Choosing A Trip

I'm new at birding. What tours do you suggest?

Our High Island, Pacific Northwest, and Rivers and Mountains of Oregon and Washington Introductory Tours have been specially designed for new birders. These tours focus on the basics: use of your field guide, placing a bird in a family, bird identification, and bird habitats. Our Montana Owl Workshop and Central Texas Coast Birding Workshop focus on groups of birds that present identification challenges.

I've never been to the Tropics. How should I approach birding in that area?

We suggest starting with the American Tropics, close to the U.S. and accessible. Excellent field guides exist for most Latin American countries. Good first trips include any trip to Mexico, Central America or Trinidad. These trips will give you an opportunity to become familiar with most Neotropical families including motmots, trogons, jacamars, woodcreepers, parrots, antbirds, ovenbirds, and others. Later you'll want to venture south to Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina. The American Tropics offer an unparalleled array of marvelous birding and natural history experiences.

What tours are best for people who are limited in the amount of walking they can do?

Some tours involve very little walking due to the type of vehicles used and the nature of the birding. These include tours to Hato Piñero in Venezuela, Panama's Canopy Tower, Chan Chich Lodge, Belize, Africa tours, birding cruises, and our Churchill trips. Our Relaxed & Easy tours typically include less walking and lighter physical activity.

What tours are best for people who are interested in lots of walking?

Our wilderness trips, such as El Triunfo, and any trip to Amazonia such as Peru, Manu, and Ecuador: Amazonia at Napo Wildlife Center usually include more walking than most of our other tours.

I'm interested in photography—which VENT tours provide good photo opportunities?

Many of our tours take place amid the world's most beautiful scenery, notably in Antarctica, Alaska, Bhutan, Galapagos, New Zealand, Big Bend, Colorado, Spain, and Hawaii. Wildlife photo opportunities are best on our Africa and India tours, Hato Piñero in Venezuela, the Pantanal in Brazil, Argentina, Alaska, Churchill, and Australia.

Does VENT offer any trips that are appropriate for families?

Children 14 years or older are welcome on our trips when accompanied by their parents. Families especially enjoy our trips to Kenya and Chan Chich, and any of our cruises, particularly our Galapagos Cruise.

What are the conditions like in the American tropics in terms of accommodations, food, and comfort?

In general, you will be pleasantly surprised with the traveling conditions on most of our tropical tours. During the past decade we have witnessed the development of many very good lodges in Latin American countries, especially in Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Belize, and Panama. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are highly developed countries with excellent services. Many lowland areas in the tropics are warm and humid, but other areas in the highlands are delightfully cool.

My spouse is not a birder. Which of your trips would be especially appropriate?

Non-birding spouses will enjoy Oaxaca, where we explore pre-Columbian ruins. Also enjoyable would be any of our cruises, our Africa or India trips, or any "Birds and History" tour.

I'm very interested in other aspects of nature in addition to birds. Do any of your tours look at mammals, flowers, butterflies, ruins, etc.?

Although the main focus of most of our tours is birding, we do take advantage of opportunities to see other wildlife—mammals, flowers, butterflies, as well as archaeological ruins, etc. Our Natural History tours are specially designed to encompass a broad spectrum of natural history subjects.  Our Birds & Butterflies tours offer the opportunity to see the specialty birds and butterflies of a region. In North America, our Alaska trips offer the best wildlife-viewing opportunities.

All of our Africa trips are very good for mammals as well as birds. This is especially true of our Namibia and Botswana, Kenya, and Tanzania trips. Next to Africa, India offers the best mammal viewing in the world. India is also a fascinating country from a cultural standpoint.

Our tours to Oaxaca include visits to pre-Columbian ruins, and our Manu, Peru tour and Amazon River Cruise have optional extensions to Machu Picchu.

What trip should I take if I want to see rainforests?

Excellent choices are any trips that visit eastern Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, or the Amazonian regions of Brazil or Peru. The Amazonian rainforest is biologically the richest region on the planet. The following tours offer you the opportunity to see the rainforest under expert leadership:

 

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