Driving down Manzanilla Beach…

One of my favorite drives in Trinidad is along the East Coast heading to Manzanilla Beach. I find that the beaches on the East Coast, while not having the “bluest” water and the finest sands, it does have this brilliant ‘wild’ feel to them; the trees are twisted and contorted into different shapes, coconuts are scattered all along the molasses brown sand, deserted beach houses are in various states of maintenance and the rough waters crash along the flat, sandy receding shoreline.  Manzanilla is a lover’s paradise; fairly secluded, parking for your car for a ‘siesta’  is as far away as the nearest coconut tree and salt air makes for a powerful combination.

The beaches found throughout Trinidad and Tobago are usually fairly quiet, but I find something a little different at Manzanilla Beach, since it’s not particularly developed and it’s definitely not one of those typical people watching beaches littered around the world. I find it a great escape from the typical island beach – there is a certain luxury in quiet seclusion. Anybody who enjoys quiet time at home or in their favourite beirut, berlin or birmingham hotels will be familiar with this cosy feeling. It doesn’t apply only to secluded beaches! It is a feeling that can be experienced in libraries, comfy cafés or gardens the world over.

For some visitors the level of activity at a beach and its amenities are particularly important attributes. For others, it is the seclusion and the chance to waste away the day on the sand that is the most important thing. For me, listening to the winds blow through the coconut trees on either side of the road is enough.

When walking along the beach, the Ortoire river flows out into the sea and sometimes you can see the Mudskippers, they’re kinda strange and prehistoric looking fish. When marooned on the beach by the retreating wavelets, they waddle back towards the sea and the promise of deeper water.  I also love beachcombing for shells and sand dollars on the beach – such simple, pleasant experiences that aren’t manufactured by some resort owner.

Where to go, where to stay and what to do: 

  • Manzanilla is 17 miles long, and bordered by coconut and mangrove trees, and quite a drive from POS- about 1 1/2 – 2 hours depending on traffic and road conditions – I would even wager that the traffic coming out of POS might even make the drive longer.
  • This beach is located on the northern part of Trinidad and Tobago and is 2.5 km from turtle nesting area – Manzanilla Point. Manzanilla Beach is beside the Sangre Grande, but I don’t recommend staying in “Sangre”, since there really aren’t any decent hotels there.
  • Local tours consist of Turtle watching(April-July). The leatherback turtles return to their birthplace to lay their eggs. Visit the home of the Manatee in the Nariva Swamp. Take boat trips up the river and go bottom fishing with the local fisherman miles out in the ocean.
    Go on hikes deep into the forest where if you’re lucky you can see the white monkeys, anacondas in the wild and much more species native only native to Trinidad. A trip to Brigham Hills lighthouse point where you can see the 16 miles of Manzanilla beach with a view just like that on Ipanema beach in Rio, except without Sugarloaf.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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