Asa Wright Nature Centre

Wildlife Reserve in Trinidad

A former cocoa and coffee plantation transformed into an 80-hectare nature reserve, this place blows the minds of birdwatchers. Even if you can’t tell a parrot from a parakeet, it's still worthwhile as you can see a great number of colorful specimens from the veranda viewing gallery, as well as lizards and agouti. Located amid the rainforest of the Northern Range, the center has a lodge catering to birding tour groups and a series of hiking trails, open to day visitors via guided tours.

Bird species commonly seen here include blue-crowned motmots, chestnut woodpeckers, channel-billed toucans, blue-headed parrots, 14 species of hummingbird and numerous raptors. The sanctuary is also home to a natural swimming pool and to the elusive nocturnal guacharo (oilbird). To protect the oilbirds, tours are limited.

Reservations for day visits should be made at least 24 hours in advance. Most visitors have lunch (TT$140, Sunday TT$200) at the lodge. There's an excellent hot buffet as well as cheaper snacks like a sandwich or burger and fries.

The centre is about a 1½-hour drive from Port of Spain. At Arima, 26km from Port of Spain, head north on Blanchisseuse Rd, turning left into the center after the 7½-mile marker sign. Public transport is not a viable option, so you'll need a car if not visiting with a tour company.

Tour companies such as Island Experiences can ferry you to Asa Wright as part of a half- or full-day tour.