Trinidad and Tobago — January 2018

cover of book A Birdwatchers' Guide to Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago:
Land of the Hummingbird

January 11–21, 2018

Maximum of 8 participants

Guided by birding expert Bill Murphy
Author of the Birdwatchers’ Guide to Trinidad & Tobago and charter member of the T&T Rare Birds Committee

and by birding expert Wes Homoya
Guide for Tropical Birding in Ecuador, the Galapagos, Brazil, and Australia
and familiar with the birds of Hungary and southeastern Asia

Bill Murphy made his first visit to Trinidad & Tobago some 30 years ago and was hooked instantly. He has led more than 90 birding tours to T&T since then, along the way publishing the Birdwatchers’ Guide to T&T, which is in its third edition. The birding, accommodations, and logistics keep getting better. Wes Homoya is a very skilled and well liked tour guide with experience leading groups in South America, Africa, and Australia. Let us tell you a little about what our trips offer.

Trinidad and Tobago are lush, stunningly beautiful islands located just 10° above the Equator, adjacent to Venezuela. Blessed with a perfect climate and a unique blend of Amazonian and West Indian fauna and flora, this verdant two-island republic is universally acclaimed as the best place in the New World to first experience the splendor of tropical birds.

Even persons with broad experience with Neotropical birds return to T&T because of the ease with which birds and other kinds of wildlife can be studied. Birds and butterflies resplendent in gaudy hues probe at arm’s length at nectar and fruit feeders. A profusion of brightly colored flowers adds intense color to the tropical vistas, and every scene is a photo opportunity. Our accommodations are time-tested and birder-friendly. The food is sensational. Enjoying freshly picked fruit and locally grown coffee for breakfast is a luxurious experience.

Regarding birds, a high percentage of the South American families are represented in T&T. About 12,000 years of isolation from the mainland has left the species list in T&T at a manageable 475, of which participants on our tours usually observe about 225. Among the Neotropical groups we will view are tinamous, jacanas, parrots and macaws, potoos, oilbirds, hummingbirds, trogons, motmots, jacamars, toucans, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, antbirds, antthrushes, bellbirds, manakins, and bananaquits.

Such diversity in such a small area is unequaled anywhere else in the Caribbean, indeed almost anywhere else in the world.  Avian species rare or difficult to observe elsewhere are observed easily in T&T. Of particular interest are the endangered White-tailed Sabrewing, Green-throated Mango, and Tufted Coquette hummingbirds; the bizarre nocturnal Oilbirds and Common Potoos; and the seabird colonies on Little Tobago Island.

Even the common species are quite spectacular, with three kinds of hyperactive manakins popping about their leks, tanagers with plush burgundy velvet plumage, jacamars gleaming with scintillating colors and acting like hummingbirds on steroids, and luminescent lines of Scarlet Ibis floating into their emerald mangrove roosts at sunset.

You surely will be enchanted by the sights and sounds of the birds. You will also thrill to the sight of many of T&T’s other wildlife, including mammals (99 species), reptiles (96 species), amphibians (37 species), and butterflies (617 species). You will learn much of the diverse natural history of the islands, such as how to identify trees including cocoa, coffee, flamboyant, mountain immortelle, and samaan, dozens of kinds of wildflowers such as Bird-of-Paradise, Chaconia, Lobster Claw, and Sanchezia, and spectacular butterflies such as the Blue Emperor Morpho.

In Trinidad we will enjoy six nights at the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre and Lodge. In Tobago we will enjoy three nights at the superb Cuffie River Nature Retreat. Follow the links below for more information about these wonderful lodges.

How are our trips different from T&T trips offered by others? First of all, we base our operations in Trinidad, using local Trini contacts and transportation. We customize our tours to take advantage of the increased mobility that comes with using independent transportation and local guides. We visit exciting locations not frequented by other birding groups. On both islands we eat locally on several forays, soaking in the local ambiance. Finally, our longtime knowledge of the accommodations and especially the people on both islands enables us to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way.

So there you have it. From the predawn calls of owls to the twilight chorus of thrushes, each day will be a wonderful mixture of exotic birds, animals, plants, and cuisine. You will experience Trinidad & Tobago from forested slopes to palm-fringed beaches. Breathtaking scenery, unique sounds, delectable cuisine, and exceptional companionship will all add to the thrill of the trip.

Click to view the detailed itinerary

Click for information on the Cuffie River Nature Retreat

Click for information on the Asa Wright Nature Centre

Click here to download a Registration Form

Read Past Trip Reports

COST $3,995 from Port of Spain based on double occupancy; single supplement $650. Round trip airfare Miami–Trinidad via Caribbean Airlines as of July 2017,  $270

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES round trip inter-island airfare, group airport transfers during scheduled tour, baggage handling, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, afternoon tea and rum punch at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, expert tour leader and local guides on both islands, all entrance fees, glass-bottomed boat to Little Tobago Island, extensive study material on CD, bird checklist, and hotel gratuities (gratuities to local guides and boatmen are at participant’s discretion). Tour price does not include air fare from departure city to Port of Spain and return.

CANCELLATION POLICY Refunds are provided based on recoverable costs. Close to the departure date all separable costs will be returned, but in most cases commitments will have been made that will reduce the amount refundable. Trip insurance is recommended.

RESPONSIBILITY The leader and his agents act only in the capacity of Agent upon the legal conditions that, while exercising every possible precaution, they are not responsible for injury, damage, loss, additional expense, accidental delay, or other irregularities caused either through willful or negligent acts or omissions on the part of companies or individuals providing or engaging in transportation, accommodations, or other services related to the execution of the tour, or through natural calamities, labor strikes, or other factors beyond its control. We reserve the right to modify or withdraw any tour arrangement when deemed necessary for the best interests of the clients. Tour cost is subject to change. If it increases by more than 10% participants may withdraw without penalty. Baggage is carried at the owner’s risk throughout the tour, and tour insurance is recommended.

beach on Trinidad and Tobago yellow Poui tree on Trinidad and Tobago beach on Trinidad and Tobago