Back to Nature...Back to Yourself
10-19 March, 2022 - there are currently 6 spaces available on this tour; please click here to express your interest or request additional information. **Please note that this tour has been postponed, date TBC**
9-18 March, 2023 - expressions of interest now being taken; please click here.
Alternatively, if you would like us to arrange a private trip for you and a group of your nature-loving yogi friends to the Caribbean islands of your choosing, please contact us by clicking here.
For details of pricing and for a full itinerary, please see below...
Day 1: St. Lucia - Welcome to the island of inspiration...
From the moment that the dark green silhouette of volcanic St.Lucia comes into view, you get the sense that you are in for something truly special. The view from the plane window confirms that towns and settlements are concentrated along flat coastal areas of the island, while the interior is defined by a mountainous terrain, impractical for large-scale development. Such a topographical deterrent has been instrumental in preserving the variety of extensive and pristine habitats so essential for the multitude of life that thrives here.
We are collected at the Hewanorra International Airport and en route to our nearby accommodation take time to visit one of the largest wetlands on the island. Upon being granted exclusive access to this spectacular site, our vehicle slowly winds its way along a little-used path, beneath groves of swaying coconut palms; until we emerge atop a small hillock offering a breathtaking vista of the entire expansive waterbody. The normally yellowish stems of the sedge are seemingly ablaze in the warm orange glow of the tropical afternoon sun and with a backdrop of a deep navy-blue Atlantic Ocean stretching to the horizon, the inhabitants of this protected land gradually begin to make themselves known. Golden Warblers tilt their heads back and begin to unfurl eloquent notes of song, curious Mangrove Cuckoos peer from under the limbs of Button Mangroves to investigate we new arrivals, and Green Herons and Belted Kingfishers carefully select promising fishing sites in favoured ponds. But it is only as the sun begins to sink low in the cloudless sky do we begin to gain a true appreciation of the wildlife spectacle in store for us on our travels through the islands. Hundreds of Cattle and Snowy Egrets wing their way low over the water and into a roost in the centre of the wetland. These are soon joined by dozens of Great Egrets, Tricoloured Herons, and Little Blue Herons - each in turn serving to further saturate species sightings already dominated by Pied-billed Grebe, the Caribbean morph of American Coot and huge flocks of Blue-winged Teal and other migrant waterfowl. Life is indeed in full swing here in the tropics.
Our accommodation for the next three nights is the tranquil Foxgrove Inn, nestled amongst densely forested hillsides and ideally situated to offer breathtaking views of a seemingly ever-glittering Praslin Bay. The Inn is owned and managed by a lovely couple. Esther is a Swiss expat who handles the business side of things, and Frank, who is St.Lucian, prepares the fine cuisine. Frank trained and worked in Paris as a chef for many years, and since returning to his island, has created a Franco-Creole signature taste which locals on the island drive for miles to sample. Prepare your tastebuds for a treat! An added bonus sees all of the food for our meals at Foxgrove locally sourced - thereby directly supporting the local community.
After checking in, we set out on a gentle exploratory walk around the hotel grounds to see what treasures (feathered, scaled, flowered and otherwise) the Inn’s lush tropical gardens have to offer. St. Lucia is one of the most bio-diverse of the Lesser Antillean islands, and even here in such proximity to our hotel, the wide variety of her inhabitants is very much in evidence. Above us, delightful St. Lucia Pewees make the most of the waning light to flit from overhanging branches and effortlessly pluck beetles from the air, elegantly coiffed Antillean Crested Hummingbirds sink their bills into brightly coloured Hibiscus, and copper-coloured male St. Lucia Anoles display swollen dewlaps in flashy territorial exchanges.
After our nature walk and under a spectacular tropical sunset (the first of many on our trip) we come together to meet on the pool deck for our Welcome Circle - and here get a sense for how the next 10 days will unfold. Once we have been properly introduced, we’ll ease into relaxation mode as we listen to the harmonious sounds of the Whistling Frogs, rolling waves of the Atlantic and the gentle clicks of the first of the insectivorous bats to venture out for the evening. We then get comfortable and turn our minds inwards to a guided moving meditation, focusing on our Heart Chakra. With so many treasures in store for us, it is only fitting that we begin our journey by opening our hearts to receive, with gratitude, all the gifts that these stunningly beautiful islands have to offer.
Following a delicious three-course dinner, enjoyed on the sweeping outdoor balcony, you will be invited to set an intention that you can hold in your heart as we embark on this journey back to nature... back to ourselves.
Day 2: St. Lucia - Rainforest ramblings, Red-billed Tropicbirds and reconnecting to our Root Chakra...
This morning we make for St.Lucia’s showpiece natural attraction – the sprawling Des Cartiers Rainforest. Des Cartiers is dominated by tree species such as the majestic and aromatic Lansan, the impressive Sandbox and Caribbean Royal Palm, along with gargantuan Tree Ferns, tiny bromeliads and a wide variety of orchids – all indigenous to the region.
Already invigorated by the sight of this ancient and expansive forest laid out before us, we take time to gather for an energising Vinyasa Flow. The term ‘vinyasa’ can be used to describe the linking together of one asana to the next, but can also relate to how we move through our life with harmony and intelligence by recognising the progressive nature of our actions. This practice will help us to begin to cultivate an awareness of how movement, when coordinated with our breath, is central to the transformative process that is yoga. While we are moving through a series of standing postures, we begin to feel the sun’s rays warming our faces as it filters through the interlaced canopies of the forest giants overhead. Here, like the mighty tree, we stand tall and recognise our strength during this practice that will root us firmly to the earth.
A wonderful relaxing morning is spent walking the well-maintained trails of Des Cartiers and learning from a local forestry officer of the incredible diversity and uses of the flora all around us. Later, deep in the heart of the forest, we reach an observation area where we are afforded breath-taking views of a riverine valley coursing its way below us, and where we comfortably await the arrival of the island’s national bird. While waiting, we are surrounded by the fascinating sights and sounds of many of the other inhabitants of this ancient forest. The ethereal song of the Rufous-throated Solitaire and the high-pitched notes of Lesser Antillean Euphonias intermingle with appearances by Grey Tremblers, Caribbean Elaenias, and inquisitive Pearly-eyed Thrashers. We may even be fortunate enough to enjoy an audience with the secretive Bridled Quail Dove.
But this is all a precursor to the arrival of the undoubted ruler of this land. In the distance the telltale calls of large numbers of parrots in flight focus our attention to the east. Suddenly streaking across a brilliant blue sky, these most spectacularly coloured of the Amazona Parrots can be seen heading our way! What a spectacle they provide - every beat of their wings a mesmeric flash against the unbroken verdant backdrop of the islands dense forest. Such a large expanse of forest attracts impressive numbers of these birds, and from our carefully chosen vantage point, we sit back and enjoy an up-close and truly memorable encounter.
We draw to a close a remarkable day by driving to the top of one of the highest peaks on St. Lucia, where standing on an exposed plateau, we are treated to numerous fly-bys of the stunning Red-billed Tropicbird. Brilliant, gleaming white bodies followed by long streamer-like tails billowing in the gusty winds, whistle by at eye level, and with a backdrop of a deep blue Atlantic Ocean stretching to the horizon - this is one of the undoubted highlights of the trip.
After dinner, we take inspiration from the tranquility of our visit to Des Cartiers, and devote the rest of the evening to strengthening our connection with the earth - this time with a special focus on our Root Chakra during a sumptuous guided Yoga Nidra. During this practice, we quiet our minds and enter the blissful state of yogic sleep, putting us in a perfect place to drift off for a peaceful night’s rest in the heart of this tropical island paradise...
Day 3: St. Lucia - Hatha, herbs & hot springs...
Today begins with a refreshing Hatha yoga session accompanied by the eclectic mix of Grey Kingbird calls and Tropical Mockingbird song. The essence of today’s practice is in its simplicity. The practice of Hatha yoga is a true union between breath, body and mind, and this is the intention we will work with this morning. Moving through a series of therapeutic postures using your breath as your guide, you are invited to ‘slow down and stay a while’ in each pose in order to discover a place where you feel at harmony with your entire being. During our practice, we cannot help but take note of the dozens of Lesser Antillean Swifts manipulating the updrafts overhead and of the Lesser Antillean Bullfinches flitting from perch to perch in the many multi-coloured bougainvillea that surround us. A truly holistic experience to start the day off feeling centred and entirely at ease.
Our yoga session having set the tone of discovery for the day ahead, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the verandah, offering an impressive selection of local delights, including freshly harvested pineapple, golden apples and mango, as well as free-range eggs and local bacon and sausage, before making a scenic drive across the heart of the country and over the central range, to a remote Rastafarian village. Here we take a tour of a local Rastafarian herbal garden and learn of the myriad uses and remedies that these fascinating people with a deep and inspirational connection to Mother Earth have for a wide variety of native plants and herbs.
On the edge of the village is a unique ecotone and an area known to harbour a number of the species unique to this tiny island gem. It is no exaggeration to state that here, numerous species of tropical birds will join the many varied butterfly species, such as Gulf Fritillaries, Cloudless Sulphurs, and Great Southern Whites flitting all around us. Colourful St. Lucia Warblers peer underneath leaves in search of gorging caterpillars; overhanging tree limbs represent perfect vantage points for Lesser Antillean Flycatchers to launch attacks on winged insects; and an abundance of fruits ripening in the tropical sun prove an irresistible lure for opportunistic Lesser Antillean Saltators and St. Lucia Orioles.
Lunch is on the sweeping hillsides of the town of Soufrière, at a restaurant offering perhaps the best views of the stunning twin spires of Les Pitons. After appetites are well and truly satiated with a wide selection of creole dishes (all washed down with world famous lemonade) we make our way to the almost unbelievably titled - St. Lucia Drive-in Volcano! The only such attraction in the Caribbean; a visit here takes us literally into the crater of a volcano, where we take a remarkable guided tour alongside hissing pools of steam and bubbling hot springs before finishing with the opportunity to soak in mud baths known for their detoxifying and therapeutic properties.
Feeling absolutely revitalised, we return to our hotel for a cocktail and swim in the pool before dinner.
Day 4: Dominica - Carib culture, Kundalini and a cacophony of calls...
This morning we take the short flight to Dominica - an island regarded by many as the "Nature Lover's Island". With innumerable waterfalls and a river for every day of the year coursing through her vast tracts of primary rainforest, Dominica offers a snapshot of what some of the more developed islands of the region would have resembled in centuries gone by.
In keeping with our aim of always experiencing the unique tradition and culture of each island, we begin our time on Dominica with a visit to the remote Carib Territories. These eight villages represent the last remaining stronghold of the Kalinago (Caribs) – a people who once travelled and settled throughout the Lesser Antilles, and who to this day still follow many of the traditions of their ancestors. This visit gives us an incredible insight into the lives of these original inhabitants of the Lesser Antilles, and allows us to delight in their culture and arts.
After being introduced to the wonderful and welcoming Kalinago people, we pay a respectful visit to the sacred L’Escalier Tête Chien and learn of the legend of the large, mystical snake who the Kalinago believe left South America millions of years ago in search of a new home - finding it in Dominica.
The Carib people equate their tribe’s migration from South America with that of the mystical creature, which is said to still reside in the caves above this spectacular landmark. Inspired by this tale, we take the opportunity to engage in a variety of Kundalini techniques . Kundalini energy, conceptualised as a coiled serpent, refers to the life force energy located at the base of our spine. Through this energetic practice, we will attempt to move this energy up through the chakras in order to feel revitalised and more in tune with our consciousness.
Fully invigorated we say a reluctant farewell to these remarkable people and make our way to the enviously located, Tamarind Tree hotel, perched high atop a 100-foot cliff and offering breathtaking views of the vast expanse of Caribbean Sea and the Bay of Salisbury.
After checking into our charming, bohemian accommodation, we enjoy a relaxing swim in the pool, or simply gaze out from our balconies at the swaying coconut trees and ocean views, before making an initial foray into the nearby Northern Forest Reserve... just as temperatures begin to fall. In this “land of plenty”, our vehicle will not have been travelling far before the mellifluous calls of an array of different species gives us cause to pull off the track to investigate. Birds including Zenaida Dove and Scaly-breasted Thrasher provide excellent views by perching conspicuously in sparsely leafed Mango Trees while pairs of delicate Plumbeous Warblers, whose excited trill calls greet their every leap along creeping vines, dance tantalisingly close to our heads.
This is a truly magical forest, filled with ancient trees - their gargantuan buttress roots the favoured runways of Dominican Anoles, Vincent’s Least Geckos and even the highly threatened Lesser Antillean Iguana. We spend the late afternoon and early evening exploring the well-maintained paths of both the lower lying tropical rainforest and even make a foray (via our van) higher still into the island’s remarkable montane forest, for an audience with the secretive Forest Thrush and the highest dwelling hummingbird of the trip – the mystical and highly endangered Blue-headed Hummingbird.
As our vehicle winds it’s way down mountainsides and back towards our hotel, we pause at a little known and infrequently visited waterfall for the opportunity to sink into the placid forest pool accumulated at its base. Relaxing here, we keep an eye out for the crepuscular and inquisitive Eastern Red-legged Thrush that resides here... and often peeps out to investigate our groups.
For dinner, we enjoy a delicious meal prepared by experienced local chefs and enjoyed in a wonderful open-air setting, with the sound of waves gently lapping against the shores beneath us.
Day 5: Dominica - Meditation, marine mammals and magnificent Macoucherie...
At dawn, we assemble for a yoga practice with a special focus on our Third Eye Chakra. Perhaps the most mystical of the seven chakras, our Third Eye is the centre of our intuition, perception and foresight; and it is through the connection with this chakra that we recognise that we are anything but alone on life’s journey. The cliff top overlooking Salisbury Bay - with squadrons of Brown Pelicans flying beneath us and the last of the Yellow-crowned Night Herons foraging for crabs in the tidal pools before retiring to the nearby mangroves - is the setting for today’s practice during which we will access different techniques, including asanas (postures) pranayama (breathwork) and meditation to rebalance our Third Eye. Perhaps we’ll even challenge ourselves with an inversion or two, as there’s nothing like turning upside down to gain a different perspective...especially when in the midst of such natural splendour.
After breakfast we drive to the bustling port city of Rosseau - capital of Dominica. An astonishing number of species of whale and dolphin have been sighted in Dominica’s waters, and this morning we have the fabulous opportunity to join an experienced captain and crew on a thrilling oceanic quest for the deep-dwelling giants found just off of Dominica’s shores! Large pods of Short-finned Pilots are the most commonly seen, while other larger species such as Humpbacks and False Killers have also been spotted on several previous trips. But the undoubted highlight of this thrilling ocean adventure is the very strong possibility of a close encounter with the islands resident population of Sperm Whale, for Dominica is the only country in the world whose waters are home to mothers and calves year round! In addition to these behemoths, a large number of dolphins are also drawn to the deep ocean chasms that surround this volcanic island and several species including Fraser’s, Spotted and Spinner Dolphins can regularly be seen in large pods. While on our quest for marine mammals, we take advantage of our time out on the water to scan the seas for pelagics - from Cory’s Shearwater to Wilson’s Storm Petrel and several species of gull and tern.
After the morning adventures on the high seas, the afternoon is yours to enjoy a private Reiki healing (additional fee incurred) or take a 3-minute walk down to the wilds of Macoucherie Beach.
The ancient Japanese art of Reiki is administered by the ‘laying on of hands’ (although this does not necessarily involve physical touch) and is based on the principle that there is a life-force energy, or ‘Ki’, that flows through and around us. This energy can be channelled by an attuned Reiki practitioner, and the balance of this energy inside your body redressed in order that you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. A truly relaxing experience awaits those who choose to partake in this optional healing treatment.
Day 6: Dominica - Cloud Forest, Chakras and connecting to our creative centre...
This morning we wake to the smell of rich Dominican coffee and with our packed breakfasts in hand, we set off before dawn into the island’s remote and mystical cloud forest in order to give ourselves the best opportunity of seeing one of the rarest species on the entire planet – the majestic Imperial Parrot. Perched overlooking deep verdant valleys and with the distant sound of a multitude of thunderous rivers coursing far below us, we scan the canopies of towering emergents for the imposing and impressive monarch of this land. The Imperial’s more gregarious “cousin” the Red-necked Parrot promises to provide more frequent entertainment, and our early morning arrival to the habitat should be rewarded with the sight of several small flocks of these colourful birds (their Creole name of Pawotje set-koule literally meaning seven-coloured parrot) waking to flutter from one fruiting tree to another.
A hugely impressive fifty-five species of butterfly (including stunning regional endemics such as Dominican Hairstreak, Godman’s Hairstreak, Godman's Leaf and St.Lucia Mestra) have been recorded on Dominica, and it is encounters with these, along with the possibility of sightings of the stunning Purple-throated Carib which ensure that our eyes are trained on every patch of sunlit forest.
It is here in this ethereal forest surrounded by life in so many glorious shapes and forms that we come together for a meditative Crown Chakra Flow. This practice will feel gloriously fluid and expansive, opening you up to the majesty of the nature that surrounds you through establishing a powerful connection with your Crown Chakra - the seat of your subtle body’s connection to the universe. Using the breath as a tool to connect your physical and energetic bodies, you will finish this practice feeling as though you may have just returned from another world.
Lunch is as local as it gets – delicious curried beef, vegetable or goat rotis devoured in the coastal town of Portsmouth. After lunch we take time to wander the streets of this, the second largest city on the island. However with less than 3000 inhabitants, it is hardly a bustling metropolis, and instead has much more the feel of a remote fishing town – complete with all the local intrigue and diversity one would associate with it.
Our time in Portsmouth draws to a close with a scenic boat ride along the famed Indian River. Once used by the Kalinago as a route to access the riches of the Caribbean Sea, the mighty Indian River is one of the most picturesque of Dominica’s watercourses. On the outskirts of Portsmouth, we board our small non-motorized vessel and gently wind our way along it’s route (lined with spectacularly buttressed Bwa Mang trees) for an audience with an entirely different cast of wildlife characters. Along the way we have the option of disembarking at the Bush Bar where orders for Dynamite Rum are taken!
Our stay on the wild isle of Dominica would not be complete without a yoga practice to channel the primal energy of our Sacral Chakra. Regarded in yogic philosophy as the chakra which holds the key to unlocking the energy we need to make change, by addressing imbalances in this chakra, we can tap into the feelings of joy and abundance which make life such a wonder to live. It is with this intention that we take the time this evening to enjoy one more stunning Dominican sunset with a hip-opening sequence that will unleash our creativity, and open us up to the possibilities and opportunities that are all around us. Having released any stored-up tension and discomfort in our hips, we take advantage of a good night’s rest before our departure in the morning for the white sandy beaches and azure waters of Barbados...
Day 7: Barbados - Sparkling seas, soft white sands and SUP Yoga...
After a short flight, we touch down in beautiful Barbados, and check into our beachfront accommodation.
Following a delicious local lunch and dip in the pool, you have the option this afternoon of a gentle beach yoga session or trying your hand at a spot of SUP Yoga (additional fee incurred) with our affiliated SUP Yoga instructor. After yesterday’s practice, you should be feeling a little more playful, perhaps more open-minded, and the calm Caribbean waters are a perfect place to take a chance and reap the rewards that come with having a go at something new.
Later, as dusk rolls in, the towering West Indian Mahogany Trees that surround our hotel are filled with the calls of Scaly-naped Pigeons selecting their favoured roosts and the fluttering wings of Velvety Free-tailed as well as Mouse-eared Bats setting out to feed. Food is also on our minds and we step down from our hotel onto the gleaming white sands that line the southern coastline of the island and enjoy a sunset stroll along the beach to Oistins Fishing Village - where we tuck into a delicious dinner of freshly caught grilled fish, shrimp and lobster (other meats plus vegetarian options also available). Oistins is the cultural heartbeat of the south of Barbados, and not only does our visit here allow us to sample delicious Creole fish dishes within sight of the small fishing vessels responsible for hauling in the day’s catch, but also to be ensconced in a vibrant atmosphere of live Caribbean music, dancers, artisans plying their trade and fisherfolk slapping dominos, swapping tales and sipping local rum after a hard night’s fishing.
Day 8: Wetlands wanderings, Catamaran cruising and Restorative relaxation...
A mere 10 minutes drive from our hotel is the internationally renowned Graeme Hall Nature Reserve. This sprawling 240-acre wetland protects the last remaining mangrove forest on the island, but for the last 11 years it has sadly been closed to the public. However, as your tour leader is the former chief naturalist for the reserve, you will be granted exclusive access to this serene and species-rich setting. At dawn we gather on the elegantly carved Leaf Deck and watch in awe as 7ft long Atlantic Tarpon gracefully break the surface of the largest lake on the island and up to 14 different species of heron prepare to leave their roosts.
As we meander along the well-maintained boardwalk, your tour leader shares with you the intimate relationships of many of the varied flora and fauna within this delicate but dynamic mangrove ecosystem. Here we are surrounded by the verdant greens of mature mangroves, their dense canopies the favoured perches of many of the island’s unique bird species, including the recently identified Barbados Grackle and of course the Barbados Bullfinch. The long dangling aerial roots of Rhizophora mangle line the walkway and provide shelter for skulking Green Herons as well as excellent runways for hunting Barbados Anoles and armies of fiddler crabs. While in the wetland we should also be fortunate enough to see the always engaging Bananaquits and dazzling Green-throated Caribs.
Returning to the hotel, we delve into a quite fabulous breakfast featuring Bajan specialties such as pumpkin fritters, fish cakes, sweet bakes and fried plantain (all enjoyed on the hotel balcony overlooking the sparkling waters of the Caribbean Sea) before taking our nature viewing beneath the waves!
By mid-morning we set sail on a privately chartered catamaran from the historic capital city of Bridgetown. As this bustling city’s skyline, punctuated by the Parliament Buildings and statue of Lord Nelson fades in the distance, we soon find ourselves snorkelling in placid turquoise waters surrounded by Hawksbill as well as Green Turtles and the dozens of species of reef fish (including Rainbow Parrotfish, Spotted Trunkfish, Fairy Basslets, Glassy Sweepers and Yellow-striped Goatfish) that frequent the shipwrecks and coral reefs of the stunningly beautiful Carlisle Bay. We continue our adventure on the seas by sailing further north along the internationally renowned and utterly spectacular west coast of the island, before dropping anchor in a tranquil bay to enjoy a freshly prepared local meal aboard the catamaran. Cocktails are included throughout the day, and you will have the option of remaining onboard to relax and enjoy your drink of choice or floating to shore for a quiet stroll along the endless white sands of one of the planet’s most beautiful coastlines.
On our return journey, with rich smooth seas coasting beneath us and with the wind in our hair and sun on our cheeks we take this opportunity to connect with our oft-neglected Throat Chakra. When we balance this Chakra, we allow ourselves to connect with our truth, align our words with our intentions and begin to communicate more honestly, openly, and with compassion. During this seated practice, we will seek to reunite ourselves with our voice and perhaps even feel emboldened enough while we are out at sea to chant and sing sacred mantra.
The late afternoon is yours to spend enjoying the beach, lounging round the pool, or indulging in a private Reiki treatment before winding down after another day in paradise with a Restorative Yin Yoga practice. For this gentle practice we settle down on the broad sea-side deck, and with the waves lapping beneath us, explore a selection of seated and reclined poses held for longer amounts of time in order to achieve a deep stretch - enjoyed by both our bodies and minds.
Feeling suitably pulled in all the right directions, we retire to the open air dining room where we tuck into a tasty dinner before drifting off to sleep...
Day 9: Heritage, hotspots and harmony...
This morning we are collected by pre-arranged transport and set off on a fascinating natural and historical tour of the island. During the course of the day we will visit the striking St. John’s Parish Church with it’s gothic architecture and commanding view of the east coast; and learn of the historical and cultural significance of sugar and agriculture in establishing the strong bonds between this tiny island and Great Britain at one of only three remaining Jacobean ‘Great House’ mansions in the Western Hemisphere, complete with its own working traditional rum distillery.
Barbados is an island of very different and distinctive coasts. In complete contrast to the tranquil waters of the South and West coast upon which we sailed yesterday, today we explore the rugged shorelines of the Northern and Eastern coasts, where the mighty rollers of the Atlantic constantly crash against this – their first landfall encountered since the shores of West Africa.
The northern coastline provides the backdrop for our yoga session for today, where standing atop limestone cliffs with the tremendous swells synonymous with North Point, crashing beneath us, we harness the energy of the waves for a strong but steady Warrior Flow. This practice will weave together the three warrior poses with a variety of other standing postures and balances in a sequence that will build physical and mental strength, inspire a sense of self-confidence, and bring balance to our day. We may even be joined in our practice by the curious little Grassland Yellow Finches who frequent the area, building their nests in the wild native grasses that flourish in this undeveloped and remote part of the island.
Lunch is at a popular local “rum shop” where we enjoy traditional Bajan cooking at its finest. The local dish of flying fish and cou-cou is a popular choice as is fried sea cat and pork stew.
On our way back to the hotel, we visit some of the pristine habitats we Barbadians refer to as being "behind God's back"; including stunning lily ponds spring fed with water filtered through the limestone bedrock of the island. Such secluded ponds are home to families of Masked Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and Southern Lapwing along with a host of fascinating and dazzling species of dragonfly and damselfly - from the dainty Rainpool Spreadwing and Rambur’s forktail to the imposing Great Pondhawk and Orthemis macrostigma (this Lesser Antillean endemic recently elevated to full species status).
As we greet the final sunset on our journey through these magnificent islands, we think not of endings, but of the beginning of our next chapter. The light around us drawing in, we settle down to partake in nourishment for our body and soul with an immersive sound bath. Renowned for their healing properties, the sounds of the harmonic vibrations created by the instruments used in a sound bath stimulate alpha and theta brain waves, which are associated with deep relaxation and a peaceful state of mind. Allow yourself to be transported as you lie back under the light of the full moon and feel these vibrations nurture and nourish you at a cellular level.
Day 10: Snorkelling, species-rich sauntering and Sun Salutations...
Today we head to the wild and rugged east coast of the island, where we have a lovely final day of yoga and relaxation planned before your homeward journey.
We begin in the morning with a peaceful walk through a deciduous coastal forest, where the leaf litter of this rich habitat continuously rustles with the foraging of hermit crabs and the slinky movements of two of the islands lesser-known reptiles - the large and predatory Kentropyx brockiana and the far more gentle Gimnothalmus underwoodi. The trees overhead are also home to their own varied inhabitants, with a local troop of ever-playful Barbados Green Monkeys (Green Vervets) as well as large populations of Black-whiskered Vireo and Caribbean Elaenia. Our walk concludes atop an open grassland with a breathtaking view of the eastern coastline. Here, Green Turtles regularly take time from feeding on seagrass beds to break the surface of the ocean for air, and great frothy whale spouts are not an uncommon occurrence.
On this grassy plateau and under the warmth of the Caribbean sun, we stop for our yoga practice, today addressing our Solar Plexus chakra in a creative series of twists and sun salutes. Ruled by Surya - the sun - our Solar Plexus chakra is our power and transformation centre; and energetically it is associated with confidence, will power and purpose. Located just above the navel, it has physical links with our body’s ability to digest the food that we eat, and our mind’s ability to process life’s events. Be prepared to ignite your internal fires to burn up that which no longer serves you in this, our final practice of the trip.
Energized, we don our swimsuits and descend the gentle tree-lined path to one of the most beautiful and secluded bays on Barbados. We explore a network of tidal pools, don snorkels and survey the pristine reefs – all the while working up an appetite for a home-cooked Bajan meal to be enjoyed (with a locally brewed rum punch in hand should you wish) overlooking the glorious beachscape of world-renowned surfing mecca Bathsheba.
To conclude our journey through these wondrous islands, we will gather together one final time for our closing circle, bringing back to mind the intentions we set at the outset of our travels, and celebrating the time we have shared together.
With peace in your mind, love in your heart, and adventure in your soul, Birding the Islands and Spinning Arrow Yoga wish you a pleasant homeward journey and thank you for your company on our travels through the islands...**