Caroni Bird Sanctuary


This 5611-hectare estuarine swampland of dense mangrove thickets crisscrossed with tea-colored channels is best known for its scarlet ibis, T&T's national bird. Each afternoon, these bright crimson beauties swoop in to roost in their thousands, giving the trees the appearance of being abloom with brilliant scarlet blossoms. Even if you’re not an avid birdwatcher, the sight of the ibis flying over the swamp, glowing almost fluorescent red in the final rays of the evening sun, is not to be missed.

Since 2016, Caroni has also been home to a colony of flamingos, now 200-strong and breeding in the swamp; boat tours take you close to the flamingos and to the preferred roosting trees of the ibis. The greatest numbers of ibis are to be seen outside of the late April to October nesting season, but they roost here throughout the year. In addition to the ibis and flamingoes, Caroni is home to 180-plus bird species, including herons, kingfishers and the colorful masked cardinal, depicted on T&T's $50 note, as well as spectacled caiman, Cook's tree boas, crab-eating raccoons and silky anteaters. The sanctuary is off the Uriah Butler Hwy, 14km south of Port of Spain; the turnoff is signposted. Many guesthouses and hotels in Port of Spain arrange trips, as do tour companies such as Island Experiences. If you have your own transport or arrange a taxi (around TT$400 from Port of Spain), including waiting time, you can also book boat tours directly with the excellent Winston Nanan Caroni Tours.

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