Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge – Arima, Trinidad, Lesser Antilles
Sitting on this former plantation’s screened-in veranda is like sitting in an enormous aviary. From your ringside seat you can see as many as thirty different species of bird, including toucans, squirrel cuckoos, tufted coquettes, and half a dozen varieties of hummingbirds – and that’s before breakfast! Birders are obviously in seventh heaven here, but this nature and wildlife sanctuary, located on 700 acres 1,200 feet up in the island’s northern rain forest, is a fascinating destination for naturalists, hikers, or the just plain curious as well, since Trinidad and sister-island Tobago are home to a cornucopia of exotic flora and fauna unknown elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Day guests are welcome to visit, but overnight residents in the simple guest rooms of the large, airy 1908 plantation house or in cottages scattered around the grounds get in on all the activity at dawn and dusk. Trained guides take guests on a network of rain forest trails in search of the more than 160 species of birds – not to mention innumerable varieties of mammals, reptiles, butterflies, and flowering plants that make you feel you’ve found the Garden of Eden.