Skip to navigation, or go to main content.

WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Puerto Rico

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 PUERTO RICO:  Puerto Rico is a United States territory, with no special entry requirements for U.S. citizens. 

 Travelers from outside the U.S. will need a valid passport valid for at least 6 months past your arrival date in Puerto Rico) and a visa or visa waiver if applicable, Non-US citizens will have to clear US customs and immigration either enroute to Puerto Rico at your first US arrival city or upon arrival into San Juan.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the CIA World Factbook background notes on Puerto Rico at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rq.html

PACE OF THE TOUR: This tour has daily starts between 6:30 and 7:00am, and siestas on some afternoons. Many meals will be taken in the field with one picnic breakfast and two picnic lunches, returning to the hotel between 4 and 5 p.m. before dinner. There will be at least one (likely two) after dinner excursion for night birds. The elevations are minimal (below 3000 feet, with many days at sea level), and trails are smooth and straightforward.  Much of the birding is along roadsides, and the walks are less than 1.5 miles in duration. 

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. 

Specialized medications may be difficult to obtain locally and we advise bringing all you will need with you. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for Puerto Rico can be found on the Centers for Disease Control’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/puerto-rico. Please contact your physician if you have questions about travel to Puerto Rico. 

Malaria and Chikungunya:  Malaria and other tropical parasites are not common in Puerto Rico, but mosquitos in the country (more prevalent in the wet season) have been known to transmit Dengue Fever and (as of 2016) a few cases of Chikungunya and Zika.  We typically encounter very few mosquitoes during the tour. Please consult your physician for their specific recommendations.

Altitude: The highest elevation we visit is just over 3,000 feet above sea level, and most of the birding is conducted at or very close to sea level. 

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 typically encounter few biting insects during the course of the tour.  We recommend using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET.  Like most islands in the Caribbean, there are no chiggers in Puerto Rico.

CLIMATE: The days are generally quite warm (in the 80’s F), and summer clothes are suitable year-round. Please be prepared for the possibility of cool, damp (or rainy) weather in the mountains.  Light rain is always a possibility (although rare in March) so bring along a rain jacket or umbrella just in case.  The March sun can feel intense, so a good broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses can be useful. 

ACCOMMODATIONS:During the tour we’ll stay at three separate hotels.  The San Juan hotel which we use on the first and last nights is close to the airport and a standard higher-end US style hotel.  For our second night we stay at a small locally owned hotel in Hatillo, which although basic is comfortable and well-appointed with fairly large rooms.  At Guanica we’ll stay in an expansive hotel with large suites with full kitchen facilities and private balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  Note that some couples often have to share one of these suites (each will have their own bedroom and bathroom, only the kitchen and balcony are shared). 

INTERNET: Wifi is available and free in San Juan and Hatillo, but as of 2016 not available in Guanica (although at our dinner locations there is often a WIFI connection). Smart Phone data plans for US Carriers generally carry over to Puerto Rico, check with your cell provider to ensure that no additional charges would be incurred.  At our hotel in Guanica there is a general lack of cell service due to the coastal mountains that block the signal.

FOOD: Food is U.S. standard with some excellent seafood. Breakfasts are mostly in house (as our accommodations have kitchens).  We do a big group shop during which participants are able to pick up their own breakfast provisions.  Lunches are mostly in US style restaurants or sandwich shops, but we do two field picnics, and dinners are in local restaurants, often with a Cuban flare.  

WINGS tours are all-inclusive, and 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’ll travel by SUV or van. When using 15-passenger window vans, we’ll take a maximum of seven passengers plus the leader/driver, so that all will have a window seat. Participants should be capable of riding in any seat in tour vehicles. 

Updated: 13 April 2016