On my trips to Trinidad, one of my favourite things to do is hiking in the lush forests. While Trinidad’s hikes generally do not have the expansive views from mountain tops, they do have beautiful landscapes, dense vegetation, and abundant adventure. It is a nature lover’s paradise and amazingly, more often than not, you and your guide are likely to have whatever trail you choose all to yourselves!
The hike to Avocar (aka Avocat) Falls and Three Pools is along the Marianne River in Blanchisseuse. There are a couple places in the area that offer secure parking so you can be sure (as one can be) that your car will be safe in your absence. Once you’re ready, head down the main road towards Spring Bridge over the Marianne River. This orange suspension bridge is over 100 years old – apparently, it was constructed in 1898! When facing the bridge, to your right is the trailhead. This is where you will start and end this particular hike.
While the trail was fairly straightforward at first, it wasn’t long before I started dripping with sweat. The morning was so incredibly humid, and yes, I was a bit out of shape, too! Any discomfort I felt, however, was wiped away as I glimpsed the river again – the water was so incredibly clear and still, it was hard to tell the difference between the trees and their reflections. We soon reached a hill but before I could pant out a curse, it started to rain. The rain brought some relief from the humidity but not completely as the dense canopy prevented most of the rain from reaching us.
After about 75 minutes, we reached Avocar Falls. While the falls themselves were rather simple and sparse, it was its setting that made it so appealing: tall trees, giant boulders, and a calm deep pool into which the falls tumbled. It was so lovely and peaceful that it was somehow not surprising to find numerous candles half melted to the rocks, the remains of religious rituals.
We spent about an hour here, relaxing with our snacks and swimming in the pool. To be honest, though, I’ve seen one too many horror films to have been completely comfortable in that pool…
It is at this point you have a choice. You could retrace your steps and hike back to the trailhead, but where is the fun in that? The better option is to follow the river back! This is the second time I’ve done a hike like this, and trust me, it is so much fun. We splashed, waded, and swam our way back to the trailhead. Sometimes, we were able to walk along the banks of the river but it was really about getting thoroughly wet by the end. I won’t lie, though – while it was a ton of fun, it was also very tiring. It is so important, therefore, that you feel confident about your swimming ability. You don’t want to accidentally drown yourself in exhaustion!
Many of the rocks in the riverbed are red and they fairly glow through the cool clear water in the sunlight. The verdant trees all around are so thick that you have no idea what secrets they contain.
Before the end of the river hike, there is an area called Three Pools. Here, you can up the adventure factor if you so wish by mini-cliff jumping! There is also a natural waterslide into one of the pools. But watch out! It is important to slide over the rocks with your feet in front of you as there are hidden boulders and fallen logs just waiting to bash your shins.
By the end of the hike, we were very wet and tired, but in a good way. But the universe decided we weren’t wet enough because as we approached the trailhead, the skies opened up and it poured. But in typical tropical rain fashion, it didn’t last long.
After the end of the hike, why not reward yourself with a famous shark and bake at Maracas Beach on your way back to Port of Spain? Or a kingfish and bake, an alternative to the shark version gaining popularity as the plight of the shark becomes better known. But whatever fish you choose, you should wash it down with an ice cold red Solo!
As for the beach itself, I personally hate what it has become – crowded and full of touts selling beach chairs and umbrellas. Also, there is now a massive parking lot and even a gas station – long gone are its days as a simple beach. To me, Maracas is a victim of its own popularity. If you are like me and don’t like built up beaches, stay long enough to have your sandwich and red Solo and then take a drive up the road to the beautiful views at the Maracas lookout.
- You should be relatively fit to do this hike. There are a few steep-ish hills which may feel tougher than normal if you’re not used to humidity. In addition, you should be a competent swimmer – if you have doubts about your swimming ability, take a flotation device with you.
- Do not do this hike alone. Robberies are not uncommon in the country. Also, there are many things that could go wrong in the bush – accidents happen.
- Start early. Hot! Humid!
- Wear waterproof shoes or at least shoes that can get soaking wet. Whatever you wear, ensure they are closed-toe shoes to protect your feet.
- Ensure you pack your stuff into a dry bag. If you don’t have one, ensure your bag is okay to get wet and everything inside it, wrap it in layers of plastic bags and Ziploc bags. And when I say layers, I mean at least five layers. Trust me; I learnt this the hard way.
- Leave a change of dry clothes and a towel in your vehicle – you will be happy you did!
- If you need a guide for this hike or any other hikes in Trinidad, I suggest giving Mario a shout at Island Hikers.