In Trinidad, the larger island of Trinidad and Tobago, life for a tourist isn't easy. You get there with no expectations, with no ideas what this twin island country might hold for you. I have to admit that traveling to Trinidad and Tobago was never part of our plan.
But after reaching Barbados thanks to our boat hitchhiking adventure, we were just outraged by the prices of Rihanna's birthplace. It was draining our travel budget and we HAD to get off the island asap. That's how we ended up booking the cheapest flight to wherever. Which was Trinidad and Tobago. After immersing myself in one of the few guide books I could find, I had to realize that there are so many things to do on these exotic islands that I could probably stay weeks without getting to see it all.
First we were still fully motivated to hop on from Trinidad to Tobago. But quickly we realised that if we wanted to give Trinidad all the attention it totally deserved, then we'd rather visit just 1 of both islands. Unfortunately we only had 5 days to explore Trinidad so that we had to make tough decisions. What are we going to visit? What is absolutely essential for Trinidad? What should we leave for a future visit?
Because even just after a few hours, we were already a 100% sure, that we absolutely wanted to come back here. This Hindu-Caribbean-African cultural mix enchanted us from the first moment. And I haven't mentioned the food yet! We decided to discover Trinidad island during 2 days under the theme of "Waterfalls and Bays". More posts about the amazing food, the cultural mix etc are in preparation.
Trinidad and Tobago, or T&T, is the most prosperous state in the Caribbean, so that it has little need to invest in tourism. Good for us, since the island is replete with natural unspoiled attractions with barely any tourists. In that sense, the north of Trinidad island is full of paradisaical waterfalls. Just like the ones that you usually hang on your office walls and make you dream.
They have poetic names like Angel Fall, Double Ribbon Fall or Limon Waterfall. The most famous one are Paria Waterfall, Maracas Waterfall and Diego Martin. There's a waterfall for every taste: high ones, blue ones, brown ones, hidden ones... All of them differ in colors, height and accessibility. The list of waterfalls you can hike to seems to be infinite.
Maracas Waterfall & Beach
We choose to visit Maracas Waterfalls and Paria Falls. (see map at the end of the post for all exact locations)
Maracas is not only the name of the famous beach but also of the highest waterfall of Trinidad island. From the parking, it is a really easy hike that takes you about 30 min to get there. Just leave your car at the end of the Waterfall road. (You can't get hardly anywhere in Trinidad without a car. Gas is super cheap, but therefore public transportation is the worst.) The waterfalls are impressive and surroundings hold a magical atmosphere. Absolute silence. You'll just hear nature's voice.
So as we're at Maracas Waterfall, the epic Maracas Bay shouldn't be too far, right? Error! You need to drive at least for another 2 hours to get to the legendary beach. On the way, you'll enjoy gorgeous views from "Maracas Lookout" on Chaguaramas and Maracas Bay. Little food stands sell local delicacies. It was so hard to choose. We got "Chow": mangos and pineapples in a spicy ginger-garlic parsley sauce. So delicious!
Finally we reach Maracas Bay. On the weekends this place gets really crowded and the Trinis love to bring their Caribbean music. Loud Soca music is coming out of the loudspeakers. Absolute must-do when in Maracas is having a "Bake'n Shark" sandwich. Even Andrew Zimmers says that is the best sandwich he ever had. Trust me, HE IS RIGHT! Traditionally prepared with real shark meat, many food stands offer now more eco-friendly versions with flying fish, squid, tilapia or lionfish. We loved Maracas Bay for its festive atmosphere. I would give everything to get a tasty Bake'n Fish again, only typing this text makes my mouth water.
Here in Maracas, life's definitely a party!
For those that are looking for a more quiet and less crowded beach in the north, I recommend Las Cuevas beach. It is a 2 minutes drive away from Maracas beach, but it is a different world. It is sheltered and there are many caves for exploring. It is also Trinidad's first "Blue Flag" beach, which means that the water quality is superior and there's a special focus on environmental education and management.
Paria Waterfall was the next waterfall we wanted to visit. Actually we never made it there. Because there was this little, totally desert beach that kept us from continuing our hike to the waterfall. Additionally, loads of rainfall destroyed the trails and we should have contacted a guide. We were told by locals that is is really hard to reach. You can read more info on Paria Waterfall here.
But hey, plans are there to be adapted, right? That is how we discovered this tiny, lonely beach with an "at-the-end-of-the-world" feeling: Paria Bay. How do you get there? Drive to Blanchisseuse (a town which as a very "at-the-end-of-the-world" atmosphere already) and have coffee & cake first at Coco's Hut, owned by German-born Franz Zollna. Trust me, you'll need it for the hike to the Paria Beach.
Leave the car at the red bridge and hike for about 2 hours. Make sure that you wear good shoes and carry enough mosquito spray. Although the trail was difficult, you'll be rewarded with a lonely beach and its hidden caves. It's definitely all worth it.
You still don't have enough of picturesque and exotic bays? Then I have a little candy for you.
I recommend Macqueripe Bay located on the gorgeous Chaguaramas peninsula. Formerly a property of the US military forces, the peninsula is on the way to become a tourist hub. Its marina, the qualitative restaurants, the construction plans of a mall and a waterpark support this development. Macqueripe Bay is located in the north of Chaguaramas peninsula.
Entrance fee is 3€, but therefore you get a clean beach, parking right next to it, a park and a zip line. The US forces used to train their maneuvers in this bay. This beach was perfect due to the depth of its waters. It was quite a strange feeling to imagine how submarines were submerging in this bay.
Life in Trinidad is a beach. It's where Trini families and friends spend their free time together ("limin'" in Trini creole) or play soccer. Just take your time, relax and let good things happen.
Trinidad, I don't want to leave you!
Bamboo Cathedral: This hidden gem is located near the Tucker Valley road to Macqueripe Bay. It is a background for many photo shootings, especially for newly weds. The "cathedral" is an almost mystical place. Here you'll just hear the cracking of the bamboo. It will take you only 20 min to get there from the parking.
Map with all mentioned sights
Where to stay in Trinidad: We loved Ramela's B&B. It's a room in a villa in one of the best neighborhood of Port of Spain. (There are still many places that are not recommended to be visited at night by tourists). The owner was super kind and professional. She even offers car rental services. Couldn't have been better.
For more information about tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, I recommend the following webpage: Tourism Board of Trinidad and Tobago
Disclaimer: This posts contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I'll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.