Our tours are planned as ones that we ourselves would like to go on, so they are very strongly oriented towards birds and birding. Our leaders have varied interests in natural history and other more or less closely related fields, but the timing and itinerary of our tours is dictated almost entirely by birding considerations. A certain few tours, however, are designed to combine serious birding with other activities appropriate to the area, or even with simple relaxation, and these are clearly indicated as such.
If the pace of the tour is important to you, then please understand that Tico Tours, LLC is dedicated to birding. Therefore, our tours generally offer nothing but birding. When considering whether or not to sign up for one of our tours, you should also understand that we are assuming that you want to spend virtually all your time locating birds. Most of our tours are aggressive, rising early and spending most or all of the day in the field in search of birds.
We are accustomed to dealing with participants of widely differing abilities, from complete novices to highly skilled birding tour veterans. The question is are you interested enough in birds to spend time and money on a trip that is almost solely devoted to locating birds. As a member of a tour group, you may find some participants more likable than others, but given the strong common interest in birding, it’s unusual to find someone who’s unbearable.
We want all participants to understand fully that birding involves some odd hours and at least a modest amount of physical activity. Birds are most active during the early hours and often we'll have a pre-breakfast walk or an early breakfast/snack before leaving for more distant points. All tours require walking, sometimes for periods of up to six hours and at times we climb hills, walk on uneven or wet terrain or through tall vegetation. Lunches are sometimes picnics or "fast food". In tropical areas we usually rest during the heat of the day, venturing forth again in mid- to late afternoon and returning to the hotel before dark.
Participants should be able to complete gentle walks of one-half day's duration, ride in any seat in tour vehicles and meet the simple schedule of the tour. We reserve the right to send home persons unable or unwilling to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the satisfactory operation of the tour.
All activities are optional within the general framework of the tour. We encourage and assist participants in the pursuit of personal aims if these do not conflict with the conduct of the tour. Persons with specific non-ornithological goals should contact Tico Tours before the tour to determine if they can be realized.
Most tour participants have been birding for some time, and while their skills vary tremendously, they normally have binoculars, know how to use them and are familiar with at least the rudiments of how to watch birds. If you have never watched birds before, please contact us and we'll suggest a few ways to prepare for your tour.
If you have a health problem or any physical limitation which may hamper or restrict your full involvement in any aspect of the tour, or about which we should be aware, please advise us in detail in writing prior to making a reservation. We reserve the right to request a physician’s letter indicating that you are healthy enough to fully participate on the tour.
Even though our tours are carefully planned, changes in itinerary can and do occur. If major changes are necessary before the start of the tour, participants will be informed and may withdraw without penalty if they so choose.
Optional excursions (decided upon by the group and/or leader during the tour) that are not listed in the itinerary may result in additional cost payable by all participants who wish to participate. All participants will be notified of any such additional cost and will have the option to not participate in these excursions. Tico Tours can not guarantee that a guide will be available to those members of the group who choose not to participate in any optional excursions.
Should a change of itinerary or mode of operation be forced upon us immediately prior to or during the tour (airline strike, weather delay, political crisis, etc) the additional costs, if any, are the responsibility of each participant.
Pricing (including increases)
The following items are not included in the tour price: passports, visas, departure taxes, immunizations, excess baggage charges, optional excursions (especially those decided upon by the group and/or leader during the tour), telephone calls, alcoholic beverages, laundry, room service, snacks and anything of a purely personal nature. If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.
Price increases may occur unexpectedly. In pricing our tours months in advance we try to anticipate the rising cost of airfares, ground transportation and lodging, but if unexpected increases occur we reserve the right to charge participants an increase of up to 10% of the tour price.