Going North to Blanchisseuse

Growing up in Chaguanas or Central/South Trinidad meant that going up “North” was a prettybig event. My parents being your very typical Indo-Trinidadians didn’t like the hustle and bustle of “North”. As you might figure, going up “North” meant that you were going to Port of Spain and the North Coast.

In Trinidad, we use four directions

  • North – means Port of Spain, Diego Martin
  • South – means San Fernando
  • East – means Arima
  • Central means Chaguanas

If you get in a taxi and ask if they’re heading north, they will invariably think, you mean Port of Spain. Note that West doesn’t exist in Trinidad. There is the West Coast of Trinidad but generally you won’t hear a Trini using “West” as a direction.

“North” for me, always meant Port of Spain, in fact from the ages of 3 – 15, I’d actually only been to Maracas Bay, a grand total of 5 times and the family never went further than that. Let’s call it a “safety first” philosophy on my parent’s part, since the roads were pretty pathetic and there were always landslides and there was a noticeable lack of guardrails blocking you from driving over the cliffs.

As for all the beaches in Trinidad, I didn’t get to Blanchisseuse till after I had actually left Trinidad. It tends to be a haven for Trinidad’s upper class, in that every old family with money had a house up in “Blanchie”. Of course, my folks don’t have a house in Blanchie … and while living in Trinidad, I never attempted the most famous hiking trail in Trinidad, which is the trail from Blanchisseusse to Paria Beach until much later. I’ve liked “Blanchie” because it is a relatively secluded beach that requires some effort and work to find and is definitely not the human zoo that other popular beaches like Maracas and Manzanilla can be.

As for the the trail; it is about 5 1/2 miles and begins from the Spring Bridge, which is basically the end of the road.  This route is mainly a coastal hike that begins on a gravel road and then continues along a forest trail. The hike is has a series of uphill and downhill portions interspersed with beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea. Paria Bay has a wide white sand beach and a short  20 minute hike leads to Paria waterfall where there is a deep clear pool below the falls. There are lots of companies that will lead on the hike, but I’ve never had to use one, since my friends are quite capable. 

While this trail is awesome, in the last couple years, it’s become quite unsafe because of the presence of Marijuana farmers, trap guns and possibility of being kidnapped on the trails.

How to get there:

  • From the airport : Head out from Piarco Int’l, head west on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, then north on the Tumpuna through Arima till you reach the Arima-Blanchisseuse trunk road and then it’s another 90 mins on winding roads till you reach Blanchisseuse

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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