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 MEXICO: U.S. citizens traveling to and from Mexico must have a passport valid for at least six month after the tour’s ending date, and with at least one blank page for an entry stamps. Tourist permit and customs forms will be handed out by your arriving airline, and your passport will be stamped upon arrival. Keep the tourist permit stub with your passport at all times; it is required for departure from the country.
Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Mexican embassy. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour.
A valid Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are arriving from a country where the disease is a risk. See http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever#1948 for more information.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/mexico.html , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Mexico at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mx.html .
PACE OF THE TOUR: We’ll begin most days about 6:30 a.m., either with breakfast or with an early morning drive to the birding location followed by a picnic breakfast in the field, followed by birding or driving to the next hotel though the mid-afternoon. All days will include one to two hours at the hotel before dinner, and on one day a long siesta after lunch is also planned, with an optional late afternoon outing.
Walking is mostly along roads and wide trails that are level to gently sloping, with the possibility of some short stretches of steeper gradients. We’ll also occasionally be walking off the road and trails in wide washes, with loose sand in spots and small boulders to navigate. Good foot gear is essential, and many people find a collapsible hiking stick invaluable for walking over rough ground and down rocky sides of washes. Since birding often involves standing still for periods, some people like to have a small travel stool to sit on. Our longest walk will be less than one mile each way over the course of an hour or more.
HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.
No specific inoculations are necessary. Special medications may be unavailable so bring enough to cover your particular needs for the entire trip.
The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for Mexico can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/mexico .
Elevation: This tour involves a maximum elevation of only 3190 feet (970 m).
Insects: Biting insects and arachnids are seldom a major nuisance; during this season chiggers and mosquitoes are all but non-existent. If we are near mangroves in the late evening, there may be a few harmless mosquitoes there, but nothing like in the warm season.
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: We do not often encounter snakes and take time to observe them whenever possible; most are not venomous, and venomous ones are not aggressive.
One can never completely escape the risk of parasites or fungal infections. Please consult with your physician.
Don’t forget that the sun in Mexico can be very intense, especially while we are on the boat.
CLIMATE: The southern Baja California Peninsula usually has a warm and dry climate in late winter. Early mornings are pleasantly cool, and rain is remotely possible though very unlikely. The morning boat ride on Magdalena Bay can be quite chilly (lower 60’s F are typical), accentuated by the wind, so a light fleece or jacket, windbreaker, and light gloves are recommended, and even a warm hat to cover the ears would be a welcome protection for some.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Our hotels and lodges are always among the best available among the smaller hotels and B&Bs (we avoid the larger, all-inclusive resorts), comfortable and modern, and all have rooms with private baths and electricity at all locations. Wifi is available throughout, though not always from your room, sometimes only near the office.
FOOD: Most breakfasts and one lunch will be picnics, with remaining lunches and all dinners in restaurants. Despite common perception, spicy food is easy to avoid in Mexico. The food ranges from very good to outstanding, and we eat at some very nice restaurants featuring very fresh seafood and organic, locally grown vegetables.
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: Transportation during the tour is by 12-passenger vans driven by the leader. While most of our driving is on paved highways, a couple roads are quite bumpy and sometimes winding; anyone susceptible to motion sickness should bring an appropriate remedy. Participants must be able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicle.
The boats we use on Bahia Magdalena for a three to four-hour ride to see whales and birds are broad, stable open fiberglass boats seating up to six on padded benches or sometimes bucket seats, equipped with a large outboard motor.
Updated: 13 February 2017