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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Birding in Saint Lucia

At Saint Lucia’s Anse Chastanet Resort, birdwatchers will delight in the many bird watching opportunities available on the resort’s 600 acre estate. In addition, Anse Chastanet now offers a 5-day activity package for birdwatchers including the most important off property birdwatching locations in response to the ever increasing interest in this particular aspect of ecotourism.

The birdwatching activity package takes full advantage of the resort’s location on the southwest coast near the town of Soufriere and the world famous Pitons; as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,  as the area is a notable attraction to eco-minded tourists from around the world. Package activities include excursions to other specific locations on island which are recognized for their outstanding natural beauty as well as being natural habitats of a great number of interesting and exotic bird species.

The Birdwatching Package includes five days of specific excursion activities tailored to provide the best experiences available for guest birdwatching enthusiasts. Birding has become a very popular activity in Saint Lucia due to a large variety of interesting and attractive species on island. Much of this is because of the wide array of habitats the island features – dry coastal areas, lush rain forests, scrub forests, rugged sea cliffs, etc – and the resulting variety of foods that appeal to various species.

Anse Chastanet’s Birdwatching Package excursion activities begin with a visit to the resort’s Anse Mamin Plantation, a historical estate which is part of the resort property. Trails within this lush coastal jungle with its 18th century plantation ruins are ideal for birding. The tour is designed for both novices and veteran birdwatchers and is an easy and pleasant introduction to birdwatching on the day after arrival.

Included on day 2 is a visit to the Millet Bird Sanctuary for a leisurely two hour forest trail walk led by a Department of Forestry guide. Along the way over 30 species can be seen, including five endemic species: the St. Lucia Parrot, St. Lucia Black Finch, St. Lucia Warbler, St. Lucia Oriole and St. Lucia Pewee.

Another day’s excursion includes a journey completely around the southern two-thirds of the island with the highlight being a visit to St. Lucia’s most lush rain forest on the Des Cartier Trail. 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. Stops at a wetland and two coastal sites along the way also afford enjoyable birding and sightseeing opportunities.

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.

To take in the beauty of the blue Caribbean, guests enjoy a morning of Dolphin & Whale Watching; sea birds are encountered along the way. Included in the package as well is a combo excursion that visits three of the island’s most popular attractions. Guests begin with a visit to the Diamond Falls & Botanical Gardens, an historic site which was created by France’s King Louis XIV with mineral baths built for his troops to take advantage of the recognized rejuvenating powers of the mineral rich volcanically heated spring water. Then it’s on to the Sulphur Springs volcano to relax in the mud baths and view this interesting geologic wonder. The morning’s activities finish at the Tet Paul Nature Trail, which features birdwatching opportunities as well as enjoying from up high the majestic beauty of the world’s most famous pair of mountains. Located in the midst of St. Lucia’s World Heritage site, great views of Gros Piton and Petit Piton, the island’s southern region and a panorama of the blue Caribbean are presented.

Anse Chastanet’s Birdwatching Package also offers plenty of free time to fully enjoy resort’s two beaches and the myriad of other enjoyable activities featured at the resort.

The 5 day birdwatching activities package can be added to any reservation at Anse Chastanet property and can be booked directly with the resort for US 695 per person for a minimum of 2 persons. All excursions are set up as private excursions.

A 7 night minimum stay is recommended.  Rates this summer begin at US 345 nightly for 2 in a standard room, subject to 10% service charge and 8% VAT. Half board and all inclusive plans are available. Consider the Delight Promotion which offers the 6th night free in room categories standard, superior and beachside deluxe and come with a US 150 resort credit per person  which can be used against the birdwatching activities,