A Natural World of Riches

21st Nov 2002

The Caribbean is a nature lover’s dream, welcoming visitors in search of the wonders of the natural world - creatures, plants and landscapes unmatched in diversity and beauty.

In a generous tropical climate, the accidents of geology and the action of ocean on land have bequeathed today’s eco-tourists a dazzling Eden of color, shape and scent.

Those with special areas of interest can take advantage of tailor-made trips arranged by tour companies, hotels or national tourism offices. The establishment of national parks and nature reserves on land and at sea ensure that there are unrivalled opportunities to enjoy the fauna and flora of our unique lands.

Our landscapes range from volcanic mountains, lakes and limestone cliffs to lush green hills, mangrove swamps, deserts and forests. There are outstanding rain forest retreats on the islands of Trinidad, Dominica and Puerto Rico. On the mainland, there are spectacular national parks: Venezuela has no fewer than 43, while 40 per cent of the country is protected in both Mexico and Belize.

Trinidad offers bird-watchers more species than they’ll find in Canada, and the evening flight of the scarlet ibis at Caroni Swamp is worth travelling the world to see. Great Inagua in the Bahamas has a population of less than 1,000 but is home to 60,000 pink flamingos, spoonbills and ducks. Across the Caribbean, you’ll see egrets, sandpipers, terns, parrots and pelicans. Hummingbirds are as common in gardens as they are in the woods and forests.


The gardens and forests provide year-round explosions of color. Passion flowers, orchids, heliconia, hibiscus, poinsettia and palms abound, as well as giant ferns and trees that blossom vivid yellow, scarlet and purple. These are the lands where plants were brought from around the world, and every one flourished: bougainvillea and mango trees, jade vines and stately breadfruit, more varieties of citrus that you thought possible.

Much of the Caribbean’s island wildlife is endemic. Bats abound, yard-long pre-historic iguanas laze in the sun, crocodiles glide through the swamps and fireflies flash in the night. On the mainland, there is an amazing range of animals and reptiles, with the jaguar at the top end of the food chain.

The tumbling rivers, mountains and dense rainforests of Guyana and Venezuela are filled with extraordinary natural sights. These include Angel Falls, at more than 3,200 feet the highest waterfall in the world; Kaieteur Falls; and remote Mount Roraima, the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle`s Lost World.

The Caribbean Sea and its massive walls of coral are vibrant with life, home to sharks, barracuda, swordfish, marlin, dolphin, porpoise and turtle. The variety of the Caribbean’s natural world is rich and endless.



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