On this relaxed bird watching tour you will have plenty of opportunity to look for St Lucia’s 7 endemic birds as well as countless other Caribbean species. This is not a group tour and therefore can be tailor-made to exactly suit your requirements. If you would prefer to stay at another hotel, have more or less free time or combine this tour with a stay on another island – we can happily arrange this for you.
Day 1 Arrive in St Lucia and transfer to the Fox Grove Inn, located on the quiet unspoilt east coast and close to all the best birding on the island.
Day 2 A free day to relax, acclimatize and explore the beautiful surroundings. The wonderful Mamiku Gardens and Estate is a five minute walk away. Originally acquired in 1766 by the Baron de Micoud, once governor of St. Lucia, today it is a fascinating botanical garden with over 200 varieties of plants, as well as being a hardworking banana and fruit plantation. A moderate trek along the wooded hillside discloses lovely vistas of the Praslin Bay and a wonderful opportunity to look for indigenous species, both botanical and avian.
Day 3 The first of the guided tours is to the East Coast, the Quilesse Reserve and the Vieux Fort wetlands, which is a long full day tour departing before 6.00 am. The first stop is about 25 minutes from the hotel at the coastal dry forest to look for the White-breasted Thrasher and other Lesser Antillean endemics and about an hour will be spent here. You will then proceed to the Quilesse Forest, which includes the Descartiers trail. The drive from the first stop to the forest is about 30 minutes and here all the St. Lucia endemics can be found, including the parrot and black finch and you can also find the Rufus-throated Solitaire, the Antillean Euphonia etc. in this area.
Day 4 The Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari is a magical and unforgettable experience and if you like, you can choose to do this optional trip today. To date, in excess of 25 varieties of these magnificent mammals have been spotted in St Lucia’s waters. The most frequently sighted of the whales are the, Sperm (45ft), the Pilot (20ft) and the Humpback (60ft). Occasionally, there are sightings of Orcas (Killer Whale 30ft) and there are large pods of Dolphin, sometimes 150 at a time. They dazzle and hypnotize with their spectacular and lively antics. The most frequently sighted are the Spotted, Common, Fraser, Striped and Spinners, which can be seen leaping playfully several yards into the air, whilst spinning up to seven times. Using hydrophone enables us to hear the Whales and Dolphins communicating by clicks, squeals, grunts and screams. Harmonious wailing sounds, which can be heard for several miles, emanate from the Humpback Whale, also known as the Singing Whale. This tour includes site-seeing along the western coastline, with amazing sights such as the majestic Pitons and picturesque Marigot Bay and lasts approximately 6 – 7 hours.
Day 5 Today you will go on your second guided birding tour to The Millet Bird Sanctuary in the island’s central Rain Forest belt, which is home to a wide variety of bird species. The area is now strictly geared to conservation and is littered with cocoa and nutmeg trees, breadfruit, mangoes and a few citrus trees, from previous cultivations. The reforestation was enhanced with the fast growing Blue Mahaut, as well as Mahogany and the Flaming Immortelle tree. Other tree species include the l’Encens (Incense) and Poix Dioux – a delicacy for the St. Lucia parrot, whose numbers now stand at a healthy 800 scattered throughout the six forest ranges. The approximately 2-mile loop trail ascends to more than 1,000 feet above sea level, with a number of rest points offering fantastic views of Piton Flore to the North and the Soufriere mountain range to the West. There are also views of the largest and most modern water catchment facility in the Caribbean – the Roseau Dam, over 300 feet deep and holding 700 million gallons of fresh water. This is a very good spot for photographing the Saint Lucia parrot. During the two hours of walking you will get numerous opportunities to see some of the island’s rarest birds, such as St. Lucia Orioles, Mockingbirds, Tyrants, Hummingbirds, Black Finch, Pewee and the world famous Amazona Versicolor, the St. Lucian parrot indigenous to the island. Feeding stations lining the trail encourage the birds to drop in, sometimes only an arm’s length away and you can have a closer look.
Day 6 Today’s tour to Soufriere starts with a journey of about an hour, with the road meandering through banana farms, lush vegetation and quaint fishing villages to an area rich in history and recently given World Heritage Status. This tour offers a close up view of the Pitons, a visit to the Botanical Gardens, Diamond Water Falls and the Soufriere Volcano, also famously known as the Sulphur Springs and the “world’s only drive-in volcano”. The road runs right up to and through the crater of the Soufriere Volcano, which is now dormant but scientists have predicted that the volcano could erupt again in around 100 years. A tour of its bubbly, steamy sulphur springs offers a direct and fascinating lesson in the violent geology of the Caribbean Rim. There will also be an opportunity to bathe in its natural mud baths – truly nature’s spa. There are also interesting birds to be seen here and you can use that opportunity to catch up on other birds that you may have missed on other trips, like the Antillean Euphonia etc.
Day 7 After lunch at the hotel, you will depart for the afternoon guided tour of the North East Coast lasting from approximately 2.00pm to 9.00pm and you will take a pack dinner with you. In this area you will see the Rufus Nightjar, Mask Duck, House Wren (Saint Lucia Race), Bridal Quail Dove, White-breasted Thrasher etc. If it is the right time of year (March – September) turtle watching is also an important part of this tour, because the bird watching takes place at Grand Anse beach, one of the most important beaches in the Caribbean for the nesting leatherbacks.
Day 8 Your last day may be spent relaxing around the pool, walking along the coast or watching the numerous hummingbirds and other species in your hotel’s lovely tropical gardens before departing for the airport and your flight on to another island or back to the UK.
The Price is per person sharing a double room and includes:
- Non-stop flights with Virgin Atlantic or British Airways
- All transfers
- All tours as described
- Representatives in St Lucia
- All local taxes and entrance fees
- Accommodation with Breakfast and Dinner at Fox Grove Inn
(Or choice of other hotels at a supplement)