A river trip is the main reason many tourists come to Black River and it has become a popular day out from the all-inclusives. Another excellent outing in Black River is a walking tour with local history enthusiast Allison Morris, who runs engaging Way Back When Heritage Tours that introduce visitors to the town's long and interesting history.
Picture this: you are propelled into the mangrove-rich interior of the Great Morass, and while nothing can be guaranteed when speaking of spotting wildlife, there’s a good chance you’ll see white marsh cranes and herons skimming the banks like pterodactyls, sword-beaked, fish-spearing anhinga and, of course, crocodiles. Thanks to all the visitors, these reptiles are tame around people now, and some operators let people go swimming in the river with them, which they insist is a safe endeavor (no one has been eaten yet!). If you do choose to swim, you do so at your own risk.
There are three main tour companies:
J Charles Swaby's Black River Safari On the east side of the river just north of the bridge. Offers 60- to 75-minute journeys aboard the Safari Queen and is the oldest operator.
St Elizabeth River Safari Has the biggest boats and offers similar tours and prices. Located on the west side of the river, behind the Hendricks Building.
Irie Safaris Located a little further north of St Elizabeth River Safaris along the west side of the river; has smaller craft and offers a more intimate experience. Irie can also arrange kayaking trips in the area, which come highly recommended.
For a less structured experience, you can easily hire a local fisherman to take you upriver by canoe or boat for about US$35–40 round-trip. Ask near the bridge in town. Several reliable boat captains in Treasure Beach run combo trips up Black River and on to Pelican Bar for around US$50 per person.
Midday tours are best for spotting crocodiles; early and later tours are better for birding. Take a hat and some mosquito repellent.
Large tour boats tend to stop at Sister Lou’s River Stop, on the Salt Spring tributary, where delicious stuffed crab backs and pepper shrimp are served up, while smaller craft continue to a thatched bar and rope swing over the water a little further upstream.