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Island Sights

Fort George, Trinidad. Photo: William Barrow

For George sits high above St. James in Trinidad, providing a magnificent view all the way to southern Trinidad, on a clear day. Photo: William Barrow

Trinidad Sightseeing: Our Top Picks

For a single island, Trinidad is incredibly diverse, her human and physical landscapes varying vastly from coast to coast. Starting early and limiting your stops, you could see the entire island in a day if you really wanted to, either on your own, or with guides like Caribbean Discovery Tours or T&T Sightseeing Tours. Here are our 20 favourite sights (in no particular order, and grouped by region!).

If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, the front desk can advise you on tour services or arrange for a taxi. Another option is to rent a car and explore the island on your own. You can also take a cue from locals and use maxi taxis (minibuses), route (shared) taxis or conventional buses; visit our Getting Around section for more details.

Port of Spain & the Northwest

The Queen’s Park Savannah

The Queen’s Park Savannah, Trinidad’s Central or Hyde Park, is the green heart of the city, and reportedly the largest roundabout in the world. This huge open park with the city on one side and the hills on the other is popular for running, football, cricket, kite flying, picnicking… if you’ve got something to do and need some space, the Savannah’s got plenty. Occupying about 260 acres, the Savannah was created over 180 years ago, making it the oldest recreation ground in the West Indies. It was originally part of the Paradise Estate owned by the Peschier family. In 1817, then governor Sir Ralph Woodford bought it and turned it into a city park. A portion of land in the centre remains a burial ground for members of the Peschier family. Coconuts, corn soup, pholourie and sno-cones are sold along its perimeter. On the western edge lies a row of buildings nicknamed the Magnificent Seven, a line of grand century-old colonial houses. From south to north, they are: Queen’s Royal College (boys’ secondary school); Hayes Court (Anglican Bishop’s residence); Milles Fleurs (law association headquarters); Roomor (private home); Roman Catholic Archbishop’s House; Whitehall (Prime Minister’s office); and Killarney or Stollmeyer’s Castle (private ownership until bought by the government in 1979). If you’re into cricket, look just further north and up a small hill to see batsman Brian Lara’s house. Off the northern end are the Emperor Valley Zoo and Botanical Gardens, with an extraordinary collection of flora. Along the southern end, the new Academy for the Performing Arts looms large. Along its western side, see the Magnificent Seven, a series of beautiful colonial-era buildings (from south to north): Queen’s Royal College; Hayes Court; Milles Fleurs; Roomor; Roman Catholic Archbishop’s House; Whitehall; and Killarney or Stollmeyer’s Castle. At Carnival time, crossing the Savannah’s “big stage” is a highlight of Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

The Emperor Valley Zoo & Botanical Gardens

On the northern edge of the Savannah are the Botanical Gardens and the Emperor Valley Zoo. The Zoo opened in 1952; at the time it consisted of 2.5 hectares of land, 10 cages, 127 animals, one gatehouse and a kiosk. Today, it is home to hundreds of animals; there’s an outdoor café, and paths for animal viewing. This is probably the most extensive collection of local and foreign animals in the Caribbean. The Botanical Gardens are a favourite among locals for post-zoo picnics. They spread back from the Queen’s Park Savannah toward the President’s House. Governor Ralph Woodford and botanist David Lockhart, who is buried on a small cemetery in the Gardens, established them in 1820. They are home to one of the oldest collections of exotic plants and trees in the western hemisphere. The Gardens are especially popular on weekends and public holidays when school groups, families, couples and strollers come out to enjoy their ambience and charm. The Gardens are open daily from 6am to 6pm. Admission is free.

Fort George

Drive up to Fort George for a gorgeous view of Port of Spain to the south-east, with the Caroni Swamp and the Gulf of Paria in the distance. On clear days you can see the San Fernando Hill. To the west, you can just glimpse the mountains of Venezuela. Built in 1804, Fort George is a popular family spot on weekends. Original cannon and cannonballs and part of the dungeon are some of the highlights. The site is open from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free.

Museums & Galleries

  • The National Museum has seen better days, but it has seen much worse as well. In recent years there’s been a renewed commitment to showing both new collections and retrospectives, most of which are actually displayed in the annex. The main building is full of dim nooks with period installations, mineral and marine displays, and ethnic artefacts. A collection of the works of 19th century artist Jean Michel Cazabon occupies the only temperature-regulated room, but the main hall, a lofty, breezy space, shows most of the country’s major artists. The WITCO Sports Foundation Gallery is located in the Rodney Wilkes Room of the National Museum. It highlights the main achievements of Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic medallists, world record holders and world title holders. It also features the winners of West Indian Tobacco Company’s prestigious annual Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards, and an interactive, computerised display on the 152 sporting icons inducted into the Foundation’s Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1964.
  • The National Museum has small branch museums. One is Fort San Andres, on South Quay, next to City Gate downtown. It is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The other is the Museum of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, in the Old Police Headquarters on St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain. It is open on Tuesday and Saturday, from 10am to 3pm. Admission is free, and guided tours of both branch museums are available.
  • The Central Bank Money Museum tells the story of money from a local and global perspective, and highlights the role of the Bank. It is located on the ground floor of the Eric Williams Financial Complex, Independence Square, Port of Spain, and is open from Tuesday to Friday. Guided tours take place twice a day, at 9.30am and 2 m. Special tours can be arranged. Admission and tours are free. For more information, call 625-2601 ext. 2400 or 2120, or visit www.centralbank.org.tt.
  • The Chaguaramas Military and Aviation Museum is located out of town, in Chaguaramas, on the Western Main Road next to the coastguard training ground and the heliport. It chronicles the military history of the country from 1498 to the present. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission fee; guided tours are available upon request. For more information, call 634-4391.
  • The Angostura Rum and Bitters Museum is located at the House of Angostura in Laventille, east of Port of Spain on the Eastern Main Road. The House of Angostura was established in 1824 and received a Royal Warrant for its product, Angostura bitters. Few people in the world know the secret formula. On a comfortable tram tour through the factory, you will learn about not only the making of bitters, but also the production of rum. The tour includes a 15-minute historic video, a visit to the Angostura Butterfly Collection, and product tasting at the Angostura Bar. Call Angostura at 623-1841 for information.

Churches

Long before the architecture of Port of Spain picked up varied metropolitan trends and the demand for space crushed shops and offices together, places of worship would have dominated the skyline.

  • The Holy Rosary Church, towards the eastern end of Park Street, is so hemmed in that your best view of it is reflected in the bright glass panes of the bank across the street. Dating back to 1866, this Catholic church is built in the Gothic revival style and currently undergoing major restoration work.
  • The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception started off as a wooden building until work on the present structure began in 1816. It seems to arrest the spread of commercial Port of Spain, standing at the eastern end of the Brian Lara Promenade, and jutting into the street on either side.
  • The Anglican Trinity Cathedral is further uptown on Woodford Square, and suffers less from surrounding chaos. Completed in 1818 in the Gothic revival style, it predated its Catholic sister by more than a decade.

Chaguaramas

Chaguaramas has two sides: the clubs are along the coastline and the forest lies inland. The Chaguaramas National Heritage Park is paradise for all nature-lovers and eco adventurers. Hiking trails, historical exhibits and landmarks, a golf course, restaurants, marinas, beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls. There are great opportunities for land sports (cycling, hashing, mountain biking and more) and watersports (kayaking, sailing, yachting, powerboating, and dragon-boat racing). You can catch boats to the offshore islands to explore natural wonders like the Gasparee Caves and offshore reefs.

  • The Edith Falls trail is a low-effort walk that ends with a small waterfall. You access it through the golf course.
  • The Bamboo Cathedral (endlessly painted by the aforementioned Cazabon) is a lush, serene and easy walk unless you plan to trek uphill to the top of Morne Catherine with its abandoned World War II tracking station. If you’re doing either of these, you’ll be using the Maqueripe Road, named for the beach at which it ends.
  • Down the islands” (DDI) is not a navigational course but a destination. Those without weekend houses ferry over to the islands off Chaguaramas for swimming and picnicking. But the islands have much more to offer than the average beach day. There are three sets of islands off the northwest coast: the Five Islands (of which there are actually six); the Diego Islands; and then, snaking their way through open sea towards Venezuela, Gaspar Grande, Monos, Huevos, and Chacachacare. Nelson Island, one of the Five, was used to quarantine indentured immigrants. Gaspar Grande has caves. Chacachacare has a salt pond, a lighthouse and, most famously, a leprosarium, now defunct. The remains of the chapel and dwellings of the ministering nuns are still there. Carrera, one of the Diego pair, is a prison island. Tours covering limited stretches of these islands are available.

The North & Northeast

Beaches

Still rural, this area has some of Trinidad’s most picturesque villages and seaside spots. The north-east beaches are reached via Sangre Grande: it takes about two hours to get to Toco from Port of Spain, depending on traffic, and another hour to double back along the north coast to Matelot. Trinidad’s best surf and surfing competitions are at Sans Souci, Salybia, Matelot and Toco, along the north and north-east coasts. On the east coast, Saline Bay is great for a picnic and a dip in the sea. Balandra Bay, protected by a narrow stretch of land, is good for swimming, and even bodysurfing at the rougher end. Salybia is a long, scenic bay, often windswept with surging breakers. Changing room and shower facilities are available.

Turtle-watching

The huge, endangered leatherback turtle, the largest of all the surviving turtle species, is a regular visitor to beaches in both Trinidad and Tobago. During nesting months (March–August), females heave themselves out of the ocean to come ashore and lay their eggs, laboriously digging a nest in the sand, then covering it up and camouflaging it after laying. Two months later, the eggs hatch, and the baby turtles make a dash for the sea; few survive the predators and make it to maturity. Turtles come ashore in greatest numbers from about 10pm into the early-morning hours, and are most plentiful around the full moon (as are the mosquitoes!). The experience is magical. Matura is a major leatherback turtle nesting site and a protected beach. Turtles also come ashore at Paria Bay and other deserted beaches along the north coast. Grande Rivière is the second largest leatherback turtle nesting ground in the world. (The river meets the sea here, making for good river and ocean swimming.) The village is one of Trinidad’s most visitor-friendly communities, with a number of small hotels, guest houses, and cottages for rent. Permits are required, however, to go turtle watching; to minimise disturbance to the animals, only a limited number are given out nightly. If you stay overnight, the hotels and guest houses can usually help to obtain permits. Good tour operators (see our Directory) can also arrange permits for you. You can also contact the  Grande Rivière Visitor Facility at 670-4256, or Nature Seekers at 668-7337, www.natureseekers.org

Galera Point & Toco Lighthouse

At the north-eastern tip of Trinidad, a mile or so east of Toco, Galera Point is a rocky outcrop where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. In February Orisa devotees celebrate the Olukun Festival (Celebration of the Ocean) here. The Toco lighthouse, built in 1897, stands on a promontory above crashing waves, with a park and picnic area around it. This is a particularly magical spot on clear, windy, moonlit nights.

Mount St. Benedict

Monks often know where the best views are. Established in 1912, and reached via St. John’s Road in St Augustine, about 30 minutes east of Port of Spain, Mount St. Benedict is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean. It perches 800 feet above the plains, a 600-acre complex with a glorious view south, across the island’s central plains to its southern extremes. The monastery has 100 acres of tropical nature park, much of it rain forest, with walkways and trails. Inexpensive shuttle buses operate during the day from the bottom of St. John’s Road. The Pax Guesthouse, tel. 662-4084, was established in 1916 (making it the oldest guest house in Trinidad and Tobago), and offers comfortable accommodation, including a teahouse and terraces for bird-watching. It is a favourite retreat for birders and hikers, whether as a day trip or overnight. The Upper Room Art Gallery and Artists’ Retreat also offers simple accommodation, studio space, tours, and meeting rooms to local and visiting artists.

Lopinot

The quiet village of Lopinot is nestled in one of the higher and most beautiful valleys of the Northern Range. It was developed as a cocoa estate in the early 1800s by a French count, Charles Joseph de Lopinot. His former tapia estate house, prison and slave quarters have been turned into a museum. Indeed, the count is supposedly still around, for his ghost is said to canter on horseback through the estate on stormy nights. Lopinot is a major centre for Trinidad’s Christmas music, parang (festive songs, sung in Spanish and telling the story of the nativity); it’s popular for picnics, river-bathing, and sports (there’s a volleyball net, and lots of room for football, cricket, kite-flying or frisbee). Limestone caves in the surrounding hills beg to be explored (but you need a guide: enquire at the museum or community centre). The museum itself is open daily from 6am to 6pm, and a guide is available free of charge from 10am. Lopinot is reached from the Eastern Main Road via a signposted turning to the north at Arouca; the drive takes about an hour from Port of Spain.

The Asa Wright Nature Centre

This is Trinidad’s most popular bird-watching retreat and most famous eco-centre. It is located about 90 minutes east of Port of Spain in the Arima valley, and is home to such bio-diversity that the New York Zoological Society established a research station there in 1949. Originally a coffee and cocoa plantation, the estate and its house, Springhill, were bought in 1947 by a retired English solicitor, Dr. Newcome Wright, and his Icelandic wife Asa, both avid naturalists and bird watchers. When Newcome died, Mrs. Wright sold the land on condition that it remained a conservation area; a non-profit trust was set up in 1967. Care was taken to preserve the great house, which is the Centre’s base (and is celebrating the centenary of its construction in 1906-8). The 193-acre Centre is open to day visitors: the admission covers a half-mile guided tour and some access to the grounds. Twenty-five guest rooms are on offer for overnight visitors, who enjoy greater access to the trails and caves, including the oilbirds’ habitat. Guests can enjoy meals on the veranda where up-close encounters with hummingbirds, honeycreepers and bananaquits are frequent; books on Trinidad and Tobago’s natural environment are on sale at the gift shop. Take your swimwear, because there’s also a beautiful freshwater pool you can bathe in. The Centre is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Reservations are recommended, even for day visits. For more information and reservations, call 667-4655 or visit www.asawright.org.

Central Trinidad

The Divali Nagar Centre

A 12-metre statue of Swami Vivekananda keeps a watchful eye over the Divali Nagar site just outside Chaguanas. Although events like lectures, Indian trade fairs and cultural shows take place at the site from time to time during the year, at Divali time the place becomes a beehive of activity, with an exposition of Indian culture amid lavish lights and decorations. For nine days and nights in October, locals and visitors flock to the site and find themselves immersed in Indian culture. Local and invited cultural groups give regular performances, and there are displays of beautiful Indian art and statues of Hindu gods. Traditional Indian classical music, Bollywood film songs and chutney help provide a festive atmosphere and stalls offer items influenced by Indian culture. Swami Vivekananda, is a 19th century Indian thinker held in high regard in Trinidad for his insistence that Indians should find freedom through education, technology and physical fitness.

Chaguanas

For most people, when you say “central”, Chaguanas is the first place that comes to mind, and rightly so. Chagaunas is the first major town on your journey from Port of Spain to south Trinidad, and it is the capital of central Trinidad in terms of development and economic and social activity. But it is also a place where traditional community living is significant. One of the major events in Chaguanas is the Kendra Phagwa Festival, held in an open park area off Longdenville Old Road. A riot of colour and music, it imarks the Hindu Holi festival and is held around the first full moon in March, the end of the Hindu calendar’s twelfth month. The Chaguanas Main Road is a good place to look for bargain textiles, silk flowers and assorted household items. South of Chaguanas, the Southern Main Road offers the opportunity to see the region’s traditional potters at work. Urns, ashtrays, water jugs, and the small shallow cups used for deyas (the tiny flickering oil lamps that light up the night during Divali) are fabricated and fired by methods that probably haven’t changed for a century. And they are sold at extraordinarily low prices. You will find a collection of pottery shops in Chase Village, and other small family-run potteries in outlying areas. A visit to any of these will produce displays of clay pots, ornaments, deyas, wind chimes, and wall plaques of varying designs. You might even get the opportunity to watch a potter at work. Longdenville is known as the source of the highest quality clay on the island, which is currently used to manufacture clay blocks.

The Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary

The Caroni Bird Sanctuary is Trinidad’s most promoted and most popular eco attraction. It is the home and roosting ground of flocks of Scarlet Ibis, a vision in flaming red. The Scarlet Ibis is Trinidad’s national bird. The sanctuary is also home to more than a hundred species of birds, anteaters, raccoons, caimans, snakes and opossums. The area is roughly 60 square kilometres of tidal lagoons, marshland and mangrove forest bordering the Gulf of Paria between the mouth of the Caroni and Madame Espagnole rivers. It is a protected wildlife area. Boats trips to the swamp include guided tours and commentary by the boat operators. An evening boat tour is especially enjoyable as that is the time to see flocks of the stunning Ibis on their way back to their nesting areas in the swamp.

The Hanuman Murti (statue) & Dattatreya Yoga Centre

In Trinidad, where different faiths and cultures practise their religious beliefs without fear of persecution, religious architecture is of special significance. Churches, temples, kingdom halls, mandirs, faith centres and mosques stand side by side in the Trinidad landscape. One of the most impressive structures is the 85-foot statue of the Hindu god Hanuman, which is reputed to be the tallest of its kind outside India. Towering above the Dattatreya Yoga Centre and Mandir at Orange Field Road, Carapachaima, it has become a landmark in Carapachaima.

The Tamana Bat Caves

The Tamana caves are a series of lengthy cave systems that are home to huge colonies of bats. The flat-topped Mount Tamana, the highest of the Montserrat Hills, was formed thousands of years ago when geological shifts in the earth pushed a coral reef out of the sea. Over the centuries, underground water eroded Tamana’s porous limestone core, creating the caverns. With the aid of an experienced guide, you can weave through long-abandoned cocoa plantations and mora groves, stopping now and then to marvel at the ancient, giant silk cotton trees that dot the forest. But the real attraction here is the bats, which leave the caverns en masse at dusk to feed. A spectacular sight, their grand exit is best seen around 4 pm. This way you can take a peek at the bats roosting in the caves and then exit before the sun goes down and the show begins. It is not advisable to visit these caves alone or without an experienced guide. Contact a tour operator to arrange a visit.

The Nariva Swamp & Bush-Bush Sanctuary

The Nariva Swamp is an internationally recognised wetland and one of Trinidad’s most significant wildlife areas. The 1996 Ramsar Convention, to which Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory, declared the area a wetland of international importance. This placed a legal obligation on the government to ensure the area is protected and maintained. Nariva is the only place in Trinidad to see the endangered manatee or sea cow, which lives in freshwater ponds and can grow up to three metres in length, weighing about 900 kilogram. The swamp is also a good place to catch sight of red howler monkeys, anteaters, porcupines, capuchin monkeys, caiman and birds like the orange-winged parrot, yellow-capped Amazon parrot and savannah hawk. The swamp is home to anaconda, the snake that can grow up to nine metres long. It is the heaviest reptile in the world and the largest in the Americas. Permits (and kayaks) are required: contact the Forestry Division or a reputable tour operator.

The Waterloo Temple in the Sea

Off the Southern Main Road, a right turn at St Mary’s Junction will take you through an avenue of tall royal palms to Waterloo Village, which lies on the coast overlooking the Gulf of Paria. Several hundred yards out to sea lies the “floating mandir”, a reconstruction of a Hindu temple, built single-handedly in the post-war years by one Siewdass Sadhu, a humble labourer. Waterloo, located west of Carapachaima, was once prime sugar land. The cluster of neat bungalows was built in the 1920s for estate managers, and the post office used to be a railway station in the days when the village was a stop on the Port of Spain to San Fernando train line. Now, Waterloo’s main attraction is the Waterloo Temple. Sadhu spent 25 years building it in the sea after he was not allowed to construct it on sugar land. The effect of sea erosion prevented Sadhu from ever completing the structure, but in 1994, the government finished the temple in time to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day. At low tide, the mudflats around the temple are excellent for bird watching. Quick tip: An alternate to the Southern Main Road is the Brasso Tabaquite Road, accessed through Longdenville, close to Chaguanas. The hour-long drive to Tabaquite, through the citrus-growing Caparo Valley and then up into the woods of the Montserrat Hills, is one of the most beautiful in Trinidad.

The Southland

Pointe-à-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust & Oropouche Lagoon

The Wild Fowl Trust is a must-see, for us. It is an important eco-centre, located in Trinidad’s oil refinery, of all places, and is maintained by the oil industry. Located about 45 minutes south of Port of Spain, on the Petrotrin refinery grounds at Pointe-à- Pierre, this non-profit Trust covers 25 hectares, with free-roaming wildlife and enclosed breeding areas; it is home to many rare bird species, and allows visitors to get close to Trinidad’s national bird, the scarlet ibis. Wooden walkways take you right around two lakes full of water lilies and lotus flowers. The learning centre at the entrance provides a photographic display of the reserve’s plant life, insects, shells and Amerindian artefacts. The Trust recently opened a guest house called Petrea Place for visitors who want a weekend retreat. Also under its guardianship is the Oropouche Lagoon, wetlands around Mosquito Creek about 6km south of San Fernando on the Southern Main Road, a sanctuary for the fish and endangered wildfowl raised in the Trust’s breeding programme. The cremation site here is called the Shore of Peace. Much birdlife and roosting scarlet ibis can be seen here.Enquire at the Trust about visiting. For more information or to reserve, call Petrotrin at 658-4200 ext. 2512, or Molly Gaskin at 628-4145.

San Fernando Hill

The city of San Fernando is less than an hour’s drive from Port of Spain (except during rush hour). The San Fernando Hill, one of the south’s landmarks, offers the best view of the city and both ends of the island. The hill itself has been badly gouged by quarrying, but in 1980 it was declared a National Park. Since then it has been developed to provide a recreation area with a viewing gallery, picnic tables, a children’s playground, a fountain, toilet facilities, a cafeteria, lookouts, and an array of local flora. The entry road takes you straight up to the summit, and begins next to Soong’s Great Wall restaurant on Royal Road. The Hill is the home of the San Fernando Jazz Festival, usually hosted in July, and is open daily, free of charge, from 9am to 6pm.

Pitch Lake

The Pitch Lake, about 90 minutes from Port of Spain, is an extraordinary natural phenomenon. It looks like an enormous car park after a rain shower, but is actually one of only three natural asphalt lakes in the world (the other two are in Venezuela and Los Angeles). The “lake” has been mined and its fine asphalt exported since 1859; it is constantly replenished by bitumen oozing from a geological fault. Most of the surface is firm enough to walk on, though some spots are too soft for traffic. Natural springs, reputed to have healing properties, appear at the centre during the rainy season: their sulphuric water is supposed to be good for mosquito bites, rashes and skin conditions. Legend has it that a tribe of Amerindians was swallowed by the lake as punishment for eating hummingbirds, which hosted the spirits of their ancestors. A small museum houses artefacts recovered from the lake. The site is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission includes a guided tour. The La Brea Pitch Lake Tour Guides Association, tel. (868) 651-1232, operates from the La Brea Visitor Facility, which includes a snackette and a car park. Only use approved tour guides.

The Devil’s Woodyard

The name might sound scary, but there is nothing dangerous about the Devil’s Woodyard, Trinidad’s most visited mud volcano, about 30 minutes east of San Fernando. (There is another active and accessible site in Piparo.) Mud volcanoes are small volcano-shaped cones of mud and clay, usually less than 1-2 metres tall, cousins of the sulphur spring. They are formed by a mixture of hot water and fine sediment (mud and clay) spilling gently from a vent in the ground like lava, or spewing dramatically into the air like a fountain driven by escaping volcanic gas and boiling water. European settlers in Trinidad believed that the sound of the mud bubbling below the surface was the sound of the devil stockpiling wood: hence the name. For the most part, the Devil’s Woodyard splutters and bubbles harmlessly, or lapses into inactivity; when it does erupt, the intensity varies. This is not the most spectacular of the world’s natural wonders, but it is a curious phenomenon, and the Devil’s Woodyard is just the most accessible of many similar sites scattered about southern Trinidad. It also has the best facilities, including a children’s play area, picnic tables, and toilets. Some Hindus consider it a sacred spot and worship here. To reach it, follow Hindustan Road southwards, 3 km past Indian Walk and Princes Town.

Mayaro & Manzanilla

It takes about two hours to reach Mayaro from Port of Spain via Sangre Grande and Manzanilla; it is also accessible across the island from San Fernando, via Princes Town and Rio Claro. Along the east coast, Atlantic waves thunder on the shore. The currents are strong, and in the middle of the year there is good surfing. Guest houses and private beach homes are often available for rent. Mayaro itself is a quiet fishing village whose glorious stretch of beach – the longest in the island – is perfect for long walks and a favourite with locals. In the afternoons the catch of the day is hauled onto the beach in huge seine nets. North of Mayaro, Manzanilla is a long stretch of beach flanked by miles of coconut palms (“the Cocal”). Facilities at the northern end include a car park, snack bar, picnic tables, and changing rooms with showers and toilets. Both Mayaro and Manzanilla have surprisingly strong currents: do not venture out very far or deep, especially on your own. Lifeguards are on duty in specific areas from 9am to 5pm.

Tour Operators

  • Kalloo’s Auto Rentals & Tours: established in 1978, they have five offices in Trinidad, and one more in Tobago, providing car rentals (with or without a driver), taxis and tours. They offer tours of the city, the island, the north coast, turtle watching, the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Asa Wright, and client-customised tours. They also provide group discounts, airport transfers and free delivery and pick up
  • Trinidad & Tobago Sightseeing Tours: in business since 1984, Charles Carvalho’s TTST offers sightseeing tours, city tours, Tobago day tours, historical tours, golf trips, and nature tours including mild to strenuous hikes, boat tours, diving trips, turtle-watching and birding. There are no minimums for tours, which can be booked for just one person. TTST offers trips into the Caroni Bird Sanctuary in the morning and right through the day. They can arrange hotel reservations, car rentals, aircraft charter, conferencing, and cultural itineraries.

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A team of of writers discovering Trinidad & Tobago for 25 years and counting!

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