January 29, 2016
Tempting hikers away from the island’s resorts, lush, leafy trails weave through miles of mesmerising jungle in Trinidad’s lesser-known countryside. Here are the top trails for biking and hiking in Trinidad.
Not every holidaymaker in Trinidad arrives with beachwear and flip flops. A growing number are packing hiking boots in their bags, too. Outdoorsy folk have long shared the secret of Trinidad’s incredibly lush walking trails but with an additional 1,000km of hiking paths newly opened in the north of the island, the secret is – at long last – well and truly out.
Trinidad is on the map as a great place for the outdoor enthusiast, with its gorgeous tropical foliage, beautiful birds and wildlife-rich hiking trails. A 9km stretch on Trinidad’s northeast coast, between Grande Rivire and Sans Souci, snakes through emerald jungle, allowing glimpses out to the ocean. As part of the island’s Eco-Adventure Trails Project, which aims to restore several thousand kilometres of ancient trails, carved out of the landscape by the indigenous Amerindians, the paths provide locals with some privileged views and journeys into Trinidad’s lesser-known countryside. Trails also benefit remote local communities in and around the Blanchisseuse and Chaguaramas mountains as it brings them into contact with ecotourism enthusiasts, nature lovers and adventure travellers keen to learn more about the island’s biking routes, rainforest walks and coastlines hikes. Regular lunch stops at various points on the trails are well-served by local food joints, with hiking routes that range from a gentle ramble to full-on uphill climbs for the most intrepid explorers.
Highlights include the spectacular Edith Falls (Chaguaramas, north-western peninsula), where well-marked routes (30 minutes/easy pace) contain a lush bounty of brightly coloured flora that culminates in gasp-inducing vistas across the 75-metre cascades. On the northeast coast, Rio Seco (Salybia) is equally as stunning, with a waterfall that plummets into a natural swimming pool that forms part of Matura National Park. Simply follow a gently sloping path shaded by a dense leafy canopy (60 minutes/easy pace).
Certainly as dramatic are the Maracas Waterfalls (Maracas/St Joseph Valley, north Trinidad), famous for being the island’s tallest at more than 90 meters. Navigate the sun-dappled trail through birds and flowers (45 minutes/easy pace) for a memorable meander that will reward you with thundering torrents.
Hardcode hikers will find it difficult to resist the blood-pumping allure of Saut d’Eau (Paramin, northwest Trinidad), a gruelling thigh-busting challenge with a high-altitude start that descends to a rustic strip of secluded beachfront. Take a nap here to conserve energy – the uphill trek back (180 minutes/difficult) is only for the hale and hearty.
Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to Tobago from London Gatwick, bringing these hiking trails within easy reach.
Have you been hiking in Trinidad? What are your favourite local trails? Let us know in the comments section below.