Nothing quite prepares you for your first glimpse of the West Indian flamingos that nest in Inagua National Park: brilliant crimson-pink, up to 5 feet tall, with black-tipped wings. A dozen flamingos suddenly fly across a pond, intermixed with fantastic pink roseate spoonbills.
It's a moving experience, and yet because of the island's remote location, only about 50 people witnessed it in 2009. In 1952, Inagua's flamingos dwindled to about 5,000. The gorgeous birds were hunted for their meat, especially the tongue, and for their feathers. The government established the 287-square-mi park in 1963, and today 70,000 flamingos nest on the island, the world's largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingos. The birds like the many salt ponds on Inagua that supply their favorite meal—brine shrimp.
You must contact the Bahamas National Trust's office (242-393–1317 www.bnt.bs) or Warden Henry Nixon (242-225-0878) to make reservations for your visit. All visits to the park are by special arrangement.
10 mi west of Matthew Town, unknown, Great Inagua Island, Bahamas