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CARIBBEAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Trinidad and Tobago, Islands of Adventure   by Brian Ramsey

Trinidad and Tobago, two islands set in the Caribbean Sea. The name Caribbean conjures up images of blue seas and white sand beaches set against green hills. It brings to mind images of lying on the beach sipping pina coladas or rum and coca-cola. For the holiday traveler Tobago meets those expectations. For the outdoor enthusiast however, Trinidad and Tobago can be islands of outdoor recreation adventure with hiking trails and hidden waterfalls, bird and turtle watching, cycling through verdant countryside or kayaking past wildlife filled forests.

Wooden Fishing Boats Among Palm Trees, Pigeon Point, Trinidad & Tobago
Wooden Fishing Boats Among Palm Trees, Pigeon Point, Trinidad & Tobago
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Trinidad and Tobago has a range of hiking opportunities with many of the hikes leading to waterfalls. Rincon waterfall in the Rincon valley on the north coast of Trinidad is a 250-foot vertical drop. The hike begins in the valley amidst small farms, fording several crystal clear streams and then winds uphill, culminating with a steep descent to the base of the waterfall. The 32 kilometer trail from Blanchissuese to Matelot on Trinidad's north coast is considered a jewel. Along the hike one alternates from unspoiled rainforest to untouched beaches. Starting from Blanchissuese you encounter Paria Bay after two to three hours (depending on the hiker's level of fitness). A short trail from the beach leads to Paria waterfall where there is a deep clear pool below the falls surrounded by heliconia, fringed lilies, and philodendron. If you choose to continue the hike after Paria Bay, the trail rambles over a succession of small ridges, crossing several small streams, until you next encounter Gran Tacarib, which is a 1.2 kilometer crescent shaped beach. From Gran Tacarib the trail continues to the Madamas river and then Madamas Beach. Both Madamas Beach and Gran Tacarib are nesting sites for Leatherback turtles, during the nesting season of March to September. After Madamas it is a continuation of the up and down hiking and crossing small streams and then the Petite Riviere river. The trail continues through abandoned estate lands with cocoa, coffee, tonka bean, nutmeg and papaya (pawpaw) until you arrive at the Matelot River and the village of Matelot.

For those who want to lie on the beach but also engage in some outdoor activity there are several less strenous hikes. Argyle waterfall on the outskirts of Roxborough in Tobago is an easy hike along the Argyle River to a three level waterfall. The hike to the Rio Seco waterfall on Trinidad's north-east coast goes through semi-cultivated land and then through stately mora forests to a small waterfall with a refreshing emerald pool, ideal for swimming.

Pigeon Point, Tobago, Caribbean
Pigeon Point, Tobago, Caribbean
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Both Trinidad and Tobago abound with birds and at almost every turn an avian spectacle can be observed. Trinidad and Tobago has some of the most diverse bird species to be found in one location with over 460. This variety in species can perhaps be attributed to the fact that the islands lie close to South America so migration is easier, resulting in unusually diverse fauna. Asa Wright Nature Center, is Trinidad and Tobago's premier birding location and it has been widely recognized as one of the most successful eco-tourism stories in the world. The listing of birds that can be seen at this center is too long for this article but has been identified in the vicinity of 159. Some of these birds include; Purple Honeycreeper, Green Honeycreeper, Crested Oropendola, Silver-beaked Tanager, White-necked Jacobin hummingbirds, Bananaquit, Red-legged Honeycreeper, White-chested Emerald hummingbird, Cocoa Thrush, Chestnut Woodpecker, Great Antshrike. This Nature Center is located at a height of approximately 1,200 feet in the hills of the Northern Range, seven miles from the town of Arima. It is reached by a single lane road that winds through verdant countryside dotted by small villages and isolated houses. There are numerous trails throughout the property and very knowledgeable guides.

Grafton Wildlife Sanctuary, Tobago, is a former cocoa and coconut estate that was destroyed by Hurricane Flora in 1963 and as a result was converted into a wildlife sanctuary. It is approx. 200 acres in size and is covered in secondary forest. There are three main forest trails. As you enter, the first trail on the right leads downhill and is relatively short. The second trail on the left also gradually leads downhill and then eventually climbs uphill. The main trail, which is directly facing the entrance, leads uphill and winds past several abandoned estate buildings and stables. There are benches along the main trail and at some points they provide panoramic views. There are at least three smaller trails that branch off from the main uphill trail but these are not always maintained. The three main forest trails are maintained. It is possible to spend an enjoyable hour or an intense four hours. The entire sanctuary abounds with birds of varied species.

Trinidad and Tobago are islands in the Caribbean Sea so there are myriad opportunities for kayaking. However for those who do not want to contend with large waves, ocean swells and ocean currents, Trinidad and Tobago offers a choice of sheltered saltwater and freshwater kayaking opportunities. Two kayaking areas of particular note are Bon Accord Lagoon and the Godineau River.

The azure waters of Buccoo Bay and the Bon Accord Lagoon in Tobago are sheltered by the offshore Buccoo reef, providing a kayaking area with only gentle swells. Kayak rentals are available at the nearby Storebay and also at Pigeon Point. The fringing Mangrove swamps of the Bon Accord Lagoon provide a scenic contrast to the white sand beaches along Pigeon Point and at the center of Buccoo bay. The offshoots of the reef also shelter the adjacent Milford Bay, allowing one to kayak to the south-east from Bon Accord Lagoon around Pigeon Point and into Milford Bay or vice-versa.

The Godineau River in south Trinidad, also known as the South Oropouche River, is one of the rivers in Trinidad that provides a year round kayaking opportunity as the water level is always sufficient. Kayaking in the Godineau area takes you through a variety of habitats, from saltwater mangrove swamp to fresh water marshland to partially cultivated areas. A variety of birdlife can be seen on these kayak trips including Scarlet Ibis, Southern Lapwing, Osprey, Savannah Hawk, Wattled Jacana, Cattle Egret, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Lesser Yellowlegs, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and a variety of migrating ducks (during the northern winter). This kayak trip can be started either from the sea along the area known as the Mosquito Creek or inland from the Woodland area.

Trinidad's network of old agricultural & oilfield roads plus (relatively) quiet country roads, along with hiking paths provide a range of surfaces and environments for cycling. In addition terrain ranges from flat land to rolling inclines to hillsides. For those with a preference for road biking almost every area of Trinidad has country roads with reduced vehicle traffic. The cross-country rider will be able to find undulating land with natural vistas. Those whose interest lies in mountain biking can find forest trails with logs, bamboo and streams across the trail requiring navigation and dexterity.

So the next time you are looking for outdoor recreational activity with a difference, experience Trinidad and Tobago, islands of Adventure.

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About the Author - Brian Ramsey operates the web site, Outdoors Trinidad, www.trinoutdoors.com and is the author of the CD, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, www.birdsoftt.com.
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FEATURED HOTELS IN TRINIDAD
FEATURED HOTELS IN AROUCA NEAR PIARCO
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Holiday Inn Express & Suites Trincity
This hotel is located in Arouca. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Trincity has an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Business amenities at this 2.5-star property include a business center and high-speed Internet access. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning. This property provides a complimentary airport shuttle. The staff can arrange dry cleaning/laundry services and currency exchange. Additional amenities include laundry facilities and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Televisions are equipped with cable channels. Guestrooms provide complimentary newspapers, free local calls, and voice mail. Guestrooms feature microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee/tea makers. 
FEATURED HOTELS IN PORT OF SPAIN
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Courtyard By Marriott Port Of Spain
Situated in the business district, this Port of Spain  hotel is close to Queen's Park Oval and Adam Smith Square. Courtyard by Marriott Port Of Spain has an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Business amenities at this 3.0-star property include wireless Internet access, meeting rooms for small groups, and business services. The property has a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. Event facilities include conference rooms. The staff can arrange dry cleaning/laundry services, express check-in, and express check-out. Additional amenities include laundry facilities, coffee in the lobby, and self parking. 
Crowne Plaza Trinidad, Port of Spain
The Crowne Plaza Trinidad is the premier choice for the business or leisure visitor to Port-Of-Spain. Our convenient city- center location on the waterfront, offers easy access to downtown shopping, museums, and cultural sites. Our business travellers will appreciate being within walking distance from the heart of the financial and commercial districts. As the new address for the savvy traveller, the Crowne Plaza Trinidad offers a welcoming atmosphere of classic luxury, and unique architecture in the most desirable city-center location.
Hilton Trinidad & Conference, Port of Spain
Overlooking the Gulf of Paria and situated amid lush, landscaped gardens, the elegant newly renovated Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre has undergone a multi-million dollar makeover and enjoys breathtaking views of the City, Queen's Park Savannah and Northern Range, and is ideal for leisure or business travelers alike. This unique, upside-down hotel is a dramatic & architecturally sophisticated hotel in Trinidad, where guests enter the lobby and then descend to their rooms. It is conveniently located in Port of Spain within walking distance to the heart of the city, and just 40 minutes from the Piarco International Airport. In just 45 minutes guests can drive past the famous Moka Golf Course and arrive at the beautiful Maracas Beach.
Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port of Spain
Contemporary design, ocean views and unequalled amenities combine gracefully at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Our stunning new Trinidad hotel offers unprecedented luxuries in the most desired location. Part of the dynamic new Waterfront Centre, guests enjoy our own world-class business facilities, as well as immediate access to the expansive new conference centre – the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean. Our unique setting as the only first-class oceanfront Trinidad Tobago hotel  lets you admire the sparkling waters while savoring our delicious cuisine, or as you relax in your stylish guestroom. Even a business trip feels like a vacation when you visit our pampering spa, float in the rooftop infinity pool, or sip a cocktail in the lobby bar. 
View the full list of hotels in Port of Spain
FEATURED HOTELS IN SCARBOROUGH
Bacolet Beach Club, Scarborough
A small, elegant resort cascading down a hillside to its own secluded beach, the oriental inspired wooden roofs of the Bacolet Beach Club mingle among lush foliage of bamboo and bougainvillea, and lies only 2 minutes away from the island's capital, Scarborough, and only 15 minutes from Tobago's airport.  The atmosphere is serene as you gaze fromone of the bay suites, or from the overflow horizon pool which overlooks the beach with wooden decks - ideal for sunbathing and socialising.  The Bacolet Beach Club is an exclusive boutique hotel, restaurant and bar where its owners have created a stylish retreat.
Half Moon Blue Hotel, Scarborough
Nestled in gardens of palms, bamboo and bougainvillea, the Half Moon Blue suites lay beneath the hill of historical Fort George. Extra spacious suites and a spectacular Penthouse loft overlook the horizon, the half moon shaped Bacolet Bay and the overflow swimming pool where midnight swims are a must. The decor sets your mood for serene and lazy days and romantic exotic nights. These colonial styled suites with jalousied windows and doors open onto verandahs with rattan chaise-lounges, creating the perfect spot for whatever your heart desires. The southernmost of the Caribbean Islands, Tobago contains many idyllic, easily accessible beaches, stunning coral reefs and the oldest protected rain forest in the Western Hemisphere.
Turtle Beach By Rex Resorts, Scarborough
Turtle Beach by rex resorts is a true Caribbean escape, tucked away on the shores of its own palm-fringed beach, on the natural paradise island of Tobago. Turtle Beach has been designed to ensure you enjoy the best of the Caribbean beach. All public rooms and guest rooms face towards the sea, and the pool with its swim-up bar and whirlpool is right next to the shore. In the evening, the pool bar is the perfect place to enjoy a Caribbean cocktail and watch the sunset. Turtle Beach’s Kiskadee restaurant offers a tempting range of creole specialities and international classics, served buffet-style, throughout the day.
FEATURED VACATION RENTAL IN GRAFTON, TOBAGO

Ridge House Villa, Tobago (Ref: 31248), Grafton
This spectacular 5 bed villa set in gardens with tropical fruit trees, above the village of Pleasant Prospect, looking over the Caribbean sea. a short walk will take you to a palm tree lined sandy beach with day time beach bar. Close to Mount Irvine Golf Club & 15 min drive to Plantation Golf Club. The villa is in the original Grafton Bird Sanctuary which boasts manycolourful bird species that frequent the gardens. There is a free form swimming pool and jacuzzi also a pool side bar with fridge, sound system b.b.q.,dart board & games,so you can sip your cocktail while watching the tropical birds with the back drop of the Caribbean sea & a stunnuing sunset.  Sleeps 10.
FEATURED VACATION RENTAL IN SCARBOROUGH

Luxurious Tobago Villa, Scarborough
Luxurious villa constructed in colonial architecture; situated in Tobago 5 star Hilton Golf and Beach Resort. Jaccuzi, swimming pool. A/C.  This luxurious villa is situated on an 18 hole PGA championship golf course, in the Hilton International Beach and Golf Resort, Tobago. The colonial style architecture and furniture coupled with the natural tropical ambience create a unique retreat.  The villa has a large swimming pool and jacuzzi. Its large patio in front of the swimming pool looks on to the golf course which borders with the villa's garden.  The villa comprises 4 bedrooms in total; 2 double, 2 twin, 4 of the bedrooms with en-suite facilities. This gives room for up to 8 people.
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