Trinidad & Tobago: Caribbean Discovery w/ Leatherback Sea Turtles – Student Adventure!

 

Trinidad & Tobago

8 Days

 Various (May – July)

 Various (May – July)

Moderate Physical Activity

$2550.00

Description

Trinidad & Tobago, two islands with one awesome experience! Discover coral reef habits in warm tropical water. Explore winding jungle rivers to cascading waterfalls. Paddle bioluminescent lagoons under starlight. Help save endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles from extinction.

The Trinidad & Tobago eco-tour is an introduction to tropical ecology with an emphasis on the interdependence between the land and the sea. Through first-hand observation, educational programs, and naturist led activities, student will see the affects of land-based activities on the health of marine habitats and visa versa.

Via exciting outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, repelling, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboard students will investigate, explore, and discover tropical rainforests, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and beaches on both Trinidad & Tobago. Trinidad offers a more South American biogeography, where Tobago is more like the Caribbean chain of islands.

In Grand Riviere, science, culture, and service meet as students get to learn about Leatherback Sea Turtles and help local conservation efforts. Grand Rivier beach is one of the most prolific Leatherback Sea Turtle beaches in the world. At peak season, over 300 turtles come to the 1/4 mile beach in a night. Students will help find nests, collect hatchlings, and release hatchlings thus giving them a better change at survival. At night, students will learn about the biology, threats, and conservation of these turtles then head onto the beach with a naturalist to see giant mother Leatherbacks laying nests.

 

Trip Highlights:

  • Go hiking in one of the Earth’s oldest protected rainforest prime for birding with species from both Central and South America.
  • Dive into snorkeling in shallow water over colorful coral reefs full of fish & invertebrates.
  • Feel the adrenaline as you rappel down a 72ft waterfall into a natural pool below.
  • Connect with your senses on a nighttime paddle across a calm lagoon filled with avatar-like blue-green glowing creatures!
  • Search for Red Howler Monkeys, White-faced Capuchins, caiman, and other wildlife as while kayaking to Bush Bush Island.
  • Help save endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles and release them for their first swim at dusk.
  • Step back to the land of the dinosaurs. Experience and epic encounter with a 500 pound Leatherback Sea Turtle as she comes to the beach to lay her eggs.
  • You see the complete process of digging and laying and learn about this magical animal from local guides.

Tour Map

Port Of Spain

PAX Guest House

Grande Riviere

Blanchisseuse

Maracas Beach

Nariva Swamp

Charlotteville

Hiking Gilpin Train

Snorkeling Site

Footprints Eco Resort & Spa

Mt. Irvine Bay Snorkeling

Bon Accord Lagoon

Bio-Tour Stand Up Paddle

Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport

Meet Your Guides

Tara Short

Tara Short

Trip Facilitator / Guide

Tara has 17 years of experience in eco-tourism, guiding and educating students of all ages in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Iceland. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education/Interpretation. Tara has worked for notable educational, scientific, and conservation organizations and institutions such as the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry, USDA Forest Service in the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, and Wild Studies in the Bahamas. Tara is a PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and has specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level diver and Night Diver.

Courtenay Rooks

Courtenay Rooks

Guide / Trinidad & Tobago

Courtenay "Bushman" Rooks, native to Trinidad, adventurer, naturalist, conservationist, explorer, ecotourism expert, with a long held desired to bring his love of nature to every person through eco adventure tourism. Courtenay guides in rock climbing, mountain biking, birding, hiking, diving, surfing, snorkeling, adventure racing, kayaking. Through personal travels in far flung places like England, Dominica, the Pacific North West of North America, the Mojave Desert, the Cerrado and Amazon of Brazil, Guyana’s Amazon, the Savanna Grande of Venezuela and mostly Trinidad and Tobago he has spent nearly 40 years studying natural history of wild places. During this time he gained knowledge, experience, respect and love for these environments and looks forward to sharing his knowledge with Green Edventures guests!

Tour Itinerary

►Where Do We Stay?

  • Night 1: Pax Guest House
  • Night 2: Grafton Beach Resort
  • Night 3: Grafton Beach Resort
  • Night 4: Grafton Beach Resort
  • Night 5: Mt. Plasier
  • Night 6: Pax Guest House
  • Night 7: Pax Guest House

►Day 1: Port Of Spain

Arrive in Port of Spain. Group transfer to Pax Guest House. 7:30pm dinner and socializing at Pax.

►Day 2: Port of Spain – Tobago

Early morning start for Tobago flight. Group transfer to Footprints Eco-Lodge. Garden tour at Footprints. Snorkeling in Mt Irvine. Stand Up Paddling (SUP) lessons at Pigeon Point. Dinner then SUP bioluminescent tour.

Snorkeling School at Coco Reef: Coco Reef is an artificial reef that is home to many juvenile fish and invertebrates including reef squid and tube worms. The reef is a rock wall that protects the beach of the Coco Reef Hotel. It is a great place to learn to snorkel for beginners, but has a lot to see for everyone.

Buccoo Reef & Nylon Pool Boat Trip:

Buccoo Reef is a largest coral reef in Tobago and was designated as a marine park in 1973. Its massive proportions contain a reef system of five reef flats that are separated by deep channels. An associated lagoon, the Bon Accord Lagoon, is almost completely enclosed by Sheerbird’s Point and a dense mangrove belt. The succession of fauna and flora, from the dense mangrove to the outer reef, is a biologist’s delight. This reef complex is also more accessible to the non-diver, as snorkeling and glass-bottom boats offer an easy way to observe the many habitats and species it contains.

Nylon Pool: A shallow turquois “pool” on a white sandbar in Bon Accord Lagoon with a great vibe of Trinis and Tobagonians who come to play and lime (local word for party). It was named by Princess Margarete in 1962 who said the water was a clear as her nylons. Rumor has it that this place has fountain of youth properties.

Return to hotel for dinner.

►Day 3: Snorkeling & Stand Up Paddling at Bon Accord Lagoon

Morning:

Mt. Irvine Beach Snorkel: Shore entry. Rocky reef that with large heads of corals. In between Staghorn, Brain corals and Sea fans we amaze at the beautiful colors of parrot fish, angel fish, damsel fish, moray eels and so much more in enough colors to make a rainbow blush. Afternoon, we will return to the hotel for lunch, beach time, and dinner.

Evening: Night time Bioluminescence SUP tour.

A short ride from our hotel takes us to a jetty situated in a quiet lagoon. Well we paddle to the mangroves of Bon Accord Lagoon at night. This is a sensory experience as we paddle under a dark sky, the water flat and black, with little or no wind. After your eyes adjust you will start to see sparks of light under the mangrove roots, or when your paddle touches the water. There are parts of the lagoon with large congregations of plankton and their defense is a chemical reaction which to lights up when disturbed. You will be invited to swim in the lagoon and to cover yourself in the bioluminescence.

►Day 4: Gilpin Trail Hike & Snorkeling in Castara Bay

Rainforest hike in the world’s first known protected forest. Snorkeling at Castara.

A nature hike in a montane rainforest, along the ridge of Tobago and one of the most beautiful rainforest hikes in the country. This trail is relatively flat and easy in terms of hiking. It is more like a stroll, but participants should be mindful of slippery and uneven parts of the trail. Gilpin Trail is one of the first acts of conservation in the New World. For Birders, the trail is a great opportunity to see some of Tobago’s bird species including the endemic White-tailed Sabre wing, a hummingbird only found on Tobago, and the Trinidad Motmot. Bring your binoculars. Due to the amount time, we will only hike a short portion of the trail, but the duration will last about 2 hours with plenty of stops to talk about plants and to point out animals.

Picnic lunch is on the beach at Castara, a beautiful seaside village. After a relax we enter the sea, snorkeling gear is donned and we dance among the Angels, jacks and damsels. Return to hotel in the evening for dinner.

►Day 5: Tobago – Grand Riviere, Trinidad.

Fly to Trinidad. Transfer to Grande Riviere with a shopping stop at Nature Seekers.

Our hotel, is a beautiful boutique hotel with a wonderful restaurant serving divine local foods that sits right on the beach of Grande Riviere. So getting to the turtles, surfing, river, and relaxing is easy. We will arrive in enough time to boogie board on the surf, and collect hatchlings before sundown. After dinner, we are led by a local guide to nesting turtles on the beach. Once the turtles get into their “trance” you guide will bring you closer and tell you about the biology and adaptions of this living dinosaur.

 

►Day 6: Nariva Swamp – Tunapuna

Tour of Nariva Swamp w/ kayaking & monkey hike

Nariva Swamp is the Caribbean’s most bio-diverse wetland and as a result is declared a Ramsar Site. The Ramsar Convention is an international convention for the protection of wetlands of international importance. This means Nariva Swamp is a wetland ecosystem of international importance as it houses a vast array of habitats and wildlife! We will be searching for some of its most famous residents: monkeys and many rare birds.

After kayaking for over 30 minutes we arrive at Bush Bush, which is a land peninsular that juts out into Nariva Swamp and is home to Red Howler and Capuchin Monkeys. The Howlers can be found among the branches of the larger tress of the Seasonal Evergreen Tropical Forests that dominates this area. Since the Howlers are very mobile we may see them very quickly or it may take a lot of sweat and effort to see them. Along the way we will also search for White-fronted Capuchins, a smaller monkey that can be seen here. This area also offers other wildlife such birds like the Black-crested Antshrike, Silvered Antbird, Gallinules, Macaws or Butterflies like the Blue Emperor Morpho.

On the way out we will take the boats or kayaks very slowly drifting looking for Red-bellied Macaws flying into palm trees to roost for the evening. At about 6pm we will depart for the drive to Pax Guest House in Tunapuna for dinner.

►Day 7: Avocat Waterfall

Avocat Waterfall hike and swim with optional rappeling.

This is a fun hike with an easy and adventure option where both end at the 72 foot Avocat Waterfalls, where you have the choice to repel the waterfall.

After breakfast we drive north through Maraval Valley and emerge through the mountains of the Northern Range onto the stunning North Coast. Head east along the dramatic cliffs and beaches of the scenic North Coast to Blanchisseuse and turn south to Marianne River five miles from Blanchisseuse.

Your adventure starts with the easy option being about a half hour hike through stunning rainforest to Avocat Waterfall as you walk in and out of a river and foot paths.  While walking you will see, experience and learn of the natural history of this magnificent rainforest. Highlights will be seeing amazing trees while Emperor and other butterflies float by. Forest birds such as Trogons, Honeycreepers and Manakins at their lek are abundant. The trail leads to an enchanting stream with an abundance of anthuriums and heliconias on its banks; it will take us to the Marianne River.

The walk ends at the seventy-foot waterfall, where swimming in the small pool at the base of the falls is our objective. Relax while getting a natural drumming massage as you sit at the base of the falls.

After a quick swim in the falls the adventurous will take part in a lesson on repelling with harness and other safety equipment. The repelling folks with hike to the top of the falls, put on harnesses and safety step over the falls back down to the waterfall’s pool!!! Wooohoooo!!!!!

Repelling in surprisingly easy and your guide will teach you all you need to know on how to safely experience this thrill. It is a magical experience to see a waterfall from top, middle, and below. This is a great way to give yourself a confidence boost and a fantastic finale to your adventure. Dinner at the Savannah.

►Day 8: Departure

Depart for airport. after breakfast.

End of tour.

Please note: The activities and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development, or onsite for the safety of participants.

You must be in good health. While you do not need prior snorkeling experience, you must know how to swim and be comfortable in the water. The activities range from easy to moderate and will be modified to the participants’ interests and skill levels. This is an active vacation. All activities are optional, but you should expect to get wet, sweaty, and dive into adventures! Rappelling is an optional activity included with the cost of the program. Rainforest hikes will take place on various types of trails, some maintained, some not. It will be slippery at times, requiring you to walk with four points of contact.

You must have a passport to travel to Trinidad & Tobago. We recommend you use Ridgebrook Travel to book your flight or you may book on your own. Travel parameters will be provided to you once the group has been formed.

A minimum of 8 participants are needed to run the trip.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Included:

  • Ground group transport from Port Of Spain. (POS)
  • Internal flight from POS to Tobago.
  • Most group meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day. You will be responsible for 1 lunch and 1 dinner.
  • All activities listed on this page.
  • Lodging.

Excluded:

  • Airfare from your departure city to POS.
  • Personal spending money.
  • $80.00 gratuity.
  • Travel insurance.

Payments

A non-refundable $400 deposit per person paid via check to the Group Leader. Remaining payment will be distributed in equal monthly installments until 30 days prior to trip start date or June 15th, whichever comes first.

All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. Participants are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel the trip.

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