Many hotels and eco-lodges include breakfast in the room rates. In fact, the more remote lodges that don’t have access to a village or someplace where people can go for meals will have all-inclusive packages built around the optimal birding times. Breakfast will either be served REAL early, like 5am before you go birding, taken with you as a boxed breakfast of sandwiches, fruit and a juice box or you will go birding first, brought back to the lodge for a main breakfast, then go back out birding.
Any lodge that caters to birders should be no problem, they are used to our needs. But what happens when you stay in a normal hotel and plan your own birding excursions? Yesterday, two fellow travel bloggers pointed out scenarios when breakfasts are not served at convenient times.
Melinda of “Magic of Miles” posted that the breakfast sometimes ends too early for people who want to spend a leisurely morning in bed, then have a late breakfast. This would also be the case for those who want to spend the morning birding, then come back for your buffet breakfast.
Brian Cohen of “The Gate” brought up the opposite problem – you have an early flight (or in our case want to leave early for birding) and the breakfast isn’t open yet.
In my situation where I am traveling on a tight budget I hate passing up a free meal or one that has been built into the price I paid for the room. I try to use hotel points in larger cities such as Guayaquil and Panama City and in these cases the breakfast usually isn’t included. Since I do a lot of research in advance, I will either ask the guide where we can get breakfast or buy something at a local supermarket to bring along. If I am doing a self-drive birding trip, I will find out where we can eat near the location in advance and make sure I have enough cash or pre-purchased food from a supermarket.
If the breakfast is included and I don’t want to waste it, I will ask the hotel to give us a packed breakfast we can bring with us. Most hotels will do this willingly, it actually saves them money over having us spend an hour at the buffet leisurely eating as we wish! Depending on how far the hotel is from the birding site and if we are using a rental car, we may go out birding early, come back for the buffet, then go back out again. If we do this, we usually don’t have to bother with lunch as we will be quite full so it saves a bit more money.
It’s also a good idea to find out the public conveniences (or lack thereof) in your birding location. You don’t want to drink all that coffee and find yourself being constantly “inconvenienced”! I tend to stick with water which I sip sparingly to keep hydrated but minimize inconveniences, then step up the hydration when we come back for lunch and siesta.
As always, doing your homework and being prepared goes a long way towards making your birding trip a success!