Our 7-day bird watching tour is organised with local birding experts to make sure you see all 28 of the island’s endemic bird species, including the Jamaican Owl, Jamaican Mango, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Tody and many more. In addition to time on the Caribbean coast, we explore a variety of habitats, including montane and rainforest, quiet rivers and lush valleys.
Your guide will do their best to ensure that you discover Jamaica’s unique bird species, the island’s flora including a variety of ferns, butterflies, orchids (66 endemic species) bromeliads and other unusual genera, and fauna, such as the Venus lizard. Your guided walk will include mountain trails, imbibe the local culture and take time to relax on the beach or go snorkeling.
The package is perfect for the serious and the leisure birder and ideal for couples with a world of opportunity even for non-birding partners.
View our 28 endemic photo gallery.
Day 1: Arrival in Kingston
Your journey begins in Kingston, where you will be met and transferred in an air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of space for you and your luggage to a charming guest house in Kingston. Settle in and relax after your travels. You will have an early start tomorrow
During your 6-night half-board stay, a packed breakfast will be prepared for early birding departures.
Dinner and overnight at Neitas Nest.
Day 2: Birding in Hellshire and the Botanical Gardens
Leisurely paced birding perfect for your arrival day
Enjoy a delicious Blue Mountain coffee before heading off on an early start around 6.30 am for a birding adventure exploring the rich variety of ornithology available at these locations accompanied by a local guide with rustic style breakfast picnic on route.
You will start by exploring the Hellshire Hills. This is one of only two locations on the island where Bahama Mockingbird can be found. Also common here are Stolid Flycatcher, Caribbean Dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Jamaican Mango. We would also expect to see Jamaican Vireo, American Yellow Warbler, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Black-faced Grassquit, White-winged Dove, Prairie Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart, Palm Warbler, Bananaquit, Smooth-billed Ani, Jamaican Oriole, and Common Ground Dove.
In the afternoon you will visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, commonly called “Hope Gardens”, looking for species such as Yellow-billed Amazon, Olive-throated Parakeet, Red-billed Streamertail, Vervain Hummingbird, Jamaican Mango, White-chinned Thrush, White-crowned Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Zenaida Dove, Common Ground Dove, Loggerhead Kingbird, Grey Kingbird, Antillean Palm Swift, Northern Mockingbird, Jamaican Oriole, Jamaican Woodpecker, and Greater Antillean Grackle.
Dinner and overnight at Neitas Nest.
Day 3: Birding at HARDWARE GAP & Mockingbird Hill Gardens
Today you will enjoy birding at HARDWARE GAP, en route as you transfer to Port Antonio.
The direct journey time is about 2.5 hours but you’ll break the journey for birding accompanied by your bird guide.
You’ll have an early start this morning with a packed breakfast ready to accompany you to one of Jamaica’s best birding sites while you are transferring between your hotels.
This is a guided birding day in Jamaica’s famed Blue Mountains. You will explore different sections of the Blue and John Crown Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These locations all merge seamlessly into each other along a rugged mountain road. At approximately 1200m above sea level all these areas on the cool western slopes of the Blue Mountains within the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park are classified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. In its lush forests you’ll get to listen to the beautiful dawn chorus, especially the flute-like call of the elusive Rufous-Throated Solitaire. This is one of the best places to find the elusive and endangered Jamaican Blackbird, which feeds on insects associated with bromeliads.
The lush vegetation also affords looks at higher-elevation species such as Arrowhead Warbler, White-eyed Thrush, Jamaican Becard, Blue Mountain Vireo, Jamaican Pewee, and more. The bright Jamaican Tody can also often to be found, quiet and close by as if posing for photos.
An impressive species list of birds has been recorded in this area, including hard-to-find species Crested Quail-Dove, and Jamaican Lizard Cuckoo. Also present are Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Jamaican Vireo, Arrowhead Warbler, Jamaican Elaenia, Greater Antillean Elaenia, Orangequit, Jamaican Spindalis, Jamaican Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Rufous-throated Solitaire, Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, White-chinned Thrush, White-eyed Thrush, Northern Potoo, Jamaican Owl, Red-billed Streamertail, White-collared Swift, American Black Swift, Ring-tailed Pigeon, Jamaican Euphonia. Numerous migrant warblers and other common resident species can be found in these mountains. Throughout this section of the Blue Mountains, and given enough time, you should be able find most of the 28 Jamaican endemics.
You can opt to stop for a jerk lunch at a local eatery (optional).
Upon your afternoon arrival at Hotel Mockingbird Hill, you will enjoy the chance to bird in its organic 7 acre gardens as recommended by Birds of West Indies.
Day 4: Birding on the Rio Grande
Not Forgetting Jamaica’s Water and Shore Birds
Start the morning early by exploring the gardens and discovering the owl on property accompanied by your guide. You can enjoy a superb Mockingbird Breakfast and then continue exploring the neighbouring hillside and the San San area with the opportunity to see any of the endemics you might have missed in the mountains.
Two endemic hummingbirds, Black-billed Streamertail and Jamaican Mango, are usually easily found here.
Following a refreshing light lunch you will take off for some relaxing picturesque rafting adventure on the Rio Grande. Originally these flat-bottomed rafts were used to transport bananas; then Port Antonio’s most famous resident, the movie star Errol Flynn made raft rides popular by challenging visitors to race down the Rio Grande.
Your ‘Captain’ will guide your raft as you drift with the current downstream as you enjoy close-up views of the water and shore birds in their natural habitat.
Expect to spot Snowy and Little Blue Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers and possibly some shorebirds. There will be Belted Kingfishers, Spotted and other sandpipers along the river, while Turkey Vultures drift overhead on stiffly-held wings sometimes accompanied by other raptors.
Bring some cash if you want to enjoy a nice cold beer which you can buy on the river from a floating raft bar.
If you would like to add a hike to a lovely waterfall nearby, for a swim and scenic inspiration, this can be selected on arrival for an additional $15.00 per person.
After 2-3 hours on the river travel back to Mockingbird Hill with a stop to see the market in Port Antonio if you wish.
Day 5: Birding at Ecclesdown Road
Jamaica’s Most Famous Birding Spot
Back to a day of serious birding! You should plan for an early morning departure, you will have a quick meet and greet with our local bird guide and be presented with a freshly made packed breakfast for the trip to Ecclesdown Road at the foothills of the John Crow Mountains. The drive takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour. This area is well-known in birding circles as this is the most famous birding location near Port Antonio. It is a seldom-used road that travels along the foothills of the John Crow Mountains for approximately 18 kilometers. It is entirely flat and passes through secondary closed and open forests as well as small patches of farm lands.
You’ll spend the morning walking along a forested road where a number of endemic birds can be seen including Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots, Jamaican Becard, Ring-tailed Pigeon, Crested Quail-Dove, Jamaican Oriole, and Jamaican Crow.
There is an optional trip to the secluded Reich Falls which is surrounded by lush forest for a cooling refreshing dip in a natural pool if you wish. Local guides can for a modest fee escort you upstream towards the source of the river where you can take a swim to cool off if you like. You can also stop at Long Bay and Boston Beach on the way back if you like. Just let your driver know.
Day 6: Relaxation at Frenchman’s Cove
Enjoy the beautiful white sand beach at Frenchman’s Cove which is also host to good birding. For those who prefer to spend the morning at the hotel this is possible and lunch will be served on the terrace after which you can be taken to Frenchman’s Cove for an afternoon at Jamaica’s prettiest beach, or simply relax and enjoy the Streamertails from your balcony.
The hotel can help make arrangements for any trips you would like to do, but you can equally just relax by the pool. Enjoy your last dip in the pool, have a massage or treatment in our Garden of Wellness or gazebo; or simply continue enjoying the endemics in our garden or from our purpose built perch.
This morning you will leave Port Antonio early towards Hectors River on the east coast to admire the colony of White-tailed Tropicbird nesting in the cliffs along the river here. Further along you will be able to stop at the Salt Ponds to view birds there as well.
Continue to Kingston to check in for your flight home. We recommend that you book a late afternoon return flight to enable a leisurely departure.
The tour duration is 7 days with 6 nights including accommodation and meals as outlined in the itinerary, guides, transportation, rafting.
Entrance prices to attractions such as Reich Falls, beverages and private incidentals such as items of a personal nature such as beverages from the bar, porterage, phone calls, or gift items are not included. We also recommend a gratuity for our local drivers and guides, which is left to your discretion.
Price & Booking
Prices for the 7 day/6 night programme are as follows:
WINTER 2019 / 2020
with arrival and departure from Kingston US$ 2,873.00 per person based on double occupancy
Email us today to book this tour.
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