A former plantation is transformed into a birdwatcher’s dream in the cool hills of Trinidad’s Northern Range at Asa Wright Nature Centre.
I am on the verandah of the former Spring Hill Estate submerged in a tropical rainforest, trying to train my eyes to see near and far simultaneously. In the foreground a kaleidoscope of hummingbirds, bluegrey tanagers and other vibrant birds are munching at fruit, in the distance a sweeping panorama of the Northern Range comes into view and through a set of binoculars I see a multicoloured toucan perched atop a tree.
Formerly a cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation, the Asa Wright Nature Centre today comprises 1,500 acres of forested land in the Arima and Aripo Valleys in Northern Trinidad. “The draw for people is the oil bird but conservation efforts are the heart of what we do,” says CEO Veronica Simon-Wallace of the world renowned facility for naturalists, birders and scientists.
During my Discovery Trail hike, I spot flora and fauna, hear woodpeckers, and even catch a glimpse of an agouti traipsing through the property. The facility offers a range of activities from a night walk, hikes, visits to Dunston cave to spot the oilbirds, onsite lodging and meals. Inquire for transportation transfers. Adults $10 USD; (868) 667 4655.
This original article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.