The Secret Gems of Trinidad – Part 2

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Continuing from the previous day, here are some more of Trinidad’s attractions, and the stories behind them.

  • The Pitch Lake
    In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh came to Trinidad whilst on his search for the fabled city of El Dorado (The Aztec City of Gold). While in Trinidad, he used the naturally occurring bitumen in the large repository near La Brea to caulk his ships. Today, this is one of the largest naturally occurring sites of bitumen in the world. How it came about is anyone’s guess, but the Amerindians told a somewhat grim story.
    A tribe of Amerindians used to live on that very spot, legend says. After a fierce battle with a rival tribe, they grew careless and started cooking and eating hummingbirds (which were believed to contain the souls of their ancestors). In response to this, the Great Winged God made the earth open up and swallow the entire village, leaving a black, tarry lake as a warning to those who would defile the Gods. Amerindian pottery has been found at the site so maybe the legend could be true?
  • Manzanilla Beach
    Anytime tourists get to trinidad, they are immidiately told “You must see Maracas bay” but no one ever mentions Manzanilla. Situated along the deserted eastern coast of Trinidad is a beach that has the major road running just alongside it. The untamed forest lies just on the other side of the road, fusing brilliant greenery with the sound of the waves. Mangrove groes along the edge of the beach in certain locations, but one is entranced by the sheer amount of coconut trees growing at odd angles out from the beach.
    Although the beach isn’t totally locked away from human interaction, one can usually find a stretch of beach for their private use. It gives rise to the thought that Trinidad has more beaches than people. Manzanilla Beach is one of the places that you should really see if you do come to Trinidad. It has the right mix of nature, serenity and seclusion to make the journey worthwhile
  • Siewdass Sadhu’s Temple in the Sea
    Built when the indian immigrants were not permitted to build on cane land, this temple is on the water and is reached by a small foot bridge.  Images of Ganesh, Siddartha and other Hindu entities are done in an exquisite manner. Siewdass Sadhu put years of effort into constructing the causeway out into the sea and the foundation on which he put his Temple. Not many foreigners visit the Temple, mainly because not a lot of people know of it. It is a well kept secret, but it’s worth a visit down to the rural Waterloo area.
  • Brasso Seco
    Although not strictly a tourist location for the average tourist, hikers and nature-lovers will thoroughly enjoy this secluded gem. The name “Brasso Seco” means “dry branch” and in the time before modern colonization the area used to be enveloped in a forest. Brasso Seco is the area of Trinidad that receives the most amount of rainfall annually (over 100 inches per year) and it is evidenced by the amount of crystal clear streams flowing from the mountainside down to the valley below.
  • When the cocoa prices fell in the 1960’s most of the cocoa estates in and around Brasso Seco were forced to close, but the resurgence of the cocoa price as well as coffee and christophene have resurrected some of the old estates. The area is also known as the habitat of the Trinidad Piping Guan (Pipile pipile ), a bird that is found nowhere else in the world, and is heavily endangered (there are only 24 pairs of Trinidad Piping Guan left in the entire world).

    The Trinidad Piping Guan (Pawi)


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