Blogs from Trinidad & Tobago, Central America Caribbean

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Saturday August 3 - I woke up before 6am, thought about going back to bed, and then remembered that I could check-in for my flight at 6:20. I decided to do that to make sure I could get the best seat for my flights tomorrow. After that, there was definitely no going back to sleep. It was also raining, and I had seen that today was likely the rainiest of the days I would be here. We were supposed to leave at 9am, but postponed until 10am to see what happened with the weather. Luckily it got better and we decided to leave at 10am. Our first stop was Mt St Benedict’s Monastery. It has good views, and was interesting to see, but I’m glad I didn’t make a whole day trip of it on my ... read more
Mt St Benedict's Monastery
Mt St Benedict's Monastery
Mt St Benedict's Monastery


Friday August 2 - It is so hot here. Sometimes I forget - like when I’m in the shower - but I am quickly reminded. I am always sweating, just existing, and it is so uncomfortable. Today I followed my original plan from yesterday, visiting Pitch Lake. I started out with a chat to Jeroen and then had breakfast before getting everything ready for the day. Ally left me a note to bring her old boots, so I didn’t get my shoes dirty. I did, and brought my bathing suit as well, just in case. I left around 8:45 and walked over to city gate. I had not been there before, but I had been nearby, so I had an idea of where I was headed. I think it’s an old train station, from before the ... read more
Our guide Beverly
This asphalt is from the lake
Asphalt


Wednesday July 31 - I went to bed too late last night, chatting with my friend Niki, and did not sleep well all night. I finally got up at 6:30, despite setting my alarm for 7:00. I had breakfast, chatted with Jeroen and got ready for the day. Ally and I were supposed to leave at 8:00 but she was running a bit behind and we left at 8:30. We drove up to Asa Wright Nature Center, and on the way Ally showed me where I’ll need to get out of the bus when I head to another destination on my own in the near future, which was really handy. It took a while to drive there, and we had a good chat along the way. When we arrived, we both changed our shoes, and I ... read more
Asa Wright Nature Center
White-necked Jacobin
White-necked Jacobin


Tuesday July 30* - It started to rain just before we were about to leave, and we waited for the downpour to end before heading out to Caroni Bird Sanctuary. We left at 3pm and it only took about 15 minutes to get there. But Ally said if we had left 15 minutes later, we might have been caught up in some serious traffic. The main thing to do at Caroni is to take a boat ride/tour out to see the Scarlet Ibis, who come in to roost for the night. There are about 20,000 of them in this mangrove swamp, but this is their breeding season, so most of the birds are paired up and nesting in other parts of the swamp. We were taken around many parts of the swamp for a couple of ... read more
Yellow-headed Caracara
Boat getting ready to leave
Me and Ally


Monday July 29 - The flight to Trinidad was only 30 minutes, so I barely got any reading done. Immigration was fast and then I had to walk to baggage claim. This is the largest airport I’ve been in in the Caribbean. I stopped to change money, but felt their rate was crap, so skipped it for a future date with an ATM. I also stopped in a bathroom, and by the time I got to baggage claim, I figured I’d still have to wait a bit, since the conveyor belt wasn’t moving. But then I noticed there was no one standing around, and then I saw my bag sitting next to the conveyor belt. That must have come out lightning quick. The customs line was a bit long, but it went quickly. Then I was ... read more
I never want to fill one of these out again. I've lost track how many there were this summer...
Grenada
Trinidad


T n' T - sounds like an explosive combination? Well, rest assured that after the multiple hi jinx of Trinidad carnival, the smaller of the two islands Tobago may well provide just the ticket when it comes to that soul-soothing comedown which will set the pulse rate back to something resembling normality. Tobago is famed for having the nation's greatest beaches, friendly inhabitants, and a couple of features which attempt to slot it into the paradise category which residents and visitors alike can easily associate it with. The main cluster of hotels and tourist-oriented hubbub can be found in the airport's neighbouring settlement of Crown Point which, although not coastal, is a convenient enough area to be based whilst enjoying the fruits of the amenities the island has to offer. The island's only town of any ... read more
Row of buildings
Bay of Castara
Argyle Waterfall


Farewell to Dominica, then Couva & Carnival After posting the last blog we still had a couple of days in Dominica which so far has been our favourite island as we loved the forests, waterfalls and geothermal features. We returned to Portsmouth, site of Fort Shirley, but this time to visit Indian River, only a short walk to the south of the town. On the way we met up with a character, Gregory. At that point we did not know he was a boatman/guide from the river and at first Jim was reluctant to engage in conversation. But we soon realised he was looking for his first clients of the day and as we chatted it became clear he knew his fauna and flora. So on reaching the river we hopped into his rowing boat, preferable ... read more
Buttress tree and red ginger flowers
Green backed Heron
Iguana, fascinating how they vary from region to region


Listen up y'all, what we have here is an extraordinarily special public event for which the entire nation is famed. It takes place once in the annual calendar, but preparations for it occupy the main bulk of time in between, and by the time the event is upon us, nobody has any right to hold back on the celebrations - folks, it's time to usher in the multiple tropical-coated delights of Trinidad carnival! Needless to say, flight and hotel bookings need to be made as far in advance as possible in order not to fall into the trap of inflated prices and limited selection, and then, for all the budding up-for-anything participants, it is time to go online and take your pick from the variety of mas(querade) bands on offer so as to be able to ... read more
A gingerbread house
Carnival mas band
Jama Masjid temple


San Juan, Puerto Rico to Trinidad 1 – 6 January 2019 Happy New Year to you all! Christmas passed for us in a wonderful parade of people and places as we managed to see lots of family and friends during our brief stay of eighteen days in the UK. It was lovely to catch up and see so many people but it was also good to return to a warm clime in Puerto Rico after Tasmania and England. The days here have all reached towards 27/28 C and nights not fallen below 21. Bliss! We started in Puerto Rico which is a commonwealth of the USA and a semi-autonomous territory so not a US state. Puerto Ricans have some benefits from this arrangement so for instance they can reside in the US but they do not ... read more
Colourful buildings in San Juan
Street scene, Old San Juan
Another street scene


OUR EXTRA LONG FLIGHT TO TRINIDAD They told us Trinidad and Tobago would be the perfect combination of Caribbean and South American birding - so we decided to head back to the Caribbean - the last time we had visited, just Tobago was in 2003. Well we had a ‘bit’ of a journey getting there but considering the amount of time we travel it is to be expected that things do not always go according to plan! We had reached the runway at Gatwick when the Captain said they had developed a fault with one of their sensors which would unable them to fly through ‘clouds’ so he would have to return to the Airport Terminal for Engineers to fix it … … So back in a holding bay we sat on the plane and after ... read more
White-headed Marsh-tyrant - male
One of many Hummingbirds
Green Honeycreeper - Male




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