In this itinerary we use a number of lodges who are dedicated to making a positive impact on their environment.
PAX, the oldest guesthouse in the English-speaking Caribbean, is a popular birders lodge set high on a hilltop in the grounds of a Benedictine monastery. It aims to provide visitors with first-hand experiences of local flora and fauna. There are various nature trails leading around the 600 acre forested estate and a large avian terrace overlooking the rainforest, an excellent spot for raptor viewing.
Cuffie River Nature Retreat, a locally owned and run lodge set on the edge of the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere is committed to operating in a sustainable manner as possible and dedicates an entire page of its website to its green initiatives. When building the retreat care was taken to insure there was minimal impact to the surrounding forest. The buildings themselves incorporate bio-climatic features – floors and external walls are made of clay tiles and brick which do not absorb the suns heat and therefore keep rooms cool. There is no A/C as French doors and windows are used extensively through the property allowing for natural light and air to circulate. Rather than use chlorine, the rain-fed water system uses a charcoal filter and the swimming pool salt. There is a composting system and the retreat grows as much produce on-site as possible - whatever they cannot grow is sourced from surrounding villages.
Asa Wright Nature Centre was established as a not-for-profit trust in 1967 by a group of naturalists and bird-watchers to protect and conserve the local environment, the first of its kind in the Caribbean. The entrance fees included in the tour price go toward the conservation of these protected areas.
As an in depth specialist tour operator to Trinidad & Tobago responsible tourism is at the very heart of what we do. To us, this means much more than a simple donation to a charity for each client. We try to build long and constructive involvements with local guides, guest houses, wildlife lodges, and hotels, in the course of which we, and our clients, can make lasting wide-ranging contributions to the wonderful places and people we engage with. In this itinerary we use several lodges that fit with this philosophy perfectly, employing local guides and bringing long-term benefits to the local community. We are the first tour operator in the UK to form a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to work towards the implementation of best management practices in sustainable tourism. In real terms this means that we are working with hotels who are making a positive impact on their local community – socially, environmentally and economically.
The best person to introduce you to a country is someone who lives there. Undoubtedly the best way to experience the true magic of Trinidad is with a local guide. You can sit back and relax while the guide shows you around and takes care of the driving. They are a font of local knowledge–the islands are small and there is not much that misses their attention. We have known most (if not all) of our guides personally for many years. You will find that most of them are very well known around the islands, especially on Tobago. Locals call out as the car passes, exchange a few words and a drawled “Aaaaall-right!” – the universal greeting on Tobago.