Birding - Best Tours & Trips 2019
Birders are among the most flexible travelers around, always ready to pick up at a moment's notice and fly off somewhere to spot a rare species. They also love to take birding tours to places like Costa Rica, Panama, the Galapagos, Trinidad, Alaska, and Colombia, where they can take it slow and add to their life lists. Whether you're a dedicated birder or more of a devoted backyard birdwatcher who wants to learn more, you can b ... Read More
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
Impacted by Climate Change
- Wattled and Grey-crowned Cranes
- Denham’s Bustard
- Blue Korhaan
- Southern Bald Ibis
- Drakensberg Rockjumper
- Gurney’s Sugarbird
- Bush Blackcap
- Bennett’s and Olive Woodpeckers
- Rudd’s and Botha’s Larks
- Purple-crested and Livingstone’s Turacos
- Chorister Robin-Chat
- Drakensberg and Karoo Prinias
- Grey Tit
- Karoo and Olive Thrushes
- Fairy Flycatcher
- Layard’s and Chestnut-vented Warblers
- Cape Parrot
- Narina Trogon
- Gorgeous and Olive Bushshrikes
- Spotted and Orange Ground Thrushes
- Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrushes
- Rudd’s Apalis
- Woodward’s and Cape Batises
- Crimson-breasted Shrike
- Southern Pied Babbler
- Grey and Black-faced Waxbills
- Brown and Bearded Scrub Robins
- Buff-streaked and Sickle-winged Chats
- Pink-throated Twinspot
- Scarlet-chested and Southern Double-collared Sunbirds
- Green Malkoha
- Half-collared and Giant Kingfishers
- Little and White-fronted Bee-eaters
- Southern Boubou
- Cape and Forest Canaries
- Spectacled and Southern Brown-throated Weavers
- Yellow-breasted Pipit.
- Visit Ushuaia
- Enjoy Kayak hike and mountaineering activities in Antarctica
- Enjoy the cruise through m/v Plancius
- Have a chance to see different types of polar region birds and animals
- Experience the nature by visiting Melchior Islands and Booth Island
- Chance to see the animals including elephants, zebras, and giraffe , monkeys, antelope, and often elephants along the route
- View of the Meru Crater and the impressive Ash Cone.
- Seeing wildlife before reaching Momela Gate in the late morning.
- Visit Lake Manyara best known for its rich variety of bird life and tree climbing lion.
- See black rhino as well as prides of lion that include the magnificent black-manned males.
- Experience seeing leopard, cheetah, hyena, other members of the antelope family, and small mammals.
- Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant
- White-browed Nuthatch
- Black-bibbed Tit
- Chin Hills Wren-Babbler
- Jerdon’s Bush Chat
- Collared Myna
- Burmese Yuhina
- Burmese Bush Lark
- White-throated Babbler
- Hooded Treepie
- Jerdon’s Minivet
- Spectacled Barwing
- Red-faced Liochicla
- Silver-eared Laughingthrush
- Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler
- Black-throated and Spot-breasted Parrotbill
- Steak-throated Barwing
- Assam and White-browed Laughingthrush
- Pale-capped Pigeon
- Himalayan Cutia
- Black-headed Shrike-Babbler
- Pale-headed Woodpecker
- Grey-headed Parakeet
- Himalayan Flameback
- White-rumped Falcon
- Fire-tailed Sunbird
- Burmese Bushtit
- Mount Victoria Babax
- Hodgson’s Frogmouth & Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker
- Explore Ushuaia
- A beautiful helicopter flight over huge blue icebergs and fast ice can also be made close to View Point in Duse Bay.
- Visit Devil Island and Vega Island with a large colony of Adélie Penguins and a magnificent view for those hikers who can make it to the top of the hill.
- Visit Gourdin Island, with three penguin species; Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie.
- Experience Walking on the pack ice in the Weddell Sea
- Manu NP is home to Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, Spectacled Bear & Giant River Otter
- Myriad hummingbirds and tanagers in the cloudforest
- Visit an Andean Cock-of-the-rock lek
- Multiple primate species & White-lipped Peccaries plus chance of Ocelot
- Visit oxbow lakes to look for Hoatzins, Sungrebes & Giant River Otters
- Dawn clay-lick visit to see Red-and-green Macaws & other parrots & parakeets
- Look for Brazilian Tapirs at a clay-lick
- Guided 4x4 safari to 3 game parks
- Enjoy Big cats in the Serengeti
- Witness the annual migration in season
- Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Crater
- See forests, lakes & wildlife
- Enjoy comfort & good facilities
- Taiwan Blue (Formosan) Magpie
- Swinhoe’s & Mikado Pheasant
- Taiwan Partridge
- Taiwan Bamboo Partridge
- Mandarin Duck
- Black-faced Spoonbill
- Taiwan (Formosan) Whistling Thrush
- Ashy Wood Pigeon
- Whistling & White-bellied Green Pigeon
- Philippine Cuckoo-Dove
- Mountain Scops Owl
- Crested Myna
- Maroon Oriole
- Collared Finchbill
- Taiwan Barbet
- Taiwan Hwamei
- Taiwan & Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler
- Rusty Laughingthrush
- Japanese Robin
- Siberian Rubythroat
- Vivid Niltava
- Steere’s (Taiwan) Liocichla
- Taiwan Yuhina
- White-browed & Collared Bush Robin
- Brown-flanked & Yellow-bellied Bush Warbler
- Lowland White-eye
- Styan’s (Taiwan) & Brown-eared Bulbul
- Japanese Paradise Flycatcher
- Golden Parrotbill
- Taiwan Barwing
- Yellow Tit
- Taiwan & Dusky Fulvetta
- Grey-headed Bullfinch
- Taiwan Rosefinch
- Chinese & Japanese Grosbeak
- Opportunity to See many Species Band-tailed Gull, West Peruvian Dove, Croaking Ground Dove, Cinereous Conebill, Peruvian Meadowlark and Slender-billed Finch
- Visit to Lauca National Park
- Visit Milpe, It´s a small village in the rain forest, It´s located 17 km to Mindo
- Experience hike in Mindo Cloud Forest and enjoy looking, tanagers, parrots, toucans and woodpeckers
- Visit Bellavista Cloud Forest and visit a waterfall
- Explore Quito
- Blue-eyed Cockatoo
- Nicobar Pigeon
- Black Honey Buzzard
- New Britain Sparrowhawk
- Melanesian Megapode
- Knob-billed Fruit Dove
- Finsch’s Imperial Pigeon
- Song Parrot
- Violaceous & White-necked Coucal
- New Britain Boobook
- Black-capped Paradise Kingfisher
- Beach & White-mantled Kingfisher
- Sclater’s Myzomela
- White-backed Woodswallow
- Black-tailed Monarch
- Long-tailed Myna
- Red-banded Flowerpecker & Buff-bellied Mannikin
- Get a spectacular view of the city at the top of the Monserrate Hill
- Visit stunning landscape and enjoy the diversity of flora and fauna
- Enjoy spotting most beautiful birds
- Visit places filled with history and mysteries
- Boating through the marshes of the Ibera.
- Relaxing on the front porch of your cabin at Posada de la Laguna listening to Southern Screamers.
- Watching birds and butterflies at La Bonita and swimming in the waterfall pool.
- Attending a tango show in Buenos Aires.
- Seeing the stars of the southern hemisphere. .
- Magellanic Woodpecker
- Chucao & Magellanic Tapaculos
- Black-throated Huet-huet
- Austral Pygmy Owl
- Lesser (Magellanic) Horned Owl
- Austral Parakeet
- Black-faced Ibis
- White-throated Treerunner
- Austral Thrush
- Chilean Pigeon and Rufous-tailed Plantcutter
- Ashy-headed & Upland Geese
- Great Shrike-Tyrant
- Thorn-tailed Rayadito
- Patagonian Sierra Finch
- Andean Condor
- Flying Steamer Duck
- Green-backed Firecrown
- Des Murs’s Wiretail
- Patagonian Tyrant.
- Wonder at myriad birdlife present in Southern Africa, up to 400+ different species in some locations.
- Marvel at the beauty of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
- Search for the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo) while on safari in Hwange and Chobe National Park and a private concession in Zimbabwe.
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Top Birding Experiences
Watching the magical and extensive bird migration in Cape May
Marveling at the brilliantly colored lilac breasted rollers and hundreds of other species in Kruger National Park
Listening to the trill and zings of Hummingbirds in Pichincha
Visiting Voto Donana National Park and excitedly adding rare species of birds to your life list
Staying in an eco-lodge in Costa Rica and waking up to the sound of myriads of tropical birds
Patiently searching for -- and at long last, finding! -- the elusive bee hummingbird in Cuba
Learning about bird-banding and mist-netting techniques in Point Reyes National Seashore visitor center
Observing Galapagos finches and blue footed boobies - and feeling the spirit of Charles Darwin
Birding Trip Reviews
382 Birding Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend
Birding Tours and Travel Guide
Birding Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Birders are among the most flexible travelers around, always ready to pick up at a moment's notice and fly off somewhere to spot a rare species. They also love to take birding tours to places like Costa Rica, Panama, the Galapagos, Trinidad, Alaska, and Colombia, where they can take it slow and add to their life lists.
Whether you're a dedicated birder or more of a devoted backyard birdwatcher who wants to learn more, you can be sure you'll find a birding tour that's just your speed.
To a dedicated birder, nothing is so thrilling as to search for -- and find! -- a new life bird. The search will bear any kind of difficulty, from getting up at 3 am to hiking through remote mountain jungles, just for the excitement and exhilaration … along with the sense of accomplishment. Novice birders can experience this same delight, reveling in the exquisite beauty of birds seen through binoculars and beginning to learn the basics of “field marks” and the overall gestalt of a bird (casually referred to as “jizz”).
A Worldwide Activity
One of the true benefits to birdwatching – and one reason why birding is one of the fastest growing sports today – is that birds can be seen anywhere. Hence, birdwatching can be combined with all other elements of exciting travel. Join a birding tour to Bhutan and celebrate the Black Crane festival with the King! Revel in the sight of magnificent Albatrosses soaring over peaks in Kauai; or wade through African swamps in Uganda to find the prehistoric-looking Shoebill.
You can watch birds at the Parthenon, and then travel with your guide to the smaller Greek islands to immerse yourself – literally alone! – in the beauty of ancient ruins, watching whimsical Hoopoes. Birding in India includes a visit to the Taj Mahal, followed by immersion in deeply mystical forests; Svalbard and the great northern forests are fantastic places to spot birds.
Bird photography can be especially difficult; birding tour guides (and other guests) can provide beneficial assistance and give pointers for managing to photograph birds hiding in elusive dark forests or winging through the skies. In general, having a telephoto lens will be extremely helpful to see farther away finds.
If you're lucky enough to get up close, a macro lens will capture beatuiful colors and detail! Because you will be outdoors, using a Neutral Density filter or Polarizing filter can help with glare, and make sure your subject doesn't become washed out. There are techniques for particular local conditions which can be gleaned from guides but may be more difficult to figure out for yourself.
Benefits of Using a Guide
When arriving in a new area, it can be extremely difficult (and disappointing) to try to figure out the likely locale and typical timing of local birds unless you are familiar with the ecosystem. These details can make or break a birding experience, and are very hard to glean from reading travel or birding books.
It’s hard to know which birds will respond to a playback; which birds are likely to be low in the understory or perched on tops of trees; even something as particular as which side of the road they like to frequent!
A local guide knows where to look, when to look, and how to look for each bird … and if he or she suddenly hears birdsong, will know which bird has vocalized (and can quickly find the proper playback for assistance).
Benefits of a Planned Tour
Although local bird guides for most areas can be found from an internet search, there are significant advantages to signing up for a tour package, both for experienced and novice birders. The tour will provide you with a guide who speaks your language, which is instrumental in finding birds.
Imagine trying to understand “it’s hidden behind a small branch on the left side of the ebony tree” in a foreign language. Even “see where my laser is pointing?” is difficult sometimes!
This leader will also arrange for additional local guides, to serve as an extra repository of knowledge and the latest details for rare or unusual birds sighted locally – and your leader will be able to communicate with them in their language in case you can’t!
The advantage of having hotels, meals, and travel logistics arranged cannot be overemphasized … leaving you free to enjoy the birds! This is exceptionally important if you want to travel around a destination to different birding ecosystems. It is a joy to have the arrangements made for you!
Another benefit from signing up for a birding tour is the other people on the tour itself. There is great pleasure in sharing the adventure; making new friends who have a common interest and expanding your network of connections.
Each night after a day of birdwatching, the group will gather and discuss the day’s sightings, cementing your memory of each bird. Photos will be shared; anecdotes related. Even a novice’s foibles will be fondly reminisced – the camaraderie of a group of like-minded individuals can be extraordinary!
Popular Birdwatching Spots:
Manu National Park, Peru; Cape May, U.S.; Kruger National Park, South Africa; Borneo, Malaysia; Panama Canal, Panama; Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan; Veracruz & Yucatan Peninsula; Mexico, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia; and Many More
All Birding tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Birding trips.