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semi-organized solo birding trip ? (1 Viewer)

nicolas1970i

Active member
3 weeks just freed up in late september/first half of october, and I was thinking of going birdwatching in Brazil. I probably won't have much time to research or organize by myself.

Last year I booked a trip through an agent, a first in my life, in Madagascar, with madagascar-tour-guide.com (if memory serves it was actually recommended on this very forum). It was the perfect set up as I was alone with my driver (I really dislike birding - or doing anything for that matter ! - in groups), the itinerary was designed so I would get to see almost all endemics, and local bird guides (they were fantastic !) were waiting for me at the various locations, booked by Andry (MTG). I opted to choose my own accommodation, but to be honest there wasn't necessarily a big choice, and his recommendations were often at the top of my list. I paid the lodges directly too, so there was no agent's cut for that. I also paid the guides directly, according to a price determined in advance.

Would it be possible to find an agent to organize something similar in Brazil ?
Moving around in Madagascar is complicated, so renting a car with driver was the only sensible option. In Brazil I would guess i could take care of my own transportation (I can rent a car if needed), so ideally I would just like to have an itinerary, a list of suitable accommodations to choose from, and booked guides at the various locations.
Do you know of agents that can do that, and whom you would recommend ?

I am not set on the number of days. I could either spend all three weeks birdwatching, or I could split 2 weeks birdwatching/1 week surfing (or even half birdwatching and half surfing/diving on Fernando the Noronha... hmmmm).

How many locations would you suggest I should visit in 10/15/20 days ? Country is big and I wouldn't like the waste half the time traveling from A to B...

If only for 10 days, would it make more sense to just book a couple of lodges by myself, and find a personal guide there ? I spent one time in the Amazon before, in Iquitos, and each room in our lodge had a dedicated guide for the duration of the stay. I haven't started any research and I have no idea as yet of the average time to spend per locations, if it's exclusively for birding.

Thanks in advance for your help !
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Whatever you do, are you prepared to either be unable to go at short notice and/or lose money on pre-booked things due to the dreaded coronavirus? (Up to you to make the judgement as to whether wise - loads of people just went and did holidays in the summer when restrictions ended, then travel restrictions came in/quarantines were imposed, and many lost out).
 

nicolas1970i

Active member
I am not worried about what could happen in the coming weeks : worst of cases, I take one of the last flights back home, worst of the worst cases, but extremely unlikely, and I'd say more unlikely then other atrocious things that could happend to me in Brazil, I get stuck there. I can afford it, and I'm willing to take the risk.

What, on the other hand, could make give up on the trip, is if I found it impractical, or not fun, due to the current restrictions, some of which I may not be aware of, and I welcome any information anyone might have. In fact I just found out that Noronha is restricted to tourists able to prove that they have recovered from the infection, which excludes me, it's a shame as I was really interested
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Yep, not trying to be too negative but obviously can affect things in known and unforeseen ways! Sorry can't help in general birding terms.

Have a good trip if it works out ... :t:
 

nicolas1970i

Active member
I've sent an email to Birding Mato Grosso, Birding Brazil Tours, Tropical Birding and Brazil Birding Experts, if anyone knows them I'd welcome information
 

nicolas1970i

Active member
Thanks Niels.

Alternatively, if I fail to have a trip organised, could you suggest a list of accomodations, which I can book and reach by myself ?
I'm looking for places from which I can bird with a guide, either from the lodge or pre-booked, and that don't necessitate long travel times to get to (so maybe exclude the Amazon ?).
I can fly and rent a car if necessary
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Sorry, but never been to Brazil myself. I hope you have looked at the other threads in this part of birdforum, others might have asked overlapping questions.

Niels
 

nicolas1970i

Active member
So... I'm writing from Sao Paulo airport, waiting for my flight to Alta Floresta :)

I managed to organize something in the end, with a guide from Brazil Birding Expers, who worked very hard to devise an itinerary. Of all the operators I contacted (all of them answered, some were apologetic that they couldn't help, others seemed to not want to go through any hassle at all...), they were the keenest to work with me, despite the difficulties.

It was pretty difficult to figure out, as some areas are still closed (Chapada Diamantina, Lear's Macaw reserve - forgot the name, Intervales, ... as well as some lodges), and on top of that the Pantanal and Cerrado are burning badly :(
We had to leave the North East out, to my regret, as with the different closures the already long driving distances between hotspots would have been even longer.

I'll be spending six days at Cristalino (just with the lodges' guides), then I'll do a 9-day tour of the South East with my guide (areas north and south of Sao Paulo), and then fly again to Manaus for the final 9 days, where I'll meet another guide from his company.

I'm pretty excited, hope everything goes well !
 

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