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Trinidad: Land of the Leatherbacks

Participate in hands-on sea turtle research and enjoy close encounters with the world’s largest turtles during their peak nesting season on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

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Overview

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the beaches that host the world’s densest population of nesting leatherback turtles, with roughly 20,000 nests laid annually.
  • Visit the impressive Asa Wright Nature Center, one of the top birding spots in the Caribbean with more than 150 species.
  • Help local researchers measure, tag, and monitor nesting leatherbacks each night.

Join us on the beaches of Trinidad to see and study the amazing leatherback turtle at one of the world’s most important nesting sites. With roughly 20,000 nests laid per year, Trinidad hosts the world’s densest leatherback nesting colony, and we have timed our expedition to coincide with the peak of their nesting season. Our local partner, Nature Seekers, will host us as we patrol the nesting beaches nightly to learn about and assist with their award-winning work to study and protect leatherbacks in Trinidad.

Beyond our nightly beach patrols, we will visit: a) an innovative recycling project that empowers local artisans to create jewelry with recycled and natural materials, b) Caroni Swamp, a protected wetland that supports more than 100 bird species including the Scarlet Ibis, one of Trinidad’s national birds, and c) the Asa Wright Nature Center, a world-class tropical ecology research center where we may see toucans, parrots, and several hummingbird species.

Trip Dates & Cost

2020: May 9–17. $2,895 per person.* Group limit 14.

2021: May 8–16. $2,995 per person.* Group limit 14.

* Single supplement fee $500. Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Brian Hutchinson is Oceanic Society's vice president of outreach, co-founder of the State of the World's Sea Turtles Program, and program officer of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Brian holds a B.A. in zoology from Connecticut College, and has been working to advance global marine conservation for more than a decade.

Linda Searle is a conservation biologist and educator who coordinates marine conservation programs in Belize through ECOMAR, a nonprofit founded in 1996 to promote “conservation through education." She holds a master's degree in marine biology from Nova Southeastern University and bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Miami. Her research interests include coral reefs, sea turtles, and more.

Steve Trott is a marine zoologist and the projects development manager at Watamu Marine Association in Kenya, an organization that promotes sustainable tourism, community based waste management, and marine conservation. Steve’s current focus is on finding innovative solutions to the growing marine debris problem while providing financial benefit to coastal communities in Africa.

Itinerary

Day 1: Port of Spain - Matura
You will be met at the airport upon your arrival in to Port of Spain, and transferred to the small coastal town of Matura on the northeast coast. This evening we will have a welcome dinner and orientation.

Days 2–8: Sea Turtle Monitoring at Matura
Each evening we will join researchers on the nearby beach of Matura, one of the world's most important nesting beaches for leatherback turtles. This beautiful protected beach welcomes dozens of turtles a night during the peak of the nesting season. As a volunteer on this program, you will undergo training and work side-by-side with researchers to patrol the beach in search of nesting turtles as part of long term scientific research. Duties may include measuring turtles, counting eggs, excavating nests to determine hatching success, and more.

Beyond our nightly sea turtle monitoring duties, we will have time to explore some of Trinidad's natural wonders during the day, including Caroni Swamp and the Asa Wright Nature Center, and will visit a local recycling program to learn about their innovative efforts.

Day 9: Matura - Port of Spain - Depart
On the final day of our program we will transfer back to Port of Spain in time to catch your flight home.

Optional post-trip extensions are available to Tobago, please inquire if interested.

Accommodations

Participants will stay in basic but comfortable accommodations at Susan's Guesthouse in the small town of Matura, just a short distance from the main leatherback nesting beach and next door to the Nature Seekers office.

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