While Saint Lucia is a modest sized island 27 miles long and 14 miles across at its widest point, a surprising variety of often dramatically different habitats are found throughout. The island’s east coast is generally rather dry but as the trade winds blow in off the Atlantic they are quickly forced to ascend the interior mountains; the rapidly cooled air is forced to release its moisture creating the island’s lush interior rain forests. Created are a great number of unique habitats where various bird species have become adapted resulting in the large variety of birds found on island.
To ensure an enjoyable birding holiday experience for our guests, Anse Chastanet offers a variety of tours to these very scenic natural environments where an alluring variety of birds are found.
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Birdwatching at Anse Mamin Plantation
Schedule: 7:30 – 9:30 am
Anse Chastanet is fortunate to have one of the island’s best birdwatching locations right on the resort property within the Anse Mamin plantation. Participants meet at the Scuba Center at 7:30 a.m. for an orientation by our Birdwatching Guide and to receive binoculars before boarding our transport boat. The tour begins with viewing several species which nest in coastal cliffs in the area. Then it’s on to Anse Mamin and into the lush coastal jungle with its 18 th century plantation ruins. The tour is designed for both novices and veteran birdwatchers. Interesting ancillary information about the old plantation and its existing flora and fauna will be also be presented. Guests will be returned by boat to the Anse Chastanet Beach by 9:30.
Des Cartiers Trail Birdwatching
Schedule: 6:00 am – noon * includes packed breakfast
For those who wish to combine birding with a visit to St. Lucia’s most lush rain forest we offer tours to the Des Cartier Trail, which is located inland from the east coast village of Micoud. Following ridge tops at about 1,800-feet above sea level, this relatively easy 1.5 mile loop hike takes you through one of the wettest tropical forests on earth receiving as much as 150-200 inches of rain annually. The St. Lucia Parrot is readily encountered along this trail. You will depart the resort in an air-conditioned taxi; traveling south along the island’s West Coast Road you pass through the villages of Choiseul and Laborie. Reaching the Vieux Fort area you will cut across to the island’s east coast where, after a short distance traveling north, the route turns west to climb back into the central Rain Forest Reserve to the Des Cartier trailhead. The leisurely walk on the loop trail takes some 2 hours.
To add to the day’s sightseeing the return journey will take you around the southern tip of the island providing views of the Maria Islands before ascending Moule a Chique, where the third loftiest lighthouse in the world is found. From the top the sights are truly spectacular in all directions including unique views of the Pitons and the island of St. Vincent to the south. The return journey also includes a stop at the Vieux Fort Wetlands.
Dennery & Praslin Birdwatching (Available on Request; guided by Adams Toussaint)
Schedule: 6:00 – 11:00 am * includes packed breakfast
The two locales visited on this excursion are recognized to offer some of the best birding on island and provide and excellent chance of viewing the endangered White Breasted Thrasher. The tour begins with a scenic drive north before cutting across the island’s central interior to the east coast community of Dennery; along the way there is a brief stop at the Cul de Sac Wetlands to view the ever present Cattle Egrets. Guests will meet their highly knowledgeable local birdwatching guide at the Mandele Overlook just south of Dennery. The guides used are longtime veterans of the Department of Forestry and have vast experience in the area and in particular, in finding the White Breasted Thrasher. The guide will choose specific sites to visit depending on the time of day, time of year and weather conditions to ensure a most enjoyable birding experience. The return journey will take you around the southern part of the island to add to the day’s sightseeing enjoyment.
Dennery & Praslin and Des Cartiers Trail Birdwatching (Available on Request; guided by Adams Toussaint)
Schedule: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm * includes packed breakfast, beverages & water.
The three locales visited on this exclusive Anse Chastanet Resort excursion are recognized to offer some of the best birding on island and provide and excellent chance of viewing the endangered White Breasted Thrasher as well as the Saint Lucia Parrot. The tour begins with a scenic drive north before cutting across the island’s central interior to the east coast community of Dennery. Guests will meet their highly knowledgeable local birdwatching guide at the Mandele Overlook just south of Dennery. The guides used are longtime veterans of the Department of Forestry and have vast experience in the area and in particular, in finding the White Breasted Thrasher. The guide will choose specific sites to visit depending on the time of day, time of year and weather conditions to ensure a most enjoyable birding experience. Following visiting those two enjoyable sites you will journey south to the Des Cartier Trail, which is located inland from the east coast village of Micoud. Following ridge tops at about 1,800-feet above sea level, this relatively easy 1.5 mile loop hike takes you through one of the wettest tropical forests on earth receiving as much as 150-200 inches of rain annually. The St. Lucia Parrot is readily encountered along this trail. The leisurely walk on the loop trail takes some 2 hours.
The return journey will take you around the southern part of the island to add to the day’s sightseeing enjoyment. You will return to the resort around 2:00 pm in time for lunch.
Vieux Fort Wetlands & Cape Moule a Chique Lighthouse Birdwatching
Schedule: 8:00 am – noon
These two locations are visited as part of the Des Cartier Trail excursion but can be visited as a separate tour which will include special private access to the property of the Moule a Chique Lighthouse. Moule á Chique is the rugged towering peninsula that is the southern-most tip of the island and the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Caribbean. A paved road winds itsf way to the very top where extraordinary views can be enjoyed in every direction; sheer cliffs dropping over 800 feet to the sea are home to many sea birds. The lighthouse located atop Moule á Chique is the third highest in the world.
The Vieux Fort Wetlands is a small area at the west end of the Hewannorra runway where a variety of birds can be seen.
Forestiere Trail Birdwatching (Available on Request on a private basis)
Schedule: 5:30 – 11:30 am * includes packed breakfast
The Forestiere Rainforest Trail is part of an Old French Road that traverses through Saint Lucia’s mature pristine central mountain rainforest which is home to a great variety of bird species. Guests depart the resort at 5:30 am on a special 4×4 vehicle heading north along the island’s west coast. After passing Marigot Bay the route turns to the northeast passing through a number of rural communities that surround Saint Lucia’s capital city, Castries, to reach the community of Forestiere, which is strewn along a ridgetop towards the center of the island. The road ends at a Department of Forestry facility where you will meet your birding guide. The guide will then lead you along rainforest trails on Piton Flore and the surrounding ridges. This tour requires a moderate level of fitness; appropriate footwear is strongly recommended. The tour includes a packed breakfast, juice and bottled water.
Grande Anse Beach (Available on Request; guided by Adams Toussaint)
Schedule: 5:00 am – 2:00 pm * includes packed breakfast
Grand Anse Beach is a relatively isolated mile long expanse located on the island’s northeast coast. Relentlessly pounded by the trade winds and corresponding rough seas the beach and nearby area have remained pristine and undeveloped. The nearby forested area is a designated iguana reserve and the beach itself is well known in the region as a key nesting site of the endangered Leatherback turtle.
While the journey to Grand Anse is a lengthy one it does allow guests to see some very unique St. Lucian locales with great sightseeing along the way. While not being one of St. Lucia’s more well-known birding sites due to its isolation, many species will be encountered along with possible iguana sightings. As well, Grand Anse is one of the only locales on island where the Night Jar and Masked Duck are regularly seen.
Guests travel via land taxi to an area north of the capital city, Castries, where you will meet your guide and transfer to a heavy duty 4×4 vehicle, which is required. A packed brunch is provided to be enjoyed amidst the secluded exotic surroundings. Due to dangerous currents it is strongly recommended that swimming is avoided.
* Tour includes a packed brunch, juice and bottled water.
Microreflector Trail Birdwatching (Available on Request)
Schedule: 6:30 – 11:30 am * includes packed breakfast
You will depart the resort at 6:30 am by private taxi to travel to the rainforest covered mountains east of the town of Soufriere. The tour starts at the entrance to the Edmond Forest where you will meet your guide will be waiting. The Microreflector trail is a 6 mile loop with the first mile being a rather steep climb. Thereafter, the trail goes down and levels out. The trail enables you to get a panoramic view of the forest as well as both the northern and southern reaches of the island in the distance. And there’s a very good chance to see the St. Lucia parrot and many other endemic species.
The tour includes a packed breakfast, juice and bottled water. This hike requires a moderate level of fitness. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
It should be noted that the following tours – Gros Piton Hike, Enbas Saut Hiking Tour, Dolphin & Whale Watching and Tet Paul Nature Trail – are led by guides that are not necessarily trained birding guides but are very familiar with flora and fauna encountered. Upon request, a trained birding guide can be arranged to accompany participants.
Gros Piton Hike
Schedule: 6:30 am – 1:00 pm * includes packed breakfast
For a bit more of a challenge, the package includes a hike to the top of Gros Piton, the higher of Saint Lucia’s two iconic mountains. As you set off you will encounter the rare birds and wildlife that find sanctuary in this rugged and somewhat remote part of the island. The St. Lucian Wren, St. Lucia Oriole, St. Lucia Black Finch and the Red Neck Pigeon are just some of the rare bird species that will add to your experience along the trail.
Climbing Gros Piton is a strenuous challenge and should be undertaken only by very fit and experienced hikers. You depart Anse Chastanet at 6.30 a.m. and begin your tour at “Fond Gens Libres” which is translated as “village of the free people”, a forty-five minute drive from Anse Chastanet. Upon arrival you will be met by the Gros Piton guides. As you set off you will encounter the rare birds and wildlife that find sanctuary in this rugged and somewhat remote part of the island. The St. Lucian Wren, St. Lucia Oriole, St. Lucia Black Finch and the Red Neck Pigeon are just some of the rare bird species
that will add to your experience along the trail. You will also notice changes in vegetation which are quite obvious as you proceed to the summit. Transitions range from an arid deciduous woodland along the coast, to broad middle zone rainforest and an upper mountain zone of Elfin woodland and wind-swept dwarf forest.
The first half of the trail involves climbing over large rocks as the trail starts gradually in a gentle slope where the Caribbean and the village at Choiseul can be seen to the south. The second half of the trail involves a steep ascent to the Gros Piton summit and is intended for the more adventurous hiker. This climb is approximately 3 to 4 hours round trip. If you make it to the top, which is 2,619 feet above sea level, you will have climbed one of St. Lucia’s national landmarks. The Pitons and the surrounding area have been designated as a World Heritage site.
You may find that the steep descent will be especially hard on your knees; take it slow and be cautious along the way. It is strongly suggested that you carry water along the trail. Suitable hiking shoes are also recommended. The tour may be subject to cancellation due to inclement weather as a matter of safety.
Enbas Saut Hiking Tour
Schedule: 8:00 am – 12:45 pm
The Enbas Saut falls trail is a 4 km trail which passes through one of the most remote, wild and unbelievably scenic parts of the island. The trek features a combination of Rainforest, Cloud Forest and Elfin Woodlands as well as a chance opportunity to enjoy our local wildlife including the elusive St. Lucia Parrot (Amazona Versicolor), St. Lucia Oriole, St. Lucia Black Finch, Blue Hooded Euphonia, or Mountain Whistler. The hilly terrain of Piton Canarie, Piton Troumassee and Mount Gimie are viewed along the way.
Enbas Saut, when translated to English, means “below the falls”. This trail is most famous for its two cascading waterfalls and pools at the head of the Troumassee River. Guest pick up is at 8:00 a.m. in upper car park. You will reach Edmond Forest Entrance by Fond St. Jacques at 8:45 a.m. where the guide will await you at the entrance. Soft drinks are included. Take your bathing suit and towels if you wish to get under the falls!
It is most definitely invigorating! Enbas Saut is a challenging and strenuous hike and should be attempted only by those with an above average fitness level.
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Schedule: 9:15 – 11:15 am
To take in the beauty of the blue Caribbean, guests enjoy a morning of Dolphin & Whale Watching viewing the magnificent sea mammals in their natural setting along with great views of Saint Lucia’s spectacular west coast. Guests can expect as well to encounter sea birds along the way. When whales are encountered the engines are cut and a hydrophone is dropped into the water to allow guests to hear the calls and singing of the impressive sea mammals. Sperm Whales, Short Finned Pilot Whales, humpbacks and Spinner and Bottlenosed Dolphins are regularly seen off the coast of St. Lucia. They can be seen for the most part of the year, although the months of December to March may be more productive for sperm whale bulls.
Tet Paul Nature Trail
Schedule: 10:00 am – noon
For guests who wish to enjoy from up high the majestic beauty of the world’s most famous pair of mountains – but don’t wish to do any serious hiking or climbing – the Tet Paul Nature Trail is for you. Traveling by taxi you will pass through the town of Soufriere to a small mountain top community in the nearby countryside. The Tet Paul Nature Trail, which is approximately ½ mile in length, affords an easy stroll through the cool air in the midst of St. Lucia’s World Heritage site. Great views of both Gros Piton and Petit Piton, the island’s southern region and the blue Caribbean below abound. And of course there
is plenty of natural beauty along the trail which requires a modest level of fitness and exertion. Note: Tet Paul is a good birding site but you will see no species not normally seen at Anse Mamin and the Anse Chastanet grounds but the spectacular views can make it a very worthwhile excursion for birding enthusiasts.