I found Diego by doing a search on google for Rio Lagartos birding. I wasn’t looking for a guide--I wanted to go photograph the Flamingos and that was really what I ended up contacting him for. It is well worth paying someone a few bucks extra that knows where certain birds are so you can get good looks--or in this case photos. However, you don’t need Diego if all you want is to see Flamingos--they are in the backwaters around town, and can be found with a little searching on your own, or for a bit cheaper hiring a fisherman to take you. But if you want to see more than flamingos, and ant a REAL guide that knows the area--HIRE Diego for a morning or the day--it will be worth it.
Diego was busy guiding other folks on the 5th--the day I had open to go birding, but I told him I really just needed someone that knew the local roads and where some of the endemic and local specialities were. I didn't need someone to point out birds or ID them for me. His solution was ½ off the guiding price for his two sons who are apprentices in the business. They could drive me around and take me to the places to look for birds--and knew where a few nests and other things that would be helpful were. I thought this was an excellent plan.
I would lie if I didn’t say the birding was fantastic and that I was very pleased with the outcome. However, I would also be lying if I didn’t say that what I paid for was not what I had expected. I actually would have preferred spending more time looking for and photographing flamingos, so I could get some real stunning shots. The lighting was perfect the morning I visited, and the photos could have been truly amazing. This is probably my fault for not pressing the issue--as I believe Diego was interested in helping me get more of my target birds which were mostly land based.
In the end I got most of my targets, as well as pretty good shots of flamingos, so I have no complaints--the plus is that now I know how incredible Rio Lagartos is for birding and want to go back. If you want to go here, I highly recommend hiring Diego--he is the perfect guide for people who want to see the local specialties.
Just make sure to work out the specifics ahead of time so you don’t have any surprises. And make sure to bring CASH--there isn't a bank, ATM, or Credit Card Machine in the town so if you don't have cash you might have issues.
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