Welcome to Birdquest
Birdquest's Goa birding tour is a real holiday, with great birdwatching available from just two different accommodations over a two week period. Our Goa tour turns up a a very diverse list of birds with minimal travelling involved. With a long stay in one hotel (we use a better class of accommodation than most), and the beach and cultural attractions of Goa on tap, this is a good tour for couples where one member is not keen to be out birding every day.
Saturday 21st November —
Sunday 6th December 2015
Leaders: Hannu Jännes and local bird-guides
Group Size Limit: 10
Tour Category: Easy
Goa, India’s smallest state at just over 100 kilometres from north to south, is situated half way down the west coast of Peninsular India about 400 kilometres south of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). It is a former Portuguese colony, which it remained for 450 years until it joined India in 1961, and the long spell of Portuguese domination has left Goa with a unique blend of east and west. In addition to Konkani-speaking Hindus, there is a thirty percent Christian minority that worships in the many whitewashed churches, the architecture is Latin-influenced and, unlike most Indian states, football is the most popular sport and the alcohol policy is liberal!
Since the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed down the Malabar coast in 1498, in search of Eastern Christian communities and spices, Goa has been renowned as one of Asia’s most irresistible destinations. In the modern era, the soft, white, palm-fringed beaches, the perfect tropical climate, the beautiful sunsets and the easy going nature of its inhabitants were first ‘discovered’ by hippies in the 1960s. Later the place became popular among ordinary travellers, and now, in the wake of the direct charter flights, Goa has fast gained popularity as a first class birding destination. This is no wonder as the varied landscape, ranging from the sandy beaches of the Arabian Sea coast to the lush agricultural areas, gardens and gently meandering rivers further inland and the jungle-covered foothills of the Western Ghats in the east of the state, offers a wide variety of habitats for both resident and wintering birds.
Here one has the chance to see many Peninsular Indian endemics and near-endemics, including Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Trogon and Malabar Whistling Thrush, improve one’s identification skills with the many challenging pairs and groups of species, such as snipes, sand plovers, pipits and warblers, or just admire such marvellous species as Indian Roller, Black-capped Kingfisher, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Brown Wood Owl, Greater Painted Snipe, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Orange Minivet. If you have never been to India before, the good local infrastructure and easy-going atmosphere mean that Goa is probably the easiest place to start your exploration of one of the richest areas for birds in the world.
During this bird-rich experience you will have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with a good selection of typical Asian bird families, and you will see a substantial number of species (indeed, our groups have recorded up to 302 species in a fortnight, which is probably a record!). A key element to our success is the stay at Backwoods Camp at the edge of the Western Ghats. Not spending all our time in a coastal hotel adds significantly to the trip cost (we still have to pay for the rooms at the coast even though they are not being used), but saves a great deal of travelling time and inconvenience, and allows us to be right on the spot for some of the best birding in Goa! Thanks to a relatively easy-paced birding itinerary and the many non-birding attractions, which include a good quality coastal hotel with swimming pool, good food (including succulent seafood), beautiful beaches and optional sightseeing opportunities (exotic markets, historic buildings and churches, boat trips etc), this is a tour which a less bird-oriented partner or friend would enjoy too.
Birdquest has operated tours to Goa since 2005.
(Note: The above is a summary of the tour. For more information please download the detailed, day-by-day itinerary. The button is at the top right of the page.)
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel we use in coastal Goa is of a good standard and is distinctly superior to the hotels used by some Goa bird tours. Backwoods Camp at Molem forest, where we stay three nights, is a rustic and very simple safari-style tented camp. Tents are large, walk-in style and all have fairly basic beds, bedding and private bathrooms. Road transport is by car or small coach and roads are variable in quality (but distances are short).
Walking: The walking effort is easy throughout.
Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny. Overcast weather is not uncommon, but there is not likely to be much in the way of rain. It will be rather humid near the coast.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
Important: The tour price includes return flights from London, United Kingdom.
Tour Price: (provisional): $4240 London/London. If you are interested in an upgrade to the Premium Economy cabin on the flights, with more leg room, please contact us for price details.
Price includes all transportation (including London/Goa/London flights), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: (provisional): $426.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.