This was my first birdwatching experience with a guide so I really didn't know what to expect. I was overall pleased with the amount of birds I saw but will stay at another lodge on my next trip. First of all my wife contacted Vinicio 2 days before our stay and he said that he was available and would pick us up in Mindo. The ride ended up on our bill as a $15.00 taxi ride even though he ran a couple of errands while in town. That night we were informed that he wouldn't be available the next day because he booked a private tour with another guest. We ended up doing 2 half day tours with the other guest but ended up paying for virtually full day tours. Vinicio tried to explain why they weren't 1/2 days tours but it never made sense to me as the first tour was after lunch and the 2nd morning tour we returned in time for lunch. Plus, it takes 45 mins each way just to drive up and down his road. Vinicio took us to 2 other lodges that had an incredible amount of hummingbirds, tanagers,and toucans , but he was usually off on his own taking pictures and I had to seek him out to ask him what birds I was seeing. Not cool !! His lodge is very nice but we didn't have hot water half of the time and there is no heat in the room so we were very cold at night. I don't consider myself a wimp as I go snow camping and backpacking in the Sierra back home in California. The food was home style and excellent. I was never really clear on what the various costs would be and went with the rates on their website. The nightly rate was as stated but the guided tours,food, rides to and from ($30.00) were not what I expected and our bill was over $100.00 what I thought it should have been. Last thing, you are 45 mins away from town and the road to his lodge is on a bone jarring 4wd road approximately 6 miles long. I have a Jeep and love 4 wheel driving - but not everyday. Don't expect to be able to hang out in Mindo if you stay at the Birdwatchers House unless you want to pay $30 for a round trip. The staff did provide excellent friendly service.
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