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Asa Wright Nature Centre and Lodge
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Reviews (122)
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Reviewed February 10, 2013

We had read good things about this Centre and stayed here for 3 days to relax following a couple of week’s birdwatching in the interior forests and savannahs of Guyana. We met some very nice fellow guests and had a very enjoyable time and were fully relaxed before flying home. However, it is hard to recognise the place from many of the reviews here and at US$430 per night (not including activities) to stay I think it only fair to point out that this place does have some serious shortcomings.
Our room (No 17) was in what was described as a Bungalow. The accommodation consisted of a bedroom with a row of single beds along one wall (a bit like a backpacking hostel), an en suite toilet and basin and a separate shower room. There was also a nice sun room with chairs at one end although the view was only really of next doors hut, sorry I mean Bungalow. The room looked as though it had been decorated in the 50's and they'll get around to redoing it when it is needed. Anyway, who goes to a place like this to stay in the bedroom? And I quite like backpacking hostels, but they are usually only a tenth of the price. The bed was comfy enough and we slept well.
The main building housed the hotel reception, the gift shop, the dining room and a lovely veranda with a bar which overlooked the garden with bird feeders, etc. This observation area was manned by very personable and knowledgeable guides but unfortunately only very rarely by bar staff and the only way to get a drink was to go to the other end of the building and beg one from the kitchen staff. Water, tea and coffee were available all day at the bar. Dining was on communal tables (which we like) and was served buffet style (which we don't). There wasn't really any selection and if you're vegetarian or something I'd strongly recommend you let them know before arriving. Food was fine, just usually a bit cold but that's the nature of buffet dining. We didn't go in the gift shop so can't give any opinion on this.
Many people have described the grounds as a rainforest! It's very nice but it's actually a colonial cacao and coffee plantation that has in part been allowed to grow back wild and in part planted to attract a range of different bird species. It is a very pleasant natural garden but not a rainforest, which is fine and we enjoyed the grounds. I mention this because I wouldn't want people to feel they were misled when they arrive. The birdwatching itself is fine and you can spend all day watching the feeders. It's a bit like birdwatching inside an aviary. On one occasion there was great consternation because a common potoo that normally roosted on a particular spot on one tree had moved 15 metres and was roosting in a different tree. This caused great confusion. It was a bit like Monty Python. Any minute we expected to see a stuffed Norwegian Blue (beautiful plumage, sir) and would have to determine whether it was dead or just nailed to a perch. That said, getting very close, and I mean inches away in many case, to such beautiful creatures did allow you to see a level of detail that is difficult through binoculars and to appreciate the detail of particularly the hummingbirds.
The major gripe I have with the place however is that day visitors are encouraged to visit the site. This may seem selfish of me. Actually I am fine with the odd visitor arriving in a car with their guide for a cup of coffee, lunch and a walk in gardens. We met some and it was useful to get their suggestions of better places to stay. I am also fine when classes of local schoolchildren turn up to the Centre throughout the day as I think the educational role of such a place is important and should be encouraged. But I think having a hundred or more day visitors descending on the place as an activity offered by the docking cruise ships is quite ridiculous. We had this during our stay and by all accounts at busy times this happens twice a week. As well as the security implications of having such large numbers of unknown people arriving and wandering through the unattended accommodation areas it also means that the resident guests are effectively ejected from using the facilities of the Centre as they become completely packed. Although we did not plan to go on any additional trips (we just wanted to sit and relax) we felt we had no option but to get away from the Centre during such an invasion. Just in case you think I’m exaggerating here is a website for cruisewise.com that informs passengers that they should arrange with their cruise ship to visit the Asa Wright Centre. Tripadvisor may not allow a URL to feature in the text and delete it so if it’s not below if you Google it you’ll find all the Cruise operators offer 5hr trips for their passengers to Asa Wright. http://www.cruisewise.com/southern-caribbean-cruises/port-of-spain-trinidad-and-tobago/outdoors/asa-wright-nature-centre
This then brings my second gripe. We decided to go on a guided trip for the day to get away from the cruise ship invasion. As I said earlier the cost for this is extra and this is fair enough. But to make matters worse we were told that as there were not many guests in the hotel (I wonder why?) then we would have to pay an extra 50% of the cost each because there is a minimum number for the trip!! So let's see if I have this right. The hotel has a problem that it doesn't have enough guests. So they transfer the problem to the guests that they do have that were daft enough to stay by charging them more to do the activities!! In the end we asked around and found some other guests to accompany us to share the cost but isn't selling 'activities' the job of the hotel not the guests? It also seemed a little strange that the activities didn't start until 08:30. We'd normally have finished our morning birdwatching by then. It was interesting to go on a birdwatching trip for people who like a lie in in the morning!
In summary we did have an enjoyable stay (mainly down to the other guests we met) but feel the place is somewhat overpriced for what it is and is suffering from an identity crisis of whether it is a hotel that has day visitors or is a day activity centre that also has the odd paying resident. Basically it seems to be a theme park for birdwatching. The bedlum of a hundred or more cruise ship passengers on a day out is the final straw for us. We've been once and enjoyed it and I think we were very lucky to do so. We will undoubtedly be going to Guyana again (which is an unbelievable destination by the way) and will look to relax in Trinidad for a few days before flying home but next time I think we'll be doing a bit more research and staying elsewhere and just visiting Asa Wright as day visitors (LOL). It’s not for us but that doesn’t mean it’s not for you! It may be exactly what you’re looking for. Have fun.....

Room Tip: You can have a quiet room away from the main lodge but that means climbing up about 30 stone steps outside and a steep hill to the car park. If you want something on the flat there are some rooms in the main building but these are somewhat less private.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Steve_an_Jean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013 via mobile

We just came out to the centre for a day trip. The centre is in a natural rain forest and seems to be in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It's a good thing that we had arranged a van and local driver who could take us to the center. It's a snaky switchback road up into the mountains.

You need to make reservations for the lunch and tour ahead of time. They were really good about responding to email. However they do you want a deposit for lunch so we have to give our Visa over the phone. The fact that they took Visa as a payment was nice as well

The lunch between 12 and one is a very nice dining area It was a buffet type lunch With local food and was quite enjoyable. Kindly they made french fries for our kids
Coffee tea and juice were included with the lunch

The tour itself is an amazing 90 minute walk in a rain forest. The guides that give it are extraordinarily knowledgeable on the flora and fauna of the rain forest so you learn quite a lot in the walk.

Amazing number of colorful tropical birds feeding right around the center and lizards walking around everywhere. Our kids 6, 8 and 10 really enjoyed it as well although it seems to be a haven for birdwatchers

Highly recommended as a day trip to get outside in a rainforest and go for an enjoyable walk

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank Jengweng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Asa Wright is an old Plantation House with modern, very solid, cabins for lodging. The Center is comfortable, well managed, clean and functional. The lodge is in the mountains in a nature preserve. A constant stream of birds are attracted by the feeders at the famous veranda. Dozens of birds are humming about all the time. This is the place to see hummingbirds and tanagers up close. Staff are most helpful both with any concerns or adjustments you may need, but also with help in identifying and understanding the birds, mammals, and lizards around the feeders and the nature reserve. Swimming is in a natural pool below in a small cool mountain waterfall. Field trips to other parts of Trinidad can be arranged with first class guides. Order a copy of a good Trinidad bird book from Better World Books or Amazon before you go and then relax and enjoy life at Asa Wright.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank L William C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

We stayed here as part of a birdwatching trip. Accommodation is good in big airy rooms. Food is O
K and there is plenty of it. Nature guides are all superb and for their guidance alone this place is too be recommended. Do bring lots of mosquito repellent,walk boots and long trousers. Birds amazing.

Room Tip: We had room 4, very good location.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tiggersuki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2012

I wrote a review of Asa Wright as an attraction so I may be repeating myself a bit here... Asa Wright is in a spectacular location, with views of the immense valley. The veranda has resident naturalists to answer your questions and help you identify birds. They put their spotting scope on the toucans way out in the valley. There is hot tea and coffee available on the veranda for the early risers. There are many, many trails for seeing the manakins, oil birds etc. Just amazing birds here. Free night walks for viewing night critters. Bring bug spray or long pants to avoid ant or chigger bites day or night. The rooms are very clean with en suite bathrooms. Fairly rustic but clean and well cared for rooms. The food was not my favourite though everyone else in my group loved it. I found it greasy. However, it was well balanced with grains, greens, meat, beans and dessert. There was fairly decent wine available for those who wanted to drink at dinner. They could open their store up earlier or post the hours better as I was never able to buy their nice T shirts. A word of warning, the road up to Asa Wright is very poor. Thank god for the skilled drivers (Jerry) they have on hand who gave me confidence. And thanks to Mahase, a local expert birder who show us additional birdy places around Trinidad. He bent over backwards to ensure we found what we wanted to see.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank N D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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