St Lucia is an exciting birding destination and this is an outstanding itinerary, based at the lovely Anse Chastenet Resort, where you will have many opportunities for birdwatching all around the resort’s 600 acre estate, bordering two soft sand beaches. This is especially true in the Anse Mamin plantation part of the estate, where the guides are also trained in birdwatching. Not only do you get a World Heritage Site anchored by the twin peaks on land, the resort’s two crystal-clear bays are part of a designated marine reserve protecting miles of colourful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.
On this relaxed tour you will have plenty of opportunity to look for St Lucia’s endemic birds, St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Oriole, St Lucia Black Finch, St Lucia Warbler and St Lucia Pewee, as well as countless other Antillean specialities and near endemics such as St. Lucia Nightjar, Antillean Bullfinch, Purple-throated Carib, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, White-breasted Thrasher, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Gray Trembler, Antillean Euphonia, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher and Lesser Antillean Saltator.
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.
Arrive in St Lucia and transfer to Anse Chastenet Resort, located near the Pitons on St Lucia’s south west coast, where the foliage and the flowers, the perfumes and the peaks, the sea and the bird song form an integral part of your holiday experience.
A free day to relax, acclimatize and explore the beautiful surroundings. Birds are everywhere and 4 of the 5 endemic species can be found in the hotel’s grounds. You could visit nearby Anse Mamim, where Broad-winged Hawks and American Kestrels may soar overhead and the woodland is home to Spectacled Thrushes, vireos, St Lucia Warblers, and St Lucia Peewees. The stream running through the woods is a good spot to look for Spotted Sandpipers, Blue and Green Herons.
The first of three included 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.
Today you could go on the Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, which is a magical and unforgettable experience. 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 and will allow you to experience sea birds along the way.
Your second guided birding tour will be to the Soufriere Des Bott Trail, which leads through the island’s central Rain Forest belt and is the 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. This tour offers a close up view of the Pitons and there will also be an opportunity to visit the town of Soufriere, as well as the Botanical Gardens and Volcano if there is time. The Soufriere Volcano, is 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.
This is a free day to relax and enjoy the lovely beach and surroundings. The hotel is situated in the heart of the St. Lucia marine reserves and virtually surrounded by most of the island’s coral reefs, excellent not only for scuba diving but also for snorkelling, which can be enjoyed right off the Anse Chastanet beach. The reef starts just 10 yards beyond the water’s edge and its remarkable ecosystem offers an amazing profusion of unusual tropical marine life in shallow, calm and clear water. Anse Chastanet Reef is home to more than 150 different species of fish and guests can obtain snorkel equipment on complimentary basis from the scuba centre at the south end of the beach. Snorkelling can be enjoyed unsupervised at the south and north end of the bay and guided boat snorkel trips are offered to other nearby reefs at a small charge. The Anse Chastanet watersports center located at the north end of Anse Chastanet beach also offers guests on a complimentary basis windsurfs,sunfish sailing boats and kayaks.
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.
Your last day in St Lucia may be spent relaxing on the beach or doing some private birding, watching the numerous hummingbirds and other species in your hotel’s lovely tropical gardens, before departing for the airport in the after-noon for your flight on to another island or back to the UK.
Arrive back to the UK.