotels and lodges we use on the tours are nice and comfortable, and often the best-available in the more remote areas we often visit. In the cities we stay in above average (but not necessarily the most expensive) hotels, in an attempt to make our tours more affordable, but still high quality. Meals are typically taken at the hotels and lodges.

What is “not” included in the tour price?

The following items are not included in the tour price: travel to and from the location the tour begins and ends, passport and visa fees, airport departure taxes, laundry, alcoholic beverages, phone calls, and other items of a personal nature.

What is the maximum group size of the tour?

The maximum group size for most tours will be eight or nine participants. One of the major factors that has driven up tour prices has been the desire to lower the maximum group size, and thus force companies to cost their tours based on fewer participants. We feel that there is little difference in group enjoyment with a group size of seven, eight, or even nine participants, while there is an overriding positive aspect of lowering tour cost.

Will I be able to photograph on a tour?

By all means yes! Our leaders are typically very interested in photography, in particular “digiscoping”, and within the context of the tour, photography is encouraged. Certain sensible guidelines will be adhered to, such as not approaching a bird for photos until all in the group has had a satisfying look, and we will avoid unnecessary disturbance of a bird, particularly if it is nesting. At the end of the tour the leader will share his or her photo highlights, making them available on CD, or downloadable from a social network web site.

How do I book a tour?

Please print out the “PDF” version of the “Registering for Tour” form and mail it to Avian Journeys. The company address is on the form.

What is the deposit policy?

At the time of booking a tour, a $300 deposit is required to secure a space on the tour. This deposit is refundable or transferable up until 120 days prior to the departure date of the tour. The deposit must be received within 14 days of booking, or the reserved space will be released. Up to the 120 day prior to departure date, a deposit may be transferred to another Avian Journeys tour without penalty. Between 119 and 90 days prior to tour departure, cancellation of a reservation will result in forfeit of 50% of the $300 deposit. Cancellation of a reservation within 90 days of the tour departure date will result in forfeit of the deposit. For tours that visit lodges that require a non-refundable deposit, Avian Journeys may require a non-refundable at the point of booking. This will be indicated in the tour information.

When is full payment for a tour required?

Full payment for the tour will be invoiced at 100 days prior to departure, and must be received no later than 90 days prior to departure.

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

Cancellation by a tour participant greater than or equal to 90 days prior to the departure date will result in full refund of payments to Avian Journeys (minus 50% of the deposit if the cancellation occurs between 119 and 90 days prior to the tour departure). Cancellation by a tour participant within 90 days of a tour will result in a refund of amounts we are able to recover from our hotels and ground agents. Fixed cost amounts can not be refunded. In general, the amount we can potentially refund may be as low as 50% or 25% of the cost of the tour.

Should I buy travel insurance?

At the time of payment for the tour, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. The following companies offer trip insurance, and/or emergency medical insurance: 

 

http://www.travelinsured.com

http://www.csatravelpro.com

 

One never knows when personal illness, or an illness in the family is going to strike. Given that a cancellation by a participant within 90 days of departure might result in a loss of most, if not all of the cost of a tour, trip insurance is a good idea. Furthermore, insurance is recommended in case of an illness on a tour, and in a worse case scenario, the need for an emergency medical evacuation, which can be prohibitively expensive. Purchasing insurance is a personal choice, and Avian Journeys does not recommend one company over another.

Is a single room available?

When possible, we offer the possibility of a single room. Tour prices are based on “double” occupancy, and if a single room is requested, and available, a single supplement will be assessed – typically the difference in price between a single and a double room, calculated for each night of the tour. If a roommate is requested, we will make every effort to find one for you, but if one is not available, a single supplement will be accessed at the time of invoicing. If, after payment, but before he beginning of the tour, a roommate materializes, the single supplement will be returned. We will make every effort to accommodate one’s wishes to the best of our abilities.

When should I purchase my airline ticket?

We suggest purchasing you airline ticket once a tour is confirmed. A tour is confirmed at the 90 day prior to departure date when the minimum number of participants required for running the tour have paid in full. There may be instances when Avian Journeys can confirm a tour prior to the 90 day limit – in these cases we will let you know when it is safe to purchase an air ticket.

What is the tipping policy?

All general tipping within the context of running the tour, which includes baggage handling, drivers, and group tips to staff at lodges, are factored into the cost of the tour. We feel this is more professional than simply passing around a hat (or envelope). All other tips, including to maids at hotels, are at the discretion of the participant.

What is the Avian Journeys smoking policy?

We generally discourage smoking on tours, but if you must, we would ask that you do so with consideration of the other non-smoking participants in mind. We prohibit smoking within the vehicles, at the dining tables, and within 100 feet of a non-smoking tour participant. We also appreciate you positioning yourself down wind of the group. Several of the lodges (and hotels) we stay at prohibit smoking within the rooms or buildings.

What is the best “field guide” for my tour?

In our tour information, there is a section on field guides, and the ones we recommend for that particular trip. Please contact the leader of your Avian Journeys tour if there is any question.