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The islands of Tobago and Trinidad have some of the best birdwatching in the Caribbean, with over 468 recorded species of birds between them. Around 250 species of birds actually breed on the islands. There are not many places in the world where so many species of birds can be seen in such a concentrated area, many of them unique, very rare, or of particular interest. Trinidad is well known as a birdwatchers paradise. But Tobago also has about 220 species of birds. Some of the birds of Tobago are not regularly seen in Trinidad. Tobago has a number of sub-species of birds that are not found anywhere else in the world.
Both islands were once part of the continent of South America. Because the islands are so close the South America, many species migrate north and use the islands as wintering grounds. Also, many birds from the Caribbean, and even North American migrate through Trinidad and Tobago on their way south. So birders may see birds from North America, South America, The Caribbean, and of course the islands themselves.
Because of the variety of birds, bird watchers come for both Trinidad and Tobago birding tours. A quick search on the net reveals many companies that offer these birdwatching tours. Some of the birds you might see in Tobago are cocricos, peregrine falcons, ruby-topaz hummingbirds, white-tailed sabrewings, jacamars, blue-backed manakins, fuscous flycatcher, blue-backed manakin, venezuelan flycatcher and olivaceous woodcreeper.

Books on Trinidad and Tobago birdwatching:

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

10-Day Checklist of the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

Visitors’ book of birds, Trinidad and Tobago

Finding birds in Trinidad and Tobago

Birds of Trinidad and Tobago: a Photographic Atlas

The Caribbean is filled with islands, each with it’s own personality. The shopping and resorts of St Thomas. The tropical rain forests and nature of Dominica. The scuba diving of Grand Cayman. The raggae music of Jamaica. The warm water beaches of Barbados. The dual cultures of St Martin/St Maarten.

There are several different possibilities for Caribbean island vacations.

I have visited many of the islands in the Caribbean as cruise ship ports of call. One of the advantages of visiting the islands via cruise ship is that you get to see a bunch of the islands during your vacation. The drawback is that you get to spend less than a day on each island.

Another option for a Caribbean island vacation is to spend your vacation at a resort. There are a wide range of resorts from budget, to extravagant. Some of the resorts offer all-inclusive vacation packages. Just make sure you know what you are getting before hand with your all-inclusive package.

How about renting a villa? The villa rental may even include a maid, cook, gardener, night watchman, use of a car, etc. If you have a small group of people going, one of these might even be more economical than staying at a hotel.

Want something even more exotic than renting a villa? How about renting a private island? And how cool would it be staying on a private island for a week? These are significantly more expensive. I found one site listing rentals for a private island with a castle for $4500 a night low season, $7000 a night high season. But it’s got 8 bedrooms, tennis court, 30′ by 55′ private swimming pool, and all kinds of extras.

For more information about the various Caribbean islands, check out some of these travel guides:

The Rough Guide to The Caribbean: More Than 50 Islands, Including the Bahamas

Fodor’s Caribbean 2006

Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands

Caribbean By Cruise Ship: The Complete Guide To Cruising The Caribbean

Imagine exploring Russia. Cruising up the Volga in Russia, or Dnieper River in the Ukraine to the Black Sea. Many of the Russian river cruises go from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Or from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don.
Visit cities like Kazan, and Volgograd. They stop at little Russian towns such as Uglich, Suzdal, Ryasan, Murom, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Kassimov, and Vladimir. The lengths of the river cruises vary with 11 or 15 days being common. The longer the cruise is, the longer you are likely to be able to spend in the different cities, and not feel so rushed.
River cruises are a lot different than cruising the Caribbean on the big cruise ships. River cruises are on smaller boats. The average age of the passengers is also older. The cabins tend to be a little smaller. Standard cabins on some of these ships are around only 90 square feet, or a mini-suite around 200 square feet. Entertainment is limited to local talent. You can also play cards, read, or watch the scenery. Much more sedate.
When in port, you can take an optional excursion. Excursions might include visits to Red Square, and the Kremlin in Moscow, or a visit to Catherine’s Palace St Petersburg. Or maybe the Czars’ Winter Palace.
English is the standard language on most of these Russian river cruise ships.
Food choices on these small ships is also much more limited. You might have a choice between a meat or a fish entree.

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