Senior driver and “on-the-ground” tour logistics coordinator for several of our South American destinations, especially Peru.
Very few birding tour companies have drivers who can claim a bird-list containing such juicy species as Long-whiskered Owlet among 17 species of owls, Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Pale-billed Antpitta, Rufous Potoo, Fiery Topaz, Toucan Barbet, San Isidro Owl, Milpo Tapaculo, Rufous-headed Woodpecker, Peruvian Recurvebill, all the Inca-Finches, and elusive species of mammals like Pampas Cat.
Raul Zapata started to work for Birding Ecotours in 2009, becoming our main driver in Peru but also acting as a field logistics expert, providing great help during our tours. Today he drives all over the country and was also the driver for a birding tour to Ecuador, and did Bolivia and Brazil in 2013. He is a very careful driver (with the A3 Peruvian license), he’s a beginner birder, and very enthusiastic fellow to travel with.
He speaks Spanish and his English skills are improving very fast.
On a special (custom) trip for a dozen target birds: “I want to tell you the Eduardo and Raul were great on the recent trip in Peru. They worked hard to find birds for me. Raul is a careful, safe driver”.
Bill Tucker, Kingston, New Hampshire
Peru was extraordinary!!!!!! My “to do” list includes a message to Eduardo with some images that we captured and a tally of the last day’s birds seen with Dennis near Lima, so he can prepare a complete trip report. Wil and I completed our tally while he was still here visiting after our trip and it came in at a staggering 430+ species seen, and a trip total of 460 species either seen or heard by the Taylor brothers. Your guys delivered BIG TIME on this trip, with three stellar guides and nearly flawless logistics, including two excellent drivers as well. Can’t thank you enough, Chris.
Eduardo, as you no doubt already know, was top notch. It was tough saying good bye to him and Raul when they dropped us at the Cusco airport. We could not have had a better guide/driver combo for the core of the trip.
Wil and I have never hesitated to recommend you and BE to our acquaintances, and we now know that our unconditional recommendation can be extended to your Peruvian office as well. Thanks a million for your help in getting the Peru trip arranged. We’ll be in touch. I attach a photo of satisfied customers with their weary guide near the lower end of the Manu Road, with the Rio Union in the background.
John Taylor, Indiana, Pennsylvania
Recommendation for Eduardo/Raul/Peru staff
Birding Peru for the first time in July 2012 with Eduardo, a professional and very knowledgeable local Peru guide, ensured a smooth, safe and hassle-free trip filled with south Peruvian endemics such as Junin Canastero, White-bellied Cinclodes, Great Inca-Finch and Inca Wren. Eduardo, with the assistance of Raul, were quick to spot birds and ensured that all in the group got onto the birds as fast as possible. While birding, Eduardo also enlightened and amused us with his vast knowledge of birds and other fauna of the area. At the end of each day Eduardo assisted the group to complete a list of birds seen and heard for the day. A briefing each evening prepared participants on what to expect the next day. The accommodation was clean and safe, even in off-the-beaten-track areas. I can highly recommend the Birding Ecotours bird guide in Peru.
(Lisl van Deventer, Pretoria, South Africa)
Our trip was fantastic and we have nothing but praise for Eduardo, Raul (our driver) and the superb vehicle used (very suitable for our needs), accommodation, the pace of the trip and your excellent organisation. We have done a lot of world birding over the years by ourselves and with tour companies and I would put this trip as one of the best-organised and led! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The chaps were excellent company too.
Sue and Paul Bryan, Norfolk, England
I have travelled thousands of kilometres with Raul driving. I have never seen him do anything hazardous or make a mistake while at the wheel. His van is clean and well maintained. He has the good sense to stop and ask for directions when needed. He stops for regular rests when on long journeys.
Raul is very interested in birds and we were able to add a few species to our lists. He got very excited when I spotted a male Lesser Rhea with seven young close to the road. He does not compromise our security by leaving the van unattended despite wanting to join us birding.
Raul is very good company and has made great progress with his English.
Jim Martin, Ontario, Canada
Eduardo, thanks so much for all your efforts to make this a fantastic , superbly well organised, entertaining, comfortable, informative , comprehensive and safe tour through Southern Peru. The Peru you showed me is indeed fabulous. Thanks also to Raul for his skilful driving . It was a trip of a lifetime for me which Sue and I can now enjoy “remembering” together.
Owen Oertli, Johannesburg
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