Above: Trinidad’s Caroni Swamp (All photos by Bryan Naidu)
By Joshua Martinez
TRINIDAD – Finding them isn’t easy.
You have to wait for them here, in the heart of the wetlands, surrounded by mangroves.
Above: a snake at the Caroni Swamp
But if you arrive at just the right moment, at a place accessible only by boat, you’ll find them.
“They” are Trinidad’s most famous welcoming committee, the flock of Scarlet Ibises that frequent the Caroni Swamp on the western coast of the island of Trinidad, just about 4 kilometres away from Port of Spain. They’re actually Trinidad’s national bird.
This nearly 6,000-hectare mangrove forest is a cocktail of lagoons, channels and mudflats, and remains one of the most important wetland areas in the country.
They come here only once a day, just before the sun begins to dip, lighting up the green of the swamp with rich dots of scarlet, gathering at Caroni like they’re here for some kind of avian happy hour.
It’s a stunning rush of colour against the backdrop of the mangroves, the kind of moment you don’t even believe you’re really seeing.
And it’s one of the most beautiful, hidden pleasures in a country defined by them.
Trinidad is all about the undiscovered; about finding the Caribbean you haven’t seen.
And here, at sunset, seeing is believing.