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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Jamaica

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 JAMAICA: All visitors must have a valid passport with at least one blank page. Citizens of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom do not need visas; citizens of other countries should check with their nearest Jamaican Embassy or consulate.

Note: Anyone arriving from a country with endemic Yellow Fever will have to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1147.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Jamaica at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jm.html.

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) recommend all travelers be up to date on routine immunizations including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. They further recommend Hepatitis A and Typhoid immunizations for visitors to Jamaica.

Most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.

Insects, ticks and snakes: Mosquitoes are present in a few locations, birding here is relatively nuisance-free. Jamaica has no poisonous snakes. Though chiggers are absent or rare, minute ticks can be a nuisance in a couple places, but they carry no diseases.

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.

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.

PACE OF THE TOUR: Most mornings will start around 6:00 am, but there will be several earlier mornings and some mornings where we can take it a little easier. We bird through the morning hours, with a sit-down breakfast on most days. On most days we try to schedule one to two hours of free time after lunch and before dinner for rest, but sometimes we’ll use the afternoon to drive to our next hotel.The longest walks are of only one mile and do not climb substantially. Most walking is on roads and trails, although at Marshall’s Pen there is some very uneven, rocky ground. Those with balance and stability issues should bring a collapsible walking stick with a wrist loop, and those who find it difficult tostand for long periods may wish to bring a small travel stool. On several evenings we might go owling within a short walk of our doorstep. There are several longish drives on typically rough Jamaican roads.

FOOD: Jamaica is famous for its delicious local foods, such as ackee (known also as “vegetable scrambled eggs”), callaloo (a vegetable cooked as spinach),bammy (fried or steamed cakes made from cassava), and the famous jerk recipes. The food at Marshall’s Pen and Starlight Chalet is home-cooked and served family style, while on other nights we eat at standard restaurants.

CLIMATE: The days are generally quite warm, in the 80s F, and humid, and summer clothes are suitable year-round. But be prepared for rather cool, damp weather in the Blue Mountains (with lows possible into the mid-50’s F), and slightly cool mornings at Marshall’s Pen (morning lows usually in the upper-60’s F). Rain is very unpredictable, with an occasional downpour possible, or even a totally dry week without a single drop.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Marshall’s Pen is a 200-year-old private “great house” with ten guest bedrooms with private baths. Because of the limited number of rooms, single accommodation cannot be guaranteed with larger groups. If you have requested a single and it is not available, you will receive the appropriate refund of the single occupancy supplement for those two nights. The other hotels on the tour have modern rooms with private bathrooms.

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation during the tour is in minibuses driven by the leaders.

Created: 09 August 2014