The islands of Trinidad and Tobago work wonderfully as an introduction to neotropical birds, as many species are easily observable and the diversity of species within families is less intimidating than on the mainland. Trinidad is geologically part of South America, located only ten miles from the shore of Venezuela. Trinidad offers a good sample size of northern South American bird species. Tobago is much smaller with many Caribbean species that are not found in Trinidad.
We will spend three nights at the ultra-comfortable, full-service Hyatt Regency Trinidad, with ocean views overlooking the Gulf of Paria. We will spend two nights at Pax Guest House, an historic boutique lodge located high above the city with a spectacular view of the Gulf of Paria. This lodge is adjacent to the Mount St. Benedict Monastery and overlooks the Caroni plains. Here we will have time to relax and watch the verandah feeders for awe-inspiring hummingbirds and other species.
World-class local guides will join us on many excursions throughout Trinidad during our stay. In the afternoon at Caroni National Park we will bird by boat, looking for Boat-billed Heron, American Pygmy-Kingfisher, Red-capped Cardinals, and others. Ultimately we will settle into the mangroves at dusk to watch the sky fill with Scarlet Ibises returning to their roosts in the mangrove swamp forests of Caroni Swamp. This is guaranteed to be a memorable, breathtaking experience.
A day long excursion on Blanchisseuse Road into the beautiful habitat of the Northern Range of Trinidad may yield Collared Trogon, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Rufous-breasted Wren, Speckled Tanager, and many others. Some of the species possible on a night excursion to lower elevations are Sulphury Flycatcher, Moriche Oriole, White-tailed Nightjar, Common Pauraque, Common Potoo, Tropical Screech-owl, and Spectacled Owl. Another day we will visit the Aripo savanna with the likelihood of watching Savanna Hawks soaring over the stunning landscape.
Our group will make scenic stops during our journey to Grand Riviere along the island’s rugged coastline. Here we will search for the endemic Trinidad Piping Guan. Grand Riviere is this critically endangered bird’s final stronghold; there may be fewer than 300 birds in existence.
Additionally, Grande Riviere’s beaches are home to the world’s densest congregation of nesting Leatherback Sea Turtles. April is the beginning of their nesting season and we should be able to find some of these gigantic turtles coming to shore to lay their eggs. We will stay one night at the eccentric and relaxing Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel. Our rooms overlook the beach, allowing you a perfect view of nesting turtles.
A twenty minute flight transports us to Tobago, the smaller island paradise of mountainous ancient rainforest, dramatic waterfalls, and pristine beaches. We will stay four nights at the luxurious, highly regarded Cuffie River Nature Retreat. Tobago’s mountain forests are home to 210 species of birds. We will look for elusive species, such as the White-tailed Sabrewing, a large hummingbird once thought to be extinct. Some species found here that are not easily found on Trinidad include Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Red-crowned Woodpecker, White-fringed Antwren, and the Venezuelan Flycatcher.
On Tobago we have the opportunity to explore lower montane rainforest habitat. We will walk the Gilpin Trace Trail within the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest wildlife sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere, to look for species such as the near endemic White-tailed Sabrewing, Yellow-legged Thrush, and Blue-backed Manakin.
We will take a short trip on a glass-bottomed boat to the incredibly scenic island of Little Tobago to enjoy nesting seabirds (Brown Booby, Red-footed Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird). We will also have an opportunity to find the endemic Trinidad Motmot and to marvel at the Red-billed Tropicbirds gliding over their breeding grounds. Snorkeling equipment will be available for anyone that wishes to get a closer look at over thirty species of coral and countless tropical fish, easily viewed in the shallow reefs surrounding Little Tobago.
We hope you join us on this relaxing, slower-paced ecotour to a biodiverse tropical paradise.
If a slower-paced tropical ecotour is more your speed, join us and world-class local guides in Trinidad and Tobago where we’ll visit all of the birding hotspots with a special focus on the dizzying array of easy-to-see, gorgeous hummingbirds and other neotropical species.Sign-up
- Trip Leaders: Erin Law and local guides
- Fee: $4,995 members / $5,495 non-members
- Deposit: $2,500
- Single supplement: $750
Fee includes: All ground transportation, double-occupancy lodging, all meals, local guides, entrance fees, excursions and the services of your skilled leaders.
Not included: Fees do not include alcoholic beverages, airfare to and from Trinidad.
Itinerary: Coming soon….
Erin fell in love with birding while working at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. After college, she studied Red-throated Loons, Common Loons and shorebird migration at Grays Harbor, Washington. Erin is passionate about the natural histories of birds, conservation, and advocating for environmental and social justice. She has traveled throughout Latin America and East Africa and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for birds and the natural world, and for all cultures around the world.