Why should I book a birding tour on Green Castle Estate?
We have a variety of options at Green Castle so guests can enjoy bird watching at their leisure. Guests who are staying at Green Castle in one of our hotel rooms, camping spaces, cottage rooms or in our luxury villa, have complimentary access to the 1600-acre / 6.5km2 eco park. During your stay you will be able to walk through the huge array of natural habitats, from forests and rainforests, our tropical gardens, to the cliffs, eco beach and natural lake. If you wish to hire an expert bird guide this can also be done. An expert bird guide costs $40 per hour, or we also have half day and full day birding guide packages. a half day bird guide costs $120 per group and a full day with a bird guide costs $215 per group. Using a bird guide ensure the best birding opportunities. A number of the birds of Jamaica can easily be seen such as the Red-billed Streamertail which is a beautiful hummingbird, the national bird of Jamaica and a regular visitor to our tropical gardens, some of the secretive or endangered birds are harder to locate.
Green Castle birding habitats include fresh water ponds to mangrove swamps, streams and forest. During a normal vacation guests will be able to see all 28 endemic birds of Jamaica that can be found on this beautiful Caribbean island. The beauty of Green Castle is that many of the birds of Jamaica can actually be found within the grounds of our eco park and accommodation! Guests can enjoy the numerous hiking trails on Green Castle. It is also recommended to take a trip or tour to the Blue and John Crow Mountains where it is possible to see the remaining migratory and endemic birds of Jamaica. Green Castle is located close to both Cockpit Country and the Blue Mountains which means the travelling time to these birding destinations is considerably less that anywhere on the island.
What Birding world records have occurred at Green Castle Jamaica
Green Castle has featured in two world records for birding in Jamaica. In 2016 Arjan Dwarshuis was on a mission to attempt the ultimate in global birding; in the context of a fundraiser for the Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme. He set out to see more than 6000 bird species – more than half of all the bird species in the world – in one single year. His aim was to raise 100,000 Euros over the course of 2016 and by seeing more than 6000 bird species in a single year setting a new world record. In November 2016 Arjan got the new world record by beating the record set by American, Noah Strycker and with 16 days to go. Acquiring this world record required skilful planning, determination, endurance and 365 days of travelling and birding, without taking a single day’s rest. Since it was Arjan’s objective to see as many birds as possible in the countries he is visited it was imperative to use a number of expert local birding guides to maximize the number of species it was possible to see. Dwayne Swaby our expert birding in Jamaica guide from Robin’s Bay, was one of the local guides who met and birded with Arjan. Arjan spent two full days in Jamaica and overnighted on Green Castle Estate.
The following year In July 2017, Jonathan Rossouw an internationally renowned birder, started upon his own birding record attempt. His record focused on seeing 9,000 species of bird by November 2018, which would be his 50th birthday. As Jonathan recounts on his website ‘…only ONE destination in the Americas held the potential of a motherlode of easy pickings in so short a time frame: JAMAICA! As a result of its complex geology and relative remoteness from neighboring continents, Jamaica boasts more endemic birds than any other Caribbean island, a full 28 species!’
An interesting fact is that Ian Fleming chose to name James Bond after his best friend, the author of The Birds of the West Indies. James Bond has set it’s own world records but we won’t go into that for now. Although you can visit Goldeneye and its lush surroundings on a fun day out or tour from Green Castle.
Jonathan achieved his target following his birding vacation at Green Castle hotel and nature reserve and is now the youngest person to have seen 9,000 bird species!
What is included on a Green Castle tour for Birding in Jamaica?
We can provide everything from a day pass for non-residents to a fully guided birding experience – the choice is yours!
- Access & trail maps for independent birding in Jamaica.
- Guided walks around the estate with our local expert bird guides.
- Day trips to key sites in the Blue Mountains & Ecclesdown Road.
- A complete birding itinerary, designed to your requirements.
- An all-inclusive birding tour in Jamaica, fully guided and including two-day trips
We welcome all visitors but to make the most of Green Castle, we strongly recommend that you stay in our superb accommodation. A detailed map will enable you to explore the marked trails for yourself, but you will probably want some help to make the most of your time. Our excellent bird guides are certified with the Jamaica Tourism Product Development Company, an arm of the Jamaican Tourist Board; they are also members of Team Jamaica. They can accompany you as often as you require, making birding in Jamaica more enjoyable and helping to locate the most elusive species.
What are the best locations for bird watching and birding in Jamaica?
There are 4 locations which are regarded as the best locations for bird watching and birding in Jamaica. These are Green Castle Hotel and eco park, the Blue Mountains, John Crow Mountains and Cockpit Country. Green Castle is Jamaica’s number one eco boutique hotel and eco park. Attached to the hotel is a vast 1600-acre / 6.5km2 tropical paradise, which provides home to 27 of the 28 endemic bird species of Jamaica. Access to the eco park is complimentary for all guests staying at one of the hotel rooms, camping spaces or the cottage. Guests can walk around the estate on their own or expert birding in Jamaica guides can be arranged. The bird guides costs $40 per hour, $120 for a half day or $215 for a full day of birding in Jamaica. Green Castle is also perfectly situated centrally between the other renowned birding locations. This is essential for reducing travelling times to these destinations. Most guests wish to visit the Blue Mountains, and John Crow Mountains before sunrise to give the best opportunity for birding in Jamaica. Having a full day here also allows you to take in the natural beauty of these areas and enjoy the numerous hiking trails.
The Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains are the next best places to visit. Bird watchers and birding enthusiasts can take transport or a guided tour from Green Castle Hotel. This takes about 1 hour to get there. Enjoy the rich variety of birds, animals and fauna in this natural park. Green Castle can arrange tours and bird guides to Ecclesdown Road and Hardwar Gap, which are two of the most renowned locations for birding in Jamaica.
Finally Cockpit Country is the next best location to visit for bird watching in Jamaica. This area is more wild than most other places in the Island and it is recommended to take a guided tour as some of the hiking in this area can be long and arduous.
We are the perfect place to bring a non-birding partner – they can relax, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy our traditional Jamaican hospitality, whilst Birders enjoy their birdwatching and birding tours! Non birders can enjoy an ice cold beer or Jamaican rum cocktail by the pool. There are many easy walking trails to go on, including to the waterfalls and to the eco beach. Enjoy swimming in the Caribbean Sea, checking out the organic farms we have in our eco park. We can also arrange for transport or tours into Ocho Rios, or to local markets, or perhaps to Goldeneye, the Bob Marley Museum or Firefly to take in some of local Jamaican culture.