Just a few miles off the coast of South America and the southernmost island of the West Indies, Trinidad still enjoys a Caribbean flair. The island has its own distinct underlying pulse, beating to the rhythm of carnival drums and the ebb and flow of crashing waves. Geologically rich and naturally abundant, Trinidad is one of the only places in the world you can marvel at more than 450 species of birds amid the treetops and see leatherback sea turtles nesting in the sand. Here are five of the best ways to experience its natural wonders.
1. Walk on water
La Brea Pitch Lake is the world’s largest natural deposit of asphalt, rich with sulphur and highly sought after for its healing properties — it’s often referred to as the eighth Wonder of the World. The lake is filled with dark clay that hisses and burps, and in some places has a consistency that allows you to walk across water. Bask in the natural pools and look out for the bountiful birdlife, from herons to hummingbirds.
2. Go island hopping
Escape on a boat ride to Nelson Island, an important historical site and the largest of Trinidad’s ‘Five islands’, to discover its rich colonial history, wildlife and flora. Gaspar Grande is another nearby island that enables you to trek into the Gasparee Caves, located 100ft underground. Here, visitors can see natural sinkholes and crystal salt pools with dappled sunlight.
3. Witness nesting turtles
Trinidad is the second largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the world and, from March to August, you can witness their nocturnal activity of laying hundreds of eggs in the hope that a handful will survive. The most popular beaches for viewing this natural phenomenon include Matura, Grande Riviere and Fishing Pond. All visitors must be accompanied by a guide.
4. Kayak through a mangrove
The Caroni Swamp is a bird sanctuary filled with mangroves, marshes and lagoons. A kayak tour here takes about three hours and can be done first thing in the morning or just in time for sunset. You’re almost guaranteed to see storks and flamingos during your trip, but the image that visitors most eagerly await to photograph is that of a scarlet ibis returning to roost at the end of the day.
5. Soak in a volcanic mud bath
Try a mud bath with a twist at L’eau Michel Mud Volcano. Located in southern Trinidad, this secluded natural pool can be reached after a 20-minute hike through an abandoned sugar cane plantation. Despite being on a volcano, the mud is cool to the touch and so dense that you’ll automatically float. Allow your skin to absorb the minerals as you hike to L’eau Michel Beach, where you’ll wash it all off in the ocean water.
A direct flight from London to Trinidad takes a little over nine hours and is offered by British Airways into Port of Spain. For more information, see visittrinidad.tt