Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 74 of 95

73 March 2017 | Birder's Guide to Travel condition, but in some areas (typically rural areas) they can be sharply winding and signage can be hit or miss. Lodging is offered throughout Puerto Rico and particularly in San Juan, span- ning the range from ultra-luxurious beach resorts to barebones motels to Airbnb. For mainland Americans, much will be familiar. For better or worse, Puerto Rico has its share of McDon - ald's, Subway, Starbucks, and Walmart stores. As part of the U.S., Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar and the U.S. Postal Service. The major U.S. wireless carriers have service in Puerto Rico and do not charge roaming fees. With the typical travel precautions, crime is generally not a problem, and in case of emergencies, quality health care is available, particu- larly in San Juan. Although both Spanish and English are official languages, outside of the tourist areas Spanish predominates and English is less common. A few Spanish phrases are helpful. Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with minor seasonal changes. High tempera- tures average about 80 degrees Fahren- heit in the lowlands and a bit cooler at higher elevations. Rain varies according to location, and the rainy season runs from April to November. During hur- ricane season, from July to November, strong hurricanes are possible but fairly infrequent. Winter is the high season for travel, and prices drop in the off season. For general information about Puerto Rico travel, accommodations, and at- tractions, guidebooks are available from the usual sources, including Frommer's, Fodor's, Lonely Planet, and Moon. Acknowledgments Thanks to Julio Salgado Vélez for guiding in Puerto Rico and for information and sugges- tions for this article. I am grateful to Mark Oberle for helpful comments on a previous draft. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: n Red-legged Thrush Photo © Gloria Archilla n Puerto Rican Parrot Photo © Guillermo Plaza n A Bananaquit feeding from banana flowers. Photo © Benny Díaz

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