Top 10 Caribbean Wildlife Holidays

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The Telegraph’s “Travel” column brings a selection of the best Caribbean spots for holidays focusing on exploring nature and wildlife: in Dominica, St Lucia, Guyana, Montserrat, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, and Venezuela. Here are excerpts (see full article with detailed information and links to individual guides in the link below):

Dominica:  Rising up between Guadeloupe and Martinique, green and mountainous Dominica is an island for walkers, divers and nature-lovers. Highlights include hiking part of the 155-mile Waitukubuli Trail, snorkelling at Champagne Reef, where subterranean geothermal springs make the sea fizz with bubbles, and visiting the Kalinago Territory, where descendants of the Carib people live. Base yourself at Jungle Bay Resort & Spa (junglebaydominica.com), which has 35 rustic-luxe cabins and activities that includes excursions, hikes, cookery classes and spa treatments. [. . .] (Nigel Tisdall)

St Lucia: Of the main islands in the Caribbean, St Lucia looks the most dramatic. Rainforest covers much of the island’s mountainous interior, and the Pitons, a pair of green, pyramidal, volcanic spires, rise abruptly out of the sea in the south-west. You can climb one of them (if you’re fit), go on guided rainforest treks, zip-line over the canopy and cruise in a catamaran down the west coast. [. . .] (Fred Mawer)

Guyana: Formerly British Guiana, this wild, jungle-filled English-speaking country is rich with memorable natural encounters from the lofty Kaieteur Falls to cacophonous tropical rainforests and the vast grasslands of the Rupununi. Macaws, giant otters, howler monkeys, caiman and jaguar are some of the possible sightings, and most tours also visit Amerindian communities and the characterful capital, Georgetown. [. . .] (Nigel Tisdall)

Montserrat:  Montserrat is one of the most incredible sights in the Caribbean, with a tremendous, still-smoking volcano that erupted in 1997 with such force that two-thirds of the island is now out of bounds. The chance to behold the mighty Soufrière Hills, and the colossal devastation it caused, is a chief reason to visit. You can take a day trip from Antigua, or stay longer and discover a welcoming island with an old-style charm and unexpected Irish heritage. Hiking, diving and the relaxed pace of life are further reasons to hide away on “the other Emerald Isle”. [. . .] (Nigel Tisdall)

Trinidad: From the magnificent veranda of the Asa Wright Nature Centre (asawright.org) in Trinidad’s Northern Range, expect to spot an amazing 35 species even before breakfast – violaceous euphonias, bell birds that sing “boing… boing…” and oro pendulas, flashes of yellow with hanging nests like a cannon ball in a straw stocking. On the beaches you can catch a glimpse of massive leatherback turtles nesting. [. . .] (James Henderson)

Costa Rica: Sitting between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is a place for adventurous eco tourism – up the volcano, down the raging river into the lush rainforest. A tailor-made tour is the best way to see it: a 15-night Costa Rica Nature De Luxe package with Reef and Rainforest (01803 866965; reefandrainforest.co.uk) travels from coast to coast and includes boat tours, rafting on the Sarapiquí River, guided wildlife walks and accommodation in boutique hotels and lodges. [. . .] (Nigel Tisdall)

Venezuela: Venezuela is not just home to the world’s tallest waterfall – Angel Falls – the country also boasts snow-capped Andean peaks, wildlife-rich savannah and a long Caribbean coast that includes the labyrinthine water-world of the Orinoco Delta. A 13-day Venezuelan Odyssey small group tour taking in all these highlights, along with time in colonial cities and a visit to a coffee hacienda, costs from £3,815 per person through Geodyssey. [. . .] (Nigel Tisdall)

Tobago: The agouti – a large but shy brown rodent – lives on most Caribbean islands and is almost never seen. So it is lovely to spot one picking its way delicately around the garden at Castara Retreats (castararetreats.com) on the north coast of Tobago. You are completely immersed in nature in this part of the island – surrounded by greenery, tropical birds fly through your veranda. [. . .] (James Henderson)

Jamaica: Jamaica’s rivers and waterfalls are beautiful. The most famous waterfall is Dunns River Falls, a series of cascades and rockpools that tumbles in stages around 600 feet down to the coast just outside Ocho Rios. [. . .] Other waterfalls are also lovely: YS Falls in the south west are well worth a visit (it also has a zip-line), as are Reach Falls beyond Port Antonio in the east. [. . .] (James Henderson)

Barbados: The glorious Andromeda Botanic Gardens overlook the east coast. There are two self-guided routes. Iris’ Path has more to see in the way of plants, while John’s Path passes the number one highlight, an astonishingly vast Bearded Fig Tree, with aerial roots everywhere. You may see green monkeys, especially if you’re there early or late. The gardens are a five-minute walk from the Sea-U Guest House (seaubarbados.com), which nestles on a hillside just above the sea at Tent Bay. [. . .] (Fred Mawer)

For full article, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/centralamericaandcaribbean/11573030/Top-10-Caribbean-heritage-holidays.html

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