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BIRDING TOURS

TESTIMONIALS

Rufous-headed Chachalaca - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours

I have looked at pictures and gathered my thoughts after returning home from Costa Rica on April 7th. As a bottom-line matter, the tour was fabulous and met and exceeded my expectations. First and foremost, Erick is an excellent guide. The birds he could find and identify quickly by sight and sound were amazing. We saw over 300 different bird species during the tour, and a lot of our success in finding and getting good looks at species was the direct result of Erick's diligence and expertise. He also was uniformly pleasant and fun to be with, and he pays great attention to the details that made the trip run smoothly. He is an incredible resource, and Exotic Birding is very lucky to have associated with him. I cannot say enough good things about Erick. The tour itself was very well planned to allow our small group to see a great many different kinds of birds in a variety of habitats. Highlights for me included seeing three Scarlet Macaws calmly cracking nuts and eating seeds in a tree maybe thirty yards from where we were watching and photographing from the road; seeing and identifying 24 different species of hummingbirds; and I never got tired of observing motmots, Rufus, Blue-crowned and Turquoise-browed whenever we encountered them. The array of brilliantly-colored tanagers was spectacular, and I was really surprised at how many difficult to find and identify species we observed. As you know, my wife's illness unfortunately prevented her from coming on the tour, but I do not regret going myself: It was a lifetime experience for me. Thanks for everything! - R.D., Oregon


HAD AN EXCEPTIONAL TRIP. HAD BEEN TO COSTA RICA MANY TIMES AND REQUESTED A VERY CHALLENGING TARGET LIST. MY EXPECTATIONS WERE MORE THAN MET, VERY WELL THOUGHT OUT AND ORGANIZED. SAW MANY MORE TARGET BIRDS THAN EXPECTED. MY LOCAL GUIDE ERICK WAS SUPERB, ACCOMODATIONS AND FOOD TERRIFIC. ALL AND ALL A GREAT TRIP. WOULD NOT HESITATE TO RECOMMEND EXOTIC BIRDING. RICK (THE GUY WHO FINALLY SAW THE WREN THRUSH) - R.G., Texas


What Liz and I experienced with Erick [the birding guide], was much more than any rating system could adequately describe. It was, quite simply, BEYOND EXCELLENT! The Lodges were beautiful and the rooms which had been selected for us, were spectacular. How good can it be to look out of the front window at Trogon Lodge, to see Hummingbirds at a flowering bush, or see a Fasciated Tiger-Heron from the rear window of our room at La Quinta? We loved the food and the staff at all three Lodges were very friendly and helpful. Special mention must be made of Erick. Never, have I been in the company of such a talented person. His eyesight is beyond HAWK, his hearing acute and his knowledge of the birds and their habitat, is expert, to say the least. I thought I knew a bit about birds before this trip, but soon realized that I knew very little. On top of all that, he is just a wonderful person to be around. We have adopted him. Our total for the seven day trip was 316 species, with 241 of them being LIFE BIRDS. We couldn't see all that Erick saw, but we did see most of them. I had no pre-conceived idea of numbers before the trip, consequently, the results were way above what I could have hoped for. THANK YOU LAURA, for organizing such a wonderful trip. We are already beginning to plan our next Costa Rica trip. - E.J., Ontario


I enjoyed very much my birding with Asaph and Leroy. It was fun to be with 2, 3, and even 4 (when going by boat) pair of young eyes to spot the birds. And they all are excellent spotters! The countryside in some of the places we visited was beautiful, the lodges pleasant and the food fine, I didn't have any problems. My Georgetown birding was really good too. Leon knows where to find the birds and we didn't miss much. All in all it was a great experience and I thank you both very much for putting it together. My thanks also to everybody who helped making it so. - E.L., California


Our trip to Costa Rica could not have been better! Minor was an awesome birding guide, interpreter, driver, and friend. As a birding guide he was amazing. He helped us identify 225 different species of birds, showed us some incredible bats, frogs, iguanas, sloths and more. He even called some species in so we could get a good view including the Resplendent Quetzal. We birded at a fun relaxing pace, which is just how we wanted it. Minor gave us a great Costa Rican experience, taking us to local sodas and restaurants so we could experience the local flavors. He explained all the different kinds of fruits and berries on the various trees when I asked, and when he could, he procured the fruit and let us taste each one. Dan and I would like to thank you for providing us with such a wonderful guide. Minor really made this trip special! - R.T., Louisiana


Thanks for a great trip [to Peru! - D.H., New York


Exotic Birding Photo Tour [to Costa Rica]. Great trip and by chance & my luck, I did join from Thailand. Great birds, great company. Thanks, Laura. - P.P.A, Bangkok, Thailand


GREAT TRIP, GREAT COMPANY, GREAT GUIDE. - D.B., British Columbia


I thought you might be interested in some feedback about the Guyana tour, for consideration in any tours you may organize there in the future. On the whole, it was excellent, and went amazingly smoothly, considering all the unforeseen events that can happen in such circumstances.

First, let me say that we all were gratified to see many high-quality species, including a number that one or more of us were especially eager to see. A partial list of highlights would include Agami Heron, Gray-winged Trumpeter, Double-striped Thick-knee, Crestless and Black Curassows, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Sun Parakeet (an exceptionally high count: 87!), Red-fan Parrot, Blue-cheeked Amazon, Caica Parrot, Rufous Crab Hawk, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Aplomado Falcon, Crimson Topaz, Blood-colored, Waved, and Ringed Woodpeckers, Long-tailed and White-winged Potoos (as well as a dynamite view of Common and a "standard" view of Great, high on a day perch), Green Aracari, Black-throated Antshrike, Rio Branco, White-plumed, Rufous-throated, and Ferruginous-backed Antbirds, Hoary-throated Spinetail, Capuchinbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Dusky Purpletuft, Purple-breasted Cotinga, Saffron-crowned Neopelma, Tiny Tyranneutes, Crested Doradito, Bearded Tachuri, McConnell's Flycatcher, Boat-billed Tody-Flycatcher, White-throated Kingbird, Black Manakin, Finsch's Euphonia, and Red Siskin. We also had good views of several mammals, foremost among them Giant Anteaters.

We were very satisfied with the organizing and ongoing attention by [the land agent] and his son, who was very helpful in our return to Georgetown and transfer to get our outbound flight. When we arrived in Lethem, we were met by Asaph Wilson and driver Leroy Ignacio, who was with us until we flew back to Georgetown. They were the outstanding factor in making the trip a success. I can't praise them highly enough: Leroy is not only a tireless, effective driver; he knows birds very well, is articulate and thoughtful and taught us a lot about Guyana and its people, is cheerful and friendly, and attended to countless details. Asaph was an outstanding guide. His hearing and especially his eyesight are unbelievable; he knows the birds very well, and he is a warm, friendly person. He and Leroy are close friends who have worked together a lot, and they knew how to organize time and maximize the chance of getting the birds. We also had good guides in Kenneth (at Karanambu) and a young man named Leon at Atta. - D.F., New York


I just returned from a wonderful birding [photo] trip to Costa Rica. In 7 birding days we saw about 250 different species of birds. The birding guide was excellent - 20 years experience and perfect English. A special bonus for me was the male Black-crested Coquette - what a cutie! The bus driver was conscientious and always cheerful - "Pura Vida"! The accommodations and the food were great - I especially enjoyed all the tropical fresh fruit. Thank you "Exotic Birding" for a fabulous trip. - E.F., British Columbia


This was a great trip [to Costa Rica]! It was a well-planned itinerary, the lodges were good (I especially enjoyed Selva Verde Lodge), and things went smoothly. Guillermo was an outstanding driver, and I always felt safe even on dicey roads. But the best part of the trip was our guide. He was personable and knew his birds, but - best of all - he could find birds and could help us all find them as well. Thanks to Laura and Jim for putting all this together; it was a wonderful experience. - J.K., California


Overall: Excellent. We could not have had a better tour & experience. From the weather to the variety of places, the itinerary and the food to all the wonderful birds and the most expert guide. We enjoyed every minute and would highly recommend Exotic Birding. The small group made it very special. [Our driver] drove so well & so cheerfully. The bus was comfortable & it was good not to be crammed into a van. Laura's patience & [the guide's] thoughtfulness was remarkable. So Five Stars *****. Fabulous. Giving us advice ahead about the airport & then meeting us when we arrived really helped. - P.M., Texas


Great trip - exceeded my expectations, wonderful birds, outstanding guide, great driver. Everything was well planned and the variety of places made the trip even more enjoyable. Overall the trip was wonderful and I hope to come back to Costa Rica again. Thank you!! - F.M., Texas


Excellent photo tour of Costa Rica birds. Compares extremely positively to Arthur Morris PT's, Lind Robbin's Hummingbird Addictions, and Kathy and Gordon Ilig Adventure Travel. Guide is very knowledgeable, professional, and a fine companion. "Stash" [the driver] was very alert and helpful - a keeper. Tour was broad in coverage, well organized, and achieved the goal of "get the photo". We saw a great range of Costa Rica and every minute was interesting and enjoyable. - B.B., Missouri


The variety and number of birds, opportunities for photography were exceptional. My fourth and best trip to Central America. Our guide was completely tuned into the birds and delivered more than promised. The lodges were well chosen, people at the lodges were very friendly and helpful, food was good, facilities were fine. The van was spacious, more than enough to have the gear easily available. Last, but not least, Laura was there at every stage to ensure things went smoothly. Thanks for a great trip and the memories (pictures). - A.M., Illinois


This was my first bird photo tour so I wasn't sure what to expect. I had birded Costa Rica before by myself. This was even more than I could have hoped for. Our guide was superb. He had an excellent knowledge of birds and all things natural. He was also a great bird spotter. His English was perfect and he explained what we were seeing in easily understood & interesting way. Our accommodations were nice. Both Selva Verde and Savegre were exceptional. The itinerary was well planned with a good visit to three different ecosystems [in a week]. The birding and photography opportunities were exceptional. Overall I was extremely pleased with this tour and I would recommend it highly. - L.G., Quebec


Good Trip [to Costa Rica]. Well organized, good accommodations & food, guide is excellent and very knowledgeable in the field, and very good driver. We used opportunities at each site. We learned about the country, different environments, trees, flowers, birds. Fun group. Fun trip. - S.G., Quebec


Did I like the tour [to Costa Rica] - yes. Guide great - enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Driver great and pleasant. Overall good and efficeint organization. I think the bus was the right size and comfortable. Boat trip a pleasant surprise. Yes I would recommend the trip to anyone who wants to see exotic birds. - P.J., Arizona


Yes I liked the tour [to Costa Rica]. Guide - excellent. Driver - excellent. Lodges very good to excellent. Tour was well organized and everything went without problems. Enjoyed the week. Information provided [before the tour] was complete and I felt I was well equiped because of it. Bus was great - and number in group was just right. Over all I thoroughly enjoyed the week and would recommend the trip to anyone. - L.S., California


[Did you like the tour to Costa Rica?] Yes!!! Tour was fantastic. Guide - great.... Very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Driver very cautious, very helpful, good-sized bus. Organization very good - no glitches. Congrats! - K.C., Arizona


Tour [to Costa Rica] was very good. Guide - excellent, unbelievable ability to see and identify. Also expert. Driver - great. Aeropuerto - decent and good location. Villa Lapas - nice place, excellent breakfast. Selva Verde - wonderful setting. Savegre - great place - can't do better for biridng. - J.L., New Mexico


Yes, it was wonderful! [The Costa Rican guide] knew his birds. He knew where they were and what they were. The driver was magnificent. He was funny and very sweet and one heck of a driver! - P.L., New Mexico


We liked that we saw lots of birds and lots of animals (more animals than we saw on our trip to Costa Rica). We especially liked the hotel in Panama City. We liked that we could see birds from the balcony and intermingle with the other guests. We liked the variety of habitats that we explored..We enjoyed eating at the local restaurants and interacting with the local people. We liked the eco-lodge near Colon - wonderful family atmosphere! [Our guide] was an excellent guide. He had the eyes of an eagle and the ears of an owl. He was extremely knowledgeable and really worked to get us to see some of those birds..All in all a nice trip. I liked that you had us fly in a day early so we could all meet that first night and also spend the last night somewhat close to the airport so we did not have to drive a long way the last day. It was nice to have a very small group. We felt pretty pampered! - B.W. and C. W., Minnesota


Thanks for sending [your] photographs, very good shots! ... As a birder I liked the [photo] tour [to Panama]. The Colon part was new to us and we saw new birds.... [the guide] is very good with knowing about and finding birds! - H.L., California


I had a fabulous time at NWC [Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador] and the trip from Coca to NWC and back to Coca. Very knowledgeable and helpful and friendly people! And high quality equipment: boats, lodge, boots, ponchos.... Great birding, and I loved all the canoe rides (which included birding, of course). We planned too few days at NWC! Having sure a small group was really a treat! Our birding guide, Miguel, was fabulous! We were very lucky to have him for our guide. He and Meliton, the non-English speaking guide, worked very well together. Thanks for organizing this trip for us! - C.C., Illinois


My time at Napo Wildlife Center (in Ecuador) is surely the most wonderful trip I've ever taken and definitely a life highlight. Not only was this lodge and the community of people who run it outstanding, and the location is totally serene and beautiful, but the rainforest itself is just . hard to describe in words. I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden, and I did not want to leave. It is still haunting me. I feel extremely lucky to have had this experience. [The guide] was a lovely man, extremely patient with our incessant questions, very intelligent, and well-bred, extremely knowledgeable and hard working (before dawn until 10 at night!). If/when I go back, I would hope to have him as my guide again. Our other guide (from the community) has an unusual name that I forget - I also loved him. He also was dedicated, unstinting in his attempts to find birds for us, and like Miguel, very patient. These guys are incredibly wonderful. I can't say enough good things. [The lodge] provided among the best service I've ever had, and the best food. I am vegetarian, and they were very accommodating. - D.S., Illinois


This was a very well organized tour with a schedule that worked great for serious birding with about the right number of breaks. Nice people to spend the time with, great accommodations, good food. Almost 300 species of birds, including 23 species of hummingbirds alone! [Our guide] is a tenaceous, skilled, and enjoyable birder and guide. We would enthusiastically go with him again. I appreciated being able to work on identifying birds with him, even the chance to disagree occasionally. First class expert. - J.M. and C.M., Wisconsin


We loved Villa Lapas, especially the grounds with the toucans and macaws. Orotina was really charming, seeing the birds but also interacting with the people in the square. The Guanacaste countryside was really interesting. [Our Costa Rican guide] is an excellent birder and was a valuable member of our group. He was patient in helping everyone spot the hard-to-see birds, and his ability to locate birds visually and by call was wonderful. - R.R and S.R, Florida


The whole birding [photo] tour was one I shall cherish. Such a wonderul experience seeing all its wild life and the beautiful birds. Seeing the nesting toucans at Villa Lapas was something I never thought I would ever see in the wild. Just loved our stay at Villa Lapas a little piece of heaven. Besides being drop dead gorgeous, we found [our guide] to be a great guide. He was most helpful always willing to share knowledge of the bird life we saw. How he manages to spot some of the birds I will never know. We wouldn't hesitat to have [him] as our guide if we were ever to visit Costa Rica again. - J.S., Isle of Man, UK


It was the best possible birding photo tour I could have had. I received valuable help with my photography. The variety of birds was outstanding. Enjoyed the boat trip, really loved seeing the macaws and toucans flying in the wild. All in all a really good cross section which was well planed. [Our Costa Rican guide] was a tip top chap. Very knowledgeable, he could not do enough for you and extremely pleasant with it. Hope maybe one day we will tour with him again. [Exotic Birding's] team made it all very memorable. - W.S., Isle of Man, UK


[Our] tour [to Belize] was a special experience because there were only three participants - ourselves and a long time friend. Jim [from Exotic Birding] was tour leader, Wilfred our driver and our bird expert - Lee Jones. Jim and Lee] were able to customize the tour to meet our experience. For us, as novice birders, we were constantly amazed at the number and variety of birds we saw. The locales we visited were all very different and each had its own special feature to recommend it. However, our last stop at Crooked Tree is the highlight we have chosen. The trip on the lagoon and the wide variety of birds we saw during those two days made this locale a fitting closing highlight to a wonderful, and for us, different vacation. Lee Jones is obviously the expert on the Birds in Belize. He showed endless patience in answering our questions and was a wonderful teacher. We were doubly blessed when it came to finding birds and having our questions answered. Wilfred ,our driver, was also an experienced birding guide and his knowledge of the locales and keen eyesight, and the care and comfort he provided to us, greatly added to our overall experience and to the number of birds we saw. - D.R and U.R, Toronto, Ontario


I had many wonderful experiences on this tour [to Ecuador]. The birds were spectacular, and we had lot of great sightings. The scenery, including the marvelous variety of vegetation, was also fabulous. The food at several of the lodges was truly exceptional. And I enjoyed traveling with a small group of congenial and interesting people. [Our guide] was certainly one of the finest birding guides I've encountered. Besides his superb skills in finding and identifying the birds, his enthusiasm and pleasant personality were much appreciated. He was very patient and tried very hard to make sure everyone saw the birds. - W.A., New Jersey


Our overall experience was very positive. It was our first time on a birding tour and we were surprised by the number of bird species that we saw. The tour [to Ecuador] was set up in two segments, the Andean Mtns. segment and the Napo Valley segment. Because of time, we were only on the Andean Mtn. segment. In thirteen (13) days we (the two of us) saw almost 400 species of birds. We personally saw fifty three (53) species of hummingbirds and forty two (42) species of tanagers. The lodges that we stayed at were comfortable with excellent birding on grounds, most often with hummingbird feeders. The food was always beyond expectation at each lodge. We had a bonus with our driver, he was an excellent driver, a very nice person, plus he was a pretty good birder. For beer drinkers, the two brands of beer available were both good. Our birding guide had excellent birding and people skills. He knew where to look for particular birds, had an amazing ability to see birds; but his ability to identify the majority of birds by their calls was the most impressive. We feel [Exotic Birding] did an excellent job. - S.J. and G.J., Texas


Great tour! Covered an amazing amount of ground for 10 days! Not only saw many new birds, wildlife, and Costa Rica, but also improved birding skills a lot! Also, company of other birders and all staff a big plus!! [Our guide] is an incredible, world class birding guide! Has birding and people skills, and also immense knowledge and intelligence, and great sense of humor! AAA+++!!! - D.Z. and S.B., Florida


Andrew and I had a great time on the trip [to Costa Rica]. We enjoyed seeing several different habitats, and the pace of the tour was good. [Our birding guide] was an amazing guide. He is obviously interested in and excited by the world around him. We appreciated his scientific background and willingness to describe many aspects of value, not just birds. We would love to have him as a guide on another trip. - R.T, Switzerland


Thanks once again for an outstanding trip [to Costa Rica]. I'll be meeting with my field trip committee in May to, among other things, discuss our next Exotic Birding trip. - B.R., Florida


Overall a very, very nice trip! ... The birding and lunches were great.... [Our guide] was very skillful at finding birds and worked as long and hard as we wanted. [He] has an exuberant personality and we had a very good time with him.... His English and "people skills" are very good. His love for his country came through in all the interesting places he took us and things he told us about life in Panama. - C.D. and C.D., Pennsylvania


We had a very good trip [to Costa Rica]...saw 290 species of birds, heard 8, and the group saw 2 species we did not see. [Our guide] was very good ... (1) very good English; (2) accomplished at hearing, seeing, finding and made every attempt for each of the four of us to see the bird; made every attempt to accommodate needs/wishes of all ... above and beyond what we might expect.... We enjoyed good fish, Italian, Greek and Jimmy's Steak House was a great meal and a real treat. - K.F., Minnesota


We thought the tour was wonderful. We have never been on a guided tour before and it was fabulous.... The overall experience of the country, its people, and the birds was delightful. We enjoyed eating at local restaurants and interacting with the Costa Rican people.... Our birding guide was a wonderful young man. He was extremely knowledgeable about the birds. My head is still spinning from all the beautiful birds, animals, plants, and flowers we saw. - B.W. and C. W., Minnesota


I really enjoyed the trip as I think most of the other participants did. The bus was air conditioned! I've been on trips where the bus driver will not turn on the a/c in order to save fuel. The group size was great. The small group allowed everybody a chance to see birds without fear of being trampled.... This is a definite advantage over other tour companies.... I appreciated the fact that we did not change hotels every night. Our guide [was] a delightful young man. He is gregarious and is knowledgeable about many things Costa Rican besides birds. - A.Z., Florida


Excellent! [Our Costa Rican guide] was constantly upbeat, cheerful and enthusiastic and a pleasure to be around. His English was excellent. His skill at bird identification, both by sight and sound, was truly impressive. Without him, we would probably have seen fewer than half the birds we saw, and we would have been able to identify only a small fraction of those. Accommodations were good ... The attempt to find good restaurants was much appreciated and the food was very good overall. Laura [our tour coordinator] handled the logistics well and was especially attentive to our personal needs, which we really appreciated. - O.J. and D.S., Virginia


We enjoyed birding the Plantation Trail, Pipeline Road, Old Gamboa Road, Achiote Road, Tocumen Marsh [in Panama]...Seeing the Resplendent Quetzal again was a special treat. Accommodations were great. - R.C. and R.C, Pennsylvania