Internationally famous for its birdwatching, the 1500-acre Asa Wright Nature Centre was originally a coffee, citrus and cocoa plantation. In 1947 it was bought by Dr Newcome Wright and his Icelandic wife, Asa. Both were keen naturalists and birdwatchers, and when the New York Zoological Society set up the Simla Tropical Research Station on neighbouring land, the couple began to accommodate visiting researchers. After her husband died, Mrs Wright sold the land on the condition it remained a conservation area. A non-profit-making trust was set up in 1967, which established a nature centre for naturalists and birdwatchers, a first in the Caribbean. Simla donated its land and research station to the centre in 1970, and though tropical research is still undertaken here, Asa Wright is mainly visited these days as one of the most popular birdwatching retreats in the Caribbean. Resident guests tend to be middle-aged to retired North American or British bird fanatics, enthusiastically compiling checklists of the day’s sightings over sunset rum punches, single malts and reminiscences of the good old days. You can also visit as a half-day trip, watching birds from the veranda, taking a tour of the grounds and having lunch or afternoon tea. Between January and April (Mon–Fri), tours from docked cruise ships often crowd the centre from mid-morning to mid-afternoon; if you’re not staying here but still wish to do some birdwatching during these times, arrive before 10am to avoid the rush.