Connecticut Audbon Society


EcoTravel Overnight Trips

Young Family Foundation Grant Helps EcoTravel Provide Binoculars and Field Guides to Students in Cuba

EcoTravel Director Andy Griswold delivered a suitcase full of binoculars and field guides for young birders during a recent EcoTravel visit to Cuba, thanks to a gift from the William C. Young Family Foundation. Read about it here.


Favorite Tours

Macaw - Ben Lunsford

Amazing Amazon Cruises
Year-round Departures.     Seven Days!
Our most popular cruise explores some of the most untouched rainforest in all of Amazonia. On an eight-cabin expedition vessel, travelers venture far up some of the least inhabited rivers in the Amazon Basin for a full seven days and explore areas rarely visited, seeking out the mysterious life in the heart of the Amazon. This is the most thorough, detailed, and sophisticated trip offered in the entire Amazon and comes with rave reviews from past participants. Guides are accomplished local naturalists. This is a trip of a lifetime, easy for seniors and families! Fee starts at $3,795 per person. Extensions are available to Iguacu Falls, Machu Picchu, Pantanal, Galapagos, and Ecuadorian Highlands. Call for details.

Galapagos Cruise: Islands of Discovery
Year-round Departures.
Galapagos, a remote archipelago where life goes on much as it has for millions of years, is the world’s greatest living laboratory for study and observation of nature. Here the animals have no fear of humans, and you can be at one with nature as nowhere else on Earth. Over centuries, animal and plant life reached the islands and gradually evolved into new life forms. Opportunities for photography are unparalleled, with sea lions, iguanas, and penguins in arm’s reach. Cabins available from $4,700 per person. Ecuadorian Highland, Machu Picchu, and Quito extensions available. Don’t miss out on this tremendous learning experience in the “Enchanted Islands.” Call or email for more detail. Call for details.
Panama’s Canopy Tower and Lodge
Year Round Departures.     Six to 21 Days!
For many years, this tiny country roughly the size of South Carolina was known only for the “Engineering Wonder of the World” that connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Panama Canal. More and more people, however, are starting to discover the vast natural and cultural wonders that Panama offers, including Caribbean coral reefs, Pacific mangrove wetlands, dry tropical forests, wet rainforests, and mountain cloud forests. These tropical ecosystems harbor an incredible diversity of colorful flowers and plants and a wide array of wild animals like sloths, anteaters, monkeys, and more. There are about 960 different species of birds—far more than the total number of species found in the U.S. and Canada combined! Panama presents excellent opportunities to see wildlife and learn about the importance of tropical environments. Six day packages start at $1,299. The 21-day package starts at $4,619. Call for details on these packages and others, and for exact departure dates. Not to be missed!  Call for details.

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Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel has a great selection of tours that visit many exciting spots close to home and around the globe. All of our tours promise to be special adventures, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful animals and habitats in the world. The Connecticut Audubon Society strives to be at the forefront of environmental education, and our EcoTravel program plays a strong part in that goal. If our dates or tours do not meet your needs, we can provide you with the itineraries of other natural history travel companies. If you choose one of their programs and sign-up through us, we will earn commissions which support Connecticut Audubon Society’s education programs. It costs you nothing extra and helps us immensely.

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For Detailed Itineraries of our Overnight Tours, please contact us at:
Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel
PO Box 903
Essex, CT 06426

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Overnight International Tour Listing

Nova Scotia’s National Parks
July 25 – August 2, 2019     Nine Days!     LIMITED SPACE! CALL NOW! 
From the spectacular tides of the Bay of Fundy to the rolling farmland to the heath-lands of Cape Breton, there is no better highlights tour! Search for the rare Right Whale! The tremendous number of shorebirds at this time of year is legendary, known for their incredible aerial ballet. Nights are at Canada’s government-owned four-star lodges. Cape Breton delights travelers with its high cliffs overlooking the North Atlantic and its quaint fishing villages. Leader: Andy Griswold. Fee: $4,698. With member discount: $3,998. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Trekking the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco
Including Marrakech and Essaouira
September 9 – 19, 2019       11 Days!
The High Atlas Mountains, which dominate the skyline to the south of Marrakech, have always played an important role for the city, not least with regard to commerce. With several peaks above 12,000 feet, the Western High Atlas is part of a larger chain of mountains that spreads from the Atlantic Coast in the west, to Tunisia in the east. The mountains are home to the indigenous Berber people who have inhabited Morocco for at least 5,000 years. The Berbers live in small clusters of earthen adobe houses which cling precipitously to mountainsides. Guests stay at the amazing Kasbah du Toubkal in the trailhead village of Imlil and also in a lodge in the remote Azzaden Valley, where peace and tranquility prevail. All trekking is fully supported with a mule to carry your luggage. Our personal mountain guide will be on hand for the duration of the stay to help with planning treks. You can choose to walk as little or as much as you like! Leader: Rami Haxhi. Fee: $3,398. With member discount: $2,798. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Brazil’s Pantanal: “Serengeti of the Americas”
September 22 – October 3, 2019     12 Days!
Situated in the Paraguay River Basin in Central South America, the Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world and one of the last major nature reserves on the face of the Earth. The wildlife is amazingly abundant here; its seasonally flooded plains attract immense numbers of birds and caiman and are probably the most mammal-rich area of South America. Talented guides take you to one of the wildest, most beautiful and remote corners of South America. Cruise the rivers on an epic adventure searching for wildlife, including Jaguar, Giant Otter, and Hyacinth Macaw! Travelers visit the Brazilian Central Plateau, a fabulously scenic area of scrubland bordered by huge sandstone cliffs and lush gallery forest. Leader: TBD. Fee: $5,998. With member discount: $5,298.

Gardens of Tuscany
September 17 – 25, 2019   Nine Days!
The beguiling central Italian region of Tuscany is blessed with an abundance of superb gardens. Many were created by wealthy aristocratic and banking families during the Renaissance when gardens, inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, came to be seen as places of contemplation and pleasure and as a way of demonstrating the owner’s taste, power, and wealth. Other gardens, drawing on this tradition, are more recent creations, designed for the most part in the early 20th century for expatriates who bought and restored historic estates in and around Florence. The magnificent Tuscan countryside, some of the most picturesque and distinctive in Europe and a haven for birdlife, provides a dramatic background to many of the properties. We search out the best of Tuscany’s gardens on this tour, as we journey from Pienza, a gem of a Renaissance town in the scenic Val d’Orcia, through the vineyards of Chianti and Montalcino, to Florence, one of the world’s great cities and a treasure trove of Renaissance art and architecture. Highlights include gardens buried deep in unspoiled countryside, elegant terraced villa gardens, the hills above Florence, and the wonderful Baroque gardens. As usual we get off the beaten track at every opportunity, go birding in the region’s unspoiled countryside, and take time to sample Tuscany’s rich culinary and wine heritage. Leader: Chris Nevins. Fee: $5,450. With member discount: $4,950. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Extraordinary Ethiopia
January 17 – February 1, 2020     16 Days!
Venture off the beaten path and explore one of Africa’s most fascinating and least visited destinations. Medieval castles, churches hewn out of solid rock, ancient temples, and nine UNESCO World Heritage sites (more than any other African country)! Ethiopia is the perfect destination for travelers of all ages. At the crossroad of ancient trade routes and one of the world’s oldest nations, amazingly Ethiopia was never colonized. Unique cultures, natural beauty, amazing history, wonderful people; there are many reasons to visit Ethiopia. “In terms of the sheer variety of fascinating destinations, no other place in Africa compares to Ethiopia.” – Graham Hancock, African Ark. Leader: Lucretia Bingham . Fee: $6,098. With member discount: $5,398.

Antarctic Explorer
February 5 – 17, 2020     13 Days!
Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries and this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting, and personal. Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, exhilarating adventures, and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. Escort: Nick Bonomo. Please, call for the detailed itinerary and pricing.

Galapagos Cruise: Islands of Discovery
February 6 – 15, 2020     Ten Days!
Galapagos, a remote archipelago where life goes on much as it has for millions of years, is the world’s greatest living laboratory for study and observation of nature. Here the animals have no fear of humans, and you can be at one with nature as nowhere else on Earth. Over centuries, animal and plant life reached the islands and gradually evolved into new forms. Opportunities for photography are unparalleled, with sea lions, iguanas, and penguins within arm’s reach. Ecuadorian Highland and Quito extensions available. Don’t miss out on this tremendous learning experience in the “Enchanted Islands.” Call or email for more detail. Leader: Miley Bull. Year round departures available.

Grand Safari: Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia
February 20 – March 5, 2020     15 Days!
This wonderful itinerary offers some of the best birding in southern Africa. Cover most of central Namibia and discover endemic and near-endemic birds. Explore the Riverine Forest and Miombo Woodland as well as visit mighty Victoria Falls. Cross over into the Caprivi Strip of Namibia in search of the Okavango Delta specialties, including the magnificent Pel’s Fishing-Owl. We’ll spend a couple of days in Etosha National Park enjoying the great bird and game viewing that this preserve offers. Travel along the western escarpment before concluding the adventure along the coast. Leader: TBD. Fee: $6,598.  With member discount: $5,898.

Wild Costa Rica
February 24 – 8 March 2020     14 Days!
With a greater biodiversity than the continental United States and Canada combined, Costa Rica is world-renowned for its birdwatching opportunities. Visit some of the best-known birding locations in search of enigmatic species such as Resplendent Quetzal and Scarlet Macaw, as well as less-visited destinations that hold breathtaking beauty and rare species. Leader: Matt Bell. Fee: $6,798. With member discount: $5,998.

Vietnam: Birds, Culture, and Landscapes
February/March 2020     14 Days!
Home to over 850 species of birds and over 300 species of mammals, including some of the world’s rarest primates, and stretching a thousand miles down the east coast of Southeast Asia, Vietnam encompasses an amazing array habitats and biodiversity. From spectacular Halong Bay, to rhododendron covered peaks rising above 9,000 feet, to lush rainforests and the mighty Mekong River Delta, this ancient land offers a unique cultural and ecotourism experience. Beginning in Hanoi and traveling from North to South, with visits to Cut Phuong, Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Bach-Ma, and Cat Tien National Parks, as well as the ancient Imperial City of Hue, our tour will conclude in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Extension to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Leader: Rob Taylor. Call for details.

Cuba: Landscapes, Culture, and Birds
March 2 – 12, 2020     11 Days!
Travel in a small group with local guides through less traveled parts of Cuba, the Caribbean’s largest and most ecologically diverse island nation, home to 26 endemic birds: the world’s smallest, the Bee Hummingbird; one of the rarest woodpeckers, Fernandina’s Flicker; and the elusive Blue-headed Quail-Dove. While there will be daily opportunities for birding , our focus expands to include a range of Cuban fauna and flora, and the ecology and history of regions we visit. Enjoy opportunities to swim and snorkel. Our Cuban guide will answer your questions and offer explanations that reflect Cuban history, politics, and topics related to daily living. The program begins in Havana and ends with a full day in this unrivaled colonial city of the Americas, which abounds with historic sites, diverse architecture, museums, and art galleries, underscoring a cultural heritage and recently resurgent energy and verve that are uniquely Cuban. Leader: Miley Bull. Fee: $5,698.  With member discount: $4,998.

Overnight Domestic Tour Listing

Maine’s Whales and Puffins
July 11 – 15, 2019     Five Days!
Maine is one of the most beautiful states on the east coast. With its rocky shores, dense forests, and access to the ocean, it gives nature lovers a wide range of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. This trip allows participants to experience much of what Maine has to offer, with a puffin cruise, whale watch, forest walks, ocean strolls, and amazing views. Explore the beauty of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, one of the most picturesque parks and home to Cadillac Mountain, where watching sunrise and sunset is unequaled. Revel in the scenic beauty of historic towns and hidden coves. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Fee: $1,698. With member discount $1,398. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Southeastern Arizona Desert Bloom
July 24 – August 1, 2019     Nine Days!
Late July welcomes the summer rains and is prime time for finding hummingbirds. As many as 15 species, including White-eared, Violet-crowned, Berylline, and Plain-capped Starthroat have been found on past trips. This is also the time for Mexican rarities, such as Aztec Thrush and the late breeding birds such as Varied Bunting, Botteri’s, Cassin’s and Rufous-winged sparrows. These are but a few of the many species we’ll search out as we journey through this lovely, varied landscape, which draws birders and naturalists from all over the world. Leaders: Jay Hand and Andy Griswold. Fee: $3,298. With member discount: $2,898. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Monhegan Island: Migration Hotspot
September 21 – 24, 2019   Four Days!
Join leader Jim Sherwonit on a relaxing tour of Monhegan Island at the peak of migration. Off the coast of Maine, Monhegan serves as a stopover point for birds caught out over open water. With no roads and no cars on the island, participants stroll along the many trails while searching for what arrived overnight and enjoying eye-level looks at many of the warbler species, tanagers, and flycatchers. In the fall, nature and beauty are at their apex on Monhegan. Stay at a lovely island inn and don’t miss the blueberry pie! Fee: $1,198. With member discount: $998. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Block Island Weekend Escape
September 27 – 29, 2019   Three Days!
Revel in the wilds of Block Island, Rhode Island, after summer tourists have left the beaches and town. Often a magnet for wayward birds, “Block” will delight travelers with its island architecture, wild flowers, and natural beauty. This is our most popular weekend trip! Leader: Andy Griswold. Fee: $878. With member discount: $678. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Hawk Mountain Migration
October 18 – 21, 2019   Four Days!
This 2,200-acre sanctuary in eastern Pennsylvania is well known for its stupendous hawk migration, when fall brings an average of 24,000 birds of prey. If the winds are from the west or northwest, this spot can give you an experience to remember, with hundreds of birds right at eye level. Travelers stop at birding hotspots in search of shorebirds, waterfowl, and other birds of interest. Leader: Matt Bell. Fee: $1,198. With member discount: $998. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 1 – 6, 2019     Six Days!
Explore the peaks of Tennessee’s breathtakingly beautiful Appalachian Mountains featuring spectacular waterfalls and endless vistas. Follow wooded trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to elk, black bear, and over 200 bird species. Immerse yourself in autumn colors as you hike through high-country meadowlands along the Appalachian Trail. Participants should be fit enough for all-day exploration and hiking over hilly terrain. The Great Smoky Mountains are perhaps the most imposing set of peaks in the East, showcasing large tracts of rugged, federally protected wilderness and old-growth forest of astounding biodiversity. The “smoky” name stems from the range’s ever-present mists. Leave the planning and driving to us as you enjoy this guided group hiking experience, with great accommodations and delicious food! Leader: Rami Haxhi. Fee: $2,198. With member discount: $1,798. Call for the detailed itinerary.

Sea Turtles and Cape Cod Exploration
December 6 – 8, 2019     Three Days!
In December, Cape Cod is a fabulous place to visit and explore as tourists are few and the region takes on a more relaxed feel. Unfortunately, at this time of year Kemp’s Ridley, Green, and Loggerhead sea turtles are often stunned by the cold water and end up stranded along the beaches. Participants learn about these fragile marine reptiles at Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Sanctuary. We’ll scour the beaches of Cape Cod Bay for turtles, take part in numerous nature-related activities, and be magically absorbed into the wildness of grass-topped dunes, empty beaches, and ceaseless crashing waves. Expect the rare and unusual. Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Fee: $898. With member discount: $698.

Arkansas’s Cypress and Tupelo Bayous
January 12– 19, 2020     Eight Days!
Join our eleventh exciting expedition into a mature southern woodland that once hosted the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and perhaps still does! Enjoy the private lodge while experiencing the history and tales of the elusive “Grail Bird.” This tour is by special arrangement in an area that is not open to the public. Henslow’s Sparrow, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and clouds of waterfowl in the heart of America’s rice belt! Fee: $2,395. With member discount: $1,998. Leaders: Andy Griswold and Jim Denham.

Montauk Escape
February 7 – 9, 2020     Three Days!
The town of Montauk, on the far eastern tip of Long Island, is one of the best winter birding spots. The open ocean and the harbor provide opportunities to see many winter waterfowl not so commonly found in Connecticut. Eiders, all three scoter species, gulls, alcids, grebes, loons, and other winter specialties are among the many birds one can expect. Enjoy the quiet of an off-season resort town and the fresh air of winter beaches. Leader: Andy Griswold. Fee: $898. With member discount: $698.  

Florida’s Everglades, Keys, and Dry Tortugas
March 19 – 26, 2020     Eight Days!
One of North America’s “Top-Ten Birding Spots,” South Florida hosts a large number of unusual birds and other wildlife that are found nowhere else. Visit unique and sensitive habitats, including such well-known places as Big Cypress, Loxahatchee, Shark Valley, Anhinga Trail, Key West, and the famed Dry Tortugas. Bird species include the federally endangered Snail Kite, Short-tailed Hawk, Masked Booby, Brown Noddy, federally threatened Florida Scrub-Jay, and Sooty Tern. Witness first-hand how special a place the Everglades truly is! Leader: Andy Griswold. Fee: $4,198. With member discount: $3,698.

Nebraska’s Crane Migration
March 22 – 27, 2020     Six Days!
Nearly half a million Sandhill Cranes descend upon the broad valley of the Platte River, and by March approximately 80 percent of the world’s Lesser Sandhill Cranes crowd a 150-mile stretch of the river in the largest gathering of cranes anywhere in the world! We may even find a few of their rare and elegant cousins, the federally endangered Whooping Crane. Witness one of North America’s greatest wildlife spectacles! Leader: Jim Sherwonit. Fee: $2,695. With member discount: $2,295

Nantucket: Seasons in Transition
April 7 – 10, 2020     Four Days!
The birding starts the minute we board the ferry and gets better as we leave the mainland behind. Revel in the peace and quiet of an off-season resort, the inescapable sense of history, and the abundance of open space. Expect sea ducks, rare gulls, and spectacular Snowy Owls as we search the desolate beaches by four-wheel-drive vehicle. Take time to relax in the delightful teahouses and pubs in the heart of the historic town. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the experience of the island in early spring. We’ll be staying in a private house in the village of Siasconset. Leaders: Andy Griswold and island native Rich Newman. Fee: $1,598. With member discount: $1,298. No single supplements! 

Colorado’s Grouse and Prairie Chickens
April 14 – 24, 2020     11 Days!
Our tour is designed to allow time for birding the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the marvelous leks of Colorado’s grasslands, emphasizing the western birds you seldom or never see on the East Coast. The tour provides the best opportunity to find each of the many target bird species, including Greater Sage-Grouse, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Greater Prairie-Chicken, Dusky Grouse, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Three-toed Woodpecker, rosy-finches, and more. Each day is a total natural history experience! Leaders: Phil Rusch and second driver TBD. Fee: $5,485. With Member Discount: $4,885.

Texas: Coast, Valley, and Hills
April 21– 30, 2020     10 Days!
Join the guide team of Jay Hand and Andy Griswold  for a grand adventure in “The #l Bird State.” Three-quarters of all birds occurring in the continental United States have been recorded in Texas, where on this ten-day trip you can see over 250 species, including Green Kingfisher, Plain Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Tropical Parula, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and more. The scenery is fabulous, featuring vast open spaces unlike anything in the East. Visit famed High Island, Bolivar Flats, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, King Ranch, Sabal Palm, Santa Ana, Bentsen, and the Edward’s Plateau. Jay and Andy are known for their expert knowledge of Texas birds. Fee: $3,898. With member discount: $3,498.

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