Friday, May 12, 2017

Sights to See: Paramin village, Trinidad


PARAMIN VILLAGE  On Maracas North Coast.  This rural village is located on one of the highest points of the western area of the Northern Range--it peaks at 2,800 feet--and includes part of the Maraval area known for its expensive homes and golf course.  It is a sprawling, steep, and mountainous village whose residents have traditionally been farmers, producing herbs such as chives, thyme, and parsley, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes and yams.  Tomatoes are grown on almost vertical plots.  To maneuver the route, most locals and visitors ride in jeeps, which turns out to be a lot of fun, especially with a stop on the way down at the Kool Breeze Bar.  

view of Paramin Village over vertical tomato fields in Trinidad
view of Paramin Village over vertical tomato fields in Trinidad

jeep tour drivers in Paramin Village in Trinidad
jeep tour drivers in Paramin Village in Trinidad



 

exterior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
exterior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad

interior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
interior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad

view from Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
view from Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad


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images and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Great Sleeps: Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, Trinidad


Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre  Lady Young Rd., Port of Spain, (868) 624-3211.  418 rooms.  Pool; fitness center with 2 saunas, treatment rooms; 2 tennis courts.  Guests drive up to the top of a hill to enter the lobby of this hotel known as the “Upside Down Hilton,” whose rooms cascade down a small hill.  Built on the site of the former colonial French Governor’s residence, this hotel is set amid 25 acres of tropical landscape.  All guest rooms feature a private furnished balcony overlooking the bucolic surroundings.   
view from guest room balcony at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
view from guest room balcony at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

Facilities include one of the city's largest swimming pools--it is shaped like Trinidad--and a kids’ pool--shaped like Tobago--plus a terrace lined with lounge chairs shaded by umbrellas and trees.

pool area at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
pool area at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

The Terrace Garden restaurant features three-story-high ceilings and glass walls looking out to the green pool landscaping.  It is a delightful place for breakfast, when the buffet includes made-to-order omelettes as well as some local items--I became very fond of both the spinach-like calaloo made with dasheen leaves and the pumpkin choka fillings for fried bake breads--and an array of more familiar items. 

Terrace Garden restaurant at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
Terrace Garden restaurant at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

LUCE Sushi Bar is an independent restaurant known for its excellent sushi and cocktails.
LUCE Sushi Bar at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
LUCE Sushi Bar at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

Technically the hotel is located walking distance from Queen’s Park Savannah and the botanical gardens.  However, I took the “path” down from the hotel--it was actually a very steep, paved, decidedly unbucolic narrow service road used by hotel employees.  It passed noisy hotel machines, and when I reached the bottom there was no cross walk.  After watching locals, I literally ran across a confusing road beside a traffic circle and then had to do the same yet again to get over to the Savannah park.  It was then a looong walk to the gardens, and then I needed to cross the busy thoroughfare yet again--in a downpour that drenched me even with an umbrella.  Later, I wound up walking through a flooded grassy road edge to retrace my path back to the hotel.  My sneakers took two days to dry.  My advice--take a cab!


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Things to Do: Maracas Beach; Good Eats: Bake and Shark, Trinidad


Maracas Beach  On north side of the island; 1-hr. drive from Port of Spain.  Unlike many of the northern beaches of Trinidad, Maracas Beach is protected by a deep bay.  It is one of the most well-known and beautiful beaches in Trinidad.  It is also famous for the dozen huts located across the highway from the beach that serve Bake and Shark, a native Trinidadian dish that consists of deep-fried shark stuffed in a "bake," or bun.  It is basically a fish burger served with condiments galore--pepper sauce, garlic sauce, coriander/cilantro sauce, tamarind, veggies.  The bread/bake is cooked in very hot oil so it is not greasy. 
 

Maracas Beach in Trinidad
Maracas Beach in Trinidad
  
Richard's Bake & Shark sign at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
Richard's Bake & Shark sign at Maracas Beach in Trinidad

 
preparing Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
preparing Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad

adding condiments to Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
adding condiments to Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sights to See: Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad


BIRDWATCHING
Trinidad’s lush landscape provide the perfect conditions for the more than 450 species of birds that call the island home.  Key birding spots on island include:

Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary  Off the Solomon Hochoy Hwy., 8 miles south of Port of Spain.  US$10 for 2 1/2-hr. cruise.  This 12,000-acre, mangrove-filled wetland is the top nesting site for the Trinidad national bird--the Scarlet Ibis (pronounced eye-bus).  Best viewing is in morning and evening.  Approximately 15,000 of these big red birds gather here at dusk each evening to roost in trees.  Among the more than 100 additional tropical birds seen here are snowy egrets, blue herons, green kingfishers, and bicolored conebills.  You might also see caimans amid the mangrove roots and boa constrictors entwined on branches.
boa constrictor in tree at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
boa constrictor in tree at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

Scarlet Ibis roosting in trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
Scarlet Ibis roosting in trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

single Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
single Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

flock of Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
flock of Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad


Boat tours are available on site, though some tour companies arrange in advance.
     ●Nanan’s Bird Sanctuary Tours  38 Bamboo Grove Sett, No. 1, Uriah Butler Highway, Valsaya P.O., (868) 645-1305.  Depart at 4pm, return by 6:30pm.  In business for 60 years, this tour concession uses wood boats equipped with life vests.

Nanan's Bird Sanctuary Tours boats at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
Nanan's Bird Sanctuary Tours boats at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sights to See: LeRoy Clarke home, Port of Spain, Trinidad


LeRoy Clarke home  This popular contemporary native Trinidadian artist focuses on African art, and his paintings are usually very large.  As like calaloo--a popular island stew--is how he describes the mix of races in Trinidad.  Clarke is also a poet and, at age 78, has strong opinions, and so is loved by many and not so loved by others.  He lives in a small gated community in De Legacy House of El Tucuche, which was built to his specifications and where he graciously welcomed my group of journalists into his private space.   The soft-spoken artist says he uses his “sweet man voice around women,” and claims that he was the favorite of nine children. 


exterior of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
exterior of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad

dining room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
dining room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad

painting porch of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
painting porch of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad



artist LeRoy Clarke at his bedroom desk in LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
artist LeRoy Clarke at his bedroom desk in LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


artist LeRoy Clarke in his library at LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
artist LeRoy Clarke in his library at LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


More things to do in Trinidad.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers