Plan your next birdwatching trip
using a local professional Birdingpal guide...
If you are you an independent birdwatcher, who does not care for large group tours, then Birdingpaltours is for you.
Our tours are flexible, safe and the use of a local guide lets you participate in the planning.
A local guide knows all the hotspots and you get the most out of your trip.
You select the date and length for a trip to suit yourself.
If your time is limited, we'll design a tour to fit your needs.
A professional Birdingpal guide can customize your tour, and you will see the birds you want.
Your guide is also your travel companion, who will make sure you experience the native people, scenery, culture, history and food, first hand.
You will enjoy the advantage of all the attention you get in a small group, for the same price or perhaps even less, than you will pay if you travel with the large tour groups from other countries.
Remember, the next time you travel, you do not have to miss the birdwatching if your partner or travel companions are non birders; a local guide is flexible, and will easily accommodate other needs too.
Hiring a Birdingpal guide will boost the local economy and help protect birds other wildlife and their habitat.
Birdwatching in Jamaica
Jamaica has 29 wonderful endemic birds. That is more than any other island in the Caribbean. It offers excellent birding in a wide range of mountain or lowland forest and wetland habitats. In all, we have around 300 species including a large number of winter visitors, transients and vagrants that can be observed depending on the season.
"BIRDING ECCLESDOWN ROAD"
In winter, through migration, we nearly double the number of species in Jamaica. These migrants can arrive in August and remain here until May. For birders from North America, it is a good opportunity to see species that do not occur in their home territory, whilst for guests from Europe, the winter season is an ideal time to visit and to catch the mainly North American influx of warblers, wetland and shorebirds. Many of the species that come at this time add to our own resident populations. In early spring (March/April), we have a few species that migrate to Jamaica to breed here (Black Whiskered Vireo, Caribbean Martin, Antillean Night Hawk).
BIRDING SINCE 2005 – FULLY LICENSED OPERATOR – EXPERIENCED LOCAL GUIDES -SMALL GROUPS – TRAILS TO SUIT ALL – MAXIMUM BIRDING TIME – AIR-CONDITIONED BUS
Save money with our fixed date birdwatching tours to Jamaica 15-20 April 2018
4-9 November 2018 Pals get a discount when we meet up in a group tour!
ENDEMIC BIRDS IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN JAMAICA
Met by your guide and driver at Montego Bay Airport, or local accommodation. Wintering water birds and opportunity for West Indian Whistling Duck at Bogue Lagoon. Visit Rocklands Hummingbird Sanctuary at Anchovy for close up views of Red-billed Streamertail, Mango Hummingbird, Orangequit and many more. Then mountain drive to Bluefields for lunch and afternoon birds at Bluefields Mountain IBA. Transfer to south coast accommodation Lunch, dinner and overnight included
RED BILLED STREAMERTAIL and BLACK-BILLED STREAMERTAIL
Day 2 Early start for visit to Dean’s Valley Forest Reserve and then in woodlands above Whitehouse in the afternoon. Of the 29 Jamaican endemic species, we have observed 21 in these areas, plus a further 13 endemic subspecies. Among the regular favourites on our tours in this area are the: Jamaican Tody, Jamaican Spindalis, Orangequit, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Elaenia, Jamaican Pewee, Olive-throated Parakeet, Northern Potoo (sometimes seen at day time roost), Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Jamaican Woodpecker, Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Arrowhead Warbler, Greater Antillean Bullfinch.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight included
Day 3 Travel to Port Antonio (approx. 4 hours). Afternoon birds at Ecclesdown (subject to arrival time) and in hotel grounds and wooded environs down to the sea shore, including Black-billed Streamertail humming bird, Jamaican Oriole, White-chinned Thrush, Jamaican Spindalis. Evening search for Jamaican Owl at hotel.
Overnight near Port Antonio, Portland
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight included
Day 4. Early start for birding at northern Ecclesdown Road, in the Blue and John Crow Mountains. National Park. Target birds include endangered Jamaican Blackbird, near-endangered Crested Quail Dove, Ring-tailed Pigeon, Black-billed Parrot, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo Blue Mountain Vireo, Vervain Hummingbird, Jamaican Tody, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Elaenia, Arrowhead Warbler, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Olive-throated Parakeet, Greater Antillean Bullfinch, Jamaican Crow, and other of the 29 endemics that are in this area. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight included
JAMAICAN LIZARD CUCKOO
Day 5. Morning, White-tailed Tropic Birds at Hectors River (March/April). The morning and afternoon birding between the gardens at spectacular Reach Falls and southern Ecclesdown in John Crow and Blue Mountain IBA. Lunch at Long Bay. Target birds for the day include Jamaican Blackbird, Crested Quail Dove, Blue Mountain Vireo, Jamaican Tody, Yellow-billed Parrot, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Elaenia, Jamaican Woodpecker, Jamaican Spindalis, Jamaican Euphonia, White-chinned Thrush, White-eyed Thrush and Orangequit, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo, Jamaican Pewee, Red-tailed Hawk and more.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight included
Day 6 Subject to flight departure times. Early morning endemic birds on tracks at Fairy Hill/Goblin Hill and accommodation environs. Shore birds at Salt Marsh. Depart accommodation. Transfer to Montego Bay.
Breakfast. Overnight not included in tour fee
Optional additional days
Day 1 Bahama Mockingbird. Portland Cottage and Portland Bight for Bahama Mockingbird in dry limestone forest. Good range of endemics including Jamaican Tody, Jamaican Vireo, Jamaican Elaenia, Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo and migrant warblers. Shorebirds including Clapper Rail, White Ibis and winter visitors. (Seasonal availability only).
Day 2 Black River Upper Morass is part of Jamaica's largest wetland and an IBA. Present in the area are very rare residents including the Spotted Rail and Yellow-breasted Crake. Also at the site, West Indian Whistling Ducks, Masked Duck, Limpkin, Least Bittern, Purple Gallinule and many others are
Included in your tour: Guides, all ground transportation within Jamaica (from Day 1 to Day 6 only), all entrance fees to specified sites, specified accommodation, daily meal plan as indicated, with two course dinner.
On early start days breakfast may be a pre-prepared snack and beverage. Light one course lunches or snacks will be taken at local restaurants on a daily basis. Transfers to and from Montego Bay international airport on tour start and finish days only.
Excluded from your tour: Any meals not itemized in the itinerary. Gratuities, alcoholic beverages, items of personal nature, airport departure tax (usually included in your air ticket purchase), or international airfare, originating bank electronic transfers. Overnight, meals and transport to accommodation if you arrive before the first day of the tour, or remain after the tour.
Example Price 6 Days tour price is based on 2 persons/double room – from US$ 1675 (May to October) US$ 1,785(November to April) per person. Single room supplement US$250.
Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.
Notes: The above itinerary is designed to provide the greatest opportunity to see the majority of Jamaica's endemics in the shortest time. Tour routes may be varied according to weather conditions. Arrival and departure date are included in the itinerary. Trips take place throughout the year. Private and customised tours available on request.
Our routes are relatively easy walking over short distances. Slightly more challenging trails can be walked with fitter groups. If you have any concerns regarding levels of fitness required, please ask for more details.
Equipment: Clothing - Dress for hot and humid tropical weather and be prepare for rain. Light clothing is recommended: cotton shirts and t-shirts (earth colors preferable), long and short pants, closed shoes or trainers (not sandals), hat, insect repellent and sun block.
Equipment - Binoculars, scope and camera.
Travel insurance: strongly recommended
If you have a non birder in your group:
For those not wishing to spend every day birding, then additional sightseeing tours can be arranged or substituted. Within easy reach of our base, are top Jamaican attractions such as Appelton Rum Tour, Black River Crocodile Safari, the cool mountain town of Mandeville. Also, a cultural and historic bus tour of Bluefields Mountains and its environs is a must! Please ask for more information.
Wolde your local Birdingpal guide
Wolde is highly entertaining and great fun to be with and totally in love with Jamaica. He has an excellent knowledge of endemic birds in Jamaica and can where they can be found. He is dedicated to protecting and promoting the marine and terrestrial environment with particular emphasis at Bluefields on the South Coast. Here he has actively encouraged a wide range of other groups and organisations to become involved in conservation projects in local coastal and wetlands areas. He has also worked closely with the Government and local fishermen to establish a Fish Sanctuary in Bluefields Bay, coral reef regeneration and a turtle protection programmes.
In April 2009 Wolde won the prestigious Jamaica Tourist Board, "Tourism Service Excellence Award" for the South Coast Resort Area. He also received a national award for his company for Training Excellence.
In addition to his birding skills, he has a keen interest in local archaeology and history and has participated in a number of digs for Taino artifacts. If you are really lucky, he may give you a demonstration of his African drumming skills!
Deceita your local Birdingpal guide
Deceita loves to share her corner of Jamaica and its superb birding with our visitors and loves meeting people. She has a great love of all aspects of natural history with a special fondness for birds. She knows just where to find them on her extensive patch of the island. She studied farming at Knockalva Agricultural School and will just as readily enjoy talking with you about folklore and Jamaican history or point out fascinating plants in the forests. She is well versed in
herbal remedies for a wide range of common ailments and will demonstrate how to collect and prepare herbal teas.
Deceita is a very active Secretary to Bluefields Bay Fishermens Friendly Society and is one of the main drivers in their successful fish conservation program.
Veda your local Birdingpal guide
Veda lives, eats, sleeps and dreams birds. Day and night she is on the case - even in church she is watching to see if one will fly into the building.
She is fun to be with and will spot the birds with ease and give their common and local names and recollect many stories about them.
Without doubt, her favorite bird is the Northern Potoo which with its superb camouflage seems to play hide-and- seek at its day time roost with even the most observant visitor.
She will enjoy teasing you to see the large elusive bird right in front of you. You will be amazed. Whether at Bluefields, Catadupa, or in the remote wilderness of the Cockpit Country she will be the first to get you 'on the bird'!
Veda is a key leader of the Bluefields Peoples' Community Association anti-litter eco initiative to educate and keep Bluefields and its environs in pristine condition.
Vaughan your local Birdingpal guide
Vaughan is a keen naturalist and ornithologist. He organises and designs the itineraries and enjoys making sure that visitors get to the hottest birding spots to ensure they have the best possible birding holiday on the island. Over the years, he has helped put western Jamaica back on the map as a one of Jamaica's "must visit" birding areas for international visitors wanting to find our endemics.
He also has contributed a wealth of information and drafted the sections on Bluefields and Black River IBA's for the 2008 publication, "Important Bird Areas in The Caribbean," the Bird Life International book on Caribbean IBA's. He provided data for Ann Sutton's "Birds of Jamaica", 2009 and Bird Life International's publication "Water Birds Conservation for the Americas." He has co-authored papers on History of the Spotted Rail (Pardirallus maculatus)in Jamaica with first photographic documentation of breeding and Jamaica’s endemic Parakeet Eupsittula [formerly Aratinga] nana (Vigors, 1830): Natural history and conservation status
He is a keen photographer with a particular is interest in photographing butterflies and has recently co-authored and published a major new work Discovering Jamaican Butterflies and their relationships around the Caribbean which includes several new discoveries.
He has planned and led walking expeditions in a number of locations including the Arctic of Northern Norway, Canada, Malaysia, as well as the mountains of Scotland and throughout Europe.
In February 2010 we spent seven wonderful days in the company of Wolde, Vaughan, Deceita and Veda. In that time we saw all 28 of Jamaica's endemic birds as well as several Greater Antillean endemics. They were always so punctual and so accommodating to our needs. Their birding skills were on a par with anything that we have seen in operation anywhere in the world. Not only were they experts in finding birds by call but their knowledge of the history and culture of Jamaica seemed almost limitless. The whole experience of being on their tour was truly outstanding.
Bob & Kathleen, Bedford, UK
I have just returned from a very successful trip to Jamaica where I was very lucky to see all 28/28 endemics. Whilst I realise that I was lucky with the weather and
the birds the rest was purely down to the unstinting effort and knowledge of Vaughan and the team. It was birding with a smile on your face! In this day and age is there anything you want more!
Birdingpal Paul Gaffan, Suffolk, UK
Maria and I were both happy with the trip and the outstanding service. Wolde, Veda and Deceita were entertaining and fun to be with but at the same time business like, making sure everything was taken care of and everything we asked for was achieved. I know they really enjoy birding, but they put in some extra long days when they didn't have to. They know the birds and where to find them and what they sound like.
I know Carol communicated to you our appreciation for all you did for us in Jamaica. But more than that we appreciate what you are doing for birdlife and conservation in that country---and the key we observe around the world is training and helping local people to see amidst their difficult and oft poverty struck lives--value in preserving local habitats both economically short term and spiritually long term.
I have been on several other professionally-led birding tours, including Dominican Republic and Peru, with established international birding tour companies. I particularly liked that it was local people leading the tour, not people who had traveled in from somewhere else.
"In March of 2014, I took a 6 day birding tour of Jamaica with RAJ. It was simply wonderful! Our leader, Veda, was extraordinarily skilled at locating the birds and making sure that everyone had a good look at each bird. All endemics were located and well seen. Veda was also attentive to all administrative details and very aware of the well-being of each guest. And, of course, traveling with a local guide, we got to go to the best jerk restaurants and eat at small spots along the coast where there were no other tourists. I highly recommend RAJ for a birding trip to Jamaica."
I took part in a 6-day birding tour with Reliable Adventures Jamaica in March, 2014. It was a wonderful experience! Our guide, Veda, managed to show us all 28 endemic species, and many more. We covered a lot of terrain, but made frequent rest stops (and indulged in lots of fresh, local fruit along the way!) Veda was extremely helpful and attentive. She made sure that everyone saw the birds clearly. Her son, Dion, was our driver and provided excellent service. We were well supplied with drinking water, snacks and insect repellent. It was a memorable trip! From mountains to marshes, RAJ shows you a Jamaica that few tourists get to see.
Some facts about Jamaica.
The island - discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain, and in 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962.
Industry: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement.
Agriculture: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, yam, ackee.
Population: 2,825,928 (July 2009 est.).
Area: 10,991 sq km.
Religion: Protestant 62.5%, Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census).
Currency: Jamaican Dollar.
Life Expectancy: 73.53.
GDP per Capita: U.S. $7,700
Literacy Percent: 87.9.
Climate: Tropical maritime.
Weather: Max day temperature range 29-33. Rainy months: May and October.
Birds of Jamaica Haynes -Sutton, Downer, Sutton.
Important Bird Areas in The Caribbean -David Wege & Veronica Anadon-Irizarry.
Birds of North America -David Sibley.
Bird Songs in Jamaica - George B. Reynard and Robert L. Sutton
Note: To ascertain tour availability and best pricing, select a week for departure date. e.g. Sep 01 - 07