Driving south from Port of Spain you see rice fields, herds of water buffalo, buffalypso (bigger animals, selectively bred for meat), Hindu temples and Moslem mosques. There are boat trips to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, the home of scarlet ibis, whose numbers are dwindling as the swamp in which they live is encroached upon.
The boats leave around 1600 so as to see the ibis returning to their roost at sunset. It is a spectacular sight and is recommended even for those who do not consider themselves bird watchers. Egrets, herons and plovers can also be seen. Bus or route taxi from Port of Spain or San Fernando to Bamboo Grove Settlement no 1, on the Uriah Butler Highway, from where the boats leave, TT$2.50 or TT$5 respectively. Maxi taxi (green bands) from Independence Square. Ask to be dropped off at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Arrange return transport in advance, it is impossible to hail a bus in the dark. There are two boat operators in the swamp: Moodoo Tours and Winston Nanan (T6451305), US$10, group rates available, although a visitors’ centre is under construction and an entrance fee may be imposed. Nanan rarely guides now and not all his boatmen are informative; enquire at the Asa Wright Centre for more detailed tours. Tour operators in Port of Spain offer tours, usually on Nanan’s boats. Take mosquito repellent and if possible a cold bag with drinks, although Nanan sells drinks on board, repellent is essential when you get off the boat at the end of your trip.