The finest bird watching, nesting Giant Leatherback turtles and wonderful scenery at an easy pace
Our Trinidad & Tobago Small Group Nature Tour is a relaxed and easy paced twin island itinerary providing the perfect opportunity to see the best that these unspoilt islands have to offer. This includes the finest bird watching, the peak time to witness the incredible spectacle of nesting Giant Leatherback turtles and the most wonderful tropical plants and scenery. The tour will give you an amazing eco-adventure experience, while still offering you every comfort, staying in very special and individual hotels and lodges. You will be looked after by our local representatives and accompanied by the very best knowledgeable and experienced local guides on all tours, but you will not have a leader from the UK.
This small group tour is running on the following dates:
16th April – 1st May 2021
Fly to Tobago and transfer to the beautiful Blue Waters Inn for 6 nights. Situated on the quiet northern point of the island with incredible views all around, this is the ideal choice for nature lovers and divers. The hotel is secluded in the privacy of its own stunning bay and is separated from the village of Speyside by a steep walk. All 38 rooms have en suite bathrooms, air conditioning, fans and private porches and there are 2 private bungalows with self-catering facilities as well. The 46 acres of lush tropical grounds are full of rare and beautiful birds and directly face the bird sanctuary at Little Tobago. There is a restaurant, a relaxed Shipwreck Bar serving great cocktails and good bar meals, free kayaking and an excellent dive centre on site. This small resort on one of the most stunning locations on the island has a lovely laid-back atmosphere and provides immediate access to some of the very best diving and bird watching in Tobago.
A first free day to relax and get acquainted with the lovely surroundings and array of birds to found here, to unwind on the beach, to go snorkelling or even diving, or to explore the nature trails.
Leaving your hotel early in the morning, you will take a walk with your birding guide 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 of Tobago’s 200 plus, colourful bird species. Along the Gilpin Trace it is possible to see Trinidad MotMot, Blue Backed Manakin, White tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird and many others. Butterflies, Trap-door Spiders, Fruit-eating Bats, Lizards, Snakes and endemic trees make up part of the biodiversity of the rain forest here.
This morning, you will depart from the jetty in front of your hotel by glass-bottom boat to visit the uninhabited Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary. You will cross pristine coral reefs on the way and there will be a chance to snorkel at Angel Reef and see the world’s largest Brain Coral. You will explore the island for colonies of Red-Billed Tropicbird, Red-footed and Brown Boobies, Sooty and Noddy Terns, Frigatebird and Audubon’s Shearwater.
Today you will have a full day round the island tour with your knowledgeable birding guide, who will also show you many beautiful sights of natural, cultural and historic interest. Look for birds and wildlife at places like Buccoo Marsh, Tobago Plantations and Grafton Bird Sanctuary. You will surely see most of Tobago’s special birds such as Scrub Greenlet, Black-faced Grassquit, Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird and Caribbean Martin. Lunch will be at a local restaurant on the beach at Pigeon Point.
A free day to explore the local area. Perhaps take a walk to nearby Speyside or to the picturesque fishing village of Charlotteville, which is a little further away, but well worth a visit. Private birding can be done along the way, or you could relax by the pool or on the beach. There is a dive shop on site who can set you up to try some snorkelling or even diving.
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport for the short flight to Trinidad. On arrival, you will be transferred to Trinidad’s remote Northeast coast for 3 nights at Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel. The hotel is situated next to the river, facing the wonderful beach at Grande Riviere. The Leatherback turtles nest on the beach directly in front of the hotel in abundance at this time of year and you will be very unlucky not to witness this wonderful spectacle during your stay here. There is a Turtle Visitor Centre close to your hotel with lots of information about these amazing creatures and the conservation work undertaken.
Early this morning you will venture out from your hotel to the edge of the rainforest with your knowledgeable local birding guide to look for the Piping Guan and other bird species. Later this evening, you will have another chance to observe the nesting turtles.
You will have a free day to explore the surroundings and bird independently, or you can relax on the beach, fish, take another forest walk to one of several nearby waterfalls or visit Shark River.
After breakfast, you will transfer to the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre for 5 nights. Surrounded by pristine rainforest, with superb views across the Arima Valley, this is a non-profit making Wildlife Sanctuary and a world-class destination for birdwatchers. Over 170 species have been recorded at this former coffee, cocoa and citrus plantation, many of which can be seen from the wonderful veranda of the Lodge. A network of well-marked trails meander through the 200-acre conservation area and there are natural pools for bathing. Guests are accommodated in 26 comfortable bedrooms, located in the Main Estate House and in cottages dotted around the beautiful gardens full of tropical flowers, trees and shrubs. All have private bathrooms and balconies. All guests are on a full board plan, including superb picnic lunches on field trips and the excellent cuisine reflects the varied ethnicity of the people of Trinidad.
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 may see species such as Violacious Trogon, Channel-billed Bellbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Turquoise and Bay-headed Tanager.
Awaken to the raucous noise of the Crested Oropendola and a host of other exotic sounds. You may see 20-30 birds from the veranda before breakfast. These could include various hummingbirds such as White-necked Jacobin, Tufted Coquette, Copper-Rumped and Blue-chinned Sapphire. Orange-winged Parrots will be calling loudly, Palm Tanagers, Purple Honeycreeper, Great Kiskadee and Bananaquits will be everywhere.
Today you will wind your way out of the Northern Range to the east coast and the Nariva Swamp. This is the largest freshwater herbaceous swamp in Trinidad, which also has a mangrove area. This field trip takes you into several different habitats, including savannah grasslands, forest edges, coastlines and swamp territory. Several stops are made along the way, including the Aripo Agricultural Experimental Station, the villages of Valencia and Manzanilla, then and finally the Nariva Swamp. The birding trip brings you back into the old American airfield where you will look for a few special birds including the very endangered Moriche Oriole. This area is home to more than 200 species of birds including Savannah Hawks, Southern Lapwings, Red Breasted Blackbirds, Pinnated Bitterns, Azure Gallinules, Purple Gallinules, White tailed Golden Throat Hummingbird, Black-crested Antshrike, Red bellied Macaws, Pearl Kites, Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, Crested Caracaras. A variety of small mammals can sometimes also be found in this part of the country and these can include anteaters, porcupines, howler monkeys, the endangered ocelot and manatee.
A free morning to allow you to relax, explore the numerous trails and enjoy the birding from the veranda, which is one of the world’s most pleasant and exciting ornithological experiences.
In the afternoon, you will take trip to Caroni Bird Sanctuary, an extensive area of mangrove swamp and lagoon facing the Gulf of Paria, where you will take an evening tour on-board a flat bottom boat going through the mangrove channels looking for a variety of mangrove species. It is possible to see Silky Anteaters, Tree Boa Constrictors, Freshwater Caiman and Crab-eating Racoons, along with many species of crabs. The birdlife and panoramic wetland views are incredible, and your day will end with the breathtaking sight of flocks of stunning Scarlet Ibis returning to their roosting areas. Other birding highlights could include Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Osprey, Striated Heron, White-cheeked Pintail, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Bicoloured Conebill and Red-capped Cardinal. Afternoon tea and rum punch is provided on the way.
Today there is a full day excursion along the Arima-Blanchisseuse road towards the northern coastal fishing village of Blanchisseuse and the Caribbean Sea. Bird watching is done throughout the entire journey which goes to the summit at Morne Bleu, where you can discover lots of interesting insects, butterflies and moths. The tour continues down the scenic coastline towards the small village of Paria Brasso Seco, where the picnic lunch is served. Restrooms are available at this stop. The birding continues after lunch, travelling towards the village of Morne La Croix. Some of the birds we will look for today include Channel Billed Toucans, Trinidad Piping Guans, Bearded Bellbirds, Rufus Tailed Jacamars, Collared Trogons, Green Backed Trogons, Guianan Trogons, Speckled Tanagers, Golden Headed Manakins.
Your last full day in Trinidad and this morning you will visit Dunston Cave, home of the most accessible colony of Oilbirds in the world. Oilbirds are unique as they are the only nocturnal fruit eating birds. The after-noon will be free to enjoy the facilities at the Centre, to explore the trails, take a dip in the natural bathing pool or just relax on the verandah.
A final relaxing morning in Trinidad, before transferring to the airport after lunch, for your late after-noon flight back to the UK.
Arrive back to the UK in the early morning.
Please note that this itinerary is just a guide and the field trips might be done on different days than is listed.