Tailor-made holiday on three idyllic Caribbean islands combining relaxation with wildlife and bird watching
This fantastic St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago Nature Holiday, features three beautiful Caribbean islands and is ideally suited to enthusiastic birders and naturalists, as well as those that just want to enjoy a relaxing Caribbean holiday. Whatever your preferences are, the itinerary can be tailor-made to suit your individual requirements.
The birding on both islands is easy and accessible, with Trinidad & Tobago boasting over 450 bird species and St. Lucia 167, six of which are endemic. As well as birds, you will have the opportunity to discover all the amazing flora and fauna to be found on these islands, including nesting Leatherback turtles. Combine this with beautiful scenery and beaches, good accommodation and food, excellent local guides and friendly English speaking people and you have the recipe for an exceptional tour.
Day 1 – Arrive in St Lucia, where you will be met and transferred to Fox Grove Inn, located on the quiet unspoilt east coast and close to all the best birding on the island. This will be your base for the 4 nights that you will be in St Lucia.
Day 2 – Today you will go on your first birding tour with your excellent guide, to the central Rain Forest belt, which is home to a wide variety of bird species. The area contains many 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. 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. 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.
Day 3 – The second of the guided tours is to the East Coast, Quilesse Reserve and the Vieux Fort wetlands, which is a long full day tour. The first stop is the coastal dry forest 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. 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 – Today you will have an early morning start at 6.00 am, with a packed brunch for a tour to the North East Coast. The tour will return to your hotel at about 3:00 pm.
This tour will give the opportunity to visit a small wetland to see the roosting and nesting egrets and herons including the black crown and yellow crown night heron within very close distance at Seraphine Point near the cruise ship terminal and the Castries Harbour.
From Seraphine the tour moves to the NE via the beautiful community of Babonneau, an agrarian community which is gradually incorporating tourism and other sectors in the economic development of the community. Then from the Des Barras Ridge you will get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Anse beach, the longest and most pristine beach on the island. This is a nesting ground for turtles, including the Leatherback Turtles. We gradually make our way down the very bumpy road, picking up many endemic and speciality birds, including and not limited to the House Wren (Saint Lucia Race), Bridal Quail Dove, White-breasted Thrasher etc. We also have the opportunity to mop up other endemics, such as the Oriole, Black Finch and other near endemics missed on other tours. We finally end the NE tour with a visit to this wetlands area to look for the Mask Duck. It would be a shame to visit Grand Anse and not to walk on this beautiful, remote and pristine beach and for this reason, we will walk the beach, where we will also have the opportunity to pick up some pelagic and coastal birds.
The tour will then continue on to Pigeon Island, driving through many communities in the North of the island including Caye Manje where the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground and the water treatment ponds are located, where there will be a brief stop to check for waders and other visitors. We drive through the Town of Gros Islet and along the beach where fishermen pull in their daily catch, looking to spot Royal, Sandwich and other Terns along the way. The Pigeon Island Cross-way is our final stop, to look for the Brown, Mask and Red-footed Booby and other sea birds roosting on a perch at about 300 metres on the Atlantic Ocean side of Pigeon island. Here the tour ends and we will drive back to your hotel.
Day 5 – Your last morning in St Lucia may be spent relaxing or birding in the lovely tropical gardens before departing for your flight to Trinidad and transfer to Grande Riviere and the Mt Plaisir Estate Hotel for 3 nights. The beautiful beach here is the largest nesting site in the western hemisphere for Leatherback turtles and the area is wonderful for birdwatching.
Day 6 – A free day to enjoy the beach, river and surrounding area, before enjoying the amazing spectacle of the giant Leatherback turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs at dusk.
Day 7 – Walking out from your hotel with your guide, you will enjoy a morning of birding and wildlife exploration along the shores of the river and into the forest. your main target will be the endemic Piping Guan, but there will be many more species to see. In the evening, there will be another opportunity to see the nesting Leatherbacks.
Day 8 – A morning transfer to Asa Wright Nature Centre, where your stay here will begin with a guided tour of some of the trails traversing this rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary. On this introductory walk you will see various hummingbirds and species such as Violacious Trogon, Channel-billed Bellbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Purple Honeycreeper, Great Kiskadee, Turquoise and Bay-headed Tanager. The rest of the afternoon will be free to allow you to relax, explore the numerous trails and enjoy the birding from the verandah, which is one of the worlds most pleasant and exciting ornithological experiences.
Day 9 – The day starts with a visit to Dunston Cave, home of the most accessible colony of Oilbirds in the world. Later on in the afternoon, you will take a boat trip through the famous Caroni Swamp, a specialised mangrove forest where the day will end with the spectacular flight of Scarlet Ibis returning to their roosts at dusk.
Day 10 – Today there is an all day excursion over the Northern Range to the seaside village of Blanchisseuse. En route you will look for Swallow-tailed Kite, Common Black Hawk, Bat Falcon, Collared Trogon, White-tailed Trogon and Rufous-tailed Jacamar, among many others. At the seashore we will look for Magnificent Frigatebird, Green Kingfisher and Brown Pelican. Be sure to bring your bathing suit and sunscreen, as there will be a chance for a swim after lunch on the beach.
Day 11 – Take a short late morning flight to Tobago, where you will spend 4 nights at the idyllic Blue Waters Inn on the unspoilt North East coast. Your first afternoon here will be free to explore the surroundings and enjoy the beach and pool.
Day 12 – The first of three excursions with your guide in Tobago, Newton George, who will take you on a full day touring right around the island. This might find you exploring the Ponds at Bon Accord, Bucoo Marsh, Grafton Bird Sanctuary or the mangroves at Plantations. You will surely see most of Tobago’s special birds such as Scrub Greenlet, Black-faced Grassquit, Ruby-topaz hummingbird and Caribbean Martin (February – October). Other species often spotted are White Cheeked Pintail, Black Bellied Whistling and Mask Ducks, Least Grebe, Anhinga, Mangrove Cuckoo and Waders. During the months of September to April you can also see Pereguine Falcon, Merlin, Northern Waterthrush, American Red Start and Wablers namely Prothonotary, Black and White and Yellow Warblers. Lunch on the beach is also included today.
Day 13 – This morning you will take a walk into the Tobago Forest Reserve, which was established in 1765 and is the oldest protected forest in the Western Hemisphere. It is a haven for some 210 of Tobago’s most colourful bird species. Along the Gilpin Trace it is possible to see Blue-crowned MotMot, Blue Backed Manakin, White tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Yellow Legged Thrush, Fuscous Flycatcher, Great Black Hawk, Collared Trogon and many others. Trap door Spiders, Fruit eating Bats, Lizards, Snakes and endemic trees make up part of the biodiversity of the rain forest.
Day 14 – Today you will depart by glass-bottom boat to Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary. On the way you will cross the pristine coral reefs and there will be a chance to see the largest Brain Coral recorded in the Western Hemisphere, as well as snorkel at Angel Reef. On landing and depending on the time of year, you will explore the island looking for exotic sea birds and perhaps nesting colonies of Red-Billed Tropicbird, Red-footed and Brown Boobies, Terns, Magnificent Frigatebird and Audubon’s Shearwater.
Day 15 – At Leisure
Day 16– A last leisurely day to enjoy the lovely surroundings before transferring to the airport for your flight home in the evening.
Day 17 – Arrive back to the UK in the morning.