This dual island nation is a globally regarded and highly desired bird watching and wildlife-viewing destination. Armed with a diversity of tropical residents and migrants of Amazonian and West Indian origin, the colorful spectacle of birds found in Trinidad and Tobago brings people from all over the world to this stunning location. The perfect weather, world-class accommodations, and Caribbean atmosphere make this one of our favorite offerings. Come search for the critically endangered and endemic Trinidad Piping Guan, photograph the pugnacious Tufted Coquette, meet the stunning Ruby Topaz hummingbird, meet the densest colony of Leatherback Turtles, swim and soak up the beautiful Caribbean vistas on pink-sand beaches and so much more!
Join us for this action packed journey and explore some of the most charismatic and desirable bird species found on these dreamy South Caribbean islands.
Located just off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago is unique amongst other Caribbean Islands due to its shared geologic history with the nearby South American mainland, and the many West-Indian bird species found here. Our skillfully crafted 10-day tour offers excellent opportunities to see amazing birds like Tufted Coquette, Bearded Bellbird, Ruby Topaz Hummingbird, Black Hawk Eagle, Turquoise Tanager, Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby, Oilbird and of course, the world-famous Scarlet Ibis.
Although our trip is certainly centered on bird watching, our eclectic itinerary will appeal to general nature enthusiasts as well. We’ve got opportunities to swim and snorkel on secluded pink-sand beaches, soak in salt-water pools while basking under the glorious starry skies of Tobago. Additional wildlife viewing opportunities include looking for Red Howler and White-faced Capuchin Monkeys calling through the forest, as well as we staying at the world famous Grande Riviere beach, among the densest population of nesting leatherback turtles in the world. Have a chance to see these behemoths – the largest turtles in the world – up close and personal right where sir David Attenborough sat to film Blue Planet II. Our top-notch eco-lodge accommodations will provide amazing relaxation opportunities and delicious meals throughout our travels.
Dates: 3 April – 14 April 2020 (11 days/10 nights)
Price: $3,750 per person/double occupancy
Single Supplement: $800
Type: Bird watching and Wildlife Viewing
Length: 11 days
Starting city: Port of Spain, Trinidad
Ending city: Port of Spain, Trinidad
Pace: easy to moderate
Physical difficulty: easy to moderate
Focus: Bird Watching and Wildlife viewing
Max group size: 8 + 1 leader + local guide(s)
Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island nation located in the South Caribbean sea, just off the coast of Venezuela. Unique amongst other tropical islands, this highly-biodiverse destination has over 400 species of birds reported from here. A wide-variety of neo-tropical bird families are present on T&T which makes this trip an excellent introduction to Neo-tropical birding, as-well as great opportunities to spot endemic species like the Trinidad Motmot, and Trinidad-Piping Guan. Did we mention we’ll be heading into an easily accessible cave to view a colony of bizarre, nocturnal, and unique Oilbirds and have intimate views of Leatherback Turtles laying eggs on the same beach Sir David Attenborough filmed them for Planet Earth 2?
The first day of our tour kicks off as our shuttle driver collect us from either Piarco International Airport or your hotel. We will then be whisked away to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. Along the way we’ll enjoy an introduction to Trinidad’s rich avifauna including Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Common Black Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk and Zone-tailed Hawk. Along our journey we will enjoy the transition from flat, open plains to the heavily forested Northern Range, amongst which lies our destination for the next few nights. The Northern Range of Trinidad is the northernmost outcrop of the Andes Mountains, and extends horizontally across the entire island. Although the highest peaks fall just short of 1,000m, its forests are very diverse – the majority lower montane, and merge into cloud forest on the highest slopes. We will be welcomed into Asa Wright Nature Centre by Blue-grey, Palm andSilver-beaked Tanagers, Copper-rumped Hummingbirds and even the smallest bird on the island, the flamboyant Tufted Coquette. The raucous sounds of Crested Oropendolas are easily heard as these icterids call from the tropical trees overhead. Channel-billed Toucans and Bearded Bellbirds are often heard in the distance. If we arrive in the evening, we will listen for Ferruginous Pygmy Owls, Spectacled Owls and other nocturnal birds. Our main focus tonight is settling and getting comfortable, however, optional night-walk with a resident Asa Wright guide to spot interesting invertebrates and other nocturnal creatures will be available. In some cases lucky guests have seen Nine-banded Armadillos and Brazilian Porcupines.
As the cacophony of neotropical sounds gently wake you from a peaceful slumber, saunter a few meters from your comfortable room into the main lodge. Enjoy a hot coffee or tea from the world famous lodge veranda. Make sure to have your binoculars ready for amazing birds like Barred Antshrike, Piratic Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Orange-winged Parrots, Ruby Topaz, Blue-chinned Sapphire and Tropical Mockingbird. We will spend the day birding around the lodge, and enjoy all of our carefully prepared meals right here. The lodge veranda is a great place to bird from, serving up good views of approximately twenty species, we can expect to see White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Long-billed Starthroat, White-chested Emerald, Green Hermit, Bananaquit, Purple and Green Honeycreeper, White-lined, Silver-beaked, Turquoise and Bay-headed Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Spectacled Thrush, Violaceous Euphonia and maybe even the locally rare Brown Violetear. Other non-avian species like Red-rumped Agouti and Gold Tegu lizard. With a wide variety of trails, we will explore the grounds searching forWhite-necked Thrush, Plain Woodcreeper, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Great Antshrike, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Guianan Trogon, Green-backed Trogon, Collared Trogon, White-bearded Manakin, Golden-headed Manakin, Bearded Bellbird, Yellow-olive Flycatcher and Yellow-breasted Flycatcher.
On day four, we will rise early to enjoy a change of scenery amongst a higher elevation forest, along the Arima-Blanchicheusse Road, the only road in the country with such an extreme altitude profile. Along the way, we will be searching for Common Black Hawk, White Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Swallow-tailed Kite, Scaled Pigeon, Blue-headed Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Collared Trogon, Channel-billed Toucan, Chestnut Woodpecker, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Black-faced Antthrush, Euler’s Flycatcher, Speckled Tanager, Sooty Grassquit and many others. We will also keep an eye out for migrant warblers such as Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart and Yellow Warbler. Following this highland adventure, we will return to the lodge for lunch, and head to Grande Riviere our home for the next two nights. Additionally, time permitting we will search a wet pasture for the migratory Wilson’s Snipe, as well as residents such as Masked Yellowthroat and Red-breasted Meadowlark.
Mornings are incredible around Cuffie River, and we’ll be sure to enjoy this one. Today we we’ll take in exceptional views of the endemic Trinidad Motmot, and other specialties like Tropical Mockingbird, Tropical Kingbird, Grey Kingbird, Caribbean Martin, Grey-rumped Swift, Shiny Cowbird, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Palm, White-lined and Blue-grey Tanager(subspecies endemic to Tobago). Following this, we will hike into the rainforest from the lodge itself, keeping eyes out for Broad-winged Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, White-fringed Antwren, Scrub Greenlet (subspecies also endemic to Tobago), Brown-crested Flycatcher, Venezuelan Flycatcher, Collared Trogon, Blue-backed Manakin, Grey-throated Leaftosser, White-necked Thrush, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Olivaceous Woodcreeper and Barred Antshrike.We will return to the lodge for lunch and spend the afternoon here, as the photographic opportunities at Cuffie River are top notch in the afternoon. At this time we can enjoy the setting sun soaking the colorful hummingbird feeder arrays in golden light. Or feel free to enjoy a soak in second story saltwater pool, where we can observe Caribbean Martins, Short-tailed and Grey-rumped Swifts taking turns drinking from the pool. After another decadent meal at Cuffie River tonight, we can chat, and enjoy the lodge’s lovely accommodations. However… don’t stay up too late! You’ll want to catch some zzz’s before embarking on our exciting day tomorrow.
We rise early and drive to Tobago’s low-lying wetlands, these areas can be excellent for good views and photo opportunities of water birds such as Anhinga, Neotropic Cormorant, Osprey, Wattled Jacana, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Rarer birds will be up for grabs, such as the secretive Masked Duck, Mangrove Cuckoo and Least Grebe. We will spend some time enjoying this location. Lunch will be served at a tried and true local diner. From here we’ll proceed to a stunning waterfall where another bath in refreshing fresh water bath is possible and we’ll see whatever birds want to come say hi. After this, we will return to Cuffie River for our final dinner. You may be sad to leave this amazing sanctuary but we’ve got more exquisite destinations and beautiful birds to show you!
After breakfast, we will start our journey to Speyside, passing through Main Ridge Forest Reserve where we will have a stop with the option of a short walk into the rainforest. Birding will be a little more difficult but very rewarding, with species not commonly seen elsewhere such as Red-rumped Woodpecker, Yellow-legged Thrush and White-throated Spadebill. Main Ridge Forest Reserve has a very rich history and is the oldest officially protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere (and possibly the world)! We will also bird along the road, pit stop and snack break at the forestry ranger’s outpost. This evening we’ll check in at the breathtaking Blue Waters Inn where we can soak in the infinity pool, and have dinner with a view of Little Tobago Island and the turquoise Caribbean waters crashing on the shore.
After breakfast, we will board a boat at the lodge and motor out to some of the best snorkeling locations in the Caribbean, all the while keeping a lookout for Bottle-nosed Dolphins, sea turtles and flying fish. After soaking in the clear Caribbean Sea and lounging on a secluded pink sand beach, we return to a local kitchen for lunch and then return to the boat to spend the remaining portion of the afternoon on Little Tobago Island. This famed offshore islet houses one of the largest and most accessible breeding colonies of Red-billed Tropicbirds in the region. In addition to the elegant tropicbirds, we will also get views of species such asBrown Booby, Red-footed Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird and Brown Noddy. Sooty and Bridled Terns are also possible. During our time on Little Tobago, we will also search for Scaly-naped Pigeon, Chivi Vireo, Brown-crested Flycatcher as well as roosting White-tailed Nightjars.
This morning we’ll have breakfast and then depart Blue Waters Inn for the airport to catch our flight back to Trinidad. Upon arrival in Trinidad, we will head to another world famous site, the Caroni Bird Sanctuary where we will set out on our boating trip for the afternoon. This mangrove ecosystem is the second largest of its kind on the island and is extremely rich in terms of avian life. Possible birds we can spot from the boat are Little Blue Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Common Black Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Blue-winged Teal, Mangrove Rail, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Ani, Tropical Screech Owl, Masked Cardinal, Pygmy Kingfisher, Green-throated Mango, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Black-crested Antshrike, Northern Scrub Flycatcher as well as a roosting Common Potoo. We will end the tour with a relaxing viewing session of more than a hundred American Flamingos feeding while a jaw-dropping few thousand Scarlet Ibis return to their roost in droves. Once the boat has returned to dock, we will have a closing meal together at a nice restaurant nearby, and then transfer folks to their hotel for the evening. Most guests elect to fly out the day after the tour’s official end to grab a shower and nice night’s sleep before returning home the following day.
Our local guide is a top-notch bird watcher, prolific photographer, outspoken conservationist and local Trinidadian. Faraaz masterfully leverages his long-term relationships with local contacts, and wields an intimate knowledge of the region’s ecology and wildlife. Faraaz’s passion for wildlife, dedication to conservation, and his laid-back vibe make for a great time.
In his free time he guides for the Trinidad and Tobago Naturalist Club, and delivers presentations to local groups on wildlife photography, and bird conservation. Recently featured in Audubon Magazine, our local expert is here to serve up an unforgettable experience at a digestible pace.
Join us and experience his beautiful Caribbean home for yourself!