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Puerto Rico’s Tropical Island Birding: From Cloud Forest to Rain Forest

Program Number: 19734RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/27/2013 - 11/3/2013; 11/30/2014 - 12/7/2014; 12/7/2014 - 12/14/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Price starting at: $1,670.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding
Meals: 21; 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Enjoy some of the best bird watching in Puerto Rico as local naturalists lead you through a wide range of habitats on these tropical islands. Embark on field trips through Puerto Rico's parks, forests, biosphere reserves and wildlife refuges and learn about endemic bird species and preservation issues. Seek out rare specimens in the Guanica Dry Forest — a U.N. Biosphere Reserve — and visit the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Continue birding in El Yunque rain-forest and hike in Old San Juan.




Highlights

• Explore the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, home to Puerto-Rican Flycatchers, Adelaide’s Warblers and Warbling Silverbills.
• Visit the Maricao Cloud Forest, a region that is prime habitat for Puerto Rico’s endemic birds.
• Search for the endangered Puerto Rican Amazon and the colorful Puerto Rican Tody.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day over uneven, steep terrain; getting in/out of coach bus. Elevations of 3,000 feet.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.




Date Specific Information

12-7-2014

Charter Program



Itinerary Summary

Arrival San Juan, 1 night; coach to La Parguera, 5 nights; coach to San Juan, 1 night; departure.




San Juan

A major Caribbean port and resort destination, San Juan was the early 16th-century point of departure for Spanish expeditions to charter or settle unknown parts of the New World. Today it is the oldest city under the U.S flag and is well-known for the cobblestones and colorful facades of its original walled Colonial center, Old San Juan.



Accommodations
San Juan: Modern, full-service hotel; La Parguera: Comfortable hotel with ocean views.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hampton Inn by Hilton
  San Juan 1 night
   Parador Villa Parguera
  La Parguera 4 nights
   Hampton Inn by Hilton
  San Juan 2 nights
 Hampton Inn by Hilton
Type: Inn
  Description: At the Hampton Inn & Suites® hotel in San Juan, they want to make your stay perfect. So if you want to surf the web on your laptop, do so with our free high speed internet access. Run a few miles in our exercise room, or swim some laps in the pool. You'll even find a convenience store at our hotel in San Juan. If you're looking for recommendations on what to do and where to eat in San Juan, just ask the staff at our San Juan hotel and they'll be happy to help!
  Contact info: 6530 Isla Verde Avenue
San Juan, PR 00979 Puerto Rico
phone: +7877918777
web: hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=SJUHHHX
  Room amenities: Coffee Maker Complimentary Hot Breakfast High Speed Internet-No Charge Iron Iron/Ironing Board Lap Desk Curved Shower Rod Easy to Set Alarm Clock Radio LCD Flat Panel TV Waterpik(R) Showerhead
  Facility amenities: Baggage Storage Coin Laundry Elevators Laundry/Valet Service Lounge Luggage Hold Multi-Lingual Staff On-Site Convenience Store Room Service Safety Deposit Box
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call the hotel for price Please call the hotel in San Juan directly. It is very important to mention that you are from World Events/Road Scholar group. The telephone in San Juan is 1-787-791-8777.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call the hotel for price Please call the hotel in San Juan directly. It is very important to mention that you are from World Events/Road Scholar group. The telephone in San Juan is 1-787-791-8777.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Parador Villa Parguera
Type: Hotel
  Description: Secluded waterfront location with landscaped gardens.
  Contact info: Carr 304, Km 3.3
La Parguera, Lajas, PR 00667 Puerto Rico
phone: +7878997777
web: www.villaparguera.net
  Room amenities: Air conditioned plus ceiling fans, satelitte TV, telephone. No internet access.
  Facility amenities: Pool and sundeck, restaurant in hotel, 24 hr front desk, easy walking access to village center and marina area.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at 3:00 pm. Orientation at 5:00 pm at the Hotel You will be staying at Hampton Inn by Hilton that night.
  End of Program:
Ends after breakfast. Check out by 12:00 pm. You will be staying at Hampton Inn by Hilton the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Puerto Rico is considered US territory so no specific documents are necessary but we recommend taking a passport, citizenship card or at least photo ID, such as a drivers license. World Events LLC and its sub-contractors may also require liability waivers for certain activities.
  Parking availability:
Please advise coordinator in advance, if a rental or personal car is being used during this program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Juan
  Nearest city or town:  San Juan
  Nearest highway: Not applicable.
  Nearest airport:  Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
  From End of Program
  Location: San Juan
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15 - $20 plus $1 per suitcase. Also a 15% tip is customary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

under 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

For early morning flights it is recommended to make a reservation the night before.

 

The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Publico Taxis

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15 - $20 plus $1 per suitcase also a 15% tip is customary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

under 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Taxis are controlled by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. After picking up your baggage follow the ground transportation sign to the taxi kiosk outside the terminal building, get a slip and wait in line. Pay the driver at the end of the journey.

 
Driving Directions
  Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) Exit to your right, Rt. 26 towards San Juan to the first exit Hwy. #187. Turn right on Hwy. #187 to second traffic light Rt. #37 (Isla Verde Ave). Turn left and the hotel is the 3rd building to your left.
Elevation Note: On field trips to Maricao Cloud Forest and El Yunque Rain Forest up to 4,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Lightweight rain jacket, sunscreen SPF 35 or higher, binoculars (optional spotting scope)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals/Orientation
(Sunday, October 27)
   
 Arrive To: As San Juan International Airport is a short distance from the hotel the cab ride is inexpensive ($15 to $20) . Check-in time is 3:00 PM
 Afternoon: Approx 5 pm Orientation and Hospitality at Hotel prior to Dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Pinones Forest /Travel to La Parguera/Dinner
(Monday, October 28)

Note: Very long day and 2.5 hrs travel time from Pinones to La Parguera



   
 Breakfast: Due to early morning activities, bagged breakfasts will be handed out to eat en route.
 Morning: Walk a two miles stretch through a mixed subtropical forest and Puerto Rico's largest mangrove system, ending up at a saltwater lagoon. The area is home to about 50 species of birds, including the Puerto Rican Woodpecker, Stripe-Headed Tanager, Puerto Rican Flycatcher and other natives and snowbird visitors. We will be looking for mango and emerald hummingbirds outside the visitor center and walk along the lagoon checking for whistling ducks, white-cheeked pintails and wading birds.
 Lunch: Picnic Style Lunch by the lagoon or at Local Restaurant depending on the weather.
 Afternoon: Travel to La Parguera.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)/Boqueron Refuge/Dinner/Bird List Review
(Tuesday, October 29)

Note: Travel to Cabo Rojo and Boqueron located both at the west side of Puerto Rico. Opportunities to see some of the birds that visit the west coast like Brown Booby, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigate Bird, gulls, egrets, and many others.



   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Birding at the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats. Local guide led walk of the salt flats, which recently received the first designation for shorebirds in the Caribbean as an Important Birding Area (IBA). Twenty-eight species are known to rely on the area, including Spotted, White-Rumped and Stilt Sandpipers, Snowy and Wilson’s Plovers. Merlins patrol the area looking for easy prey. Continuing on with our guide into the subtropical dry forest of Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, home to natives such as Puerto-Rican Flycatchers, Adelaide’s Warblers and Warbling Silverbills. Many northern migrants winter-over in the area.
 Lunch: Lunch at Local Restaurant
 Afternoon: Drive to Boqueron Wildlife Refuge.Check for Puerto Rican Pewee, water-thrushes, yellow-faced grass quits and wading bird
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel
 Evening: Review Bird List
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Maricao Cloud Forest/Dinner and Birding review
(Wednesday, October 30)

Note: The trail gets rough and steep in sections, hiking boots highly recommended.



   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Journey into the mountains via Sabana Grande to Maricao Cloud Forest. The small town of Maricao is known as one of the best habitats for Puerto Rico endemic birds. Meet our local birding guide for introduction to the Forest’s habitats and what birds to look for. Walk a hilly trail through the sub-tropical mountain forest, looking for Puerto Rican endemics such as the Elfin Woods Warbler, Puerto Rican Tanager, Puerto Rican Vireo, various hummingbirds and Ruggy Quail Doves. NOTE The mountain roads taken on this trip, while safe, are very winding and people prone to motion sickness may wish to take medication as a preventative measure. NOTE: The trail gets rough and steep in sections, hiking boots are highly recommended.
 Lunch: Picnic Style restaurant.
 Afternoon: On our way to the hotel, stop at La Torre de Piedra (the Stone Tower) for view over Puerto Rico's central cordillera. On a clear day it is possible to see both the Atlantic to the north and the Caribbean to the south. Because we are at the top of a mountain peak, we have an unobstructed vantage point above birds flying between tree-tops.
 Dinner: At hotel. During dinner a review of the bird species seen will be made.
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)/Dinner and Birding review/Free time
(Thursday, October 31)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Birding at the Laguna Cartagena NWR. The lagoon is the only freshwater marsh of significant size remaining in SW Puerto Rico. Birding a section of two trails: one which intersects wetlands and enters the perfect habitat for waders, waterfowl such as rare West-Indian Whistling Ducks, Caribbean Coots, galinules and Wilson’s Snipes; the other with savannah-like uplands known for Troupials, Mangrove Cuckoos, Antillean Euphonias, sparrows and grasquits.
 Lunch: Picnic Style Lunch
 Afternoon: Free Time.Opportunity to pack and get ready to leave early next day. Perfect time for pictures opportunities by the garden, or pool area
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel and review of bird list. Tips for the following day
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Birding at Guanica Dry Forest /Free Time/Dinner
(Friday, November 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Hotel check-out and depart for return to San Juan. Stop at Guanica Dry Forest. Walk several trails through the world’s largest remaining intact tropical dry forest, home to 15 of Puerto Rico’s endemic species, Troupials, the Caribbean Elaenia and winter migrants.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free Late Afternoon
 Dinner: Dinner at Local Restaurant
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: El Yunque National Park/Fajardo/Farewell Dinner and Review overall bird sightings
(Saturday, November 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: Depart for El Yunque Rain Forest and first stop at El Portal visitors Center for orientation about the forest. Later one of the guides will talk about the endangered Puerto Rican parrot and give an update on the present count (as at Fall 2006 the number was 40 known). Other bird species to be on the lookout for will be the tiny yet colorful Puerto Rican tody. PLEASE NOTE: Due to its fragile status the Puerto Rican parrot is only being introduced to very remote areas of the Island. Therefore, the chances of seeing one are extremely slim. Most of the parrots seen around San Juan are either the Dominican parrots or Monk parakeets.
 Lunch: Picnic Style Lunch
 Afternoon: In transit to San Juan. Stop at Las Cabezas de San Juan in Fajardo.Your eyes and ears will be your best guides during this bird-watching tour at Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve, where you will learn to identify species of birds found in the area by paying attention to their distinctive songs and plumage. Depart to Fajardo South area looking for Boobies and other sea birds. Return to Hotel
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at local restaurant
 Evening: Review overall bird sightings and record number of species plus lifers for group.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Check Out / Independent Departures
(Sunday, November 3)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast
 Morning: Hotel check-out by 12 pm and individual departures for the airport. Depending upon airline schedules individuals may wish to share a taxi.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Guide to the Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands


Author: Herbert Raffaele


Description: This is a revised edition of a widely praised guide to the birds of the largest of the Caribbean islands and the neighboring Virgin Islands. It includes detailed accounts of all 284 well-documented species known to occur in the region, 273 being illustrated. The book also contains specific sections entitled "Biogeography" and "Conservation" to foster an appreciation of the uniqueness of the region's wildlife and to develop an awareness of local conservation issues. The section "Places to Bird" will help make the stay of short-term visitors more productive. The book also substantially updates the data on avian distribution and abundance in the region covering records through November 1988. From reviews of the first edition: "This well-illustrated volume is a must for any student of birds visiting Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands."--Chandler S. Robbins, The Quarterly Review of Biology "A valuable and informative guide."--James A. Dick, The Wilson Bulletin "This well-written book is the first comprehensive guide to the birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All species, including winter visitors (which comprise 47 percent of the avifauna) are described and illustrated, making a second volume for identification of North American migrants unnecessary. . . . Aside from being a fine field guide, the book contains useful summaries of the biogeography of the region and the ecology of avian populations. . . . A major contribution is Raffaele's presentation of a wealth of hitherto unpublished information on the natural history of the region's birds."--James W. Wiley, Ibis



Puerto Rico's Birds in Photographs: A complete guide and


Author: Mark Oberle


Description: Puerto Rico's first book to illustrate in color photographs all breeding birds and regular migrants. Over 400 color photos of 191 species of Puerto Rican birds are included. The English text is designed for students, teachers, tourists, and anyone who wants to understand Puerto Rico's natural heritage by learning about its fascinating birds. The species' life histories are written in a non-technical style for the general reader, and include important lessons for conservation of our natural resources. Most common birds of the Virgin Islands and Lesser Antilles are also illustrated. Over 100 professional and amateur ornithologists collaborated in this effort. The book comes with a CD-ROM with Spanish and English life history accounts and audio clips of over 400 species, plus detailed bibliography and over 2,900 photos. Translation by José Placer. The CD-ROM is written in HTML, for PC and Macintosh computers, and allows easy use for student projects in biology, music, and art.



Peterson Field Guides


Author: Roger Tory




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