Our birding experience in El Salvador
Well this may seem unprofessional to some but I have always been honest in what I offer so I think it is important to tell you my story about how I became involved in birding in El Salvador. Late in 2010 I was invited to a beginners birding course here in little Suchitoto, this was an effort sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation a US fund invested to alleviate poverty in developing countries. El Salvador received in 2008 from the fund money to build a new northern highway connecting Guatemala with the Gulf of Fonseco, the majority of the money was used for the construction of this new highway, but some money was invested in efforts to improve production, quality of services (including tourism) and other infrastructure. After the first session and after realizing that I literally have Collared Aracari’s, Motmot’s and flocks of Orange-fronted parakeets right in my back yard, well as you can imagine I was hooked, not only on birding but looking into birding tours as a new component for El Salvador’s budding tourism industry. Since that first 3 day course on birding, I as well as some other local guides have participated in two more advanced birding courses and we now offer some birding options in and around Suchitoto and El Salvador. We do not consider ourselves in any means expert bird guides although now after 8 plus years our skills are more honed and we have been able to provide what I would consider professional birding tours. The first two birding courses were financed by the MCC Fund but enthusiasm motivated many of the initial participants to locally sponsor the third course and we have worked as a group in an effort to continued to train ourselves as well as other local and communal guides in Suchitoto as well as in other parts of the country. We also have been tapping into the knowledge of two ex pats birders that live here and go out birding with them when ever possible. The Salvadorian that taught the initial courses has been working with us in other parts of the country in our group effort to train local bird guides as well in an effort to insure income to local guides in areas of the country that offer very few other opportunities. Here at Gringo tours we are in complete agreement that local guides should always be used, independently of where in El Salvador we work. This in most cases increases our costs but we have found that the overall experience is much more rewarding to all involved.
Ok so what we offer:
All tours are offered in English where in most cases I would be your guide working with the different local guides around the country. If you speak Spanish many of our tours can be arranged directly with local guides at a much lower costs.
Prices for full day tours with car and bilingual driver guide will be similar to our other tours averaging $300/day for groups of 1 to 3.
Half day tours with bilingual guide and transportation start at $150/day.
For Spanish speaking local bird guides half day tours start as low as $30 and full day tours average around $50. These prices do not include driver or vehicle.
As we strive to gain experience and improve our equipment and birding skills, we are willing to barter for your old binoculars, telescopes, tripods, even for your expertise in teaching us how to be better birders and birding guides. Just let us know what you have to offer and give us your honest appraisal and we will see what we can do.
We also accept donations of birding equipment(binos, field guides, scopes, tripods, etc.) to help us in several training and bird conservation courses we are organizing both in public schools as well as with local guides.
Birding Tours in other parts of El Salvador Cerro Verde with Local Guide, all day tours can be combined with other activities like a visit to one or Mayan sites. Barra de Santiago with Local Guide, all day tours can be combined with other activities or combined with half day in Cerro Verde and halfd day on the Barra de Santiago. Impossible Park with Local Guide, all day tours can be combined with other activities but is best whem planned as an overnight trip staying at the Ecolodge near the entrance. If interested in other areas of El Salvador just ask and we will see what we can arrange.
Important: If you happen to be a single traveler and feel our rates our more than you feel comfortable with just let us know, many times we can arrange birding outings with our local group in which case we would ask that you help us out with the expenses(vehicle if we need to rent one, gas if we use one of our vehicles, snacks and meals, entrance fees when necessary and a small tip to any local guides we might use, etc) for the outing.
This can be very inexpensive if you are in Suchitoto and a bit more costly if we have to pick you up in the city.
Combining birding tours with other cultural tour options is also possible just call or write us for details and prices.
Included in this tour:
• Transportation in vehicles with A/C, four wheel drive when needed and ocacionacionaly in the back of locl trucks
• Bottled water(1-4 bottles/person)
• All Entrance fees • Local guide fees
• Bilingual guide
• Early am coffee, pastries, ocational snacks as needed
Tour Duration of Tour including transportation: 8-12 hours
Difficulty level of Tour: Moderate-Difficult
• Snacks and Meals
• Optional Tips to local guides
• Cost of optional activities including: Mountain bike, Jet ski, Buggy, Zip line/Canopy, Kayak, Rafting or other activities not mentioned in tour description