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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Florida: The South, the Keys and the Dry Tortugas

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING THE US: Non-U.S. citizens will need a valid passport and may need a tourist visa or visa waiver.  Consult your nearest US Consulate or Embassy for additional details. Canadian citizens need to carry proof of citizenship in the form of a passport.  

COUNTRY INFORMATION:There is no U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for the USA.  You can access the UK Government Foreign Travel advice for the USA at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on the United States at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html .

PACE OF THE TOUR: Although there are some long drives with occasional bad traffic delays around Miami, this is a low-key tour from a physical standpoint.  Most walking is done along roadsides or level trails. There are no strenuous or long hikes on this tour (walks will generally be of less than a half mile in distance) and on half of the days we depart around 7:00 AM and return by 6:00 PM.  To accommodate the best birding locations (parrot roosts for example) and to take advantage of the late afternoon sun (as it does not get dark until 8 pm) we will on several days eat dinner before returning to the hotel, which will result in a late arrival time back to the hotel.

HEALTH: Birdwatching in South Florida poses few health hazards.

Although there are some long drives with occasional bad traffic delays around Miami, this is a low-key tour from a physical standpoint.  Most walking is done along roadsides or level trails. There are no strenuous or long hikes on this tour (walks will generally be of less than a half mile in distance) and on half of the days we depart around 7:00 AM and return by 6:00 PM.  To accommodate the best birding locations (parrot roosts for example) and to take advantage of the late afternoon sun (as it does not get dark until 8 pm) we will on several days eat dinner before returning to the hotel, which will result in a late arrival time back to the hotel.

Motion sickness: The trip to the Dry Tortugas can on occasion be bouncy; there are several remedies available and you may wish to consult your doctor before selecting one. Note that special medication will be unavailable in the Dry Tortugas, and may be unavailable elsewhere, so be sure to bring adequate supplies with you. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous:   The intense sun at 23° latitude makes a sun hat, protective clothing and a strong sunscreen essential. 

Mosquitoes and small biting flies can be abundant in some years, especially in the mangroves.  Chiggers and ticks are present in small numbers.  We recommend bringing protective clothing and using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET. 

CLIMATE: Spring temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and even 90s in some years, but near the coast a breeze tends to moderate the effect of the heat.  Nights remain mild to warm.  Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms, some with brief, heavy rain, are possible, and the humidity will be high. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stay in standard accommodations throughout the course of the tour.  Breakfasts will be taken in the hotel continental breakfast rooms.  WIFI is free and available at all of our hotels. 

FOOD:  Meals are taken in local restaurants and may include a picnic lunch or two, weather permitting. Seafood and Cuban cuisine are local specialties. 

WINGS tours are all-inclusive, and with the exception of WINGS tours to destinations in the US, no refunds can be issued for any tour meals participants choose to skip.  

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be traveling in a leader-driven 15-passenger window van or minivan, depending on the group size. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.

Updated: 08 May 2017