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Trinidad’s Best Beaches

Maracas Bay, Trinidad. Photo: Stephen Jay Photography

Maracas Bay, Trinidad. Photo: Stephen Jay Photography

Trinidad’s Best Beaches, Coast to Coast

Trinidad is unlikely to come up among “top 10 Caribbean beaches” listings – though magnificent Grande Rivière was recently tipped by British Airway’s High Life magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful in the world – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t countless beaches and activities to fill a day or weekend on a Trini beach. The four coasts are distinct, owing to the three different bodies of water which meet the coastlines.

The most popular beaches are on the north coast: Maracas, Las Cuevas, and Blanchicheusse, though the Atlantic waters can get rough between November and April. The north and northeast coasts also boast the greatest concentration of accommodation, ranging from private beach houses to all-inclusive resorts.

But that’s when the northeast, in direct path of the northeast trades, becomes are surf country. Because of the current, be sure to check with locals for advice on the safest bathing areas.

The beaches of the east coast, onto which break the waves from the Atlantic Ocean, are a stark contrast to the popular north coast beaches. The currents are stronger, and it’s unwise to go swimming. West coast beaches are much calmer, sheltered by the Gulf of Paria.

However inviting they may look, it’s best to avoid the beaches in the Chaguaramas area, with the exception of Macqueripe, due to the preponderence of yachts and industry in the area. The same goes for beaches in the southwest and southeast of the island, as the oil and petrochemical industries can sometimes contaminate otherwise pristine beaches.

Here are some of the best and most popular choices for beach excursions in Trinidad.

North Coast

  • Maracas Bay: Maracas Beach is the most popular beach in the north, with great food on offer and a range of facilities and amenities. Popular for camping at Easter time (permit required). Hotel nearby.  Red flags indicate unsafe bathing areas; lifeguards are generally present daily 10am – 6pm.
  • Tyrico Bay: A great alternative to Maracas if you’re a bit agorophobic, especially since you’re still a stone’s throw away from Maracas’ amenities. A lifeguard service is usually provided 11am – 5pm daily.
  • Las Cuevas Bay: Good bathing, and lots of small caves along the beach to tuck away if you’re not up for sunbathing. A snack bar, car park, tables, benches, and changing rooms with showers and toilets are some of the available facilities. Lifeguard services are generally provided 10am – 6pm daily.
  • Blanchisseuse: Popular weekend getaway.  Several hiking trails to the nearby waterfall, into the rainforest, and along the as-yet unpaved north coast. Guesthouses and holiday homes available for rent. springing up in increasing numbers. The Marianne River that flows into the bay is great for kayaking.
  • Scotland Bay: sheltered and secluded bay in Chaguaramas only accessible by boat. Calm clear water good for snorkelling and swimming.
  • Macqueripe Bay: small secluded bay at the end of the Tucker Valley Road in Chaguaramas. Recently renovated, good for swimming.

Northeast Coast

  • Matura: Rough waters make it inadvisable for swimming, but between March and August, is a popular and important leatherback turtle nesting site.
  • Saline (“Sally”) Bay: The official name is Saline Bay, but it’s often called Sally Bay, and worse yet often confused with Salybia Bay – even though it’s near the town of Salybia. Nevertheless, good for swimming with clear water. Beach facility and lifeguards available, though mostly on weekends.
  • Balandra Bay: Sheltered, and good for swimming, and even bodysurfing at the rougher end of the bay.
  • Salybia Bay: A popular bay for surfing (November-April), and ideal for swimming between June and September.  There’s an offshore fringing reef off the eastern end.  Beach facilities have recently been built.
  • Grande Rivière: Perfect for a weekend getaway, particularly if you like the outdoors.  Between March and August, it is the second largest leatherback turtle nesting ground in the world.  Good for river bathing and kayaking as well, as well as hikes into the forest.  Beach facilities and several guesthouses available.

Southeast

  • Manzanilla: Perfect for sunbathing, bordered by the distinctive “Cocal” along the roadside. Facilities and lifeguards available in designated areas. There is a large estuary where the Nariva River meets the sea.  There are a few guesthouses and holiday homes for rent.
  • Mayaro: Glorious stretch of beach – the longest in the island – and perfect for long walks.  In the sand, you will see the shells of “chip chip” which, like clam shells, protect small oceanic organisms; they are also a local delicacy. Mayaro is popular for long weekends and public holidays. On afternoons, one can witness (or participate in) a local fishing ritual: bringing in the seine, the catch of the day, in huge fishing nets.  Unfortunately offshore industrial activity sometimes contaminated parts of the bay. There are quite a few guesthouses and holiday homes for rent.

South

  • Quinam Beach: Probably the most popular south coast beach. On this mile-long beach, the waters are calm and good for swimming, and the sand is fine and brown, although it disappears during high tide. A favourite for family outings on the weekend, with several amenities and trails into the woods.
  • Vessigny Beach: The beach isn’t the prettiest, but most weekends,  it becomes a venue for beach parties and excursions. Changing rooms, picnic tables and a snack bar open on weekends and during school holidays, are all available. Southwest beach most affected by industrial contamination.

Southwest

  • Granville Beach: The road to the beach is an adventure in itself  – keep following the signs! Popular on weekends and for Ash Wednesday Carnival cool-down parties.
  • Columbus & Cedros Bays: Both bays are stunning in good weather.  Cedros has the widest beach on the island at low tide.  These pristine bays and quiet fishing villages have wonderful views of the south-western coast, and on clear days, of neighbouring Venezuela. There are no facilities here, but Trinidadians inevitably make sure that food and drink establishments are nearby!

Lifeguards are typically on duty 9am–5pm or 10am–6pm where available, but not at all beaches. Red flags indicate unsafe bathing areas

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