Maracas Bay is approximately 30 minutes from Port of Spain and is probably the most popular beach in Trinidad. Lifeguards patrol the beach and warning flags are posted. There are changing facilities, picnic tables and snack booths. Sit-on-top kayaks can also be rented at this beach. Approximately three quarters of the way along the beach there is a small concrete jetty, on which people occasionally engage in fun fishing. At the western end of the beach is a fishing depot at which it is possible to purchase fresh fish on most days. There is a small hotel and a few rental beach houses at Maracas Bay. Within one minute of the beach is the Maracas Bay Agritourism Park which has mini-golf, fishing, a children's playground, fireside cooking and a setting designed for relaxing in nature.
This famous beach boasts of powdery white sand and numerous leaning coconut palms. This is one of the most photographed spots in the Caribbean. These beach facilities are located on a well maintained coconut estate and for a small admission fee you are allowed the use of these private facilities :- including gift, snack and souvenir shops. Fishing, diving and Buccoo Reef trips are easily accessible and often depart from Pigeon Point.
The continental origin and proximity of Trinidad to South America, along with its varied habitats, has resulted in an extremely diverse biota. Species lists for this island are impressive, including 97 native mammals, 400 birds, 55 reptiles, 25 amphibians, and 617 butterflies, as well as over 2,200 species of flowering plants! No other area in the West Indies, and few areas of comparable size in tropical America, can match this spectacular species diversity. Trinidad is 50 miles long by about 37 miles wide, and dominated by the Northern Range, which rises to about 3,000 feet and was historically covered by tropical rainforest. Here, in this lush part of this beautiful island, you will find the magical Asa Wright Nature Centre. To see Squirrel Cuckoos, Toucans, and parrots fly past the gallery, while Tufted Coquettes and half a dozen other species of hummingbirds feed on the vervain by the reception, is but a small part of what the birder will find at the Centre. Botanists and entomologists and other naturalists will find the area equally rich.Located at 1,200 feet in the mountains of the Northern Range, seven miles north of the town of Arima, the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) is a world-class natural history destination for students of tropical ecology and is of particular interest to birdwatchers.
This large swamp with mazelike waterways is bordered by mangrove trees, some plumed with huge termite nests. If you're lucky, you may see lazy caimans idling in the water and large snakes hanging from branches on the banks taking in the sun. In the middle of the sanctuary are several islets that are home to Trinidad's national bird, the scarlet ibis. Just before sunset the ibis arrive by the thousands, their richly colored feathers brilliant in the gathering dusk, and as more flocks alight they turn the mangrove foliage a brilliant scarlet. Bring a sweater and insect repellent. The sanctuary's only official tour operator is Winston Nanan.
Chacachacare Island was named Chacachacare by the Amerindians and is the westernmost of the Bocas Islands which belong to Trinidad and Tobago. It lies in the Bocas del Dragón (Dragons' Mouth) between Trinidad and Venezuela. Originally named El Caracol (the Snail) by Christopher Columbus because of its shape, at various times Chacachacare has served as a cotton plantation, a whaling station and a leper colony. Between the period 1777 and 1794, cotton was the major agricultural export of Trinidad with Chacachacare being the largest producer. Up until 1810 cotton was still the major crop being produced on the island but a fall in prices and the boll weevil pest led to a decline in production.
Gaspar Grande, also known as Gasparee Island is a mile and a half long by half mile in width, totaling 129 hectares (319 acres) and reaches a height of 339 feet (103 metres). The island is approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the Coast Guard station at Staubles Bay. The island was granted to Gaspar de Percin la Roque in 1783 by Governor Chacon and over time became known as Gaspar Grande. The island is today primarily a vacation spot with numerous holiday homes and its most famous attraction are the Gasparee Caves. Gasparee Caves are a fascinating network of underground caves located on the island of Gaspar Grande, which is the closest island to Chagaramas Bay in north-west Trinidad. The island is composed of limestone and a combination of wave action, acidic rainfall and percolating ground-water has dissolved the limestone to form sculptured caverns, caves and sinkholes. The entire subterranean system is about 90 feet deep and a 1/2 acre in size. Within the cave system are interesting geological formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, flow stones and fringed curtains. Some of the formations have been given names such as Pulpit Pipe Organ, Lovers and Dinosaur Head because of their shape. The largest and best known of the caves is called the Blue Grotto, which has a crystal clear pool that is 30 feet in diameter and reflects the light entering the cave. Entry to the caves is only allowed with a registered tour company or with the permission of the Chagaramas Development Authority. From the boat landing at Point Baleine it is a 20 minute uphill walk to the entrance to the Blue Grotto and then a descent of approximately 100 steps into the cave.
Tobago's landscape abounds with breathtaking sights, that could only have been formed when nature’s creativity was at at its peak. Little Tobago Island is a tiny sparsely populated island located off the village of Speyside. This tiny island is among the more important in the Caribbean as a bird watchers paradise. The very colorful migratory Scarlet Ibis birds return here annually after their long cross Atlantic trip.
Englishman's Bay is secluded gorgeous beach. It's a lovely for a swim or a picnic. Here the forest approaches the edge of the beach and a river runs directly into the sea. Leatherback turtles come ashore here annually during the months of March to June to lay their eggs. Eggs hatch within three months. Stone Haven Bay and Castara Bay are other popular leatherback nesting sites. Tobago is one of three islands in the Caribbean where these giant leatherback turtles come ashore to nest on its beaches.
###*Fort King George
Commanding the heights overlooking St James lies Fort George. Built by the British in 1804 as part of a series of fortifications that included Fort Abercromby, North Post, and fortifications on Cumberland Hill, Fort George was considered the last major defense before the Port of Spain Harbour. From its height of 1,200 feet, artillery shells could be lobbed onto ships attempting to enter Port of Spain Harbour or land at Mucurapo. The British understood the importance or preventing a landing at Mucarapo as that was their landing point for their invasion in 1797. Mucurapo was also the landing point for the Spanish conquistador Sedeno in his invasions of Trinidad in 1531. The British constructed several batteries for their cannon rising up the hill. Today there is an apartment complex on the hill that is called The Battery as a result. The ordinances (ammunition) for Fort George were kept at Cocorite during the 1820’s and would have given rise to the name, Powder Magazine, now bestowed on part of the area. According to the historian, Michael Anthony, the construction of Fort George was overseen by a Mandingo Muslim, Jonas Mohammed Bath. Before building the fort he had to construct a road up the hill and it is believed that the present road called Fort George Road was the route used. When constructed the fort was originally called Fort Vigie and the name later changed to Fort George in honour of King George III. Fort George never experienced any military action and ceased to be a military establishment in 1846. It was then converted into a signal station. The design of the signal station was done by Prince Kofi Nti, son of King Kofi Calcali of Ashantee, West Africa. He arrived in Trinidad on July 1, 1881, having become a ward of the British Government after a war against the Ashantees in 1872 and was assigned to the Works Department. In 1964 Fort George ceased operating as a signal station.
The Emperor Valley Zoo is located in Port of Spain on the Queen's Park Savannah, adjacent to the Botanical Gardens. It opens daily from 9am to 6pm.
The Buccoo Reef is one of the most accessible coral reefs in the Caribbean.It is a protected marine park located a short distance off Pigeon Point and store Bay beaches. The reef has a fascinating, colourful underwater life. World famous French oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau visited Tobago's Buccoo Reef and rated it as the third most spectacular reef in the world. The Buccoo reef system is approximately 7 km2 (30 mls.2) in area and consists of an arc of five reef flats that enclose a shallow reef lagoon and the Bon Accord Lagoon. There is patchy distribution mainly staghorn and star coral communities within the reef lagoon.The Bon Accord Lagoon is consists primarily of macroalgae and seagrass communities. The mangrove wetland fringing the lagoon is primarily red mangrove. Seaward of the reef flats, the fore-reef slopes to depths of 15-30 m. Brain coral, star coral, and elkhorn coral are the dominant coral species on the fore-reef. There are daily tours to the reef using glass-bottom boats these allow you to view the reef from inside. You are also given snorkel gear and allowed to swim briefly in some parts of the reef and the adjacent Nylon Pool. The Nylon Pool - so named by Princess Margaret on her visit there in 1962, is a shallow white sand area just behind the Buccoo Reef. The waters of Nylon Pool are said to have the ability to rejuvenate anyone lucky enough to swim in it.
Tobago is a natural eco-vacation delight - this Caribbean island seems custom made for ecotourism. Like its bigger sister Trinidad, Tobago was once a part of the South American continent, thus it has an extensive range of flora and fauna unlike any other Caribbean island. Tobago's well preserved forested central mountain range is the oldest protected nature reserve in the western hemisphere. It was declared a reserve in 1764 shortly after the island fell under British rule. Over 200 bird species live on or frequent the island, including the majestic frigate birds found off St Giles, on Tobago's north coast; and the rare Red-billed Tropic birds that nest on the cliffs of Little Tobago off Speyside. Deep in Tobago’s rain forest can be found the Collared Trogons while on the outskirts, amidst the forest trees the Motmot (also known as King of the Woods) perches boldly, his distinctive tail rendering him unmistakable. The best hiking area is the forested Main Ridge. The Gilpin and Niplig trails are easy entry points. There are several others. There are several waterfalls but the Argyle Falls, just south of Roxborough, is the easiest to get to.
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