BirdsCaribbean Partnership Tour

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Tropical Bird Photography Adventure

Tufted Cocquet

TOUR FOCUS
PHOTOGRAPHY

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2023 :: February 25 - March 5
2023 :: May 27 - June 4
2023 :: October 7 - October 15

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $4,500 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Port of Spain, Trinidad (POS)

GROUP SIZE

4 - 6 Participants

AVAILABILITY

FEB/MAR 2023: FULL
MAY/JUN 2023: 6 spaces available
OCTOBER 2023: 6 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Tropical Bird Photography Adventure

  • Only 6 participants maximum
  • Great birds and photography opportunities throughout!
  • Ruby Topaz and Crested Coquette and other hummingbirds
  • Receive hands-on, expert photography instruction from Trinidad’s premier wildlife photographer
  • JUNE – Also enjoy the Leather-back Turtle nesting period

Description of TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Tropical Bird Photography Adventure

Trinidad, only seven miles off the coast of Venezuala, contains an abundance of species found in northeastern South America, while Tobago’s avifauna is more Caribbean in it’s makeup.

In Trinidad we’ll visit the world-famous Caroni Swamp to witness Scarlet Ibis for the morning fly-out as well as a sunset fly-in, a very different experience indeed! We will explore a number of other sites for hummingbirds, macaws and so much more!

Tobago is the smaller of the two-island nation, but has a huge diversity none the less. In the riparian forests along crystal clear rivers we’ll find motmots, troupials, woodpeckers and many hummingbirds, including the Ruby Topaz! Along the beautiful Caribbean Sea we will photograph Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Pelicans and more.

Incredible birds, quality accommodations and relaxing bird photography will surely combine to make this a trip of a lifetime!

 

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Length of Tour

9-Days/8-Nights

Day 1 –  Arrive in Trinidad and transfer to Kapok Hotel

Flight arrivals through the day. Before dinner we’ll gather for our Trinidad briefing of the first leg of our twin Island Nature Photography Workshop Adventure. Then have an early dinner to retire early, to get a good night’s rest, for an early morning departure.

Day 2 – Caroni Bird Sanctuary early morning and Chaguaramas National Park, afternoon – All day

On this our first full day tour, we will visit the world famous Caroni Swamp, famous for the grand spectacle of Thousands or Scarlet Ibis; the national Bird of Trinidad and Tobago, departing from their roosting site, to disperse through the Mangroves and coastal mud flats, to feed primarily on Fiddler crabs, other crustaceans, eels, snakes and small fish.

As an added bonus, we will also get up-close-and-personal, with another internationally renowned iconic species, the Caribbean Flamingo; a recent stray population that have settled here in Trinidad and have started breeding rather successfully, within the perfect habitat of the Caroni Swamp. The scenery within the swamp, is quite spectacular and photo ops abound.

After our early morning adventure we head back to have Lunch at our hotel, after which we head off to the Chaguaramas National Park in search of Tufted Capuchin and Red Howler Monkeys, Tanagers, Parrots and some macro photography experiences with; native butterflies, flowers and bugs…

Day 3 – La Brea Pitch Lake – All day

Today we make another early morning departure in search of our primary Target Species the Chanel Billed Toucan and The Blue and Gold Macaw, this species of Macaw is a heartwarming success story of a species brought back, after decades of being extirpated from Trinidad. Today many breeding pairs are successfully reproducing and the numbers are slowly but steadily increasing… As an added bonus we may be lucky enough to see the Green-winged Macaw another breading resident of Trinidad that frequent the same habitat as the Blue and Gold Macaws. Others on our radar include Osprey catching fish. The neighbouring coastline is alive with seabirds such as Brown Pelicans, Large-billed, Royal, least, yellow-billed and Sandwich Terns, Laughing Gulls as well as other Raptors such as; Common black Hawks, Savanna Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara…  Whimbrels, Night Herons, Egrets and loose shorebirds.

We’ll have lunch in the field and on our way up the West coast, heading back to the capital in the North, we pop into some agricultural lands, in search of some wetland and grassland species, such as Limpkins, Swamp Hens, Pinnated Bittern, Masked Yellowthroat, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Glossy Ibis, Red-breasted Meadowlarks and feral finches and another top target species gem, the Long-winged Harrier, and many more.

Day 4 – Morning Tour of POS and then to Yerette and Caroni Swamp – All day

On this day, we take a casual morning stroll through the Port of Spain Botanical Gardens in search of a wide variety of passerines and members of the Parrot family such as Blue-gray, Palm, Silver-beaked and Turquoise Tanagers, and a variety of members of the Parrot family Such as the Orange-winged and the Yellow-crowned Parrots, White-eyed Parakeets and Green-rumped Parrotlets. After which we alight our bus and head off to a Hummingbird paradise called; Yerette – Home of the Hummingbirds, a place where most or T&T’s 19 species of Hummingbirds can be found in huge numbers, action is guaranteed, photo ops assured, you shall come away with some pretty spectacular Hummer shots, later we shall head off to our second visit and new perspective of the Caroni Swamp as it plays out each day before sunset, this time we see Trinidad’s national bird the, Scarlet Ibis, flying into roost on selectively chosen islands, void of snakes and other nocturnal predators. Small to large flocks numbering hundreds of Ibis, fly right in front of us, as they alight and squabble over prime roosting spots, as well as the Ibis a number of Herons and Egrets also fly in, to take up their favourite spots on the same island too.

Day 5 Airport drop off, for Tobago – Departure Day

Today we take an early morning drive to the airport, to catch an early flight over to the sister Isle of Tobago, Heading to the Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Lodge in the Runnemede valley, where we shall be staying for the next 4 days. This magical place, is situated on the edge of Tobago’s Main Ridge the oldest protected tropical Rainforest in the Western Hemisphere, which is home to a variety of much sought-after species of birds such as the very endangered; White-tailed Sabre-wing Hummingbird. Once thought to have been extirpated in Tobago due to Hurricane Flora which ravaged the island back in 1963, the bird was not seen for a decade and a small population was rediscovered in 1974, and since then it has been making a very slow but steady comeback, thanks in part to; more local guides keeping an eye on them and putting out strategic feeders outside of their homes and bringing eco-tourists to well established population sites. After we have settled down and checked in, we shall relax a bit, then take a scenic drive along some of the islands stunning west mountain rainforest vistas, with its undulating topography, turquoise waters and blue tropical skies… Along the way, we shall get the Trinidad Motmot, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, Rufous-tail Jacamar, Collared Trogon and Blue-backed Manakin to name a few.

Day 6 – Little Tobago Island – Main Ridge – All Day

Today we are heading to one of the most spectacular birding spots on earth. This island is a must see spot, on any such trip to Trinidad and Tobago, for the sheer beauty, tranquility, scenery and the magical Red-billed Tropicbirds that present you with many areal opportunities to capture some spectacular images, of one of the worlds most beautiful sea birds, there are specific spots where scenes from Sir David Attenborough’s ‘The Trials of Life’ were filmed. Where the red-billed tropic Birds, were captured by their tail, by the Magnificent Frigatebird that then flew around with its hostage, until it’s Toll Payment to pass, was paid up by the Tropicbird regurgitating its catch for the Frigatebird, which it then released by the Frigate bird, which would then plummet towards the sea at high speed to catch its plundered fish, before it hit the sea.

To witness such an age old play, that has been playing out, millions of years before man first walked upright, is an amazing treat and privilege to see. Other key note species on the island include, species such as; White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-footed, Masked and Brown Boobies. Scaly-naped and Pale-vented Pigeon, Brown Nody, Audubons Shearwater… But our Journey to and from Little Tobago Island, takes us along the Main Ridge rainforest road the most productive and picturesque Road in Tobago, home to Collared Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Trinidad Motmot, Blue-backed Manakin, Red-crowned, Red-rumped and Golden Olive Wodpeckers, Yellow-legged legged Thrush, White-tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird, White-fringed Antwren and many more.

Day 7 – Cuffie River Grounds and environs

Today we ease the pace, working the grounds and environs of our lodge early morning and then we head off to the Beach, where we can have a much deserved swim and chill a few hours on the beautiful golden sands, Later we can search the shoreline for some Seabirds like Pelican and Tern action, and May even see Frigatebirds mugging each other for fish, really sweet action when you get focused on them, plus some promising diving action as Terns often plunge dive the coastline for small fish and Brown Noddy, the largest of the Noddies, swooping over the water and dipping down to catch small fish and squid, lovely action when you get to see them. Then it’s back to the lodge for Lunch and more photography on the grounds.

Day 8 – Adventure Farm and Plantation Villas

Today we saunter through the Tobago Countryside spotting ket note species and taking in some of the lovely scenery on our way to a lovely Hummingbird Garden, where we can sit and capture some of Tobago’s top gem species of Hummingbirds such as; Ruby Topaz, Blue-chined Sapphire, Black-throated Mango, Copper-rumped, White-chested Emerald Hummingbirds, Barred Antshrike, Blue-Grey, White-lined, and Palm Tanagers, Trinidad Motmot, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Pale-vented Pigeon, Shiny Cowbird, Bananaquit, Spectacled Thrush.

Then we head off after lunch to Plantation Villas estate, to take in some lake, scrub and mangrove species of birds, such as Yellow-billed and Mangrove Cuckoo, Purple and Common Gallinule, Masked Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Yellow-crowned and Black-crowned Night Heron, Cocoi Heron, Anhinga, Wattled Jacana, Southern Lapwing, Green-rumped Parrotlets, Yellow-headed Caracara, Tropical and Grey Kingbirds. Then we take a casual drive back to base and take in the grounds of our amazing Cuffie River Lodge, for our last afternoon of this epic unforgettable Trinidad and Tobago Adventure.

Day 9 – Departure day for Home

Bird our way to the Airpot for our flight back to Trinidad, where we say; “See you Later” never goodbye, as you depart T&T for home!…

Cost

Cost is $4,500 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Port of Spain, Trinidad (Airport code POS.
This trip ends in Port of Spain, Trinidad (Airport code POS).

 

Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $550 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.

 

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

 

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Trinidad – Kapok Hotel

Kapok Hotel is an independent boutique hotel, locally-owned and perfectly located just outside the capital city of Port-of-Spain. Conceived as a family restaurant in 1964, Kapok is now a 94-room hotel with 2 restaurants, all within safe, walking distance to the Queen’s Park Savannah and the Botanical Gardens.

Tobago – Cuffie River Nature Retreat

On the edge of Tobago’s rainforest, surrounded by wild heliconias, bamboo groves and ancient forest trees and cradled in the remote and idyllic Runnemede valley lies the our eco-lodge, the Cuffie River Nature Retreat – a secluded rainforest resort offering the ultimate in tropical rainforest birding. The resort is a remote yet modern, upmarket facility set against a backdrop of mountains and encircled by cool, refreshing mountain streams and pools. This is nature tourism at its most subtle yet refined – allowing you a complete rainforest experience while enjoying the creature comforts of home.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

This is an easy trip, however, a couple of -optional- trails can be slippery and rocky as well as up and down.

Gear for Birding & Wildlife Viewing

• Good quality binoculars
• Spotting scopes are not typically needed as we will be photographing much of the time, unless you plan to do some digiscoping.

Photography Gear Recommendations

The best camera is the one you have with you! That said, we will help you get great photos no matter what camera you use.

This Photo Workshop is geared toward those using DSLR or Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, here is what we recommend that you bring:

• Bring at least 2 camera bodies – to reduce changing lenses and just in case of accidental damage to one

Recommended Lenses for Birds & Wildside

• 100-400mm (or equivalent) for birds in flight
• 500mm lens or longer for birds and wildlife

Recommended Lenses for Landscape Opportunities

• 24-105mm (or equivalent) for landscape and general purpose
• In addition you may also want to have an ultra-wide lens equivalent to about 16-35mm which may be used for fun landscapes and night sky photography.

Recommended Lenses for Macro (Bugs, Frogs, etc.)

• 100mm Macro is fine for general purpose macro photography
• 150mm Macro is best for small, quick moving subjects like frogs

Filters (Mainly for Landscape Photography)

• Polarizing Filter for removing reflections (screw in for wide-angle lenses)
• Filter Holder for 4×6″ (or similar) filters
• 2-stop Neutral Density Filter
• 8-stop (or more) Neutral Density Filter
• 2-stop Hard and/or Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Other Accessories

• Tripod for long exposures, big lenses and steady video
• Flash for low light, fill light and stop action
• Better Beamer or MagMod flash extender
• Rain cover for camera
• Weather resistant Camera Bag (Backpack style is best)
• Batteries and chargers
• Lots of memory cards!
• Laptop or other downloading device

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map