Asa Wright Nature Centre
Try to spend at least one night here.
Nowhere else in the Caribbean compares to Asa Wright for observing such a huge diversity of bird, animal and plant life, all of it concentrated in just 200 acres of rain forest in the Northern Range, near the town of Arima.
A series of 9 trails meander through a good portion of the preserve, all intended to provide the best possible introduction to South American birding.
The nature center, founded in 1967, is located in the Northern Range on Spring Hill Estate, a coffee-cocoa-citrus plantation partly reclaimed by secondary forest.
The climate is tropical and humid, in mid-montane rain forest. A light sweater or jacket is often necessary in the evenings, not for dining but to ward off the cold.
Temps vary from 65 degrees to a maximum of 86 F. Dress is informal at all times. Sneakers, cotton slacks, long-sleeved shirts and a hat are all recommended. So are a light-weight rain coat and flashlight.
Summer seminars are offered in nature photography, entomology, ornithology, tropical ecology, and drawing and painting. Vegetation is at its most striking in the dry season, January to May.
This is a popular spot for day tours that it's wise not to simply show up but to call ahead at least 24 to 48 hours to arrange for a guide.
However, you need never move out of a rocking chair to see scores of different birds: the main building has a huge front porch with numerous bird feeders just a few feet away. It's the Caribbean version of Kenya 's Treetops or the Ark , except your species count here will be far higher than in Africa . You won't believe the hummingbirds.
Expect to spend a minimum of 2 to 3days to fully avail yourself of this wonderful habitat. Walk quietly, talk in quiet whispers to avoid scaring off the critters you have come to see. Nothing is caged; everything roams free.
Better to scrutinize closely, leisurely; observe the various species and how their behaviors change according to the time of day and whether a shower has just passed; photograph.
Asa Wright has what is considered the world's most accessible colony of oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis), the only nocturnal fruit-eating bird on the planet.
Several years ago the Trinidad Guardian ran a good article about the long-term goals of Asa Wright.
Next Page (Asa Wright's Oilbird Colony)