- We depart on our international flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad's largest city and the capital. On arrival, we transfer to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, located in the scenic hills of the island’s Northern Range. The Asa Wright Nature Centre protects an area of 200 square kilometres and has established itself as one of the world’s must-visit locations for keen naturalists. With comfortable accommodation and excellent facilities on-site, it is the perfect place to base ourselves for the week ahead.
- Accommodation: Asa Wright Nature Centre, 7-nights on full board basis.
- Our first full day on Trinidad will be spent familiarising ourselves with the extensive grounds of the Asa Wright Nature Centre. With the breaking of dawn, the birds of the forest gradually become more active and, as the morning progresses, the bird song becomes ever louder, as more birds join the chorus. The forest gradually becomes a hive of activity with a wide variety of species visiting the feeding the stations on view from the verandah, including a tantalising mix of bananaquits, parrots, tanagers and kiskadees.
- After taking in this morning spectacle, we will join one of the centre’s expert guides on a walk through the bird rich grounds. This is an ideal opportunity to see some of the species that are typically trickier to view from the verandah, such as golden-headed and white-bearded manikins, delightful tufted coquette hummingbirds and several species of honeycreeper. With luck we may see the manikins displaying at one of the nearby leks, with a further chance of such charismatic species as Trinidad motmot and collared trogon.
- Following breakfast, we head out on an excursion to Waterloo. This outing will provide a distinct contrast to the forest birding that we will have experienced before, as we scan the shoreline exposed by the retreating tide. This habitat is perfect for a variety of waders, herons, gulls and a multitude of other species. During our time, we can hope to see black skimmer, royal tern, brown pelican and greater yellowlegs.
- Later in the day, we venture into Caroni Swamp and board a boat to explore the vast network of mangroves, where we should see striated, little blue, great and tri-coloured heron. In addition to the birdlife, we may also be lucky enough to spot silky anteater or even one of Caroni’s multiple snake species. However, the bird that most of us will have come to see in the Caroni Swamp is the stunning, brightly coloured scarlet ibis, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s national birds.
- We focus once again on the excellent birding to be had around the Asa Wright Nature Centre, starting the day on the verandah. Rufous-tailed jacamar, channel-billed toucan, red-rumped woodpecker and Trinidad motmot are just some of the highlights that we may see and, with luck, we may also see some of Trinidad’s raptors soaring overhead, including ornate hawk-eagle, black vulture and broad-winged hawk.
- In the evening, we have the opportunity to visit the east coast of Trinidad to hopefully see leatherback turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.
- This morning is free to spend at leisure following our late return from turtle watching the previous evening.
- After lunch, we head out to a birding site known as Wallerfield, whose savannah habitat provides a distinct contrast to the forested grounds of the centre. Once at Wallerfield, we will likely encounter a wealth of dry-country savannah species that we will not have seen previously, such as grey-lined kite, yellow-headed caracara, savannah hawk and plumbeous kite.
- In addition to the raptors, we also hope to catch sight of various other species that include southern lapwing, black-crested antshrike, rufous-browed peppershrike, masked yellowthroat, striped cuckoo, and many more.
- Today, we take the Blanchisseuse Road to the village of Brasso Seco to explore the higher forests of Trinidad’s Northern Range above the Asa Wright Nature Centre, with several birding stops along the way.
- It is difficult to know exactly what species we will see, however there is a good chance that we could spot all three species of trogon found on Trinidad – green-backed, collared and Guianan. There are also viewpoints along the road from where we can look above the forest canopy and see some of the larger bird species, such as turkey vultures, common black hawk and short-tailed hawk which are often seen riding the thermals above. Another site presents a chance of one of the island’s endemics, the Trinidad piping guan.
- We dedicate this day of our itinerary to visit a very special location in the grounds of the Asa Wright Nature Centre – Dunston Caves. Access to these caves is strictly controlled and only guests of the centre are allowed to visit on one day of the week. These caves are home to a colony of the world’s only nocturnal fruit-eating bird, the oilbird, which roost during the day before emerging at nightfall when they fly off in search of palm fruits.
- On our final morning in Trinidad, we enjoy the Asa Wright Nature Centre and its verandah at our leisure, before transferring back to the international airport in Port-of-Spain to catch our return overnight flight back to the UK.
Day 9 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We spend all seven nights on Trinidad at the Asa Wright Nature Centre. The centre consists of a main building with verandah, a restaurant and a number of cabins situated on a hill. The vast majority of the rooms are located in the cabins; accommodation is simple, yet comfortable and all the rooms have en suite facilities and ceiling fans.
All meals are included during our time on Trinidad.
Due to its unique position only a few kilometres off the coast of South America, Trinidad is an excellent birdwatching destination, as you can see both South American and Caribbean species, including a variety of hummingbirds, trogons, raptors and shorebirds. However, there are also some endemic species that we hope to see, such as Trinidad piping guan and Trinidad motmot.
- White-necked jacobin
- Ruby topaz hummingbird
- Black-backed woodpecker
The abundance of birds will capture the majority of our attention, but we will stay alert for mammals. This will be especially true when we head to the east coast of Trinidad to see the leatherback turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches.
- Leatherback turtle
- Red-rumped agouti
- Silky anteater
- Trinidadian funnel-eared bat
Our tour is based at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in the forested hills of the Northern Range. We also travel further afield to mangrove swamps, dry savannah habitats and also palm-fringed beaches.
On our visit to the Caroni Swamp, we will explore this unique ecosystem by boat in the hope of spotting a range of birds. In particular, we have our eyes peeled for scarlet ibis - this brightly coloured bird is one of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago.
The aim of this itinerary is to be easy-going and slow paced, so with any walks that we do, we will take our time. There is one exception to this which is the walk to see the oilbirds. This particular trail is steep in places, however it is well maintained, as stairs with handrails have been built to make things easier for us at the steeper points. We would recommend you bring a sturdy pair of walking boots with good grip.
Price includes return scheduled flights between London and Port-of-Spain.
Ground transportation is by minibus with a driver.
In April, the weather in Trinidad is generally hot and sunny. The temperatures in Port-of-Spain can rise to 30⁰ Celsius, but in the hills of the Northern Range - where the Asa Wright Nature Centre is located - the temperatures are kept in check by cool breezes. Cloudy conditions can occur and rain may appear too lasting for a prolonged periods. With this in mind, it is recommend to bring waterproof coats.