With its tropical weather and pristine beaches, Trinidad and Tobago is an excellent Caribbean vacation destination. However, there is much more to do than just lazing on the beach.
Trinidad and Tobago boasts a diverse ecosystem, beautiful scenery, and many fascinating geological features. Here are 5 things you can do to better experience life outdoors in Trinidad and Tobago.
#1. Experience world-class BIRDWATCHING
If you love birds, Trinidad and Tobago boasts over 470 species. Between October and March, the islands are visited by migrating birds from North America. Between May and September, the South American species come to call. The most popular time for birdwatching is between January and April, which is the dry season.
The Asa Wright Nature Center in the Northern Range near El Cerro del Aripo is a popular location for birdwatching because it is home to over 400 species. Other great spots include the Point-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust on the west coast of Trinidad and the Caroni Bird Sanctuary just south of Port of Spain.
Point-a-Pierre is situated within the compound of a petrochemical and oil refinery. It consists of 2 lakes and the surrounding land. The Trust works to reintroduce endangered wetland birds to nature. There is a boardwalk enabling guests to walk out into the lake without getting wet. There is also a visitors’ center and an Amerindian museum.
The Caroni Bird Sanctuary is a mangrove swamp threaded with navigable waterways suitable for kayaking or boat tours. The swamp is renowned for such natural treats as the scarlet ibis, Cook’s tree boa, and four-eyed fish.
Given the position of Trinidad and Tobago in the south of the Caribbean Islands and just north of the Equator, it’s no surprise to learn that the islands boast many pristine beaches that are popular for beach vacations.
The half-moon-shaped Maracas Bay on the north coast of Trinidad is found less than an hour’s drive through the mountains of the Northern Range from Port of Spain. This drive along the winding mountain road is considered part of the adventure. Maracas Bay beach is a popular day-trip destination for locals who live in the capital.
The beach at Maracas Bay is sheltered by a line of palm trees and its deep waters are popular for swimming. There are lifeguard stands to ensure your safety. Many people come here simply to stroll along the beautiful beach or laze in the sun. Maracas Bay is especially noted for its many Bake and Shark outlets serving the traditional local dish of deep-fried shark stuffed in fried bread.
Also, on the north coast and just a 15-minute drive east is Las Cuevas. Here you’ll find not only a gentle surf for leisurely swimming but also many small caves along the coast that you can explore. The beach here is great for sunbathing, and there are lifeguards to protect you as you swim.
Over in Tobago, Pigeon Point is the most popular beach destination for family fun. The sea is calm and crystal-clear, and coconut palms line the beach. The thatched-roof jetty at Pigeon Point is Tobago’s most iconic structure.
If it’s surfing you love, the beaches at Toco in Trinidad and Mount Irvine and Grange Bay in Tobago offer perfect conditions. The Surfing Association of Trinidad and Tobago can provide you with up-to-date surf forecasts and advice on where to hire or purchase a bodyboard or surfboard.
The islands of Trinidad and Tobago offer a selection of excellent hiking trails. The best trails in Trinidad are found in the rainforest reserves, the Chaguaramas Hills, or in the forests of the Northern Range around Brasso Seco and Paria.
The trails in the Guanapo Gorge are especially popular because of the beautiful scenery and multiple waterfalls. You can enjoy a fantastic short hike from the Arima/Blanchisseuese Road to Avocat Waterfall. The 30-minute trek through the lush green forest ends with the 50-foot waterfall and a plunge pool where you can swim in the cool waters.
Check out El Cerro del Aripo, Trinidad’s highest point in the Northern Range. Because of the relatively low temperatures and high rainfall in this area, there is a spectacular cloud forest that is home to the critically endangered golden treefrog. The Asa Wright Nature Center is found in the same area.
In Tobago, head to Roxborough on the east coast to enjoy the 20-minute hike to Argyle Waterfall. This 175-foot, 3-level waterfall is Tobago’s highest. The trail leads through lush green vegetation populated by tropical birds and beautiful butterflies.
The islands of Trinidad and Tobago boast hundreds of caves just ripe for exploration. Take the Gasparee Caves, for example. These are found on the limestone island of Gaspar Grande to the west of Port of Spain. The Gasparee Cave System features beautiful limestone formations with a mysterious saltwater pool at its heart.
Mount Tamana on the eastern side of the Central Range in Trinidad is a unique mountain formed from ancient coral reefs pushed out from the ocean. Intricate cave systems cut deep into the limestone and provide a perfect home for geckos and bats. Visitors love to explore the Tamana Caves to see the 11 species of bat that make their home in the 18 chambers of the cave system.
The best time to visit the Tamana Caves is sunset, when thousands of bats stream out of the cave in search of food. If bats freak you out, you’d better avoid this place. You’re almost guaranteed to have one land on you, and you’ll feel their wings brush past you at some point during your visit.
The warm, crystal-clear waters around Trinidad and Tobago are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are pristine reefs housing hundreds of tropical fish species, manta rays, and sharks. The most popular locations are found around Tobago.
The top Tobago snorkeling spots include Flying Reef at Crown Point on the south shore, offshore Charlotteville on the northern tip of the island, and the Sisters’ Rock islet off the north coast. Buccoo Reef off the southwest of Tobago is especially popular for snorkeling and glass-bottom boat tours. There is a legend that if you swim in the Nylon Pool near Bucccoo Reef, the water there will rejuvenate you.
Around the reefs, you can expect to see an amazing range of colorful fish and other sea life. Watch out for angelfish, butterflyfish, damsel, grouper, and parrot. Hidden in the coral, you can find lobsters and sea urchins. Take along your own snorkeling equipment or join one of the expert-guided tours of the reefs to learn more about the ecology and conservation in Trinidad and Tobago.
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