Eco-tourists travel to the far corners of the earth in search of rare and beautiful birds, many of which are found in developing countries where western tourists can be seen as walking wallets. Let’s examine Lonely Planet’s list and see which scams could be used on typical eco-travelers.
1. Fake police scams are riskier in cities where they target independent tourists but eco-tourists driving in their own cars in places like Brazil could be vulnerable.
2. Gems and carpets I see as more of a risk in the Middle East and North Africa, also in Bangkok.
3. To avoid airport taxi scams, I use the official prepaid airport taxis whenever they are available. I also check up on public transport options and just buy the same ticket the locals are buying.
4. Timeshare scams – not common in typical birding destinations.
5. Closed places scams are more of a problem in cities.
6. & 7. Motorbike scams – if you’re on a motorbike, you would be scaring the crap out of the birds so don’t bother with them!
8. Bird shit – LOL, goes with the territory for birders!
9. Bar/tea shop scam – involves different kinds of birds (non feathered variety) so eco-travelers shouldn’t be worried.
10. Hotel scams – again more of a problem in cities, the eco-lodges are too remote for that.
So in summary, you will have to beware more in cities before heading out to the lodges. All the eco-lodges I have stayed at are very reliable and honest and they care about the environment. They don’t want to rip you off, they want you to send your friends to them!